Any suggestion on a new rod?


Active Member
I've decided to take the next step in my fly-fishing and purchase a some what higher end rod. I presently have a St Croix. It cost me around $100 and has worked good for me. I'm now looking for a 5wt rod in the $300-$400 range. Any suggestions?
I suggest looking back a page in the archives at "Any good fly rods under $400?" Plenty of opinions on favorite rods there. As to the previous post to search on ebay, I would agree and disagree. I would not suggest buying a rod that you haven't cast. You could wind up with a rod you don't care for, or that just isn't the best for you. The best thing you can do is go to a reputable fly shop and test cast as many of the rods as you can and find out which is the best for YOU. If you then decide to go out and buy the rod off ebay, at least you know what your getting. But also keep in mind that fly shop owners like people who make big purchases in thier shop and are usually much more generous with info than the people that come in, want to know where the good fishing is and buy two flies, but purchase all the big stuff out of Cabelas. Owners tend to resent those people. I'm not trying to pick on fly shop owners, but it's generally true. (and I don't blame them, the average shop owner doesn't make much)

I have only bought one rod off ebay and I did so last month. I hadn't cast the rod, but it seemed to be exactly what I wanted after a bit of research. Now that I have the rod, I am dissapointed with it and considering selling. This was a top of the line Thomas and Thomas. I thought it would be sweet. It wasn't. Sure I saved $200, but I would be better off with some other rod,and it turns out I'll probably sell it for less than what I paid. So I'm losing money.

I've worked at a fly shop for the last 5 years and test cast nearly all the rods that have come in the shop from a variety of manufacturers. I have certainly picked some favorites, but two things are pretty certain. 1. All the major fly rod companies make good fly rods. Most are just ho-hum, but every company has a line or a few particular rods I really like. There are very few rods that are bad. I know of only one in recent memory that me and another shop owner just thought was a truly terrible rod. And 2. High price doesn't always mean better rod. My favorite line of Sage right now is thier cheepest, the DS series. Before they discontinued them the SP's were my favorite. They were the top of the line. The Scott SAS is another really nice, and underrated, rod line (in my opinion) that is at the low end of the price scale. I don't own anything from either line, I just like them.

Just my 2 pennies

The best deal under 400$ in my opinion is the St Croix Legend Ultra. I have a 5w 9' and its awesome. It can compare to my friends GLX and Sage at half the price! I would put more money in the reel. I planning on getting a Orvis Battenkill 5/6. All this for under 400$!!!

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
You know, I must be a recluse. I've never once in all my 25+ years fishing have went into a fly shop to ask how's the fishing. Normally most of the owners ask me how the fishing is. If you fish certain streams/rivers/lakes religiously you'll already know roughly when the hatches are, when the fish run, and when the prime times to be on certain slots are.

A fly shop who wouldn't give out info because some just came in for some area knowledge is insane. You could be losing a potential customer. The person you turned away could've been an out of towner looking for info. Word of mouth goes along way.

Now onto rods, I'd also like to highly suggest the DS sage. I love my 8wt. It's been my backup to my RPL, but I'll string her up every now and then and put the bend into her. I'm looking at purchasing a 9wt DS myself soon. Looking for used, but may have to go with new. Ebay is a tempermental beast. I do alot of buying and selling on there. The key is to know what you're buying (as in what series the product is) and to ASK questions if in DOUBT! If you don't ask, you'll be the one holding a Sage DS rod that has a defect or missing case/sock.

You haven't lived until you've run a cataraft. Friends don't let friends run Outcasts.
This is a really tough one to write about because everyone is different with different casting styles and action preferences. I would suggest casting any rod you intend to fish and preferably fishing any rod you intend to buy. There are a couple of exceptions. Based upon my own and others experience. Most people seem to like the Sage DS series and the Winston IM6 graphite series and the GLoomis GL3 series or other name brands with similar moderate actions. To complicate matters you can't really make a comparison unless you cast different line weights and tapers on each rod. So I propose you do one of two things: 1) if you have a friend or friends that will meet you at the casting dock at Green Lake or similar spot and let you cast their favorites with different lines and you decide you have to have one, then you can take that knowledge and buy your rod from whatever source you can get it for for the lowest price 2) you can go to your favorite fly shop and do the same thing and then buy the rod from them at full retail. If you want to spend the extra cash then you probably have the extra cash and supporting your local shop will end in you both profiting from the partnership, but let them know at the outset what your intentions are (ie you will ultimately buy from them)and that you want to try a lot of combinations which might involve more than one session. However you might ultimately find out somewhere down the road that the St Croix you have now may have been your best choice all along or maybe even an old Fenwick glass rod or an older nicer bluecollar bamboo rod(Heddon, Phillipson, Granger, etc). The truth of the matter is that most of us end up with many different rods of different styles and weights from different companies but then end up doing 90% of our fishing with our favorite 5wt. For some that might be a 4 and for some it might be a 6 but all of us end up with a "go to rod" and use the others sparingly or sell them off to others (and not because they weren't good rods, but either because we want to free up some cash or we just can no longer justify a growing collection of fine rods we rarely use). Be prepared, quest may be fun but not ultimately fulfilling for many rods to come. Some never seem to find the perfect rod. Others still fish the Fenwick glass rod they bought 30 years ago and don't care. Good luck.



Active Member
Thanks for all the great info. I would just like to add my experiences of the fly shop I frequent. With the excepetion of my rod and reel, I rarely spend over $20 there. But the owner gives me the same customer service as someone who has just droped a grand. I have witnessed a customer spend easily over $1000 and I was next in line with my $2.50 bag of marabou. The owner of the shop treated me just like the guy who spent over $1000. I will definitely purchase my new rod there, even if it cost a few more dollars. The shop is the Greased Line in Vancouver, WA.

Old Man

Just an Old Man
I might be old---but I'm good.

I guess that I feel like you do. In all my years of fishing,and it's been a few. All types of fishing,being fly fishing the latest and greatest way to go.Been doing it seriously for about 5 years now. I have never asked a shop where to go or for advice. I guess that I just like to find out things and places by myself. I guess that is how you learn things.

Now for a looking for a rod. I have a GL3 9' 5wt that I wouldn't part with for the world. In my opinion it is a good rod. I've tried a Sage but I seem to like this one better. I guess that you get what you can afford and not what you think you need to keep up with the Jone's. Just because it's the top of the line,it might not be what your looking for. Just an old man thinking,but what do I know. Jim S.
Here is my experience. I started out a few years ago purchasing lesser expensive rods (IM6 type). Thanks to a fishing buddy, I made the mistake of casting some new high-end rods. They were so wonderful to cast that I purchased several new rods over time (Loomis GLX and Sage XP and RPLxi).. For the smaller weight rods like 3 and 4 wt. the lesser expensive rods work real well because you are never casting that far and you are looking for good presentation. A slower action rod usually has better presentation than a fast action rod. When you are in windy conditions and you need to cast a long way, the higher end rods with a fast action start to shine (that is what made me go out and buy a Sage XP). So my advice is much the same as several of the other posts. Experiment with several rods and develop a consensus over time for what works best for you for each weight class of rod and for the different types of fishing you do. I hate to admit this but I have 6 rods and compared to my fishing buddies, that is a small number.
I have never bought a rod through E-bay but I hear the name mentioned a bunch. I have two Sage DS2 rods and I am very happy with both of them in a 5wt and 8wt. They carry the same warranty as the higher end Sage rods and at less than half the price. As far as casting goes I think only the best casters would be limited with the lower priced Sage series. I like the warranty you get with purchasing a new Sage rod. I have only had to use it once in the last four years, but I was glad I had that warranty card when I had a problem. When I buy a new rod I plan on keeping it for a long time, so the lifetime warranty gets my vote. Steve
A fly shop who wouldn't give out info because some just came in for some area knowledge is insane. You could be losing a potential customer. The person you turned away could've been an out of towner looking for info. Word of mouth goes along way.
No shop owner in their right mind would turn away a customer. That would be ludacrisp. They would fade into bolivian. I agree. They will tell them where to catch fish, but they aren't generally going to give away the best spots in the area either.

While that is good (for you) that you don't need their advice, you might be suprised at what they know. All the shop owners I have made friends with (and there have been several) have been the best resources I have found, and have taken me fishing in some awesome places I never would have found.
Well, I have one listed on eBay right now. It is a 7' 4pc 6wt. I have debated keeping my 7'6" 4pc for now mainly because it is similar enough to my 7'6" bamboo rod that one can almost substitute for the other. If I sold it I would have to sell it with the Pflueger Medalist 1492 reel and spare spool and the new Orvis Wonderline that has been cut in the middle to go with it (you would get both halves of the DT line with sufficient backing for emergencies). I have a tube for it but the original sock needs replacing (my wife is sceduled to make me a new one. Because this is a complete magical retro package, I would need $135. I would also be willing to part with what I call my Curtis Creek Manifesto Special. It is the same pack rod recommended in the back of Sheridan Anderson's paperback comic book classic. It is in terrific condition. It is the famous 8'6" 5pc 6wt. It comes with original sock and tube. Like Mr. Anderson, I prefer to cast a 5wt with this rod but you might like it as it is rated. I have cast 75' with it down at the Green Lake casting dock and though certainly experienced, I am not known for my casting ability. I would part with this beauty for $110. I live in Seattle and you are welcome to come cast either. This moment of weakness is probably transitory so hit me up while the cash still intrigues me for summer travel plans. My phone number is (206) 417-7163 but tomorrow I will be at Seattle Fire Station 40 for overtime making some of that needed cash. You can reach me on our private line at the station: (206) 523-0110. I will be there from 7:30 AM tomorrow until 7:30 Sunday. I will have the rods with me in case you are serious and want to come see and/or cast them. I can also package the 5pc with old Pflueger and line if needed. Call me or email me your phone number and I'll call you. Again, this offer may not last long. I actually like all the rods. It's just that I fish either my bamboo or my custom Glastech 3pc 6wt glass rod made for me by Dennis Franke a few years ago when he was still in business. I also have another Fenwick, a 5pc 8wt but I don't want to part with it quite yet.