Why would I buy an 8 weight for steelhead?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by sickclown, Mar 30, 2008.

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  1. I was finishing Art Scheck's book, Fly Fish Better, when I got to the chapter on Appropriate force. In his tests, which I trust because he is right about the knots in my own tests, he basically states that his 5 weight does better in his pulling force tests then the 8 weight that he was using. ***Question*** Why am I using an 8 weight for Steelhead when I could be using my 5? I like my five better but I have allways been afraid it would break. I live in Buffalo and the steelhead are huge - to me at least. Does anybody fish bigger sized steelhead with a 5 weight? And has anybody broke a 5 weight fishing for steelhead?
  2. A better question is why you want to use a 5 wt if you already have an 8 wt.?

    There is no way his 5 wt. was more powerful than the 8 wt. unless the rods were completely different actions and comprised of completely different components, therefore allowing the 5 wt to be stronger than the 8wt.
  3. Yeah, Pan is right, you must have misread something there because an 8wt is WAY stronger than a 5wt.
  4. Yeah tough one there. A five stronger than an eight?? HMMM> Personally I would never use a five weight for steelhead. Sure it can be done, but you have to think about the fishes health also. Are you going to take 30 minutes to land a steelhead and say "yeah I used a five weight NO PROBLEMS!" and risk the fishes health with a prolonged needless fight. Or get that fish in quick like with an eight weight and back on its way. Youve got to think about the well being of the fish. I usually use an eight weight single hander for smaller coastal streams. This year I hooked a beautiful fresh wild hen of about twelve pounds. The run was small with a lot of willows on the edges and other snags. This fish went nuts and when she finally "relaxed" a little mid stream I really put some pressure on her to try to get her in quick and keep her away from the snags. The eight weight was really taxing, It did the job but it was feeling it for sure. Needless to say the next day I brought my nine weight! I think you should always try and get the fish in as quick as possible. If you pull the hook OH well. At least you got the grab. Its not all about getting em to the beach and getting that hero shot. Id say stick with an eight weight. If you use your five and get a big fish then you may be in the market for a new five weight or checking in to your rod manufactures warranty policies. Kevin
  5. I like to use my 5/6 deer creek spey for steel. A 5/6 spey is like an 8wt single hander in a strength comparison, and maybe 10 minuets has been my max fight time. Granted the biggest fish on the rod has been a somewhere in the range of 15lb, but that is a very rare fish in my experience. Put the wood to'em and trust your knots, don't baby the fish, and a lighter rod will be ok. I apply a surprising amount of force with that little rod, and you must use the current to your advantage also to make the fight as quick as possible. Most people you see don't use the rod because they're afraid of loosing the fish, like some dude up on the sauk the other day, which was freaking ridiculous... Now I use a 5 weight single hander for summer steel on smaller rivers, and it works great. Where I fish, it is sweeping runs of sorts so there isn't really many obstructions in the way of fighting fish. But if you're steelhead are of big average size I would suggest the larger rod certainly. And keep in mind the health of the fish like Kevin Giusti said, if you can even budge the fish, and the fight is running longer than 15 minuets, you are seriously undergunned. I would break it off. Its funny though, I've seen pretty experienced anglers, fight fish, and they just don't know how to put the WOOD to'em!
  6. Does Art Scheck have any recommendations on 5 weights that can throw a Type V sinktip with a couple of large flies and some split shot?

    The size of the rod has never been about the size of the fish, it's about the size of the rig and the flies being used. The claim Scheck is making is akin to arguing that the you should use 6x tippet when casting a fly tied on on a 4/0 hook.
  7. In the book Scheck keeps the rods low and pulls to the right or left. He doesn't say that the rods are or are not stronger only that in the tests that he could pull harder with the 5 weight. --- And Capt awesome, My original Idea to use the 5 weight comes from the fact that I use my 8/9 spey on steelhead and my 5 for trout. In some of the small streams with big steelhead I still look like a crazy with that huge rod on a little stream. I have no problems swinging Marrabou muddlers and spey flies and some split shot with the 5 weight and the right leader. I was allways worried that the 5 weight would break. I think the 5 would be perfect on the small streams with big fish.
  8. Get a 9.5 ft. 8 wt single hander.
  9. Now, that's about one of the silliest statements I've seen on this website in a while.

    Including the size of the fly, there are several other important criteria used in selecting a certain weight of rod to use for your quarry. Those include fishing conditions (i.e. is it frequently windy?). For example, many average sized bonefish could be handled just fine on a salty six weight, but an 8 weight is a popular line weight because bones are often found in windy settings.

    The size and fight of the fish is a HUGE consideration. Often tuna like little flies, sometimes #4's. A six weight would toss a #4 clouser just fine, but using one for tuna fishing would be like taking a knife to a gun fight. Not appropriate. Additionally, because of the runs these fish take, they need reels with a lot of backing. Hanging a reel that accommodates 300+ yards of backing and has a skookum drag just wouldn't quite balance my 6 weight very well.

    I'll be visiting La Paz in June, and a pretty popular fly for me when inshore fishing is a 1/0 Crease fly. It's pretty light, and with heavier leader and a saltwater taper line, my stout 5 and 6 weight will cast and turn these flies over just fine.

    I'll remember your comment "The size of the rod has never been about the size of the fish . . . " when I hook in to that 40 pound roosterfish or 25 pound yellowfin and be happy that I elected to use a 10 weight or larger rod (because of the size of the quarry selected) instead of one sized per your criteria. :thumb:
  10. Rod size becomes important as the fish gets closer to you. You can play a big fish on a 5wt when he is 100' out. It's lifting power up close that becomes an issue. I love light tackle, but the last 20' of the fight is the tough part. When I've made eye contact with the fish, I would just as soon he spit the hook and swim away strong.
  11. I think that when people hear the word "Steelhead" locally, they picture the big winter fish. In most of the places around the US the Steelhead are not really that big. There are several runs that I fish with a 5 or 6 wt (did it with a 4wt all through college when finances were tight) and adult Steelhead in the 5-10lb class rarely take more than 2-3 minutes to get in. I caught several hatchery winter Steelhead on the Stilly this year with my 6 wt, and some of the skinny Deer Creek summer run missles, and I bet I wasn't fighting any of those fish more than two minutes.

    I do disagree partially with Richard because I think the rod of choice for Steelhead is mostly for what you are actually throwing. I often break out the 10 wt XP in the winter time for the big profile streamers. This is the same rod that has been broken twice on 30-35lb Albacores, but I never once felt like I hurt it fighting Steelhead.

    Most folks throw an 8wt because it is the lightest weight rod which cuts the winter time wind adequately, it can throw the bigger winter time streamers even though it can be work if your casting isn't the best, and it has enough backbone that you can pressure the natives quite a bit. For me the single most important part of Steelhead fishing is pressuring the natives and getting them back swimming quickly.

    I do agree with the blue water fishing that Richard was talking about. The average fish is just bigger, meaner, and tougher.

    (I would recommend that you shouldnt be lifting at all when the fish is in close. You cant lift it out of the water and any angle on the rod that isnt down and towards the bank is just pressure that gravity counteracts handily with the fishes weight)
  12. There is no industry standard measurement for rod power. It's perfectly possible for a five weight to have more power than an eight weight, especially if they're made by two different manufacturers. That being said, I'd be extremely suspect of a manufacturer that sold me a five weight that had as much balls as my eight weight rods. My guess is it wouldn't feel too great tossing an AFTMA #5 line to trout, which is what it's real consideration should be.
  13. A factor for me is how quickly you can bring a fish to hand for release. I have caught steelhead on my 5 wt, and 8 wt. The longer a fish fights, the more lactic acid builds up in its muscle tissue, and the more chance there is of it not surviving the fight. It is my own personal belief that you will bring a fish to hand more quickly on a heavier rod than a lighter rod, and that you will increase the odds of the fish's survival if you do so.

    My $.02
  14. Well jeez, Richard. Sorry to get all silly on you. What I intended to say was not never but really more like less of or a secondary factor.

    Saltwater fishing was the last thing on my mind when I typed that out and I'm sure you and I could agree that, together, we could come up with millions of exceptions to any statement that inlcudes the word 'never' in it whether it be about fishing, politics, lawn darts or the meaning of life.
  15. Fishing for steelhead with a 5wt is like hunting for elephants with a 22. You can do it but it won't do your 5wt any good. Unless you are into getting the fish so tired it won't survive when it is released.

  16. iagreeiagreeiagreeiagree

    Amen; Citori speaks gospel. Does that mean a person should use a 12 weight for trout fishing. No, it's about balance. Size your outfit according to the task and conditions, and with consideration for the fish's health so you catch 'em another day.
  17. We have to stop arguing about exceptions on this site. Nobody can say that a 5wt has more power than an 8wt. You can mention some weird exceptions or different manufacturers but that is about the only explanation.

    WORD to the olde tymer.

    If you find yourself hunting an elephant with a 22, you probably misread something or took some poor information to heart.

    I land big and feisty chum on an 8wt all the time but the thought of landing a big and feisty chum on a 5wt is damn near a laugh.
  18. I may be using my 6 wt for lake fishing this year at a certain lake with some large stocked triploids. Last year, i had to bust off the biggest trout I ever hooked on my 4 wt because I couldn't bring it to hand. It was 8 or 10 lbs. I could get it near the boat, but then it would turn away and nose down into the weeds, overpowering my gear, even though it was getting tired. After several failed attempts to bring the fish alongside, I became worried about the fish's survival and had to bust it off. I was using 4X tippet.
    It seems to be tougher to bring a fish alongside a canoe than to the bank. Last Spring, I found out the hard way that there is danger to the rod in "high sticking" a strong fish to the net.
  19. Why I feel inexorably drawn to the role of devil's advocate in regards to this threads is beyond me but, here goes:
    The "weight" of a rod and the "power" of a rod are not necessarily the same thing.
    The weight rating of a rod is directly related to the weight of the line it is meant to cast. More precisely the weight, in grains, of the first 30 ft of the fly line. So it follows that a five weight rod is built to load with head weight (first 30 ft of line) of 134 to 146 grains.
    The is the meaning of the "weight" rating of a rod. Nothing more and nothing less. The weight rating does not say anything about the "power" of a rod or its ability to wear out a fish quickly.
    That being said, the kinds of leaders and tippets that are commonly used on a five weight rod would require the angler to use techniques that could prolong a fight to the point of exhausting a fish.
    So..... rather than debate the proper weight rating of a rod suitable for steelhead or any other fish, perhaps it would be more relevant to discuss the optimum leader strength or at least take leader strength into account in a discussion about the ability of a rod to bring a fish quickly to hand. I would also point out that fishing rods do not exhaust fish, anglers exhaust fish. In other words, technique is a far more relevant factor in bringing fish quickly to hand than choice of weight rating. For those of you who think I am suggesting the use of a 2 wt for tuna fishing, let me say that this is NOT what I am suggesting.
    Consider this, what would be more effective in bringing a fish quickly to hand, a moderate action 6wt that flexes all the way into the grip with a 20 lb leader or a fast action 8 wt with a 10 lb leader and an angler who is trying not to lose the fish?
    Flame On!

  20. I caught a Chum on a 5wt. Was fishing the Skagit one time a few years ago for sea runs and or Dollies behind the Chums. I was using heavier than usual leader so I couldn't break it off. My 5wt was doing the double bend for a while until I got the fish close enough to unhook.

    Those fish are hardy as it swam off after the hook dropped out of it's mouth. If I had know it wasn't hooked hard I would of given it some slack so I would of over stressed my rod. But one never knows does one?????

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