Equiping for larger fish

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Luv2flyfish, Jul 6, 2002.

  1. Luv2flyfish Another Flyfisherman

    Posts: 753
    Western WA, US.
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    ALL:

    Is a 9ft 9wt Sage RPLxi and a Teton Tioga LA10 a good set up for chasing steelhead in washington? As well, anyone that has fished Alaska - will this set up suffice up there? Any imput is appreciated. Thanks! Jay
  2. cuponoodle breakfast Active Member

    Posts: 1,674
    Arlington
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  3. 0012 New Member

    Posts: 55
    Eagle River, Alaska, USA.
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    More than enough
    Tight Lines From Alaska
    0012 :THUMBSUP
  4. Rob Blomquist Formerly Tight Loops

    Posts: 1,343
    Mountlake Terrace, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    That's plenty for winter fish, and probably too much for summer fish. Steelhead are documented to be caught on 4wts on up, so I don't rank them as truly larger fish. Lets talk dorado, permit, tarpon and the like as larger fish.

    Rob
  5. Nailknot Active Member

    Posts: 1,907
    Cascadia
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    Agreed Rob! Those shop guys will tell you anything! Just the other day a guy at *unnamed* Bellevue shop was telling me I needed to gear up for the 4 salt Steel to fish the Sky, that I'd be sorry if I hooked one on a 6 or 7#. Well, I've been fishing that river for a while and when summer comes around I'm very pleased with my 7 and often with I was fishing my 6. I don't buy my gear based on the magazine/shop guy sales dream of a singular trophy- but on the realities of enjoying the fish in local rivers. I'd rather put that $800 into a trip to the Kispiox and have a real chance at big Steel that be overpowered for 99.9% of the fish I actually catch around here.

    Don't believe the hype- an 8 will get you all year round. A 6 or 7 is fine for the summer. Jay, if you are targeting Kings in AK you should go 10wt, but for all around WA/AK fishing, including Steel, Coho, Chum an 8 is more than enough (if you know how to use it). That 9 RPL is a sweet stick eh but overkill for most fish in WA rivers IMHO. Be carefull not to backcast those N Fork smolts into the trees :EEK Make sure your reel has a solid drag to handle any fish worthy of your #9. Tight lines and best /NK
  6. Luv2flyfish Another Flyfisherman

    Posts: 753
    Western WA, US.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Rob, Nailknot:

    Thats what I am talkin about. See, I Honestly do not know what will be a good set up. My last 10 years of flyfishing was done in Idaho - where one does not to worry measuring fish in pounds but rather inches. I am in the military and coming to washington in December. My sole purpose is to catch a wild steelhead. I have wanted to for years. The only information out there that I can make a decision on is seeing pictures of the water and pictures of the fish. I heard from enough people that 9ft 9wt is the WAY to go. Thats fine, but I as well think that its probably heavy. I can cast to my backing on a windy day with an old Bomber pfleuger summit. I cast a 9ft 5wt for my normal fishin. I DO NOT want to get this Massive chunk of Graphite, hook at a decent fish, and have the fight of a 4 inch trout on a 7wt! I have been posting in this web site trying to get some honest information from YOU GUYS - the guys who fish these rivers and these fish everyday (in theory) trying to get the discussion going so I can gather as much info as possible to be able to make the best decision for that area that I will be in and the quarry that I am after. If Steelhead can be "realistically" caught on a 5wt Sage -then forget spending all this money - I am coming with the 5wt you know? I would just like to be able to hit my new home in washington with the right gear so that I can hit the water - like day 2. I am limited on who I can talk to as well, since my buddies back home have never been fortunate enough to get to target steelhead.

    Is the difference between winter and summer steelhead that great?? If I am not mistaken, there isnt a whole lot of small water steelhead fishing is there? Big River to me is the Henry's Fork and you can wade that back and forth all day long and maybe get the bottom of your vest wet. I like to think that I am a competant fly caster, but I am trying to gear up with out being able to drive around up there and see the water/fish that I am after. Will steelhead and salmon up there absolutely shatter a 7wt like a 50 pound King in alaska or do they just tire your arm out a little more. I am all for tired arms!! Please keep the discussion coming. I need some :pROFESSOR from You guys that do it - so a guy that hasnt will stand a chance! Thanks!
  7. alpinetrout Banned or Parked

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    Hiding in your closet
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    In my opinion, a 7wt with a solid backbone is ideal. I use a 796 XP with no trouble. I had a 10lb wild steelhead burn out the drag on one of my reels last fall (since replaced with a better model), but the rod has been more than adequate.

    Your 9 wt should be great for winter fish. I've landed 30lb+ kings on a 9. It's a workout, but not impossible. If I were to target kings in Alaska, I'd probably go a little bigger.
  8. o mykiss Active Member

    Posts: 1,309
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    Not that I'm an expert (I've chased steelhead a fair amount around here but don't have much to show for it), but 9 wt. seems a little heavy for steelhead fishing around here. Most people seem to go no higher than an 8 wt. and I've heard of many people who will fish as light as a 6 or 7 wt. in the summer. (Dennis Dickson, a steelhead guide whose web site you can get to from this one, fishes a 5 wt. for summer run fish.) You rarely hear about fly-caught steelhead in WA over 20 lbs., and that would be pretty huge for a summer run fish. The winter fish supposedly run larger than the summer runs, but unfortunately we don't get to fish for them much in this area (most of the Puget Sound rivers shut down from March thru May because the wild winter runs are so depressed). Olympic Peninsula may be a different story (more of the rivers there are open in the winter), but unless you live on that side of the Sound you may not be getting out there often enough to justify a 9 wt. set up. Guess what I'm saying is that you have a much higher chance of hooking steelhead that would be undermatched to a 9 wt. than hooking fish that would be overmatched to an 8 wt., so I'd go with an 8 wt. if I were you. Also, I have a Tioga reel that I use for my 8 wt. and I would say it is an okay, but not great, reel. Decent sized fish really put the hurt on mine. If I had it to do all over again, I'd spend an extra $100 - 150 and buy a better reel. Especially if I were already laying down the big bucks for as sweet a rod as the RPLXi.
  9. Randy Knapp Active Member

    Posts: 1,132
    Warm Springs, Virginia, USA.
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    I'm no expert. My best year was 14 fish and usually I only land a couple. However, I do have some knowledge so here goes. The biggest difference between summer run fish and winter run in regards to tackle is water flow and size of fly. I have landed both winter and summer runs on 5 and 6 weights. I accidentally landed two fish in one day on a 4 wt one summer but the water was low and clear and the flies small (size 10 beadheads). The big factor is that I rarely fish flies larger than size 4 and rarely use greater than a 10 foot sink tip of medium density. That is because I walk in to wade fish and do not fish heavy water. I usually catch my winter fish while fishing softer flows for salmon, dollies, and whitefish. It takes a much more powerful rod when you fish with 1/0 or 2/0 heavily dressed flies or with heavy 20' sinktips of 300 or 400 grains or greater. I fish waters where I can get below the fish and use the water flow to my advantage to tire the fish. I am not hauling them in against heavy flows. I also don't make casts greater than 50' very often and usually under 40. I think if my goal was always to target anadramous fish I might be inclined toward an 8wt (I fish an 8wt glass rod for larger fish in the salt). I currently use a 7wt 8 foot bamboo rod in winter streams with an 8' 6wt glass rod as backup. I usually fish a 7 1/2' bamboo rod in summer with a glass 6wt as backup. I usually fish flies no larger than 2 in winter and no larger than 8 in summer. It really is water flow, line weight (sink tip or split shot), or fly size that determines the weight of the rod needed. Hope this helps. I've landed steelhead to 15lbs and salmon to 20lbs using the above tackle. I wouldn't have a nine weight unless I was fishing for kings or tarpon. My two cents.

    Randy
  10. mbb1996 New Member

    Posts: 16
    Redmond, WA.
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    I think it's more important to match the size of the rod to the size of the water and not NECESSARILY the size of the fish. For instance, if you're fishing the Skagit (big river) in March with a big fly and a 15' sink tip, you'll definitely need a big stick to muscle out enough line (let alone pull the line out of the water) to hit the sweet spot in the run. Add some wind, and you get the picture. I don't think a 5 wt would be very comfortable in that situation.

    Last fall, I was landing 6-8lb pinks with my 4 wt. I used a 4 wt because I didn't have to cast far and used a floating line. If I had to cast far and use sink tips, I would have used my 7 wt.

    For winter and early summer steelhead (high water), I fish an 8 wt with sink tips. Later in the summer when river flows are low and clear, I'll fish a 5wt with a floating line.

    Hope this helps.
  11. Rob Blomquist Formerly Tight Loops

    Posts: 1,343
    Mountlake Terrace, WA, USA.
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    Its not really the size of the river that gets us, nor the size of the fish, its the size of the flies. Try casting a 3/0 Practitioner with a 5 wt, then try casting a #6 GB Skunk with a #9.

    That's the difference in my mind. I fish year around with a 7 weight, and that is plenty for steelhead. It will toss 3/0 speys and #8 burlaps without any problem. Yep, its a little heavy for summer (my next is a 4wt) and a little light in the winter (my next is a 10wt), but its really just a fine rod for steelies.

    If you want to toss a 9 in the summer, then hit the Sky and the Skagit, and bring your 5 for the NF Stilly. a 9 on the skagit would probably be fine year around, and on the Sky last weekend, I would have liked to use a 9 with a 350 grain head. On the NF stilly, I bring both my 4 and 7 as I might be inclined either way.

    Rob
    Sorry dude, there are no 50 pound kings in our rivers, at least not often. :SAD
  12. Luv2flyfish Another Flyfisherman

    Posts: 753
    Western WA, US.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Thanks for the information everyone. It is appreciated. Managed to apply that what I know about smaller fish and lighter rods, but still accounting for the big water. The 8wt for Winter and 6wt for summer is what I am going for. Once those 2 outfits are aquired, I will have everything from a 5wt to an 8wt to play with. Plenty of experimenting to do, but thats what its all about. I appreciate all the input. No one but me knows how excited I am about coming to Washington. Look for the guy in the black boonie hat in the rivers after December (Only legally fishable water of course) and that will be me. Thanks again. Jason :THUMBSUP