4wt too small for cutts?

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Jake Bannon, Oct 1, 2007.

  1. Jake Bannon

    Jake Bannon nymphs for steelhead....

    I was thinking of buying a 4wt morely for resident coho and cutts. Then when the bigger silvers and pinks come I will pull out my 5/6wt. My question is, is a 4wt too small for cutts and rezzies. I like lighter rods because the fish put up more of a fight on them but didnt exactly know when the limit was for too small. Thanks for the help.

  2. Mike Etgen

    Mike Etgen Not Quite A Luddite, But Can See One From Here

    In my own opinion, anything smaller than a five weight isn't in the best interest of the fish. Bear in mind that a really nice fish (like sixteen inches or more) will take some work to land, and will be released in an exhasuted and possibly disoriented state. Seal bait.

    Remember that our cutts are a treasure and strictly a catch-and-release fishery, and get 'em in and off quickly...
  3. Ringlee

    Ringlee Doesn't care how you fish Moderator Staff Member

    I use a 4 wieght (Sage XP 10') a lot now for Cutts and most of the time In Alaska. The only fish I have a hard time with are Big Char that Just Stay on the Bottom.
    One Concern with a lighter rod is the wind. It is easy to cast on a windless day, but I can sure tell it is a 4 weight when it is windy out.
  4. D3Smartie

    D3Smartie Active Member

    Something like a 4wt XP or similar fast action 4 wt is a great rod for cutts. Only concern like Ringlee said is the wind.
  5. I agree with Ringlee. A 4 weight is fine but it depends on what size tippet you use. If you're fishing fancy light leaders and having fight them a while to tire them out then it might be a problem. Then again, it would probably be a problem with any weight rod. I fish 8 or 10 lb maxima exclusively which gives the option to just muscle them in.
  6. yuhina

    yuhina Tropical member

    I totally agree! Good point as well as the previous wind factor.

    I think the heavier tippet would give you more power to haul the fish in... I usually just slightly point to the fish, it will reduce the chance to break the rod. (just like get snagged on the bottom, won't break the rod either).

    The other point I would like to mention here is the fly size. (I guess this is similar factor with the wind factor). The bigger the fly, the larger the air resistance, thus need heavier line to deliver them. I usually just move up the flyline weight without change rod, when encounter the faster wind or change to bigger fly. For modern fast action rod, cast 2 more line weight would just doing fine... IMO.
  7. Peter Pancho

    Peter Pancho Active Member

    unless its a 4wt broom stick of a rod, it won't cut it in the wind. 5wt min, 6wt perfect! I personally use a 6wt TicrX 4pc 9' . Good luck buddy.
  8. Philster

    Philster Active Member

    Yeah! This weekend is a good example. It was a rough wind blowing against my casting side. My rig bucked it no problem and I caught 3 (smallish) fish. A less wind oriented rig would have resulted in skunkage.
  9. Josh Smestad

    Josh Smestad aka Mtnwkr

    Simple.. Just use the 5/6wt you already have on the windy days, 4wt on the nice days :)
  10. I'm with Mike... my primary satisfaction is with the hookup, then horse 'em in and let 'em go. 5wt minimum, 6 better. A decent rod will still allow for a nice "feel" for the fight.
  11. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

    4 wt (fast action)will handle the fish just fine, but as previous posters noted you may have trouble with the conditions. I've never fished SCR, so I wouldn't know about the conidtions...

    I can rapidly land 4-8# steelies on my 4wt without undue stress on the fish while using a 10lb leader.

    Works grand :)
  12. Jake Bannon

    Jake Bannon nymphs for steelhead....

    The only problem is that the place I mostly fish for cutts usually has a very stong northerly wind and it can make it hard to cast sometimes. Theres no piece of land that protects nor blocks the wind so Im usually screwed if its gusty. I will consider it but the way you guys talk about wind being such a big factor, a 4wt may be out of the question. Thank for all your help.
    David you really land 4-8# steelhead on a 4wt, I would be pretty nervous in that situation.

  13. Les Johnson

    Les Johnson Les Johnson

    I grew up being told that first you fish conditions. That said, I would never use a 4-weight along our beaches primarily due to the wind that can come up and make life pretty miserable for casting a 4-weight. My go-to rod along our beaches for cutthroat and juvenile coho is a 6-weight. It can buck some wind and quickly land even a trophy cutthroat that will still be in good shape for release. And, how about those 4-5 pound blackmouth that show up in South Puget Sound in January and February? They would just love to test out a 4-weight.
    During cutthroat fishing in the fall on local rivers one could land some of the smaller summer-run steelhead on a 4-weight. Preston did it a few years back without much trouble. However, I sure as heck wouldn't even consider taking on a big winter steelhead on with a 4-weight. Matter of fact I don't have a line for a 4-weight that I would consider appropriate for winter steelhead fishing. Personally, for river cutthroat I like my TFO 7'9", 5-weight Finesse. It has enough punch to handle wind and wind-resistant flies but has a soft-enough tip for nice presentation. Also, it will bring a cutthroat to hand fairly quickly.
    Just my 2-cents.
    Les Johnson
  14. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

    Sure do. But I am matching the water more than the fish. I use the 4wt (dry/nyph) on small streams (like 6'-12' wide shore to shore) and go to my 6 when I want to run a sink tip. When the steelies go apeturds, they're not going very far in any direction. Having a lot of breaking power is not a real issue. The heavy leader (to me 10# is like piano wire) allows me to apply all the pressure I need.

    Oh and its a lot of fun making the rod work that hard :)
  15. papafsh

    papafsh Piscatorial predilection

    I would like to address an old concept if I may, the one about fish fighting harder on lighter rods.
    First off I don't care what weight rod you fish with or how you fish, so this is not a slam on anyone, you do whatever you like.
    But the truth is fish simply do not fight harder on lighter rods, no, the fight or resistance any fish exerts is what it is.
    I submit that it's the angler who fights harder to get the fish in and because of this, the fish may have less a chance at surviving, assuming it's released.
    I would like to encourage everyone to consider, however, the probable negative impact on the resource (fish) as more important than our own self-centered gratification.
    It may be ok to assume our individual skills justfy the use of lighter gear, than may actually be called for, and we may say that a fish caught and released after an un-necessarly prolonged battle swam off ok, but here's a question, how often did that same fish float by belly up just 80 yards downstream?
    There are only three answers to that,
    1. Don't know
    2. Not sure
    3. Don't care
    If your answer is 1 or 2 then perhaps thoughtful contemplation is in order.
    If your answer is 3, well.......

  16. Les Johnson

    Les Johnson Les Johnson

    Several years ago Preston and I were fishing the Stillaguamish NF for cutthroat. I hooked a big cutthroat that fought like all hell against my 4-weight. It honestly fought with such will that I thought it was going to shake the guides off of my rod. When I did bring it over the net, a 19-incher, it took quite a while to get it to slip from my grasp.... and slowly, very slowly it swam away. Preston rowed back up to the top of the run. When we were about halfway down I saw a fish in obvious distress near shore. We went over and there was the 19-incher trying to keep from rolling onto its side. Additional efforts to revive it failed. It was killed and placed in the ice chest. I'm convinced that if I'd been using a heavier rod the cutthroat would have been brought to hand more quickly and released in better health. That did it for me. I switched to a 5-weight for sea-run cutthroat in the rivers and haven't looked back.

    Les Johnson
  17. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E


    If that was tangentially directed at me, I'll just let it out that;

    I said the rod works harder, not the fish. I get flex to the butt on a fast 4wt and it feels good. The streams are small and I'm not stopping 100 yard runs with my light rod. I'm not doing the "0 weight with .0004# leader" thingy. I use a small stick, large arbor reel and 10# leader (again on fish usually topping out at about 10# and normally 4-8). I match the rod to the water, not the fish, more or less. I match the reel and leader to the fish. My drag is usually tight. If my fish wants line, they'll need to work for it...

    I am 100% certain that my fight does not last longer on light tackle. I don't ever fight fish to exhaustion for to reasons...

    1. If it's a hatchery fish I'm likely to kill it and eat it. Playing it too long risks having the fish throw the hook. That pisses me off. :beathead:

    2. If its a native, I want it in and off my line ASAP.

    Do I like the fight? Hell yes. I think the thrashing take is my favorite part though. Honestly from July chrome summer runs on the Sky to April boots on the Walla Walla I figure once the runs and jumping have subsided, it's time to land 'em. It'll be hard to convince me that the running and jumping portion of the fight will last much longer on a lighter stick. I don't wast much time once the "wrestling" match begins.

    Also, before I take a complete bashing...the water where I fling a 4wt is the exception not the rule. Most of my steelheading is with my two hander (7/8), single 7/8 and when the water comes up or I swtich to sink tips on the small water, a 6 wt.

    There I go on my thread stealing soapbox again...:ray1:
  18. Denny

    Denny Active Member

    Come on, folks; size does matter.

    Can a 4 weight can be used to catch a steelhead? Yes. Is it appropriate? No. Could an angler fight a steelhead harder with an 8 weight than they could with a 4 weight? Yes.

    If this weren't the case, then why don't fisherpersons use 6 weights to fish for, say, tuna? Heck, tuna will all day eat a size 2 white deceiver, which could easily be cast/delivered by a 6 weight. If you don't know the answer, then . . . :confused:

    Les said it well in his initial posting. The 4 weight could get the job done, but it's not the best or most appropriate stick for the job. Your 5/6 should be the preferred choice, to match the conditions and the quarry.
  19. You always have the choice to break it off.
  20. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

    Of course size matters. The difference is where one chooses to draw the line. Not suprizingly, I make different choices than other anglers even under the same conditions.

    Mamma always said I was different than the other boys...

    This choice is personal, not imperical (no matter how strong anyone persons belief is) and subject to change.

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