The Great 8wt Steelhead Rod Debate

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

  1. FT

    FT Active Member

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    Jay,

    I use the new RIO GrandSpey on all my rods over 13', and I never use weighted flies for steelhead because I hate the way they cast on a 2-hander. However, I do carry a 14.5' section of 550 gr Deep Water Express and an 11'5' section of 700 gr Deep Water Express in my 11 wt tips line wallet that are easily cast with my 16' 11 wt or my 18' 12 wt. My 9 wt won't cast either of these tips on a long-belly line.

    I use dee flies tied on AJ 1.5 blind eye hooks, G.P.'s tied on AJ Heavy Spey #1.5 & #3 hooks, and Ally's Shrimp tied on #1/0 and #2/0 heavy salmon irons, as well a speys and even the occasional classic full-dressed atlantic salmon fly tied on large irons in winter. My big 11 and 12 wt "thunder sticks" let me fish these tips and flies out to 130' with the 10/11 GrandSpey line if I desire. My 9 wt will not cast them that far because it lacks the oomph to do so, and might even break from the rather large casting loads imposed by a long belly GrandSpey, large flies, and fast sinking sink tips. And my 7 wt would most likely break under the load and strain of casting Deep Water Express and large flies 90' on the long-belly GrandSpey.

    I still am of the opinion (which seems to have gone out of fashion of late for some reason unbeknowst to me) that you should match the line wt to the size flies you are using and then get a rod to cast that line wt. It seems far too often these days, folks decide on a rod for a particular line wt first, then adapt their stroke, fishing distances, etc. to the rod and line.

    Let me illustrate, when I lived in Montana, I had a very good friend who decided it was time for him to get a high end rod since he exceeded the cabilities of the cheaper ones he had. Since he fished the Missouri and Upper Clark's Fork a lot, he decided that a 9' 5 wt was his best choice. Not because he thought a 5 wt was best for the maximum size flies he was going to use; but because he though since a 5 wt was between the 6wt he used most of the time and the 4 wt he used for Tricos and Little BWO's, the 5 wt would be the ideal compromise. What he didn't take into consideration was that he used his 6 wt for everything from weighted #6 sculpins to weighted #4 stonefly nymphs to #16 caddis flies. And he only used the 4 wt for #18 - #24 BWO or #22-24 Tricos. The first day he took his new Loomis IMX 9' 5 wt out, we went to the Big Hole River and he broke the rod while trying to cast a #6 weighted sculpin 60', something he did all the time with his cheaper 6 wt. After he got the rod repaired by Loomis, he broke it again when casting #6 weighted stonefly nymphs on the Clark's Fork during Salmon Fly time. When he got the rod back from Loomis after having the broken section replaced again (each time it cost him about $35.00 to have the broken section replaced), he went Trico fishing with it on the Missouri and found the rod was very nice for the small flies. The next spring, Lowell got himself a 7 wt Sage RPL for the larger flies and quit asking the 5 wt Loomis to do what it was not designed to do.

    Another example: I regularly hook and land chum of over 20#'s in the middle Skagit during November. I use my 16' 11 wt when fishing for them because they are such strong fish I need to use large hooks to avoid having them straighten out and the big thunder stick also greatly helps to bring a 20# chum to hand after it ran to the other side of the Skagit. I've hooked and landed some of these large chum on my single hand 8 wt, but it was not fun since the rod lacked the backbone to pump the fish back upriver or across river after they took out 100+ yds of backing multiple times.

    Yes, I've hooked and landed kings to 25#'s on a 6 wt when fishing for silvers and searuns; but it took a very long time to get them to hand. And the only time I hooked a mid-teens chum on my 6 wt when fishing for summer runs, I broke it off on the first run because it was just too much fish for the rod.

    These are the reasons I think folks ought to match the line to the fly size and fish size expected, and then get a rod rated for that line size in an action they prefer. And the less experience a person has with hooking fish over 8#'s, the more important it is to have a rod with sufficience backbone to bring it to hand quickly.
     
  2. Porter

    Porter Active Member

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    Why is it...and especially regarding to Steelhead fishing...that if someone asks about what single handed rod to use we get a bunch of spey roders with their input. Spey rods are not the issue or answer to some of these questions ...yet they always pop up. The initial thread was about what single hand rod to use.....not a spey rod. I just have a hard time thinking that spey people are going to get converts by answering some of these questions with the you need to get a spey rod set-up. No.. No..
     
  3. FT

    FT Active Member

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    Porter,

    If you read my initial response and the others I've posted in this thread, you will very clearly see that I never said someone needs a 2-hand rod to fish for steelhead. I simply said that in my opinion one should pick a rod on the basis of what line wt is best for the job you intend to use it for, whether one is looking for a single-hand or 2-hand rod. In the cast of winter steelhead, I gave very specific reasons why an 8 wt or even 9 wt single-hand rod was a better choice than a 7 wt.
     
  4. troutman101

    troutman101 Member

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    I think there are two kinds of flyfishermen here; those who don't mind having a rod for every occasion and those who do and would rather keep it stupid simple.

    My five weight is my trout rod, plain and simple.

    My eight weight is my steelhead and salmon rod, slightly more complex but not by much.

    Spey fishing was fun for a while when I spent time on the Skagit but these days I stick to a single hand rod. So much stuff to buy. Forget it and just go fishing.
     
  5. Porter

    Porter Active Member

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    troutman101 ...you are right...forgotten and I'm heading out.
     
  6. Jason Decker

    Jason Decker Active Member

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    i am following troutman's line of thought:

    My gear aquistion plan: in order of merit!
    5wt - Winston Biix
    8wt - TFO or Sage
    BOAT
    3wt - Winston Trout
    Spey - CND or ???
     
  7. FT

    FT Active Member

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    troutman and Jason,

    The rods you have and use are a perfect example of what I was talking about. Pick the line that is best for the fishing you are doing or going to do, and get a rod with an action you like of the length you desire that is designed for that line wt.
     
  8. troutman101

    troutman101 Member

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    Spoken like true fishermen.

    -Tony