What wt is too light...

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by mwdehaan, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. Derek Day

    Derek Day Rockyday

    Here's how I would do it. Get a cheap 7 or 8 wt ($50). Cabelas has them for that price. That way, if you find you hate steelhead fishing you're out less than $100--or less if you turn around and sell it. If you really like steelhead fishing, you'll probably upgrade to a spey/switch rod soon anyway--and again you haven't invested heavily in your single hand set up.

    Using light rods will not necessarily harm steelhead, but they increase the chance of an extended battle.
  2. mwdehaan

    mwdehaan Member

    I just might do that Derek. I've already fished for steelhead just not with a fly rod. So I'm pretty positive I would enjoy it, but spending a lot for a short season might not be worth it. But then again, how big a chinook could an 8wt handle? I've seen ~12 pounds in the Okanogan but I wasn't sure if any of the larger ones in the 30lb range got up there or over in the Methow too. I know they can be down in the Brewster Pools which isn't far away at all. Thinking that if a 8wt could handle steelhead, larger bass, and smaller salmon, it might be worth investing in something quality that I could get years out of as well as having a great feel that I'd enjoy.

    With all the comments regarding getting steelhead in and released in a timely manner brings another question to mind, how fast is fast and how slow is slow? I know every fish can have that extra bit of spunk in it, or even think it's a whale, but generally how long should a fight last? Estimate this on the higher range, say a wild steelhead full of energy in the 6-8 pound range.

    Thanks guys, I'm extremely appreciative of all the comments. I feel I'm learning quite a bit from this, I hope others are as well.
  3. Derek Day

    Derek Day Rockyday

    I would go on youtube and watch experienced/pro steelheaders land fish. And pay attention to how long it takes in the videos. It would be nearly impossible for me to accuratley put a time on it, as I'm totally lost to the world as soon as I know I have a steelhead on. I've never timed it, but probably not more than a couple mins--5 on the low end and 10 on the high end. I would bet money that people often overestimate how long a fight is. But that's just an educated guess, others may disagree, or have other experiences.

    As for the Cabelas rods, they're surprisingly nice and it won't break your heart when it's collecting dust (as my heavy single hand rods are).
    fredaevans and mwdehaan like this.
  4. Freestone

    Freestone Not to be confused with freestoneangler

    I've never timed it but my guess would be about the same as Derek's.
  5. Steve Saville

    Steve Saville Active Member

    This question always comes up. I have caught steelhead on my 4 wt. LL "by accident" and was able to successfully revive the fish. That being said, my rod of choice in almost all situations, save trout fishing, is an 8 wt. for all of the reasons mentioned before. I'm not proud of any fish I kill unless that is the initial intention as in the case of salmon when I want one for the BBQ or the smoker. I haven't kept a trout in nearly 30 years. When I fish in Mexico, I take 12 and 14 wt. rods for the big fish. I adjust the rod weight to the fish I'm seeking but most often, I start with the 8 wt. I own two, one for the salt and one for fresh water.
    mwdehaan likes this.
  6. golfman65

    golfman65 Guest

    Salmo your correct..the light rods don't cast far and wind really destroys distance casting..but small rivers and small flies trout fishing it's great..

    The difference between all the rods is you fish tippet that matches your line...little rods, little flies, light tippet....
    Light and smaller rods land fish just the same as broomsticks...the bend is more into the butt of the rod but the tippet not the rod is what's going to give first...

    What I find a bit disturbing is the argument that your doing the "right" thing by fishing broomsticks and heavy tippet? Is it better for the fish if it's hooked by a guy with a lighter rod and tippet that snaps him off if he doesn't know what he's doing? OR is it better to use said broomstick and heavy tippet and make sure everything you hook then gets dragged in way too soon so the fish can beat the shit out of itself in the shallows?

    Hmmmm guess that doesn't matter right...the only important thing is get it in fast right? Bullshit!! The worse thing new people do is drag a fish in that isn't ready and let it flop around on the rocks..

    I hear this argument way too often and to be honest think its total b.s. "New" guys/gals don't overplay fish...they don't know what that is...They yank on um too hard, they pull up with the rod tip straight up and yank the fly out or bust the tippet..what is the ratio for new people on fish hooked and landed? Ummm normally pretty freaking sad and what used to be one of the reasons before bobbers and beads so many went back to gear fishing....

    All you experts who must land 90% or more of your fish...How do you do it? Hell I'd bet most use big rods and heavy tippet so they can peal the lips off the fish instead of actually learning the proper way to land a fish..

    Hell, part of the skill of fishing was learning to land a fish....gear or fly for that matter....Part of the skill of landing a fish on the fly and releasing is the exact opposite of yarding on it to get it in quick..You let the fish run and then reel in...Line in, line out..If you were lucky and had a hot fish that sucker might take you a hundred yards plus into your backing...(On big rivers with big fish)..I'm sorry but those are the fish I'm swinging my fly for...fresh hot fish...those are the ones I dream about...When the FISH is ready it will come in...not visa versa and then you gently with it still in the water, pop the fly out, revive it IF it needs it....(Funny as fish I land this way don't take much reviving) and release it...

    I guess that's just old school bullshit though huh? We don't want to fish for steelhead that run right? Better to hook one that's got a pin cushion for a lip so it will float right in!!! Gotta wonder why you all even fish?
    mwdehaan likes this.
  7. Freestone

    Freestone Not to be confused with freestoneangler

    gman, I don't think anyone implied that a fish should be dragged in (vs played), or brought in so soon it is flopping around wildly, let alone be dragged in up on the bank.
  8. Sean Beauchamp

    Sean Beauchamp Hot and Heavy at yer 6

  9. mwdehaan

    mwdehaan Member

    Thanks golfman, sort of opened my eyes to things I learned long ago that seemed to escape me till I read your post.
  10. shotgunner

    shotgunner Anywhere ~ Anytime

    Other end is the tentative stereotype "b". Stands there holding the rod [of any line class] with barely a bend in it, let alone applying any pressure. Mortified their trophy will pop the leader [of any strength] and they'll be an instant loser.

    Personal pet peve: Dogma induced attempt to force feed.. that of a hard/fast specific line class [almost always a 7wt] proclaimed by popular vote as minimum acceptable. Then you have the masses trying to play a fish with kid gloves on because their running a lighter leader tip and again suffering panic flashes of break off. Very counter productive all the way round. Line class matched to leader goes a long way.

    The water velocity & temperature dictates gear choice more than fish size.. with average fish.

    Know and be familier with your equipment: from butt to tip-top, leader point to backing knot. Have a solid knowledge of what it's capable of.. then proceed informed.

    Lee Wulff nailed it when suggesting people tie off to the car bumper [or whatever handy] and physically test rod/s and leader materials to the breaking point. If you've got the nerve to break it! Learn just how much ass there is in a piece of 6lb Ultra Green.. let alone 8. It will give you an appreciation for just how much pressures actually available. Theres an entire blank to utilise.. not just the tip. Try high rod, low rod, straight pull.. cover the angles. An eye opening informative experience.
    mwdehaan likes this.
  11. Evan Burck

    Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Last year, I watched a guy do this to pinks on the beach over and over. Would hook up, and stand there making every effort to keep pressure off his rod. He was taking (and I timed it) 10-15mins per fish to bring them in. Then he'd drag them up on the sand/rocks, and release them. There were a few floaters for the sea lions to say the least. After I said something, I learned he was using an 8wt... I was using a 5wt, and landing my fish in about a minute.
  12. aplTyler

    aplTyler Inept Steelheader

    For east side summer fish, I think a solid 7 is the way to go. Fun to fight the fish but typically enough to more than do the job. I had one huge native fish on the Klick work me on the 7 but it worked well on fish to just over 11 lbs.

    I got my used custom built Winston (custom rod built on a bIIx blank) for just over a hundred bucks at a gear swap. Definitely check the classifieds and local gear swaps.

    Get a 7 or 8 if you're concerned.