Streamer Rod - Thoughts/Advice?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Brian White, Oct 5, 2009.

  1. cjflyfish New Member

    Posts: 21
    Lander, Wyoming
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I just got back from a week in Montana fishing the Big Hole and the Big Horn. Alot of it was streamer fishing. Tried out (will buy) a 7wt Scott X2S on the trip. Sweet stick and it served me well on my trip. I also fished with my buddies 9 ft 7 wt G.Loomis East Fork rod. It was a little softer (felt alot softer) then the X2S.

    Don't think you can go wrong with the X2S.

    I also have the S4 6 weight which I have been very happy with.
  2. Gorgefly Member

    Posts: 465
    Washougal, Wa.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    T&T Helix is what I use for my 6wt. streamer rod.....sounds like exactly what you want. Not too stiff...more a of moderate fast and can fish dries nicely and punch big stuff out there too.
  3. Brian White Recovering Bugmeister/Troutlandish?

    Has anyone tried one of the new Sage 99 rods? Alternatively, does anyone on the thread think a 7 wt Winston Biix would work for the application I am considering? I saw one of those used somewhere recently for a decent price....
  4. Calvin1 Member

    Posts: 610
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    I had a Biix rod and found it pretty soft, more a dry fly rod than a junk thrower, though they bill it as a fast action. Just my personal take on it.
  5. Denny Active Member

    Posts: 4,045
    Seattle, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +45 / 0
    If it's brown and graphite III, likely an RPL, but could be an RPL+.
  6. Brian White Recovering Bugmeister/Troutlandish?

    From the legions of fly-fishing uncles I have there is one who sometimes fishes a T&T - i think he fishes the Helix or maybe a Horizon? I don't know much about the rod. I have thrown it before for a few minutes (hoppers for browns on unnamed MT creek) and I recall liking it, but then I let that cursed Yellowstone Angler 5 wt showdown review get into my head and now I can't get it out. I must be susceptible to hypnosis because their suggestions are hard for me to ignore. i should know better than to trust anyone's feel but mine.....but alas. I await the weekend when a fly shop with phenomenal selection will let me take a whole bunch of rods out, string them up and fish them on a river. I might be waiting a while....Alternative is winning lottery ticket which would enable me to buy a whole bunch of rods, quit the job so I don't need to wait for the weekend, etc.
  7. Chad Lewis NEVER wonder what to do with your free time

    Posts: 881
    TriCities, WA
    Ratings: +152 / 0
    If you truly want to consider all options look at the Sage Bass series, specifically the Bluegill model. These rods are made to do exactly what you want to do with a streamer rod. I have the Smallmouth model. For doing what it was designed to do, there's nothing else on the market that comes close. That does make it a fairly specific-purpose type rod that you wouldn't want to fish out of its element. But for the type of streamers you want to throw, it will be the weapon of choice.

    There's a few articles on the web you can look up for some research, and I've posted a lengthy review myself on this site. Here it is:
    'A few notes on the BASS rods. It's not really a bass specific rod, more like a rod that excels at particular fishing strategies. In its own way, it's as task specific as a spey rod. Sage did a lot more than just build a weird length rod. There are three in the series, imaginitively called Largemouth, Smallmouth and Bluegill. I bought the middle one. The rod doesn't feel heavy in the hand, but the "wiggle test" reveals that it's stupid stiff for its weight. I mean, you think that it couldn't possibly cast well. That's why the rod comes with its own WF floating line, developed for the rod. Word is the line's made by Rio. It's basically a 290 grain, extreme weight forward taper (the Largemouth is 330 grain!). That's about a 10 weight line, but despite its stiffness the rod doesn't feel anything like heavy enough to be lined like that. In practice its perfectly matched. Stick a big deer hair bug on the end of it and it'll toss it sixty feet, no problem. A better caster than I threw one to the end of the casting pool at the Bellevue show (with the bass bug). The biggest suprise to me was the way it loads at short range; it'll do a twenty foot cast, and I'm not talking about a lob. Shows how well the rod and line are matched. A review I read speculated the rod might be a parabolic design to get that kind of performance. I wouldn't know a parabolic if it bit me in the ass, so I can't say.

    Add all that together and you have a rod that easily throws the biggest flies, does short to medium distance casts with those flies and has enough backbone to manhandle big fish out of whatever they wanna get into. Like Stonefish said, this makes them perfect for saltwater mangroves and such, targeting baby tarpon, snook, and whatever else hangs out in those kind of places. Of course, they're also perfect for targeting bass. The short rod length helps here too. In the right situation it could be a great tool for salmon and steelhead.

    For minuses, I'd have to say that it takes some effort to cast. Not that you have to work hard to make it load (just the opposite), but it is a really heavy line to throw around and a stiff rod. Maybe not good to try 80' casts all day, unless you're in good "casting shape". I hesitate to call it a fast action rod, because the casting stroke isn't exactly rushed. Instead you get the feeling that there's a lot of mass being moved around. And you're not gonna make presentations that are anything like "delicate" with all that weight on the tip of the line. The rod quality is typical Sage, and the price is pretty good if you factor in the line it comes with. The reel seat looks a little cheap though. I'd like something better there, but it'll get the job done. I think Sage may have built a rod that answers a question no one asked, but judging by the way lots of others have come out with similiar rods, well.... "

    And here's a reply to a question about how I like the rod:

    "Colton, I have the Smallmouth rod. Haven't put a fish on it yet, but I spent some time on the water this weekend practicing with it. First thing I noticed is that I have to keep the backcast up! Using 9' and longer rods all the time has obviously made me lazy. Not the rod's fault, and easily fixed. I started working on the skip cast, and after about fifteen minutes could do a weak imitation of one. More practice needed. As for the rod, it works as advertised. Did all the casting with a 1/0 deer hair Dahlberg Diver. It'll throw that fly around with no problem- all the weight concentrated in the front of the line turns it over easily. I built a leader with 55-40-30-20 pound material, with a 15lb tippet. Whole leader is about 9'. Seems to work well, I'll try some lighter tippets later and see if they'll turn over. Action on the rod is great. I cast it at the show in Bellevue, and it seems to want a faster casting stroke than I originally thought, but it's still not as fast as, say, my G Loomis 6wt GLX. It does need some muscle though. About 25 minutes of straight casting (not any retrieving and fishing) and my arm/shoulder were starting to get tired. I suppose there's no way around that with the heavy line and stiff rod, not to mention casting flies that could eat a small trout. It is as accurate as any of my other rods. It does what it was made to do, and well.

    I didn't cast the Bluegill rod at the show. I did cast the Largemouth, and it was the same as the Smallmouth, but on steroids. I'd think that the Bluegill would be more of the same, except on a diet. Honestly, I'm not sure what you'd use the Bluegill for. I suppose casting fairly big flies to fish that are not that big (relatively). I suppose it would be a good trout rod on the right occasion. If it's like I think it is, maybe it's overkill for fishing bluegill. Then again, I didn't cast it so I don't really know. Sage's literature says it's for smaller bass and for panfish, as well as the ultimate "bugger chucker" for big trout. The difference in line weight for the Large and Smallmouth is 40 grains, with the Bluegill 60 grains lighter than the Smallmouth; so maybe it is quite a bit lighter than mine. It just hit me! Casting poppers for sea run cutthroat! Would probably be perfect for that. Anyway, let me know what you have in mind."

    In addition to this, and since you're interested in these rods, I have a 9' XP and a 10' GLX, both 6wt. If I chose one for hucking the junk, it'd be the GLX. Not that the XP can't, but I find it's better suited to "finer" fishing. The GLX is truly a fast action rod, and requires some good casting skills to make it sing. I use it with a clear sink tip Rio Outbound line and still wouldn't want to try to fish it "in close", less than 25'. With that rod and that line on a lake, however, you can really cover some water. Hucking big streamers in close is where the Bluegill rod is gonna shine.
  8. Denny Active Member

    Posts: 4,045
    Seattle, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +45 / 0
    Now we're talkin' you should use something heavier than a 6 weight . . .

    Weighted size 2; you should be using a 7 weight and possibly a 8 weight (like Beauchamp noted).

    Now we're getting in to power rods and furthering ourselves from sensitivity and touch. If budget is not a problem, then buy a Sage GLX Crosscurrent. The best performing stick out there. Gee, they're only designed and cast by the guy who owns about every fly casting record out there and has been overall world casting champ for, what, 18 or 19 years in a row? You will never find yourself second-guessing a purchase of this rod.

    However, if you want to be a little budget-minded, Xi2 rods are now starting to go on sale, and you should strongly look at a discounted 7 weight Xi2 for the most bang for the buck. If you buy an FLi and you had the budget money to get a higher level rod, you will eventually say "gee, I should have spent that extra $$ to get the Xi2".

    An alternative; a 7 weight TFO TiCr or Teeny rod. At retail, you'll still have enough dinero in your budget left over to get a nice reel and line for the new stick. Nothing like a totally new outfit (ooh, I better watch out, some might construe that as my feminine side trying to get out).

    If you don't get the Xi2 . . .

    The absolutely best deal out there right now; the Redington RS4 rods for a $100 from (former) Sportsmand Warehouse stores. If you can locate a 7 or 8 weight, I'd be all over that like David Letterman on a staff assistant. :thumb: Then, check out the Redington website to see if they still have the smokin' deal on the CD reels. You can get a new RS4, new CD reel and extra spool complete with backing and lines, and stay within your budget. The rod is great looking and a great performer, and the reels are awesome. You would be a very, very happy person with that setup.

    Listen to me now and believe me later. :thumb:
  9. Brett Angel Member

    Posts: 530
    Sammamish, WA
    Ratings: +15 / 0
    I would not consider the BIIx a streamer rod and it is far from a fast action rod.
  10. Darthmonkey Active Member

    Posts: 190
    Tacoma, WA
    Ratings: +147 / 0
    Are you fishing from a drift boat or wading? If from a drift boat a 9' to a 10' single handed rod in 7 or 8 would work fine. If wading, consider a switch rod.
    Don't look at the B2X for throwing big stuff like that, go on up to a B2MX. Those rods own.
    The S4 is a fracking cannon, but like Denny said, Scott's repair shop has had its problems with repair turn-around.
    The Helios is a nice rod, but not $795 nice. I wouldn't drop the cash on it, but the Orvis reputation for fixing their rods & reels cannot be ignored if you tend to break shit.
    Z-Axis series has a lot of lengths to offer, and its an awesome rod. They make switch and spey, and regular single handed rods of almost any length and weight you could think of.
    If it were me and I were fishing from a boat, I'd get a B2MX 9'6" 7 weight. If I were fishing from the bank, I'd be waving around a Meiser switch rod.
    Hope this helps.
  11. plugboots Member

    Posts: 67
    Winthrop, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    For streamers I bought the Cross Current, and it doubles as a light Bonefish, Surf Perch and SRC rod. The bigger guides were an unexpected bonus.

    Length: 9'
    Line: 6
    Pieces: 4

    A delightful light-duty saltwater rod for calm days when the fish are spooky and you need to make a softer presentation. A nice alternative for small bonefish and redfish. A great smallmouth rod.
  12. Brian White Recovering Bugmeister/Troutlandish?

    Mostly wading,but I do have a Scadden pontoon boat I get out once in a while and I spend some time on drift boats as well. I think I am going to try the B2MX - I like the b2x a lot in 4 and 5 wts though i struggle to get them to throw heavy stuff the way I want to...Do you fish the B2MX in 6 wt and if so do you find it can throw dries in a pinch, or is it a lighter tippet abuser?

    By the way thank you to all the comments I have gotten on the board. It has me even more fired up to spend as much time as possible on the water in the next 4 months. Also helping me get fired up - a friend of friend just caught and released a 7+ lb 25" brown on Clark Fork the other day....
  13. Chad Lewis NEVER wonder what to do with your free time

    Posts: 881
    TriCities, WA
    Ratings: +152 / 0
    Just a word of advice here. The criteria you've set for your rod might need a little more lookin' at. Here's what I understand you want:

    1. Cast big, heavy streamers. I mean the big ones.
    2. Be able to fish with dry flies effectively.
    3. Be able to fish "in close", 50 feet or less according to your first post.
    4. Have a rod that is lightweight and has good "feel".

    IMO, this is what I see. Some of your criteria are very much at odds with each other. If you want a rod powerful/big enough (big, as in 6/7/8 weight) to cast those flies, it's gonna suffer with the dry flies. And a 6 wt powerful enough to cast those flies is going to have to be heavily overlined to cast the close distances you want, which will compromise its action and dry fly "fishability". A medium action 8 weight is probably the best you can get away with and still be realistic about tying on a dry fly and the big streamers.

    I think your best solution is to use you 5 weights for the dries and get another rod for streamers. To do all you want in one rod is asking a lot, and you might not be happy with the compromises you get. You've obviously got the scratch to buy the rod you want, so buyng for a fairly specific purpose shouldn't be hard.

    As for a streamer rod, I'd still suggest the Sage Bluegill. It hits three of your criteria squarely on the head. It might even be okay for big dry flies, but that's hard to say since I haven't cast that particular rod. I don't have any particular affinity for these rods either; I just have the Bluegill's big brother and can tell you that it does exactly what you're looking for, except with even bigger flies (2/0 deer hair bugs and stuff like that). The right 8 weight rod will proably get the job done too, but it'll be hard to beat the Bluegill's physical weight (it's only 7' 11") against a "full-sized" 8 weight. If you buy an ultra-lightweight 8 weight, like an Helios or something, it's gonna be a very fast action rod, which won't wanna cast up close.

    And of course, all this is my opinion which, to you, is worth the time it took me to type this.:thumb: Everybody's happy fishing their own way with whatever rod they like, and this obviously can't take that into account. If nothing else, it's a great way for me to spend your money.
  14. riseform Active Member

    Posts: 1,091
    Tacoma, WA
    Ratings: +281 / 0
    I'll throw in my two cents about streamer fishing in general which may influence your decision. For starters, you may want to rethink your flies. Big uglies do not have to be that heavy. Employ a sinking line, short leader and unweighted or lightly weighted flies and a 6 wt will cast them easily all day (check out Kelly Galloup's book).

    As Galloup's flies have evolved, I have noticed the conehead and barbell eye patterns gaining popularity compared to his initial emphasis of unweighted streamers. I think much of this has to do with the proven success of the articulated Circus Peanut. Talking with Kelly about this, the added weight is more about generating a jigging motion for the head of an articulated fly than getting the entire fly down. Half the fun of streamer fishing is still seeing the strike just a few feet beneath the water.

    I do most of my freshwater streamer fishing with a Scott S3 6wt, converted to a full wells grip and larger stripping guide. On a recent MT trip, that rod was out of commission and I ended up fishing streamers with my 5 wt Winston. It threw all my articulated streamers just fine.
  15. Darthmonkey Active Member

    Posts: 190
    Tacoma, WA
    Ratings: +147 / 0
    The B2MX rods I've fished are the 9' 8 weight, 9'6" 6 weight, the 11'6" 6 weight switch, and the 9' 4 weight.
    The B2MX rods are not for light tippet, MX and 6X don't mix. Just hauling out half a rabbit and a chicken thats been waterlogged requires a lot of backbone in a trout rod. So like seanbeauchamp said, go big.
    Were it me I'd be looking at these two rods,
    9'6" B2MX 7 weight
    9'9" Meiser 6/7 switch.
  16. trevally New Member

    Posts: 72
    Hickory, North Carolina
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Helios 11' 6 is a cannon but so is the 10' 5 and the 9' 6 saltwater. Get the switch fighting butt put on the 10' 5 if you choose that one. It can throw a 250 grain plus 2 tungsten conehead streamers with no problem. the 11' 6 is silly.
  17. freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Posts: 3,967
    Edgewood, WA
    Ratings: +706 / 1
    I second Flyreeltor (Jason's) vote. A 6 wt XP or RPL if you can find one would be a great choice:thumb:
  18. Bullwhacker Member

    Posts: 147
    Missoula, MT
    Ratings: +10 / 0
    My go to is a 10' 7wt Sage TCX with a Versi-Tip line. Be careful with line and fly selection. If you already have a fast action floating line then add a sink tip, then add a big weighted fly, you easily overload your rod and turn your fast action rod into a bulky limp dick and your arm will kill you at the end of the day. An 8wt is sometimes a better call to cover all situations.
  19. jimmyjoe Member

    Posts: 167
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I read that Orvis is coming out with a new series of rods, same as the Helios, only less expensive hardware, (same blank) to be sold around 500 dollars. That would be worth checking out if is true. Helios is a killer rod.
  20. Arctic Grayling New Member

    Posts: 9
    Seward, Alaska
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I agree with Riseform on fishing unweighted streamers with a sinking streamer line rather than using split shot or heavily weighted streamers. The unweighted streamers are much easier and enjoyable to cast and they provide more action in the water.

    I've used the 9' six weight BIIx for streamer fishing and it can be done, but Winston sells other rods that are better for that task.

    The 10' seven weight BIIx that I bought for nymph fishing turned out to be a pretty good streamer rod. I didn't use it for streamers this year since I had a 9' seven weight BIIMx and a 9'6" six weight BIIMx. The seven weight BIIx was a good streamer rod, but the two BIIMx rods were better. When I fish flowing waters I often fish streamers with a sinking streamer line going upstream and then switch to a nymph line or other floating line and fish nymphs going back downstream. The BIIMx rods work pretty good for the nymph fishing too, although the BIIx is better.

    Of the Winston rods I think the six weight BIIMx is the best rod for fishing streamers.

    However, I fished streamers with old Winston six and seven weight IM6 rods quite a bit this summer and they worked pretty well too. Here is a coho I caught on a small stream using a two piece 9' six weight Winston IM6 with a sinking Kelly Galloup streamer line made by Teeny and a big articulated chartreuse bunnyfly with dumbbell eyes:


    Everyone has their own preference in fly rods for different applications. There are many fly rods that will make good streamer rods. You just need to find the rod that feels the best to you. The best way to do that is by fishing different rods if you have that opportunity. The next best way to choose a streamer rod would be to at least cast different rods. Usually streamer experts will recommend a streamer rod that is a 9' six or seven weight rod with a medium-fast action and preferably a two piece configuration. But for me it's a 9'6" six weight four piece fast action rod.