What is a good PNW winter steelhead rod??

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by sandspanker, May 29, 2011.

?
  1. 7wt

    26 vote(s)
    38.8%
  2. 8wt

    37 vote(s)
    55.2%
  3. 9wt

    3 vote(s)
    4.5%
  4. other

    1 vote(s)
    1.5%
  1. sandspanker

    sandspanker Member

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    Have been told to use a 8wt for winter fishing but I have a 7 wt that just feels good with a 540 skagit on it. Plus feels right at home with the tactical steelhead for summer time duties. So what is your winter rod of choice?? 7,8,9,10????.
     
  2. Panhandle

    Panhandle Active Member

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    Just like you, whatever works. Yes, 7/8 is the right range.
     
  3. Nooksack Mac

    Nooksack Mac Active Member

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    Long ago, the writer/African big game hunter Robert Ruark introduced the pithy principle "use enough gun." In my winter steelheading, I followed his precept for a lot of years. I mainly fish the big rivers of northern Puget Sound, and I enjoy being able to cast far and mend a lot of line. So I used the big rods, 15-16 feet. There's a lot of satisfaction in using those big guns, and even now, my favorite winter steelhead rod is a 15 1/2 foot CND Salmo-Salar. But most of those rods are designed for 10/11 lines. Those are the choices of European Atlantic salmon fishermen. But our situation involves steelhead, which are at most half the size of At. salmon. Then too, several generations of new spey lines have shown us that really big, heavy flies and steelhead of a lifetime can be handled comfortably with smaller tackle.

    As I get older, I'm deliberately devolving toward rods like a 13 1/2' for 8/9 lines, giving up a little unessential power for a lot more comfort. If I was an Oregonian, fishing coastal rivers no wider than a country road, I might be happy with a rod of 12 1/2' or 13,' but I'd stick to the same size line.
     
  4. fredaevans

    fredaevans Active Member

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    +1 to what NM just opined.

    Quite a few years back (well, I just turned 69, so a LOT of years back) I used an 18' Bruce and Walker Competition casting rod with a 1200 grain head for King Salmon fishing. I could consistently fish water 150 - 160 so feet out ... but in an hour I was exhausted. Then it was 15 foot 10 wt rods and 1000-1100 grin lines, then 14' 9wts and about 800 grain heads.

    To be honest, I know that none of my 10 wts have seen the light of day in probably 4 winters, the 9wt very occasionally and that's a water flow driven issue. Unless you're fishing 'big water' known for 'big fish' a 8wt between 13 and 14 foot will adequately handle 99% of your fishing winter fishing needs.
     
  5. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    I use a 7 or 8. My old Sage 9140-4 is rated for a 9, but it's a bit of a thunderstick on steelhead under 15 pounds. And most steelhead are less than 15 pounds.

    Sg
     
  6. fredaevans

    fredaevans Active Member

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    + 1 to what Salmo said, if/when I use a 9wt it's the same 'stick.' Lovely rod, but far too often 'over kill.'
    fae
     
  7. Matthew Gulbranson

    Matthew Gulbranson Resident Swinger

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    I have a 7 and an 8 and will use them both depending on my mood or the conditions. The 8 is shorter in length and I will use it when there is less room for a D loop, or when the wind is blowing stink. It's my broom stick/canon. The 7 is a bit longer and is my 'relaxed' rod. I would probably use the 7 more often but this winter at least it seemed it was always blowing like crazy or I was tucked in under some trees or something.
     
  8. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    I have an 8wt for winter work, skagit lines and heavier tips/flies to get down to cold fish that move less. At leat that is what I'm told and why I'm doing it.
     
  9. o mykiss

    o mykiss Active Member

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    Line weight ratings for two-handed rods can be pretty misleading. I use a Sage 9140-4 and a Sage 7141-4 for winter steelhead fishing. My so-called "7 weight" will cast the same lines as my so-called "9 weight". In fact, it probably would handle heavier lines than my "9 weight".
     
  10. golfman65

    golfman65 Guest

    Amen to that o mykiss...

    If I was fishing big water for big fish...i.e. that chance in a lifetime where you "might" hook a 20lb steelhead then todays modern 8 wts would be plenty..

    Sometimes big water can also mean big wind and the heavier rods and lines are what you may have to go to as well..

    I had a talk with Meiser about this recently...I told him my favorite rod is a 14' 6/7 mks but I was fishing an 8wt in case I hooked a big boy...He said that my 6/7 could land any steelhead in any state or province that I fish....

    I always try and bring the 8wt if I'm on a trip somewhere in case of big wind when I'll need it..but fish the 6/7 or 7 wt. exclusively...If your going to fish all day and mulitple days..you'll appreciate the smaller rods a lot more...
     
  11. KerryS

    KerryS Ignored Member

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    Before the "Skagit" line was refined most folks on the Skagit used a 14 to 15 foot rod and the Sage 9140 was likely the most popular. As the line was refined it became apparent to many that the longer sticks were no longer needed nor pratical and many moved to shorter rods. This trend prompted Sage to build the 8124 and it was realized by most at the time that a rod in the 12 to 13, 13 1/2 foot range was the perfect tool for short bellied lines, sinktips and large winter flies.
     
  12. Dave Henry

    Dave Henry Member

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    We love our 12'6 7/8 MKS rods. I like the Skandit line on mine but my wife prefers her short Delta multi-tip.
     
  13. TallFlyGuy

    TallFlyGuy Adipossessed!

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  14. sashjo

    sashjo Member

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    My head answered 8 wt for winter fish , but my heart prefers the 7 wt with backup rod available. The biggest fish that I hooked this winter totally destroyed my 7 wt.
     
  15. TallFlyGuy

    TallFlyGuy Adipossessed!

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    Destroyed your 7wt?.. Really?


    He got this one on an echo 6wt switch.

    [​IMG]

    Image is from Idylwilde website....

    http://idylwilde.com/wordpress/2011/04/this-ones-dedicated-to-the-champ