The ideal weight fly rod?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Kent Lufkin, Mar 4, 2004.

  1. Bob Triggs Your Preferred Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide

    Posts: 3,984
    Olympic Peninsula
    Ratings: +649 / 0
    For the first ten years of my fly fishing I used a six weight, early graphite rod, eight feet in length. It had a medium action and was a bit stiff in the butt. I caught a ton of fish on that thing; from smallmouth to brown trout, schoolie stripers, and even pike. A few times the rod grip was damaged by the force of handling fish that were too big for the rod.

    So like most of us I started adding rods to the closet. I now have a very fast action five weight Sage sp+, an Orvis Superfine six weight, mid flex that feels like a noodly willow branch, a Sage VPS seven weight, that is one of my favorite Sage tapers, a Sage RPLX nine foot nine weight that I use mostly in the salt, and a sage 1490 spey rod, traditional action. This covers just about any kind of fishing I do. I do want to get a lighter spey rod someday, and a heavier one too. So I can spey fish for smaller fish, and much bigger fish. And a four weight would be fun...maybe a nice little Hardy reel...a little Merlot at dusk...

    I think that catch and release fishing implies a responsibility to match the rod to the fish, and to not overplay fish on too light a tackle. I had a boss in Alaska who handed me a six weight rod with a four weight line on it once and said: "Here, go catch a big one". We were fishing for silver salmon near tidewater and they were big, hot and bright. The salmon definately had the advantage. It was kind of wild, But it wasnt much fun to lug on those fish that way.

    If you can get the fish you are playing to bend the middle of the rod, with constant moderate pressure, and you arent hogging them in or babying them along too much either, then that's the rod for you and that fish.

    The old saying of playing a fish for "a-minute-per-pound" is not something I adhere to today. I think that in many instances this is too long a period of time.And perhaps in some fewer instances it would be too brief. What I want to do is to avoid playing a fish to exhaustion. Along with an adequate rod weight for the species I am fishing for, I want to use an adequate leader and tippett. Nowadays I am more worried about hurting the fish by overplaying them than I am about breaking the tippett.

    One good exercise is to tie up a leader/tippet rig you plan on using and then tie it off to a solid immoveable object, like a fencepost or your teenaged kid's foot on lawnmowing day. Then let out about forty feet of line, walk back to get it all straight, then GRADUALLY begin to bend the rod on the taught line and get a bend going deep into the rod as if you had a really "good one" on. You would be amazed at how much pressure it takes, at your end of the deal, to actually break a 5X tippett this way.Try this with all of your rod and leader combinations.It's an education.Beware of angling the rod backward, away from the anchor or fish, as the backward angled rod breaks easily, especially on an immoveable object. Maximum playing angle is achieved at 90 degrees, maximum pressure is pointing toward the fish. You want to play it "somewhere in the middle" most of the time. The higher you raise the tip the more vulnerable the rod is and the less pressure you are putting on the fish in most situations.And of course if you point to the fish with the rod tip then the maximum presure is realized as you snap off the tippett and the fish swims away.

    Ideal rods for my fishing are:
    five or six-weight, nine-foot; for trout and other fish to five or six pounds. (smaller fish and I'll want a four weight!)

    Seven-weight, nine-foot Sage VPS For bigger trout; summer steelhead, beach fishing for silvers and pinks, smaller striped bass and red fish etc, and for fish to ten pounds. It's my favorite all-around Alaska rod.

    Nine weight, nine foot, like my Sage RPLX,; for heavier beach and river fishing, stripers, kings , winter steelhead. Fish to twenty five plus pounds.

    Beyond that I want a ten-weight,nine-footer. Or a ten weight, fifteen foot spey rod.

    If I had to fish for a whole year with one rod it would be a nine-foot,six-weight, medium fast action, like the Sage VPS. That's a workmanlike weight and action that would have me catching all the fish I used to catch before I started trying to worry about it all of the time. I would fish that on beaches, lakes and rivers. But mostly for fish expected to be under eight pounds average no matter what the species.
  2. pcknshvl Member

    Posts: 555
    Ratings: +4 / 0
    I have:
    Sage 9' DS2 5wt med fast
    Inexpensive Cortland 9' 5/6 med action
    Lamiglass 8' 5wt med action
    Not enough reels/spools for the above

    Sage VPS 8wt med fast
    Dorber eRod 4 saltwater fast action

    All those 5 wts were accidentally accumulated. It's nice to have two of the same rods rigged up for the pontoon boat, however.

    I would love to add a fast 6wt, a med fast 3 wt, then maybe some kind of two-hander.

    As for all-around--is there really such a thing? Maybe a fast 6wt--good big trout rod, summer steelhead, local saltwater rod. A friend of mine regularly catches Kings on his 6wt XP.

    Fun topic!

  3. Browntrout New Member

    Posts: 29
    Bellevue, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I have a big pool of drool on the table in front of me right now wishing a had a rod closet like some of you. Luv2flyfish, if that 7 weight is collecting too much dust I can find a good spot for it. I'm always looking to increase the depth of my arsonal, I currently have a lot of holes to fill. Fish on!
  4. clockwork New Member

    Posts: 318
    bothell township
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    i think a 5wt 8' rod is a good all around rod especially if a guy can't afford 3 rods in each weight! with it i can tackle rocky ford type trout but not feel too overkill on smaller stillwater trout and even the small mountain stream trout. it even seems legitimate for bluegills in the summer. that being said, i would like to have a little 3wt to increase the sport and fun of those same summer blugills and sunfish and high mountain trout. that would be fun. right now i have a 4wt sears that i learned on, a 5wt reddington 8' which is my workhorse and an old 6/7wt Martin 8' that i think i'll start using for steelhead rather than my 5wt. the 5wt was the only one i bought and chose myself, the others were gifts so i took what i was given. but the 5wt is my choice for the best one-rod option. but if i had my way with money id probably have a 3wt, 5wt, and a 7 or 8wt and also a 4wt backpacker for hiking. any more than that and i think id have a difficult time making a decision. -ryan
  5. Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Posts: 7,136
    Not sure
    Ratings: +1,225 / 0
    >need for heavier rods. Consequently, my personal
    >arsenal skews toward lighter rods. I have a 2WT, three
    >3WTs, four 4WTs, a 5WT, two 6WTs, a 7WT and an 8WT.

    Make that two 3WTs as I just sold the St. Croix LU and Loomis reel combo I posted in the Classifieds a couple days ago. My closet still holds a Sage 389-4 LL that's as close to the perfect rod as I've yet seen and a sweet little Loomis GL3 8' that's an absolute rocket.
  6. Fishman Member

    Posts: 78
    Anacortes WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I know this is off the subject. Did you make a fold down bike wheel for your pontoon boat? If so, do you have any pictures you could send?
  7. Randy Knapp Active Member

    Posts: 1,132
    Warm Springs, Virginia, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    My favorite rod is 8' 3pc 6wt glass rod.


    " When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee" Isaiah 43:2
  8. wet line New Member

    Posts: 2,313
    Burien, WA, King.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Upon reflextion there is NO one rod to do eveything. However it is fairly easy to pick one rod that will perform on everything except larger salmon and winter steelhead. A 9 foot six weight that is a touch on the limber side. I would also except a moderately fast 7 weight for everything that swims in our rivers and lakes. The 7 is probably a better choice. A good moderately fast 7 will handle anything up to 15 pounds and still have the sensitivity to play a 1 pound fish!
    Fish under 1 pound I just want to release in a hurry and how many fish in a year do you catch over 15 pounds!
    The 9 foot six weight rods have a casting quality that I like so I personally would favor them over the 7 weight.
    Though the 7 is probably a little more all around for some one just starting out.
    If it were just trout I would go to a 5 weight.
    anything less on a decent fish, over 16 inches, is hard on the fish im my opinion. Yes, it is fun to "play" a 10" fish on a 3 weight but I contest the ethics of that kind of an experience! Catch and release to me is bring in the small fish in a rush and let them go to get bigger so that some day they can be bigger and more taxing!
    Match your gear to what you want to catch! Get those baby 14 inchers in fast so they will be the 18's you want to catch!
  9. Brian Simonseth Banned or Parked

    Posts: 536
    Skagit, Stillaguamish mostly
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    When I first started it was 4wt. then into 6wt.
    Then I found a Two-Hander, 11 Two-handers later I still haven't found the right one!:dunno
  10. Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Posts: 7,136
    Not sure
    Ratings: +1,225 / 0
    >hard on the fish im my opinion. Yes, it is fun to
    >"play" a 10" fish on a 3 weight but I contest the
    >ethics of that kind of an experience! Catch and


    I'm continually amazed by other fishers who insist that fishing with a lighter rod means that fish caught on it have to be played longer. As if the rod is gonna break unless it's treated oh so delicately? So is it only 'ethical' to catch smaller fish some derrick of a rod designed for 5 pounders? Last I checked, 6X tippet breaks at the same pound test on a 2WT as it does on a 7WT.
  11. FishPirate New Member

    Posts: 107
    Darrington, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I use a 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 9 wt rods. Personally, I think the 6wt, 9' is a great choice if you have only one rod. BUT, if you have more than one, I wouldn't pick a 6 wt until I had at least 4 others. If I could only own 2 rods, I would choose a 4 wt and an 8 wt. If only three, I'd pick a 2, 5, and an 8. If four, I'd choose a 2, 4, 5, and an 8. Only then would I consider adding a 6, 7, and a 9, or a two-hander. My next rod will be a 0 wt that I'll use for surf smelt and panfish. :9

    Just my 2 cents.