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BenjlanDecember 26th, 2010, 7:39 pm
Cedar Rapids lowa

Posts: 54
Hey y'all, here in Iowa, thinking about a new rod. Currently have a 7ft 9in 3 wt St Croix Avid a 8ft 6in 5wt Avid for my trout rods and Sage smallmouth and largemouth for my bass rods. My question is I really love the avids would I see a big performance boost in going with a more expensive rod. I am thinking about a 4&6wt in the avid line. Any suggestions? I like the moderate action of the avids and do not like a faster rod probally because of my casting ability. Thanks for any suggestions in advance. Ben
WbranchDecember 27th, 2010, 5:17 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2724
Hello Ben,

As an owner of over twenty-five fly rods I don't believe you are going to see an expotential improvement in a fly rod costing a lot more money compared to rods you already own. I used to buy only high end rods like Sage, Loomis, and Gatti. But when the price tags of those name rod makers got over $400 I just could no longer afford, or justify, spending that much money for a fly rod.

I think one of the only reasons many fly rods cost so much money is there they are made in far fewer numbers than the lesser priced models. The manufacturer has to pass along his R&D and marketing expenses onto the customer. To see my point look at the cost of the spinning rods offered by Sage or Loomis - their high end rods are going to cost less than their fly rods because more spinning rods are bought thereby allowing the selling price to be lower.

A couple of years ago I started buying the mid price point rods offered by the major rod makers that are manufactured offshore. Those rods now have excellent tapers, blanks, hardware, and workmanship. They cost about one half as much as the flag ship rods of those rod makers.

I have a Wright & McGill 9' #5 4 piece and a Sage Flight 9' #4 4 piece that are both great casting rods and the multi piece construction allows me to pack them in my rolling duffle bag for safe air travel. The W&M cost about $200 and the Flight was $330. Another great casting rod, with very nice components, and American made is the Buelah "Guide Series". I have the 9' #5 4 piece and used it almost exclusively during my 2010 Montana trip and it performed as well as any of my friends rods costing twice as much.

One last thought though if you really want a high end American made state-of-the-art fly rod and have the wherewithal to buy it then by all means buy it and enjoy yourself. I still fish with my $350 - $400 fly rods (which would cost $600 - $700 today) but they look no better, nor cast any further, than the three rods mentioned above.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
BenjlanDecember 27th, 2010, 6:23 am
Cedar Rapids lowa

Posts: 54
Wbranch, Thanks for your honest reply,I have been on other sites and thought wow these people must work for the big names. I am thinking of buying a 9ft 4wt for nymphing and a 9ft 6wt for streamers. Any thoughts on actions for these. I was thinking a faster action would probally be better for nymphs. Any thoughts? Ben
ShantiDecember 27th, 2010, 6:24 am

Posts: 95
Hi Benjlan!

I can only refer to trout rods. Never even seen a bass nor with a big or a small mouth.

A nice flyrod that suits me is important to me.
Any flyrod would cast the distances I usually fish at, and they would catch me fish. But a flyrod that really fits in the hand is something beautiful. Perhaps it's not the most expensive or has the coolest name on it, the importnat thing is the chemistry between you and the rod.

I'm quite picky when it comes to rods actually. Nowadays I can afford to be.
The thing is to try, try, try, different rods. Not only in front of the tackle shop, but if possible, also on the water.
The ideal thing, in my point of view, is to have one made that suits you.
A bamboo rod-maker that you can discuss a suitable taper and design, with. That of course, will cost a couple of bucks.

I personally use the Orvis Superfine rods, and I dont feel I have to look for anything else.
Somewhere, right now, a fish is rising.
And youre at the computer..
BenjlanDecember 27th, 2010, 8:29 am
Cedar Rapids lowa

Posts: 54
Thanks Shanti for the advice. I've only been fly fishing for 3 years now sold the boat and have not looked back. I really do enjoy the long walks into reaches people do not often go. If I catch a trout it's a bonus.

WbranchDecember 27th, 2010, 12:09 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2724
Hi Benjlan,

You wrote: "I was thinking a faster action would probally be better for nymphs. Any thoughts?"

Where did you read that? Did someone tell you that or is it just something that popped into your head?

I disagree that a faster rod would be better for nymph work. Of course any action rod; fast, medium, parabolic, will work reasonably well in the hands of a skillful fly fisher. But IMO the modern fast tip rods were designed more for dry fly casting where tight loops and quick, repetitive, casting strokes are required during the false casting and fly delivery. I fish dry flies most of the time and all of my favorite dry fly rods are very fast. I like this action so I can quickly lift the line, execute a snap back cast or two to dry the fly, then complete a forward cast to drop the fly where I know a fish is rising.

I prefer more moderate action rods for nymph and streamer work where the flies may be weighted or more air resistant. One thing about fly fishing and tackle is it is hard to get two guys to agree about the same rod, fly, or anything to do with the sport. So you can be sure that at least half a dozen guys are going to disagree with me. But I'm speaking from my experience and my preferences and my successes.

I use fast, to very fast, rods for trout and medium action rods for steelhead and smallmouth bass.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
SofthackleDecember 27th, 2010, 10:29 pm
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Hi Ben,
For what it is worth, St Croix rods are very good, well made, and will work just as well as the higher end rods. Myself, I don't like fast action rods, although they seem to be the norm, now. For me moderate action is best. You feel it more, it gives better action,there is more finesse, and it'll still do the job of landing larger fish.

Everyone has a different preference. I guess that's why there are SO many rods available. One suggestion-buy a rod that is long as you dare use for where you will fish. A long rod means less line on the water, giving you more control of it.

"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders:
ShantiDecember 28th, 2010, 3:43 am

Posts: 95
"Thanks Shanti for the advice. I've only been fly fishing for 3 years now sold the boat and have not looked back. I really do enjoy the long walks into reaches people do not often go. If I catch a trout it's a bonus.


Thats all you need.
Many people have to spend many years of catching fish, before reaching that insight.

Having that insight will make your sport cheaper, richer, more relaxed and more life-enhanching.
Somewhere, right now, a fish is rising.
And youre at the computer..
BenjlanDecember 28th, 2010, 7:28 am
Cedar Rapids lowa

Posts: 54
Thanks Soft Hackle, thinking of a Avid 9ft 4wt for nymphs. We have very small spring creeks here in Iowa with lots of over hanging trees. I have to do a whole lot of roll casting. A friend told me about the faster rods but I was not sure. The mod. Avids seem to be a very good fit for me. I like to take my time when I actually get a chance to cast.


MartinlfDecember 30th, 2010, 1:54 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3161

I am 100% in agreement with what West Branch said.

Many people I know like moderate action rods for nymphing and streamers--and for wet fly fishing. In general, the rod you feel most comfortable with will perform best for you.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
WbranchDecember 30th, 2010, 3:51 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2724
Hi Louis,

"I am 100% in agreement with what West Branch said."

Well at least there is someone who agrees with my opinion!

Happy New Year to you, your family, and everyone else at

I'm looking forward to at least as much time on the rivers in 2011 as in 2010. I hope to get together with you on the system during 2010.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
BenjlanDecember 30th, 2010, 5:21 pm
Cedar Rapids lowa

Posts: 54
Hey ya'll,
I bought a 9' 4wt Avid for nymphs, works great and I see what you mean. I spent more time roll casting and that rod is perfect. The longer rod helps keep more line off the water, easier to mend, and it's just plain perfect. Thanks. I also spent some time with some drys with my 7'9" avid. The rod is a moderate action but I'm a slow caster so it suits me fine. Caught some small brookies that were stocked last fall, had a nice brown on but lost control of the line (cold fingers) and he was off. I know why we use barbless hooks but darn it. Thanks for all the input. I'm curious, never been out of Iowa trout streams what does everyone else use for length and weight? I'm thinking this spring I need to broaden my horizons and meet some new folks.

WbranchDecember 31st, 2010, 12:50 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2724
Hi Benjlan,

"I'm curious, never been out of Iowa trout streams what does everyone else use for length and weight"

Of the over two dozen fly rods I have most of them are either 8 1/2' or 9'. In line weights from #3 - #10. But most of the line weights are #4 & #5. I have one 6 1/2' rod for little streams, one 8' for medium streams, one 10' #8 for big steelhead rivers, and a 11' 3" #6 switch rod for nymphing the Erie steelhead creeks.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Jmd123January 2nd, 2011, 11:33 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2531
My current arsenal of fly rods:

Cabela's Three Forks 7 1/2' 3-weight 3-piece - this is currently my favorite rod and I landed three really nice bass on it last summer, and although one does not typically think of a 3-weight when fishing for bass this rod throws weighted Woolly Buggers, KBFs, and even small poppers well;

Cabela's Three Forks 8 1/2' 5-weight 4-piece - until I got the rod above this was my go-to rod for general fly fishing for trout, bass, and panfish, and will be called upon when more distance and larger flies are required; and

Cabelas's L-Tech 9' 8-weight 4-piece - for steelhead (if I ever actually catch one), large bass flies, northern pike, salmon, if I ever get to vacation on a coast other than the Great Lakes, etc...

Can you tell I like Cabela's? Suits my budget as an underemployed and underpayed biologist...

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
BenjlanJanuary 3rd, 2011, 8:06 pm
Cedar Rapids lowa

Posts: 54

I can tell you do like Cabelas. I looked at them too. I just ordered a lamiglas 7' 3wt fiberglass. It's supposed to be slow action like the old bamboo rods. I ordered it from a custom rod wrapper or maker, not sure what to call him the blank is already made he just wraps it. I don't know the first thing about it. Got a super price (I Think) and free shipping. The company is out of Oregon. Cooks of Oregon I think the name was, 145.00 dollars! What sort of Biology are you in. I met a biologist last year from Nebraska at one of my favorite streams here in Iowa. His niche was fish medicines for fish farms. Real nice guy, but for the most part never met a ff I didn't like. I'm sure there is one out there but haven't met him or her yet.

Tight Lines,
Jmd123January 3rd, 2011, 10:58 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2531
Ben, I do environmental consulting, primarily wetland delineations, threatened & endangered species surveys, general biological surveys, and aquatic entomology (also terrestrial entomology as well). I have a BS in botany and a MS in entomology (almost did a PhD in aquatic entomology). I've been in the private consulting sector since 1998. Work has been pretty scarce for about three years now but it is looking better for the new year.

I actually did encounter a fly fisherman I didn't like! He was rude, boorish, condescending (assumed I was a rank beginner when I have actually been throwing flies for over 25 years), overbearing (I couldn't hardly get a word in edgewise), insulted my choice of tackle, etc. He even whacked his fly rod against mine so hard I had to check for damage! I'm not sure why I actually gave him my email, but when he wrote to me I told him what a complete a**hole I thought he was in no uncertain terms. Most fortunately, he's been the only one in over 25 years. Beware, they are out there, though in my neck of the woods they're obviously pretty rare!

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
WbranchJanuary 4th, 2011, 12:04 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2724

"He was rude, boorish, condescending (assumed I was a rank beginner when I have actually been throwing flies for over 25 years), overbearing (I couldn't hardly get a word in edgewise), insulted my choice of tackle, etc."

That sounds like many of the guys I run into on the rivers I fish.

Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
BenjlanJanuary 4th, 2011, 5:52 pm
Cedar Rapids lowa

Posts: 54
Hey Ya'll,

I guess I have been very lucky, or maybe just oblivious to that sort of person. I find being very green to the sport I have to really concentrate on the task at hand, my casting has improved(I think) don't know anyone that ff's but it is just starting to feel better and not so labored. I started off with a real piece of junk rod with terrible line and a garage sale bought auto reel. After struggling with that I put it on the back burner for a year. The next year I bought a St. Croix Avid form a fly shop and a used Cortland crown reel some good line leader and tippet. Instant improvement, Those cheap junk rods are just that, CHEAP JUNK. Since then I have bought more rods reels and equipment and feeling good about what I'm doing. So anyway the only ones that seem to get under my skin are are the bait fishers. Constantly throwing over my line, stomping up and down the banks, leaving they're trash laying around, and in general just p***ing me off. What do I do.... smile and walk away! But they are all not like that a good portion of them though. So with that off my chest if anyone is coming to Iowa let me know, it would be good to fish with a real fisherman.

Jmd123January 5th, 2011, 7:53 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2531
Matt, you've mentioned these folks before. My condolences, you must fish in a rather rough neighborhood! Maybe us Michigan folk are just a nicer bunch, as yes, he is really the only one I've ever run into. Everyone else has been a true gentleman (sadly, don't run into hardly any women), courteous in sharing waters and wisdom. I don't know, maybe this guy was just having a bad day, but he sure didn't make mine any better...fortunately, I caught plenty of fish anyway...

Ben, I have found Cabela's to be a great sorce of "cheap" rods that aren't all that cheap when it comes to performance. Those Three Forks rods that I mentioned only run in the $50-$70 range, yet I absolutely LOVE the way they cast! I do a lot of lake and pond fishing these days for bass & panfish and I always go for distance to cover the most water (and fish) possible, and I can fling some serious line with these rods, even the little 7 1/2' 3-wt. and with weighted Woolly Buggers and small popping bugs. And I landed a 5-lb.-class smallie on it last year!! The only disadvantage is that they are not very durable in the cork grips, which may come apart after a few seasons, but they are really good at replacing their products and you can probably fix them yourself with a little glue anyways. They even replaced a rod that I slammed the tip off of in my apartment door, no questions asked! That 9' 8-wt. L-Tech rod feels more like a 5-wt. to me, much relief when casting for long periods for steelhead (still haven't caught one but as they say, hope springs eternal...) and it lob-casts pretty darned good with a heavily weighted streamer...

Just my 2 cents on rods...

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
PaulRobertsJanuary 8th, 2011, 9:03 am

Posts: 1776
I've only seen an advantage of more costly graphites with longer rods. Eight feet and under and the rigidity is there with any modern graphites. But 8-1/2 up is where I save my pennies.

I don't specifically know Avids but from other St Croix rods I've seen my guess is they are just fine out a ways. You'll have to decide. Nothing beats going and looking at some somewhere.

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