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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm new to fly fishing, having picked it up at the beginning of the summer. A friend gave me a NIB Cabelas budget special. $40 total for rod, reel, backing and line. It's a Cahill brand, 9' 5wt slow action. The line is level taper and hard to control. Being a slow action it was great for me to learn on, but its gotten to the point where my cast can only do so much.

Newly married, EMT by day/night, fisher by morning, and more broke than I've ever been, I've been desperate to get a new rod. I can only afford one, and so my question is:

In your opinion, what is the most versatile rod out there for freshwater game fish (trout and bass mainly)? I fish stillwater and rivers both. I've had some guys say 8' 4wt, others say 9' 6wt fast-action. Any good brands out there? I've been looking at Griggs, TFO, and the Orvis Clearwater line for some cheaper models.

Basically I just want something that will cover the widest range of fishing scenarios possible.

Thanks guys!

-Aces
 

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If doing it on the cheap is your goal. Try a double taper 4wt line on that soft 5wt and you should see its action pick up a bit. Tough to beat a good 5wt rod as an all around champ for trout and all but the biggest of bass. Nothing wrong with any of the rod companies you've mentioned.
 

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I would second the recommendation of a fast 5 wt. It will throw lines from 4 thru 7 with only minor dropoffs on either side of 5. A 7wt would be better if you have steelhead in mind but that defeats the purpose of an all around rod.

I have a 5wt long belly WF-5F line in near new condition that would probably be quite a step up from your level line. You are welcome to it. If you would be interested drop me a PM and I can mail it out on Tuesday.

Ive
 

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Still truckless now farther away
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Take it slow and easy you can over spend for things you don't need. Your line is the most important because it has to do the work making your rod work and casting out to land where and how you want it to. If you want to stay in that 5wt. range then start looking at rods in that level and when you can cast your line on the rod you are testing. Some shops will let you do that and Some will put the line you want to try on one of their own reels for you to try. Most fish you will be after will not need a fancy reel, read expensive, the fastest way to spend a lot of extra money is to buy a expensive reel o rod. Most of the newer rods and reels in the reasonable price lines will do just fine if balanced with the proper line. So then later when you are a little more able you can update the rods and reels. Remembering to keep the best line first. rod second and the reel last. The reel becomes more inportant when you are fighting bigger fish like steelhead and you need the right drag set up. The inexpensive (now) Medalist was used to catch everything for many years and still does untill they thought of machining reels out of aluminum. It's funny but lines have only doubled and tripled in price since the big changes started rods and reels have gone up ten to twenty times, Sure they're better but not that big of a deal. good luck and enjoy your fishing experience.
 

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Fast or med-fast 9' 5wt. As mentioned before you can over/underline it one weight to get a little more versitility. The brand of rods your looking at are all good rods although you may want to add Echo and some of the budget Sage and Winston rods. (winston has many rods on clearance now which you can pick up on the cheep) For lines check out the Allen Flyfishing lines (site sponsor).
 

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A smooth 7 or fast 6...

Its not bad to over gun a fish. you have a lot more targetable species with these rods. and you can throw bigger bugs without ripping your arm out the socket.
 

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With tight money I would look into a new line for your current rod. A 5 wt is a good all round rod and you will eventually want to upgrade your rod but I think by going piece meal with your upgrade starting with the line you may find that the current rod will be useable until you can replace it. Take your rod to the your fly shop and see what they recommend for a line. I think you will find that with either a double taper or weight forward line you will find your casting improving. Personally I would think about a floating WF5 will be useable for both your current and future 5 wt rods.

I think most here will tell you that adding to our fly rod and fly fishing collections is a process for lifetime. That said with limited funds I think you will be happier to go about your upgrades slowly and as your skills improve you will be able to better determine what will be the best fit for your. This early in your fly fishing career you will find it helpful to test fish/cast various outfits from either other fly fishing buddys or at the shop.

Tight lines
Curt
 

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Learned skills from George Dickel
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I suggest a 5wt rod as meeting the most variables for trout. You can line it up or down with 4wt thru 6wt lines.
As for bass, I don't fish for them and can't help there

If you get more money, look at the Echo 2 rod. Go to a fly shop and practice with one. It has the interchangable tip feature, giving you 2 modes of action.
You might find one cheaper on the classifieds section here, but go try it out first at a shop. Its not much different in price from the TFO, Clearwater etc lines
 

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If money is tight or you have other priorities right now, take Ive up on his generous offer and use the heck out of that 5wt if that line helps. When you are finally ready to buy a new rod, you'll be much further along in the sport and you'll probably make a better choice on rod #2 than you might now.
 

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I have been fly fishing for about 43 years and caught just about every freshwater fish and the most versatile rod would be a med. fast to fast 6 wt. I think brookie hunter has a winner. You could even use it for summer run steelhead, throwing nymphs and big bass bugs. It will handle wind better than 5 wt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Wow thank you guys for your input! I hadn't even considered the idea of swapping lines, seems like a no-brainer now that I think about it. This seems like a great forum!

-Aces
 

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Great advice so far. I'm in the fast 5 opinion group, but wouldn't pass on a 6 if an unbeatable deal came along & as stated, there is room for adjustment by tweeking line weights. I also like this:
Take it slow and easy you can over spend for things you don't need.
Been cutting the air with a fly rod since I was 8-years-old (1956). Someday I'll adopt this sage bit of good advice . . . or not, lol . . .
 

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Fishon
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You should really check out Allans fly lines, unbeatable prices! Also, he does make rods, so hit up his website for his phone number and call him about that 5 or 6 wt, again I don't think you can find a better deal pricewise on his rods. Then last but not least, his reels look sick, totally inexpensive and from what I hear on these boards work really well! I just ordered my wife a pink one! :) So check out Allan (justin's) site, call him and tell him what you need, you'll have quality stuff for a fraction ofthe price of all the competitors.

Ps, I've come to find out that a 6wt would be the most versatile rod for WA. Now if you lived in CO or MT I would say a 5 wt fast action. Like has been said before, 6wt = good for small flies, larger flies, windy situations, Trout, Bass, Steel and some Salmon.
 
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