The Great 8wt Steelhead Rod Debate

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Jason Decker, Oct 6, 2005.

  1. Luv2flyfish Another Flyfisherman

    Posts: 753
    Western WA, US.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Just an addition of a couple pennies from another fish bum.....

    It could very well be only a few months after you spring for your 8wt that you will be thinking that its "over-gunning" for your targeted species. Realistically........

    Silvers......in WA average about what 7 or 8 pounds. The occasional big fish (10 or better)

    Pinks......in WA average about what 4 to 6 pounds. The occasional big fish......to 7 or 8 pounds.....MAYBE

    Steelhead........in WA average (summer 5 to 8 pounds) the occasional big summerrun to maybe 12. Winter run average is realistically......10 to 12 pounds. Yeah you could tie into a upper teens or 20's or larger fish.....depending on how much time you put in.

    You could find yourself thinking that that 8wt is like shooting sparrows with an 8 guage shot gun.

    My 8wts were collecting dust all summer in alaska, but my 7wt was just about right for chums, silvers, kings, and pike. I havent caught a steelhead on my 7wt single hander yet....mainly becuase I dont fish for steelhead anymore on single handers. However, before anyone jumps down my throat for posting this..........IF I were to ever fish for steelhead with single handed rods anywhere in WA or Oregon.....I would most certainly leave my 8wts at home and my 7wt would go. Yes, I would fish my 7wt for winter fish and sink tips too. By no means am I saying this is the only way.........but it is a consideration to make. Realistically - every fish in this state can easily be landed and not over played or under played or whatever on a 7wt. Just my pennies. I could have certainly saved myself some money in the long run if I had thought about this myself a few years ago. Tight Lines. Jay
  2. Sloan Craven Active Member

    Posts: 2,464
    NoSho, ma
    Ratings: +30 / 0
    I have a TFO 8wt for steelhead when I'm not using my Spey rod. I like it a lot, it casts great. Its just a great rod. Sage is probably a better rod but is gonna cost you more. Depending on the waters your fishing, you may want to consider a small (8wt) TFO spey rod. The Red Shed fly shop has a deal for a rod, line, backing, leader, reel, and a DVD. All you need is the fly.
  3. Rob Ast Active Member

    Posts: 1,907
    West Pugetopolis WA
    Ratings: +232 / 3
    I am in exactly the same situation currently. Just started fishing this year with a sage rpl 690-4 (free from a good friend)and am now looking to get an 8wt. Has anyone fished the orvis clearwater? They make a 10ft 8wt at just about $200. How would this stack up with the Fli or Ticr (which only comes ina 9ft)?
  4. FT Active Member

    Posts: 1,242
    Burlington, WA
    Ratings: +102 / 0
    Jay,

    As much as I like and respect you, I must disagree with you on the 7wt for winter steelhead. In winter flies from #2 on up to #2/0 or even larger are the norm and a 7wt is not the best choice for casting such large flies. Can it be done, of course; but just like a 5 wt is not the best tool for tossing #6 or #4 weighted Woolley Buggers because 5 wts don't really have the backbone to cast #6 weighted Woolley Buggers with ease and so make fishing #4 Woolley Buggers not something you want to do all day. Likewise, using a 7 wt for tossing #2 to #2/0 or larger is possible, but not much fun.

    In other words, the 5 wt with weighted #6 Woolley Buggers or the 7 wt with #1/0 marabou spiders requires a pretty open loop with a much longer delivery stroke to avoid overloading the rod tip on the cast, which is why I disagree with you on the 7 wt for winter runs.

    Therefore, I think an 8 wt or even better a 9 wt is better for winter steelhead simply because they are designed to cast the large flies. Note, it has nothing to do with a rod's ability to fight and land a fish, it has everything to do with casting the large flies used in winter. Any good 7 wt could easily fight and land steelhead into the mid-teens, even larger for someone who has a fair amount of experience landing hot, bright fish; but casting #1/0's is not much fun with a 7 wt.

    Heck, back when I was young and poor with only one good fly rod, I fished for and landed northern pike up to 30#'s with a 6 wt while casting #3/0 long shank streamers at them. But I wouldn't consider doing so now, I'd use an 8 or 9 wt on them now because casting those large flies would be far easier.

    Back in the dark ages prior to getting my first 2-hander in 1992, I used a 9 wt in winter and a 6 wt single hander in summer. And I remember one time when I took out my 9' 4 wt for summer runs; but found it not up to the task of casting #6 steelhead skaters. Yeah I could sort of cast them, but only about 45' and had to bust my butt to get that far; whereas, with my 9' 6 wt, 70' was not difficult at all with the same skaters.

    I remember well back in the dark ages (pre-internet and when the only fly fishing magazine was Fly Fishermen) of the 1960's folks were told to match the rod line wt to the mazimum size of the flies they were going to use, not the size of the fish they were likely to encounter. IMHO, this is still the best way to go about deciding on what line wt rated rod to get.

    This is also why I use a 16' 11 wt for winter steelhead. The 11 wt with a long-belly lines allows me to cast large flies easily out to 100' without stripping or shooting line, and if I desire lets me fish well beyond 100' on those few runs where you can't cast too far to cover all the lies. A smaller line weight rod would not allow me to do the same. Again, it has nothing to do with the ability of the rod to fight and land the fish, it has everything to do with the ability of the line to easily cast the size flies I'm using.
  5. Luv2flyfish Another Flyfisherman

    Posts: 753
    Western WA, US.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    FT - You bring up some great points and I have to agree with you in certain aspects.

    A 7wt is certainly not the tool for throwing large, heavily weighted flies......on a floating line. When we're throwing at winter steelhead we are (in large part) shooting ourselves in the foot if we are throwing a floating line. Most of the winter/spring fishing is done off of tips. Tips get the fly down thus eliminating us to have to use tungsten cones and double layered lead wrapped shanks on those 2/0's. I no longer use ANY weight on a fly. At least for me and the rivers I fish I have completely quit using weight. I certainly change tips back and forth alot though. An unweighted fly off of a sink tip can still be delivered in a mighty tight loop.

    I like an XLT cut for tips for a winter line on my 2 handers. No problems at all throwing distance with winter sized flies.......but they consist of nothing more than some marabou or bunny and thread ( or maybe some burned goose shoulder ;) . This winter I am going to give my midspey another trial before I completely write off that line (a trusty XLT will be near by though). My 9150 is more than likely going to stay at home and collect dust this winter. The 7141 has become my go-to stick for all applications. Its all just a matter of personal preference ultimately. As long as the guy casting the rod is putting the fly where he stands a reasonable chance at catching the fish he is after........then its all good right? :beer2:
  6. troutfanatic A day not spent wasted is.....wasted.

    Posts: 295
    Monroe WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0

    iagree iagree iagree Had to say it three times. Used a TFO 8 weight TiCr today. Used it with a heavy sink tip around 400 grains, and have used SA, Teeny and Rio lines with it as well.

    For the money, there is no better eight weight. I do wish that they would make it in a 9'6" though. I have tried the Pro series in same weight and it too cast well. However I do not feel that it would handle sink tips as well. It would do the job but just not as crisply. If that makes sense.:confused:

    It will be the next rod that I purchase in the about a month and a half.

    Plus and warranty is only $20 bucks. Try it out of course in the rod program but I bet you'll like it alot.
  7. Jason Decker Active Member

    Posts: 2,626
    Issaquah, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Right on guys! Thanks for all the wisdom and suggestions.:ray1: :ray1: :ray1: I am going out early tommorow AM and will try the PRO 8wt. against the TiCR.:hmmm: I hope it won't be too wet!bawling:

    After reading your comments, I will be somewhat skeptical to see it out perform the TiCR.:rolleyes:

    I have the Sage FLi set to try out when I bring back the TFO's to Chris, my only concern on the FLi is they are $295.

    So right now, I am heading in the TiCR direction!:beer2:

    Also, as far as the Spey Rod suggestions... I went to Aaron's River Run Angler's Spey Demo last weekend and it was a blast, I hope to get a few more of those in. but the spey setups seem a bit spendy, but it is on my "must have list" right after my Clackacraft and 3wt. creek rod!

    My Dream Quiver: 3wt Winston Biix, (My best so far)5wt Winston Biix, 6wt (2nd rod), 8wt TFO or Sage, Spey Rod ! Hopefully that will stop the addiction!

    This has been a fun post so far! let's keep it going!
    :beer2: ptyd ptyd :thumb:
  8. HMCFisherman Member

    Posts: 52
    Seattle, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I have a very similar quiver to your "dream" quiver---B2X in 3 and 5, but then the madness continues. You have the 6 and 7 wt TFO, the 8wt Powell, the 10wt Sage RPLXi, etc, etc. Beware the addiction, or on the other hand embrace it. I love all my rods, and seem to know the perfect place or situation for fishing (or at least justifying) each one. Being a gear junkie is kinda fun!
  9. Dan Member

    Posts: 621
    Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA.
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Take a look at the Orvis Trident TLS 9'6' 8 weight ($335). It has a three inch extension which makes two-handed overhead casting possible. Also facilitates a modified spey cast. I've been fishing it with an SA Steelhead line, but will move to shooting heads for even more distance. Extra length helps with mending, too.
  10. Randy Knapp Active Member

    Posts: 1,132
    Warm Springs, Virginia, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    With a WF9F line or equivalent weight sink tip or shooting head, I think a TFO TiCr will cast any fly you want for steelhead. I have one and love it for big fish and/or big weighted fly applications.

    Randy
  11. Old Man Just an Old Man

    Posts: 21,628
    Dillon, Mt
    Ratings: +1,657 / 0
    I was gonna not open my mouth and not say anything on this subject. But reading this all got my mind thinking again.

    I have a St.Croix Avid series. 9'6" 8wt on which I use a Rio Versitip with one of those Redington reels that they closed out about three years ago. I have no problem casting this and I believe that it is a med-fast rod. I got it all for under $$$$$$. I don't remember. Getting old does that to you:rofl:

    But I always look at it this way. You get what you can afford and to hell with all of the suggestions for the higher priced rods. I'm happy with what I have even if it is not the top of the line.

    Jim
  12. Willie Bodger Still, nothing clever to say...

    Posts: 1,112
    Lynnwood, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    As long as you can cast it and the fish will still bite on the flies it presents...

    Hey, Jim, is that the Redington AL 7/8? I have that reel and I think I'm going to have to go witha versi-tip since I can't find spare spools anywhere...

    Willie
  13. ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

    Posts: 3,209
    Eagle River, Alaska
    Ratings: +112 / 0
    Guiding this summer I saw more sages break (on fish) then I've ever thought possible I'd recomend not going with sage for that reason I kinda think they are a bit slow also.
  14. ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

    Posts: 3,209
    Eagle River, Alaska
    Ratings: +112 / 0
    Guiding this summer I saw more sages break (on fish) then I've ever thought possible I'd recomend not going with sage for that reason I kinda think they are a bit slow also.
  15. troutman101 Member

    Posts: 702
    Seattle, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    On what kind of fish AK? Kings making a last run from the boat?

    These guys have really good advice but also think about a good drag system for slowing them down and working them to shore. Trout rods do not have as much reliance on the reel as steelhead and slamon rods. Make sure the reel is equally as valuable as the rod. The rod is useful for getting your fly to the fish and the reel is equally as useful for getting the fish to the fisherman.
  16. Old Man Just an Old Man

    Posts: 21,628
    Dillon, Mt
    Ratings: +1,657 / 0

    I believe it is the RS. I haven't looked at it since Feburary. Gonna have to get it out and ready for the winter season. Time to stretch out the line and oil up the reel.

    Jim
  17. Porter Active Member

    Posts: 6,429
    Kenmore, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +513 / 0
    As compared to.....? Does that mean no Scott's, Loomis's, TFO's etc ...broke under the same conditions? or would break under same conditions?

    A very general statement with little support. Which Sage rods do you think are a little bit slow ? Slow compared to what?
  18. Jason Decker Active Member

    Posts: 2,626
    Issaquah, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Well, I spent the entire AM on the Snoqualmie trying for Steelhead but all I caught was a big fat SKUNK. I should be as smart as OLD MAN but I was happy about the weather and not so picky about the water volume.... so that was the fatal flaw in my plan to land a fish.........

    I am 90% sure I am going for the TFO TiCR <<BUT>> I have only one question remaining....... TFO apparently does NOT make 9-6 and ONLY a 9 ft in the TiCR 8wt. ........... the only 8wt rod they make in 9-6 is the PRO, which I find a bit slower, still very nice but not as much back bone for the longer cast with the bulky weighted flies. the TiCR is sweet but only 9ft ................. SO WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT LENGTH ????? What do you think about the extra Six Inches?

    I am looking to order me one up, just after I try the SAGE FLi out........... but it has to be a "no-brainer" before I will spend the extra 90 bucks.... That kind of clarity has only happend to me once before......when I bought my Winston Biix (5wt) over a Scott....... I was all set to get the Scott , then I casted the Winston, it was so obvious I didnt' blink, I would have paid even more $$ just to have that rod........

    so anyways, I am not gonna spend too much $$ as I am hoping to get a clackacraft by spring.......


    Jason
  19. Flyn'dutchman Member

    Posts: 459
    Wenatchee, WA
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    I have the TFO Pro in 9'6". Good backbone in the butt section but a little weak in the tip. Find it doesn't throw sink tips as good as my old Loomis 9'6" Adventure series rod which is slower. Other complaint is the diameter of the guides on the TFO's. Loop to loop conections on versa-tips don't go through as easily as the large diameter guides on the Loomis. Talked to my dealer about this. He was going to mention it to the TFO rep. Can't beat TFO's warranty though.
  20. Porter Active Member

    Posts: 6,429
    Kenmore, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +513 / 0
    I believe that TFO is going to increase their Ticr line to include some different lengths...I know I read it somewhere....you might want to call or email and ask them about it and if true when they expect to have them out on the market. I know Sage received a lot of request for different TCR lines....now they have 9'6" 6 weights...10' 7 weight and a slueth of Spey Rods.