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Greetings All,

After lurking on this site for over a year now I think I have learned enough to ask some intelligent, albeit fundamental, questions about the sport. I'm in need of some "newbe" advise from the seasoned vets out there to help me figure out how best to spend limited resources on my life's next adventure. I plan to spent the most of my time fishing the rivers and lakes of NW Washington and Western B.C., trout, DV, salmon(coho), steelhead.

These aren't new questions necessarily, but the more research I do on equipment and the posts that on this site the more confused I become.

As follows and thanks in advance:

1. Waders-Neoprene or Breathables. The former is stiff and restricts movemnent and can get hot. Breathable's can be expensive (is it worth buying price point breathables)and seem to develope leaks. Shoes or bootfoot. I like the idea of wading shoes for support and stability but will they be warm enough? If waders invaribly leak doesn't it make sense to be in neoprene? I currently holding a pair of "Fly Tech 4mm kevlar" neo's waders that I purchased from Sierra Trading Port along with a pair patgonia shoes. I had a guy in shop tell me to go with breathables and I'll never look back... Someday I'm sure I'll own both but for now, whata you think to start out with?

2. Rods: I have a 7 weight Berkley "Bounty Hunter" "graphite composite" that my folks gave me 20 plus some years ago. Is this junk? I have read that a guy has gotta spend at least a couple hundred bucks to get a decent rod. I know enough about sports equipment in general that top quality stuff can make a difference for even a beginner. I realize that I'll eventually have several rods and reels but where is a reasonable place to start? I'm looking at 7/8 weight rod first to fish steelhead and dollies this winter and then consider a 5/6 weight for spring and summer fishing.

3. Reels: Although important it seems that I my be able to spend less here and get away with it. I presently have a price point 7 weight cortland reel. Comments?

4. I purchased a Airflo multi tip 7 weight line to get me started with the equipment I have scrounged up.

I greatly appreciate any and all insight or suggestion you all might be able to offer.

SS





:CONFUSED
 

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Boy... All your questions boil down to personal preference. I still regularly use an '82 fenwick eagle 8 wt graphite rod on tough fighting, but easy catching fish (chum, etc.) even though I have some pricey gear in the same size. Personal opinions follow, so don't yell at me.

Even though I've worked in shops, my advice was usually "fish what you got until you outgrow it". That can mean anything from "until you can cast better than the rod can" to "until your friends pressure you into cool new gear". Your rod is probably really "soft" or "slow" but it's also probably unbreakable compared to new rods. Learn to cast well before you get another rod. When you do, if it's really for winter fishing, 7/8 won't do the job. Think 8 or 9. The only problem with the nine weight is you sometimes might have a problem finding lines in stock in shops, and if you are a small gal or fella, some folks claim they get more tired than they do with the 8. I don't buy it, but I'm not a small fella... I have a super fast 9 and a half foot 10 weight I use when the rivers are up and running (and I do have friends who can't cast it all day). The heavier the line, the deeper you can get, and that is the name of the game in winter.

Fish the reel until it explodes on a good fish. It's worth it just for the stories you can tell when you go in to replace it!

If you haven't fished the line yet, see if you can exchange it for an 8 weight.

Breathables are awesome, but you do have to be careful around berries, sharp sticks, sharp rocks, etc... Luckily we don't have any of those around here :WINK Being extra careful about the knees-and-below area can delay leaks (keep rocks out your shoes by applying duct tape to your "gravel guards", wear knee pads if you're going to be kneeling, crawling, or bracing against rocks, etc), but the good news is, you can patch leaks, if you can find them. Breathables also force you to get really good underlayers or you'll always be cold. I mean REALLY good underlayers! Nothing wrong with redingtons, or orvis. I've sold and used the heck out of both, as well as patagonia and simms. They all have the same weakness. Get something on sale from any of those four makers and you'll be okay.

That's my take on your questions anyway...
 

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Neoprenes are cheap and warm for winter steelheading. Breathables are nice, but how much insulation do you want to wear under your waders?

As to boot foot or stocking foot, get the stocking foot, then hit www.sierratradingpost.com and buy the Patagonia Wading Boot for cheap. Great boots at a steal of a price.

The 7 wt will be a bit light, but I have used it for the past 2 winters, and I am hoping to be able to borrow a 9 wt for this winter. And I like to buy WWW Grigg rods at the Outdoor Emporium. My 7 wt has enough backbone to toss shooting heads, and fish most rivers. You could spend several hundred dollars more to get a rod to out cast this one. If your Berkley "Bounty Hunter" does what you need, why replace it?

As to the reel, I don't know it. But I fish Okuma reels, and they are just fine. Just get plenty of backing, 100 yards is enough most of the time, and 150 is not too much.

Rob
---------
Genetic pollution damages wild
stocks, bonk those Hatchery Zombies!
 

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Being from Texas, I am no expert on fishing in the Northwest. So I will leave that to the others giving you advice. I may be able to help you in the supplies/equipment end of things.

We have an outlet fly fishing shop in Austin, Texas. We have been selling some redington RS2 reels on this site but we have alot of different products.

Like Sierra Trading Post, which was mentioned earlier, we sell overstocks, discontinued fly fishing equipment. The only difference is we specialize in fly fishing and are much smaller than STP.

We currently have Gillies Gear Breathable waders in the Midland(midweight)and Highland (guideweight). The midlands retail for $250..our price is $145. The Highlands retail for $330...our price is $165. We have all the sizes they carry in the Midlands and most in the Highlands. They come with full warranties. Go to www.gilliesgear.com for more.

We also have LOOP 9' 6/7 wt rods for $75 (retail $280). They are discontinued rods.

WE also have more redington reels at 70%off.

So...depending on what you decide is best, we may be able to help

Our email is [email protected] if you want to contact us.

Thanks
 

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I like stockingfoot waders because you get to use different boots for different purposes (wading, float tube booties, cleated vs. felt, etc.). BUT for coldwater specialists, nothing beats breathable waders with built in insulated boot foot. Ask your favorite duck hunter. Those guys know more about cold than us fishers since they usually sit on their Bee-hinds all day. At least we move! One consideration is, unless your foot size matches what the wader designer decided the boot should be, they can be unsafe for use in heavy water with rocks. Orvis used to have a boot foot wader with laces to tighten up the boot on your foot, but I haven't seen them in a few years...
 

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As far as a resonably priced rod goes cortland CL is a very good quality rod for the money about a 100.00 I am not sure about the 7 or 8wt but my brotherinlaw has 5-6 and my kids have a 4-5wt and they seem like quite good rods. As far as waders go I still use neopreme because I would rather be hot than cold when fishing and I think they are more durable but I may be wrong since I have never put out the money for them, most of my fishing is in the fall winter and spring so the water is usually quite cold and I prefer lake fishing so I am in a float boat or a tube most of the time. A Battenkill is a good reel but the okuma is cheaper and seems to be a good starter reel, just my 2cents worth.

Good luck soon you will be hoooked Gary
 
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