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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
I'm in the exploratory phase of buying a rod for SRC and Steelhead. My budget will probably be $175-200 so i'll be buying used.

I need to sell some items first (RC Car, etc) before I buy. Thought I would get ahead of the game and glean on the collective knowledge to find out what would be available in that price range.

Any thoughts on good rods? Recommendations? Offers?
 

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Separate rods. 6 weight for src. 6 weight for summer steelhead, or a 7 if you want one rod to cover winter and summer steelhead goals.

The takeaway though, is that a 7 or 8 is way too much for cuttys. You want a 6 or even a 5 for those - and that depends on if your mostly casting in the beach (6), or estuaries and upper tide lines (5 is fine).
 

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Realistically even the biggest SRC are 4wt fish, people use 5's or 6's from the beach mainly due to wind. In a river there is no need for anything bigger than a 4.

For summer steelhead use a 6 or a 7.

For winter steelhead use a 7 or a 8.

For all around PNW fishing having a 6 and an 8 will serve you well. There are very few fish that one of those rods won't work well for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yeah, I've spoken to a few more experienced flyfishermen about this topic. Since I'm so new, I think it's best to focus on rivers and streams for trout and coastal areas for SRC with my existing 5wt which should handle both no problem. Reason being that steelhead is a finicky beast and probably left to the more experienced.
 

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If you already have a 5, get a 7 or 8 for steelhead and salmon (if the season ever opens again).

For the budget you stated I really like the St Croix Imperial rods. I have the 9'-6" 8wt and it's a great rod.
 

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Since I need a good break from work, I thought I'd add more...

I concur w Stuart on all mentioned. Though personal preferences will differ from angler to angler and that's really developed through experience. Examples for SRC:
  • I mostly fish for SRC in S.Sound or Hood Canal. In the former, wind is usually mild and I've found a 5 to be fine for me. I also like the feel of a SRC on a lighter rod. Fun! In Hood Canal, I often encounter some stout wind in some locations and most definitely like medium flex 6 wt, and sometimes even a firm 6wt (I'll leave brands out of the equation here). But there's a downside to that in that there's less feel on the play once you hook 'em.
  • Fishing for SRC in protected estuaries and upriver, I'll actually pull out the 4 weight as Stuart mentions. It's a 9'6" 4, and it pulls double duty on the Yakima for nymphing and/or when the wind is mellow for drys.
So, as far as the SRC game, it's always a balance between fun and feel with a lighter set up, and a bit more ability to punch a cast through varying conditions and locations with a heavier set up. I enjoy the cast, and often "sight" fish for SRCs, but this has been a preference I've developed over time. So the rod I use the most for SRC based on this is the medium/mid 6 weight (9'6"). I don't need it to throw big stuff to SRCs that's for sure.

The other side of that coin is that fishing for SRCs, you just don't need to bomb casts 80+ feet. I find SRCs are 60 feet from the water line or less. When I spot one rising, the cast only needs to be 40-50 feet at most. But sometimes making a bit farther cast means you can let the line sink a little extra long and then you're covering a bit more area - especially good for those casts that aren't 90 degrees straight out into the water.

Adrian, I imagine you've got a 5 weight already. Have you tried taking that out for SRCs? I'd start there and see how it works out for you in various scenarios as I've mentioned above. There's no need to get a specific rod for them if you're just learning how to find and catch SRCs.

For summer steelhead, I personally won't throw anything heavier than a 6 weight whether it's swinging or single-hand. And for winter steelhead, I used to fish an 13'6" 8 weight but I (again, personally), got to the point where I felt that's overkill. I use nothing bigger than a 12'6" 7 weight for swinging, and if I'm indicator/nymph fishing for winter fish, a 9'6", 8 weight just for hucking all that weight.

You didn't mention your experience level, but to sum, you might start out SRC with your 5, and invest that $200 in a 7 weight single hander and you can cover practically every large fish scenario around here. Hard to recommend rods to you when you're thinking used... just no way to tell how much someone might ask for what.

Good luck on the SRC game ;)
 
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