Steelhead rod length question

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Jim Fitz, Sep 4, 2005.

  1. I am going to build a SH rod and am trying to decide between a 9' and 10'. What are the pros and cons? Will the 10' increase my casting distance without sacraficing strength? Is the added weight not worth any casting benefit? Is there not much difference between the two? I am new to SH fishing for the most part.

    Don't tell me to just get spey rod because I am going to do that too.

    I am going to build this on a Dan Craft FT 8 weight blank (3 or 4 piece?). I posted the same question on but started thinking as I typed that it is more of a fishing question as opposed to a rod building question.

    All opinions brief or otherwise welcome.


  2. I like a 9" 8 weight for salmon and steelies. Is is the action I like the best. The bigger rods are to cumbersom and are not werth the length. I'll never use a spey poll. I love the action to much to change. (Sorry I ment 9'6". I call it 9')
  3. 9'6" or 10' in my opinion. Extra length means better line control and giant-mending which are critical factors when Steelheading.
    Distance is not all that important, 90% of all fly caught Steelhead is within 50'.

    My primary rig is a 10' 8wt 4pc GLX. Good luck!
  4. I agree with Steel. 10' rods are a great tool for rivers. If you nymph at all, they are great for roll casting, mending, lob casting, and the extra length also plays a fish well.
  5. Go with the 10" for the same reasons steel said. I got a 7w 10" avid I fish and I love it for salmon and steelhead!
  6. I don't think that I have ever seen 9" fly rod. But the action on it has got to suck.

    But I use a 9'6" 8wt which on it I use the Rio versitip line. I kind of like the extra 6" on the rod.

  7. Since you're selecting a rod for yourself, consider your size and age - in short, your strength. I'm a bit under 6' and 225 pounds, a certain amount of which is a candidate for liposuction. I find 9 1/2' rods to be ideal as single-hand steelhead and salmon rods. Light enough for all-day use, and I can mend all of a 70- or 80-foot cast (although for those longish distances, I prefer spey rods).
  8. It all depends on the size of river, but on larger rivers targeting steelhead and salmon... I recommend a 9.6 8 wt. for a single hander. As mentioned before, the extra 6 inches is crucial for mending and redirections especially when using tips. If you need anything longer, you should probably be looking at a mini or 14 ft spey. I saw it mentioned above that a longer rod compromises action...hmmm?
  9. I wrapped a Dan Craft 10' 8wt FT (the FT series are a 4 piece blank) a few months ago and have been fishing with it on the Rogue the past few days - double & triple roll casts with mending, mending, mending. I debated whether to get a 9' or 10' rod and now I'm glad I went with the 10' - less work for me to get the line where I wanted it.

    Anyway, the fast taper series are very, very light. IMHO, I don't think the extra foot of rod will make much of a weight difference (except for the extra line your carrying above the water when you're fishing). For that reason I went with ceramic guides all the way up from the strippers.

    As far as the power, I have been fishing it with a 15 foot nymphing head, an indicator, a weighted fly and a size 10 trailer. It takes a little longer to load but still shoots like a cannon and does great in the wind.

    Be sure to call Dan himself. He knows the Five Rivers blanks better than anyone and can give you his own honest opinion about which would work for you.
  10. All,

    Thanks for the advice. I am going with the 10' unless Dan talks me out of it for some reason. Good advice on asking him. I did already ask him some questions and he e-mailed me right back but I forgot the length question and the weekend hit.

    I agree on the ceramics - I am going with Titan Titanium ceramics - $$ but will keep this rod light. This is starting to sound like chatter that belongs in the rod building forum.

  11. I have a 9'6" and it works for me. Just my thoughts
  12. Jim,

    It's really a matter of personal preference, and in this case, your preference. But since you're asking for suggestions . . .
    Since your going to use a 4 piece blank for this rod, I'd suggest a 9 1/2 or 10' blank in 8 wt. I've used 9' 8 wt graphite rods in 2 piece blanks, and while they're fine, I found that I'm partial to a little more length in in that line weight.

    The extra length may facilitate longer casts, but that depends on both the rod and you. The extra length is not crucial to casting, mending, or playing steelhead. The length is about what you find most comfortable to cast and fish with. I caught more steelhead on an old 8 1/2' fibreglass rod than probably all the graphite rods combined that I've had since I quit using it.

    I've had a 9 1/2' 8 wt for the past 12 years that I really enjoy casting and fishing, yet I seldom use it due to a fling with Spey rods. Since you mentioned you're going to get one of those also, I thought I'd warn you.


    Salmo g.
  14. Jason, rod length does not determine distance of a cast. It is the ability of the person using the rod. For example both Clark and Anil tossed all of a 90' line with my little custom 7' fiberglass rod and they did it with ease.

  15. I recall seeing in print the story of Lefty K, at a fly club presentation on casting, demonstrate that rod length wasn't everything and proceeding to remove the top 1/2 from the rod and cast 90 feet with that. Form and timing, form and timing. That would have been a good show, eh?

    Regardless, I find myself being drawn to longer rods after using a 9.5' 6wt for a few years on salt water beaches and summer run. My next rod will be longer. Definitely gives an edge when fishing a sloping beach, and I can mend sink tips better fishing rivers. But, as stated, its a personal preference thing, what feels right in your hand.
  16. Distance was not my point. I'd like to see that 7' rod roll cast 50 feet of line and mend in a current. Clearly, the 10' rod has the advantage and is designed for nymphing, roll and lob casting, and mending line.
  17. From my experience casting a 10' rod can get tiring. Now that doesn't mean it's not good or can become an every day rod. I have tried it and didn't care much for it compared to a 9' rod. Perhaps if I stuck with it longer a 10' would come more easy. My first few years of fly fishing was with a 8.5 7/8 weight....8.5 was kinda the norm back in the 70's. I know you are dealing with a different blank and all...but Sage has that demo deal at no cost to shop can provide you with demo rod for ten days to try suggestion is take a 10' 8 weight XP or SLT ..or whatever and try it out on the rivers for a couple days. See if a 10 hour casting day on a 10' rod fatigues you a lot more than a 9' rod. And I think fast action rods are more fatiguing (sp?) than slow action rods too. I have both...I have XP's and DS2's ....but they have a purpose in my arsenal. Good Luck.
  18. Regarding distance, you can toss over 90 feet with a 7ft 6in rod, but it is really hard to get good mends with it. Rod length does have very much to do with distance, but form and timing mean more. Accordingly, a world class caster can hit 130' at their best with a 9ft 5wt, not a distance i usally like to fish at. A 70 or 80 foot cast is as long and i like to fish at with a single handed rod, and also it is really hard to get good mends in with line length much over that. I like a 9ft 6in 5wt for low water fall steelhead, and a 10ft 7 or 8wt for bigger fish and swollen flows. I would go with 10 foot stick if you are over 6ft. Im 6' 2" and I think i wouldn't mind a longer rod, for fly fishing that is.


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