Rod Design: Innovation and “Stuff”

Matt Ridley writes in this morning’s Wall Street Journal about the common thread (or fiber) in the design of modern fly rods: the belief that technology and advances in materials science have taken over from an emphasis on tapers and design in the improvement of fly fishers’ most important tools.

Citing the decision of Hardy’s chairman, Richard Maudslay (descendant of the inventor of the lathe), to use “finite element analysis” to lubricate carbon fibers with 100-nanometer silica spheres, Ridley says such concepts are behind fly rods’ own Moore’s Law. “Science has moved on, and nanoparticles as small as 2 nanometers are now in use, so Mr. Maudslay wants to do it again. He argues that improvements in materials, from steel to plastics to silicon, are the keys to understanding the industrial revolution.”

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