Light Smallie Rod?

Discussion in 'Warm Water Species' started by LCnSac, May 16, 2014.

  1. Yesterday I went to one of the better smallie lakes in our NorCal area, and did "OK". Day after full moon and the bite was very sporadic. I did manage to get a couple on poppers which was cool. Bonus was the water was clear and I saw almost every fish take the fly. Without exception they took it on the pause after a fast strip. I also noticed that once they take the fly you don't feel it until you strip. I think we miss a lot more fish than we realize.

    I don't think our smallies are as large as those in the Columbia Basin. My largest ever was 5# from a tailwater pool, and I haven't caught anything close to that before or after. A 2 pound fish here is pretty good. I got one of those yesterday, and the rest 10" - 13" which is typical for most of our local lakes.


    Still, the flies are big and buggy. Best getters yesterday were a Chub imitation and a cone head rabbit strip zonker. Out of the wind I was able to get two on my 386 Classic Trout rod which was great, but with an 8-10 mph wind most of the day I had to stick with 6 wts.

    Catching a 10" smallie on a 6 wt. rod is not something memories are made of. Have any of you tried a fast 3 wt. like a BVK for small fish using big flies? Would it punch those zonkers and poppers through the wind and have enough backbone for a decent hook set?
    Shawn West and atomic dog like this.
  2. I am glad to see you getting into fish. Do you really have to use big bulky flies on your waters? My primary smallie slayer is a #8 Arizona Simiseal Leech. This pattern works so good, that I took a year off from using it because it was all I would tie to the end of my line. My second go to pattern is a #6 Clouser with a 5/32 dumbell eye. If you think a size 8 leech is too small, check out some of my reports from previous years. I have caught plenty of smallies over 18" with this pattern. I prefer the smaller flies because they are easier to cast, and I catch more fish.

    I am curious as to how you set the hook when fishing for bass. Most of the time, I fish with the rod tip in or near the water with it pointing towards my fly. When I get a strike, I use a strip set. Lifting the rod to set the hook like you would for trout usually does not get the job done. Bass have a very bony jaw.

    Keep the fishing reports coming. If I can not get out to fish, the next best thing is reading about it on the forum.



  3. I have a super fast 3wt NRX that will throw a 4 WFF line 100' (at least for anil it will...) and that also sees duty for warmwater fish. If there is no wind at all it will throw a small zonker 40-50' but you have to be slow with the stroke and watch for tailing loops, it will not throw large poppers. It has plenty of backbone and hooksets and dealing with the fish are no problem. In any wind at all though performance takes a huge nosedive.
  4. My 690 RPL won't throw poppers well unless I use a short fat leader. I blood knot 6 feet of 15lb. Maxima to 2 feet of 25 lb. Mason and call it a day. Some guys on the Delta just use straight 15 lb. Maxima. That might work on yours too. As you said, I think wind pretty much dictates a heavier rod, but maybe a super fast light stick could punch through some. Usually for bass 30'-40' is fine. Glad to hear it's at least a possibility.
  5. Between the size/weight of the flies I use and the wind, I use a 6 wt. But I'm floating moving water that can have some depth and often limited clarity. So I have a tendency towards heavier, larger flies. I could see using a 5 if it wasn't windy and/or if it was lower water/clarity was really good and I was using smaller flies.

    I've heard of people using 3 and 4 wts when floating the John Day, for example, because of the numerous smaller fish.

    I do think you can get away with lighter rods on still water, both from a casting perspective and a fish-fighting perspective. But the wind will kill you every time!

    I've been working on my strip set, but the trout-set memory is strong with me. :-/ But thanks for confirming that I should be strip-setting. I managed to get out yesterday for a few. Fishing wasn't on fire, but some were caught.

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  6. Get with some of the Florida guides and you'll hear a LOT about your trout fishing habits, LOL! My cast too--it's been a good education fishing there. Strip set is so important for some species but so hard to react! TKWW--nice bass and good on you for getting out.

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