4wt too small for cutts?

Jake Bannon

nymphs for steelhead....
#1
I was thinking of buying a 4wt morely for resident coho and cutts. Then when the bigger silvers and pinks come I will pull out my 5/6wt. My question is, is a 4wt too small for cutts and rezzies. I like lighter rods because the fish put up more of a fight on them but didnt exactly know when the limit was for too small. Thanks for the help.

Jake
 

Mike Etgen

Not Quite A Luddite, But Can See One From Here
#2
In my own opinion, anything smaller than a five weight isn't in the best interest of the fish. Bear in mind that a really nice fish (like sixteen inches or more) will take some work to land, and will be released in an exhasuted and possibly disoriented state. Seal bait.


Remember that our cutts are a treasure and strictly a catch-and-release fishery, and get 'em in and off quickly...
 

Ringlee

Doesn't care how you fish Moderator
#3
I use a 4 wieght (Sage XP 10') a lot now for Cutts and most of the time In Alaska. The only fish I have a hard time with are Big Char that Just Stay on the Bottom.
One Concern with a lighter rod is the wind. It is easy to cast on a windless day, but I can sure tell it is a 4 weight when it is windy out.
 

D3Smartie

Active Member
#4
Something like a 4wt XP or similar fast action 4 wt is a great rod for cutts. Only concern like Ringlee said is the wind.
 
#5
I agree with Ringlee. A 4 weight is fine but it depends on what size tippet you use. If you're fishing fancy light leaders and having fight them a while to tire them out then it might be a problem. Then again, it would probably be a problem with any weight rod. I fish 8 or 10 lb maxima exclusively which gives the option to just muscle them in.
 

yuhina

Tropical member
#6
If you're fishing fancy light leaders and having fight them a while to tire them out then it might be a problem. Then again, it would probably be a problem with any weight rod...
I totally agree! Good point as well as the previous wind factor.

I think the heavier tippet would give you more power to haul the fish in... I usually just slightly point to the fish, it will reduce the chance to break the rod. (just like get snagged on the bottom, won't break the rod either).

The other point I would like to mention here is the fly size. (I guess this is similar factor with the wind factor). The bigger the fly, the larger the air resistance, thus need heavier line to deliver them. I usually just move up the flyline weight without change rod, when encounter the faster wind or change to bigger fly. For modern fast action rod, cast 2 more line weight would just doing fine... IMO.
 
#7
unless its a 4wt broom stick of a rod, it won't cut it in the wind. 5wt min, 6wt perfect! I personally use a 6wt TicrX 4pc 9' . Good luck buddy.
 

Philster

Active Member
#8
unless its a 4wt broom stick of a rod, it won't cut it in the wind. 5wt min, 6wt perfect! I personally use a 6wt TicrX 4pc 9' . Good luck buddy.

Yeah! This weekend is a good example. It was a rough wind blowing against my casting side. My rig bucked it no problem and I caught 3 (smallish) fish. A less wind oriented rig would have resulted in skunkage.
 
#10
In my own opinion, anything smaller than a five weight isn't in the best interest of the fish. Bear in mind that a really nice fish (like sixteen inches or more) will take some work to land, and will be released in an exhasuted and possibly disoriented state. Seal bait.


Remember that our cutts are a treasure and strictly a catch-and-release fishery, and get 'em in and off quickly...
I'm with Mike... my primary satisfaction is with the hookup, then horse 'em in and let 'em go. 5wt minimum, 6 better. A decent rod will still allow for a nice "feel" for the fight.
 

David Dalan

69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E
#11
4 wt (fast action)will handle the fish just fine, but as previous posters noted you may have trouble with the conditions. I've never fished SCR, so I wouldn't know about the conidtions...

I can rapidly land 4-8# steelies on my 4wt without undue stress on the fish while using a 10lb leader.

Works grand :)
 

Jake Bannon

nymphs for steelhead....
#12
The only problem is that the place I mostly fish for cutts usually has a very stong northerly wind and it can make it hard to cast sometimes. Theres no piece of land that protects nor blocks the wind so Im usually screwed if its gusty. I will consider it but the way you guys talk about wind being such a big factor, a 4wt may be out of the question. Thank for all your help.
David you really land 4-8# steelhead on a 4wt, I would be pretty nervous in that situation.

Jake
 
#13
I grew up being told that first you fish conditions. That said, I would never use a 4-weight along our beaches primarily due to the wind that can come up and make life pretty miserable for casting a 4-weight. My go-to rod along our beaches for cutthroat and juvenile coho is a 6-weight. It can buck some wind and quickly land even a trophy cutthroat that will still be in good shape for release. And, how about those 4-5 pound blackmouth that show up in South Puget Sound in January and February? They would just love to test out a 4-weight.
During cutthroat fishing in the fall on local rivers one could land some of the smaller summer-run steelhead on a 4-weight. Preston did it a few years back without much trouble. However, I sure as heck wouldn't even consider taking on a big winter steelhead on with a 4-weight. Matter of fact I don't have a line for a 4-weight that I would consider appropriate for winter steelhead fishing. Personally, for river cutthroat I like my TFO 7'9", 5-weight Finesse. It has enough punch to handle wind and wind-resistant flies but has a soft-enough tip for nice presentation. Also, it will bring a cutthroat to hand fairly quickly.
Just my 2-cents.
Les Johnson
 

David Dalan

69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E
#14
David you really land 4-8# steelhead on a 4wt, I would be pretty nervous in that situation.

Jake

Sure do. But I am matching the water more than the fish. I use the 4wt (dry/nyph) on small streams (like 6'-12' wide shore to shore) and go to my 6 when I want to run a sink tip. When the steelies go apeturds, they're not going very far in any direction. Having a lot of breaking power is not a real issue. The heavy leader (to me 10# is like piano wire) allows me to apply all the pressure I need.

Oh and its a lot of fun making the rod work that hard :)
 

papafsh

Piscatorial predilection
#15
I would like to address an old concept if I may, the one about fish fighting harder on lighter rods.
First off I don't care what weight rod you fish with or how you fish, so this is not a slam on anyone, you do whatever you like.
But the truth is fish simply do not fight harder on lighter rods, no, the fight or resistance any fish exerts is what it is.
I submit that it's the angler who fights harder to get the fish in and because of this, the fish may have less a chance at surviving, assuming it's released.
I would like to encourage everyone to consider, however, the probable negative impact on the resource (fish) as more important than our own self-centered gratification.
It may be ok to assume our individual skills justfy the use of lighter gear, than may actually be called for, and we may say that a fish caught and released after an un-necessarly prolonged battle swam off ok, but here's a question, how often did that same fish float by belly up just 80 yards downstream?
There are only three answers to that,
1. Don't know
2. Not sure
3. Don't care
If your answer is 1 or 2 then perhaps thoughtful contemplation is in order.
If your answer is 3, well.......

LB