SH vs. SW rod?

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Porter, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. Porter Active Member

    Posts: 6,422
    Kenmore, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +511 / 0
    Re: 8 weights mostly. Why is it that many say a saltwater flats rod is different than a Steelhead/Salmon river rod? I can't find solid answers to the question. It is recommended by some not to use a SH rod for SW flats (warmwater-bones) fishing? To me both require distance and accuracy, are there other elements a SW rod provide? I know SH rods can be 9-9.5-10 feet long where as SW are usually 9' only.

    The only thing I can really think is that SW requires quick loading due to the nature of sight fishing a lot more and need to be quick (loading). But I think many so called SH rods can do the same if equipped properly. For instance what advantage does a 8 weight Xi2, Xi3 have over a 8 weight XP, RPL? Are bigger guides really a big deal (more helpful) in SW fishing?

    Just curious for a reason? Looking for some insight, and maybe a reason to justify a new rod to the misses :D Never bone fish but my time is a coming but not soon enough and I am thinking about it to much;)
  2. miyawaki Active Member

    Posts: 3,213
    Kent, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +838 / 1
    Wind. The general rule for rods on the flats is "short and fast"


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  3. Porter Active Member

    Posts: 6,422
    Kenmore, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +511 / 0
    Thank you, I think my 9'6"'ers are to long of a rod. I start keeping an eye on a 9' fast action 8 weight. Please no one dispute the above;) :D
  4. Jerry Bronson Member

    Posts: 69
    Renton, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    A very good question, one that I have been wrestling with lately. For example, a Scott S4 vs S4s. Is there any significant difference that makes one that much better than the other? I have used a 9 1/2 ft XP on a number of bonefish trips and had good success, maybe because I didn't know any better. Though any new rod I get will definitely be 9 ft.

  5. Randall Clark Active Member

    Posts: 668
    Ratings: +181 / 0
    I've actually wondered the same thing. If shorter is better, why is it that you don't see many sub-9'ers out there (or hear of such)--is it primarily because of that's what is now marketed as the "gold standard"?. I've heard different things such as shorter rods will cause your backcast to sometimes slap, but I figure that if one has good casting form, that shouldn't be an issue regardless of rod length. The other reason I'm curious is that I'm one who actually prefers rods in the 8-8.5' range (but then again, I don't have much experience fishing flats either), but my favorite rod to fish out on the OR coast for surf perch is 8 1/2'...I much prefer that rod to a 10' rod I used to have.

    additional note: I have a few 9' 8-10wts and they're not going anywhere because, IMO, one can never have too many 8-10wts.
  6. David Loy Senior Moment

    Posts: 2,406
    Wolf Bay
    Ratings: +318 / 2
    The only time I bonefished (seriously, so far) I used my 896 RPL, and it did fine into the 96MPH breeze I encountered and the several BF I didn't hook (or even see). When I go tropical now I bring a 9' Echo Edge 7wt I picked up here pretty cheap. But honestly, I don't fish much when I go as it's family time. Early morning or mid afternoon (after the day's adventure), I'll throw flies in the surf for an hour or two, wherever I am. Hey, it's a walk on the beach.

    If you go shopping though, definitely put the Echo S3 on your must try list. Laser loops at a reasonable price. The Edge isn't bad but the S3 blew me away. I'm not a SW rod expert, so I expect there are several excellent choices out there.
  7. Justin Waters New Member

    Posts: 20
    Gig Harbor
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    In my opinion Miyawaki answered the question spot on. Wind is typically the enemy on any flats fishing excursion. Steelhead fly fishing with a longer rod (9'1/2-10') is typically used for used to help kick the line off the water while mending. A "fast" or "super fast" 8wt for bones is typically used to generate high line speed for cutting through wind and making super accurate cast. while an S4 in the right hands can certainly accomplish that, the S4S was built as a stout saltwater rod designed just for that. Typically the extra length tends to add flex to the blank (more top heavy) making it flex deeper while casting, or slowing it down. If I had to choose between a plane ticket and a new saltwater specific 8wt, I would probably buy the plane ticket, but the "right" tool for the job is always nice if you can afford it or rent it from a local shop.
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  8. miyawaki Active Member

    Posts: 3,213
    Kent, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +838 / 1
    I have a favorite flats rod - an old Scott Heli-Ply 8'8" 8wt that I always fish. It is a 3-piece rod however.

  9. Jordan Simpson Active Member

    Posts: 786
    Tsawwassen, BC
    Ratings: +54 / 1
    I also find the action of the rod to be quite different, and therefore results in different capabilities.
    For example, my saltwater rods are usually 8'6" to 9' and see typically fast-action. In the rivers when fishing coho, I use a standard 9' when fishing single hand and the rod is a medium to medium-fast to help with protecting lighter tippets.

    Sent from my SGH-I337M using Tapatalk
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  10. Mingo the Menehune stole my beer

    Posts: 2,628
    Happy Hour, WA
    Ratings: +373 / 1
    Yes Porter, you're thinking about it too much. Take whatever 8 wt you like and use it in the salt. Rinse and repeat. They'll all work and they all need to be rinsed at the end of the day anyway. An XP is a great salt stick. Trust me.
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  11. David Loy Senior Moment

    Posts: 2,406
    Wolf Bay
    Ratings: +318 / 2
    Bullshit. Every new job requires a new tool.
  12. mbowers Active Member

    Posts: 200
    Jupiter, FL / Victoria, BC
    Ratings: +81 / 0

    The bigger guides help with shooting the line as does the reduced number of guides on many SW rods. Sage, at least, has one less guide on an Xi3 than on a ONE for an 890-4 blank. The SW rods should have more corrosion resistant components although neither Sage nor Scott use titanium snakes on saltwater rods which would reduce the frequency of rusted out snakes for me. There can be a lot of line piled up on the deck / stripping basket when you get a hit so tangles are common. Larger / fewer guides also pass tangled fly lines more easily.. :)

    Mingo has it right for worrying your equipment if you don't have a big budget: use what you've got.

    IMHO the most important preparation you can do if you haven't reach this stage already is improve your skills dramatically by learning to shoot AND haul line consecutively on both front and back casts (ie shoot, haul and cast in one cast). You should be able to cast 60-80 feet with one false cast. Since you've only done one false cast your arm, will be fresher and you can be more accurate as well as quicker to deliver the fly.

    Also learn to deliver the fly on the back cast, while looking over your back. With a fighting butt you can tuck that butt into your wrist and actually have a stronger back cast than front cast. You're ready to deal with wind from either side now too.

    Those casting skills will pay back no matter what kind of fishing you do!
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