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> > YES! another rod question

DerelictNovember 6th, 2011, 3:39 pm
Posts: 1Ive been fly fishing for about a year now and have used a few different rods (lengths, makes and weights) and the time has come to plunk down and buy one. Im looking at the major names that offer no question warranties and make them in the USA. I live in Va and fish WVa and Va but have access to some killer water in Colorado and camp a lot so the rod will have to be able to handle small water as well as medium sized rivers (like tributaries). Being on the East coast, trees are everywhere so size is a priority and I have a habit of casting pretty quickly and not waiting so Im guessing a fast action? So, I have some general questions:

Difference between the flex areas (tip, mid)?
What weight would be a good do everything (5 or 6)?
What length would work well for tight, small waters as well as casting across larger waters?

I was out in Colorado over the summer and had the opportunity to land some killer natural rainbows and brookies (biggest was about 17") with my sisters outfit (I believe a Scott 6wt). It was a nice set up but I have no idea the specs of it.

So, any suggestions on a great all around length and weight for everything from small 6" trout to 17"+ monsters?

Thanks! I gave it a shot through the use of a few loaner rods (Orvis, Scott, G. Loomis, and one other I cannot recall) and reels but now need to get my own setup. Im hooked.
WbranchNovember 6th, 2011, 6:11 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
Wow, a lot of questions in one thread! I'll go out on a limb and suggest an 8 1/2' mid flex (rod will bend/flex smoothly from about half way point to the tip) designed for a #5 weght line. I think there are a few rod companies, TFO comes to mind, that make rods with two distinctly different tips. One ligher than the other so you could use a #4 line and as your casting skills improve it is entirely possible you could line up to a #6. Now you would be able to cast an entire gamut of flies from #20 to #4 and maybe #2 streamers just by changing tips and the speed of your casting stroke.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Jmd123November 6th, 2011, 6:32 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2611
Derelict, Matt's advice is good (he is quite the veteran of the sport). A great all-around rod is an 8 1/2-foot 5-weight. For smaller, tighter waters, I favor a 7- to 7 1/2-foot 3 weight. You'll find it easier to cast under trees and shrubs, and the lighter line won't hit the water quite as hard if spooky fish are a problem. In fact, I have a 7 1/2-foot 3-weight that has become my go-to rod for nearly all situations, including some really nice smallmouth (such as the 18-incher in my photo at left), but I have been doing this for 26 years. As a novice, the 8 1/2-foot 5-weight is good for your first rod and will serve you well in the vast majority of trout-fishing situations (as well as bass and panfish, if you are so inclined as I am), and later on when you get more experience you can add to your arsenal with different lengths and weights for more specialized situations. Welcome to the site and good luck!!

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
SayfuNovember 7th, 2011, 8:42 am
Posts: 560
I like to get into rods, and rod actions, and all the smallest of nuances, but, I have concluded that a rod choice is a personal one to make. Different strokes for different folks. Some anglers have an aggressive stroke that easily flexes a stiffer rod, while other anglers want the rod to do the work, and have an easy, relaxing stroke. And there are many other reasons for preferring a certain action rod. I'm not sure TFO rods are made in the states? Their price points lead me to believe they may not be, but I could be wrong. Most USA made rods start well above where a lot of TFO models price in at. Guarantees are another topic of discussion. An insurance policy is built into the cost of a rod, and it is expensive. How much I couldn't quote, but Sage's $700 Sage "One" new model definitely has a considerable amount of insurance dollars built in like all the expensive rods have built in.
WbranchNovember 7th, 2011, 11:50 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
Most every top of the line USA rod maker now is making rods in China or other asian countries. There was a time when they first started having rods made off shore when they were just junk but they all seem to have gone through those initial hiccups and many of the rods are very nice.

I bought a Sage Flight 9' #4 4 piece two years ago so it would fit in my roller duffle and it is easily as nice a rod as some of my older Sage rods made here in the USA. The price was $330 or about what I paid for my Sage LL 9' #4 twenty years ago!
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
StrmanglrNovember 7th, 2011, 11:56 am
Posts: 156
TFO rods are built overseas. That said I've had my eye on one for about two years now. I would buy one in a heartbeat. imo, great buy for the money, lifetime no excuse warranty. NO rod warrants a price tag of $700 dollars. I understand there is a great deal of research and engineering, and yes they cast like a dream, but for that much they should almost cast themselves. If I was making great money I still don't think I could spend that much.

I think it's like anything else, there is the cheap, the worthy and the ridiculous. I own a lower end worthy rod I bought cheap. They are out there, check craigslist and the like.

The tfo rod I've been looking at is an 8 1/2' med-fast action like what Wbranch is talking of. That one is about $130.00. Scott rods are upper end stuff, $$$$. I don't think a fast action is as good as all might say, you need to be able to do finesse things with it in small tight spaces sometimes and I think a slower action than fast works better.
OldredbarnNovember 7th, 2011, 12:26 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608
my Sage LL 9' #4 twenty years ago!

I've said it before Matt, I love my Sage LL 9', but mine's a 5wt...That rod was a gem! Is a gem.

my sisters outfit (I believe a Scott 6wt
Derelict, I was kind of wondering, "Why not this one?" I don't know which model she's fishing with but a Scott used to be a fair rod.

Since you are just starting out you may not know of Joe Humphreys. He is well known for casting on small streams in what appears to be a jungle. I asked him, at a show, what rod he uses for this assuming like most, that a small rod would make more sense. He prefer's an 8.5 or 9' rod but like Matt up there he's fond of 4wts...

My suggestion would be to get yourself an "all-rounder" like Matt is suggesting 8.5 5wt...Or a 6wt may be more forgiving for someone just starting out...Find yourself a good book on casting or someone you know who could help you out and practise; in a field, in a gym, across a pond, etc...Not while fishing. Once you get good enough that you are actually able to discern the differences between rods and whatever your needs might be, then you can expand your collection...

Matt and old Joe Humphrey's could probably pick up any rod in their collection and pick your pocket with it. It took them years to be as good as they are...They have earned those skills. You will get there as well if you do the prep...In most cases, IMHO, it's not the rod, but the person holding it that makes the difference.

Then, once you become obsessive, you can spend the rest of your life trying to own as many "sticks" as Matt does...:) Good luck with that! ;)

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
SofthackleNovember 7th, 2011, 12:46 pm
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Do not underestimate the TFO Rods. They are quite nice, perform well, are recommended by many well-known fly anglers (who are not associated with the company.), and they carry a lifetime, no-fault warranty. I also own a St. Croix I truly love and purchased reasonably.

"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:
SayfuNovember 7th, 2011, 2:39 pm
Posts: 560Stramangir.."No rod warrants a $700.00 price tag." Got to disagree with you on that one. Consider everything from the built in cost of the guarantee, expensive guides and parts, and the bottomline is the market determines the justification. Orvis' $700 expensive rod just went past the 10,000 rods sold mark. And remember, many decades ago anglers were willing to pay over a $1,000 and more for a nicely made bamboo rod.
FalsiflyNovember 7th, 2011, 3:03 pm
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 661
I have a habit of casting pretty quickly and not waiting so Im guessing a fast action?

We all have acquired a habit in one form or another and more than likely we all have a favorite rod depending on the fishing situation. But accepting a casting habit and trying to find a rod to match may prove counterproductive. To match rod action to a beginners casting stoke is futile. There has to be an introduction to rod action to begin with, be it slow or fast. The casting stroke is then developed around the rod in his/her hand. Once the person begins to feel comfortable with that particular rod action it becomes easy to dismiss different action as in.. they dont fit my casting stroke, or.

I think that in order to take full advantage of rod action it is best to acquire the ability to match the casting stroke to the rod, and to do it in just a few strokes. Once you have learned the ability to match your casting stroke to the rod in hand you may still have a favorite, but you will then appreciate the nuances and take better advantage of their capability.

Years ago I invited my son to spend a week of fishing with me out west. This was the final week of five. I had spent every day of the preceding weeks fishing with my Scott; a moderate action in my opinion. I offered my fly rodless son two choices; my moderate action Scott or my fast action St. Croix. Both of which I had used extensively in the past years, but was drawn to the Scott as a favorite. After casting both he chose the St. Croix. Toward the end of that week we for some reason switched rods. Now be reminded that I had been fishing the Scott everyday for almost five weeks now. When I first cast that St. Croix there was absolutely nothing in it that resembled the Scott, It took me a few cast to get my speed up. But what struck me most was that after a while I had started asking myself why the Scott had become my favorite?
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
OldredbarnNovember 7th, 2011, 3:39 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608

Worth the price of admission, those first two paragraphs of yours above, no doubt!

I have made the comparison with pool cues here before...In my youth I kept myself and friends in beers with the house cue. Anyone with extra dollars to spend can buy one of those fancy-dan cues and show up with it in a lined case etc...Their beers somehow tasted sweeter to me when they lost.

This is not to say I'm interested in bargain fly-rods because I'm not. But your point was that a skilled caster will find what any particular rod is capable of...The fella just starting out does not need to drop a bundle for a rod when he's not even sure if fly-fishing is his thing...It's a process and to me that is part of its attraction...I might be totally bored if there wasn't always something to learn and our sport is good at keeping our interest.

I remember when I first started out I had an opportunity to purchase a nice 3wt from a guy who was giving up the sport. It became my dream Trico rod. At that time I would say I was a fair to middling caster...The rod sat for a few years before I fished it again. I remember telling my friend who had talked me in to buying it just how great of a rod it was...He said something along the lines of, "Spence. The rod hasn't changed one bit. You have just become a better caster."


PS...My very 1st rod (Loomis IMX 8.5 5wt) was built by my friend from blanks...
He has since built me three more rods from scratch as well...If you are so lucky you can save quite a bit by doing it this way...He loves to build rods, he's great at it, and it only cost me materials. Watching him do it was yet another aspect of our sport that was an eye opener for me and interesting as hell. 1995 for my trip to Montana (Sage RPL 8' for 4wt, and a Sage RPL 9' for 5wt), and finally a Sage 9' for 5wt Light Line Series that he wishes he'd never let me take off his hands! :) When I told him that everything fly fishing of mine is in my will as going to him he smiled and said, "Spence. Have I ever shown you Black Bend or maybe the Whirlpool hole?" ;) Two "Holy Water" spots that will try your wading skills. Hmmmm.

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
JesseNovember 7th, 2011, 8:14 pm
Posts: 378
Ok the first thing you should consider is the fact that you have only been flying for about a year. This means you shouldn't go expensive while at the same time getting a good quality rod. To fulfill both these needs you should really consider getting either a TFO or a ST. Croix. However, if i was you i would go with a TFO, preferably a professional series. They're a great rod for the price, made in the US of A and have a lifetime warranty. What more could you ask for?

tip vs mid flex - the tip flex is a stiffer rod that uses just the tip to fling the line out there. Mostly wanted by fast casters. Because of their speed, they cast longer distances and can hold heavier weights. The mid flex uses half the rod to get the fly out there. Gentler presentations come with a med flex along with a little more time in between casting strokes. Both great for different situations. But if your wanting something that can go from small to relatively large water, and your action is still fast, i would go tip flex. I woudn't worry about getting into 'individual situations' and what rod to use for them, because then we would all need to have atleast 50 different rods.

Go with a 5wt just because its a perfect happy medium. And depending on just how much 'small stream' 'tight cover' casting you will be doing, a 7 1/2 to 8 footer would do.

Beside from that you mentioned a great rod for 6' - 20' inch fish. The 5wt in a 7 1/2 -8 1/2 would be great. But if you think you are going to mostly be fishing small stuff, a nice 8' 4wt would be great. And it CAN land the big boys too.

Don't let the rod choosing complicate you to much because it has potential to get confusing.
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.
StrmanglrNovember 8th, 2011, 11:09 am
Posts: 156
Stramangir.."No rod warrants a $700.00 price tag." Got to disagree with you on that one. Consider everything from the built in cost of the guarantee, expensive guides and parts, and the bottomline is the market determines the justification. Orvis' $700 expensive rod just went past the 10,000 rods sold mark. And remember, many decades ago anglers were willing to pay over a $1,000 and more for a nicely made bamboo rod.

Sayfu, I could make a $2000 dollar rod and people would buy it. How many may be something different. As we have said a TFO rod has a lifetime warranty and works great. How many rods has TFO sold? Fly fishing is an affluent sport, not everyone who does it is though. For one it's just not necessary, second these companies are raping people at 700 dollars. The cost they have in that rod is ridicously small compared to the price they are charging. Granted most of that cost is not actually in the parts themselves as much as the engineering it takes to create it. I happened to see a cost sheet for a dealer of TFO rods, his cost was exactly half of what he was selling it for.

I met a gentleman who was a part of fff, he had a bamboo fly rod and I saw it was signed. I'm sure he spent a fortune on it, or someone did. But at that point it becomes more than just catching fish. I don't blame people for wanting a sweet !@#$%^&* rod and reel. I would like to have a nicer rod and reel, but I can continue to catch just as many fish without it.
That's a good comparison between rods, some are up there in price.

Jmd123November 8th, 2011, 11:56 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2611
I guess I'll have to put my 2 cents in here once again. I don't make much, well, hardly ANY money, being a part-time environmental consultant and a part-time community college teacher - both VERY part-time if you know what I mean. I simply can't afford any expensive and even most mid-priced fly rods, unless I want to be late on my rent or utility bills! My favorite rod right now, the Cabelas Three Forks 7.5-foot 3-weight, cost me all of $50. That's right, you heard right, FIFTY BUCKS. And I just love it! I have landed smallmouth bass up to 19.5" long on the darned thing, and I can even throw full-sized bass bugs on it (not very far, but far enough to catch some really nice largemouth). And it works wonderfully for both the smaller trout streams I like to fish and for pond and lake fishing, including in my kayak. EVERY FISH I have posted photos of on this site has been caught on that rod! It might not last as long as a more expensive rod and does not have a lifetime guarantee (whatever that means - what if you break it after they've discontinued the model you like the most??), but I am able to do everything I want with this rod and I've been throwing flies for 26 years now. It does come with a one-year guarantee and I bought another year on it for a few bucks more, and if it does break after 2 years it's only FIFTY BUCKS for a new one! A decent bluegill or brookie will bend it right over, yet as I said I have landed 4-5 lb. bass on it (see my photo at left, that's one of them).

All I am saying here is, it's not the price of the rod or where it's made, but the skill of the fisherman that makes the difference. To each their own, according to their needs and, most importantly, their budget. I'm not saying anyone else should go cheap if you don't have to, but I have to and yet it works for me.

OK, that's my 2 cents.

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
KeystonerNovember 10th, 2011, 1:30 am
Eugene, OR - formerly Eastern PA

Posts: 145
Strmanglr, I am with you on this one. Maybe I'm a little short sighted here, but no fishing pole is worth $700. At the end of the day, it's just a stick. Granted a VERY nice stick, but still just a stick. I've purcahsed cars for less than $700!!!!

I have only been fly fishing now for a little under 4 years, and I have only purchased/used TFO rods. Mainly this is due to financial concerns, but you know, they work just fine. I also agree that if I had all the money in the world, I still wouldn't pay any more than say, $300 for a rod. It's uneccesary, and quite frankly, it excludes people based on their net worth. Also, I'm not an industry insider, but there's NO WAY these companies have spent anywhere near what they are charging for these high end rods, in the making of them. It's all about what people will pay. Even a SAGE decal cost $10.00!! It's rediculous. Granted, I have never used these rods (too poor) but I still say that 90% of what your buying is a logo. One of the things that REALLY bothers me about our fair sport is how expensive the gear is, just because. Seems a little less than righteous to this angler.

Derelict, my recomondation is a TFO, the model is up to you. Although an 8' 5 WT sounds like it would be good for you. Maybe a 7'6" 4WT. Hey, really for what you would pay for some rods you could buy an entire quiver from TFO. All the best, and welcome to the site!!!!
"Out into the cool of the evening, strolls the Pretender. He knows that all his hopes and dreams, begin and end there." -JB
EntomanNovember 10th, 2011, 4:16 am
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
There are poles and then there are rods. I have my share of both but prefer to fish with the latter.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
SayfuNovember 10th, 2011, 9:18 am
Posts: 560 Entomen. One of my first jobs was Tackle Mgr. for Eddie Bauer in their flagship, Seattle store. I took over for a legion, Earl Younglove, who was a starter for the WA huskies football team in his day. The guy was regarded as a top notch fly angler, and would cringe, and stop anyone that called a fine flyrod a "Pole". It was definitely a 4 letter word. And Earl was one of the few I've ever witnessed use that loop at the bottom of a vest for what it was intended for..I think. He fished the Yakima River in Eastern WA. and would take two rods, one secured in his best with the butt of the rod in the loop, and the rest of the rod fasted by the button strap on the vest. He would fish through a run, most often with an elk-haired caddis, and then go back to the top of the run, and change rods, and go through using a royal coachman. I could be wrong, he may have fished them in reverse was a long time ago.
FalsiflyNovember 10th, 2011, 10:28 am
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 661
Is it a rod? Is it a pole? Or is it a matter of semantics? You decide, but this is a pole.

I wish I could remember, but it seems to me that there was a well known writer that made a rather humorous distinction between a rod and a pole. Gierach maybe?

When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
OldredbarnNovember 10th, 2011, 11:36 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608

I listened to an interesting story this morning on public radio as my wife and I drove in to work. The woman who wrote and was reporting the story remembered, as a child, watching Mr. Rogers on the TV. One of her favorite things that he would do on his show was when he visited different manufacturer's so the kids could see how, an upright bass was made, their crayons, a trumpet, and rubber balls, etc. It was the precursor to "How Things are Made" that's on TV now. :)

She decided it would be fun to re-visit the same places that Mr. Rogers had visited when she was a kid to see how they are doing these days. She went to the place where they made rubber balls and spoke with the owner of the company. He was saying that folks now-a-days want to pay, will only pay, 99 cents for that ball...This 99 cents, he said, is actually cheaper than that same ball was selling for in 1967. His balls are now made in China and the factory that Mr. Rogers visited here is closed...

I'm not sure why you are having "financial concerns", but...I'm just saying...The owner said he could no longer afford to pay the higher wages and benefits of his employees here State side...

I know now it was due to WWII and the racism that grew from the war etc, but as a child in the late 50's/early 60's we would consider anything made in Japan as junk...Made in Japan equalled junk to our young kid's mind. China/Vietnam are the new junk makers...We just can't get enough of it.

After the early days of capitalism/industrial revolution here in our country we discovered that we had wasted our eastern trout streams, stunk up the air so bad we had to create a "Clean Air Act", gave our workers a fair wage, health benefits, and didn't chain them to a machine (literally) and gave them a reasonable work shift etc...Civilization costs.

It somehow doesn't seem to matter to us here that all the things we learned had to be changed are taking place somewhere else out of our eye-sight and therefore, "out-of-sight-out-of-mind". No labor laws, no environmental restrictions, you want to use lead paint, no problem...All so we only have to pay 99 cents for a rubber ball that if my child were to swallow a paint chip from it...Well you get the picture.

It's uneccesary, and quite frankly, it excludes people based on their net worth.

Not sure where you are going with this exactly...It reminded me of a novel by Kurt Vonnegut called, "The Sirens of Titan"...There is an allegory/spoof in that book about a made up society where they were extremely concerned with equality...If you were a faster runner than most, for example, they would load you down with weights (like they do with race horses) to make the race "fair"...If one person was better looking than another the powers-that-be would suggest doing things to basically ugly yourself up...

I'm not too sure what's going on here these days...We no longer aspire for things, like quality or craftsmanship or something we can't own today...We prefer the lowest common denominator and that is basically what we are going to end up with.

If I desire to own one day a Paul Summers cane rod that may run in the neighborhood of $3,000...I'm no longer "righteous"? I'm an elitist snob, and this is up to you to decide? I don't own said rod, but I'm a bit old-school and I'm "saving up" for it...When I finally can swing it I will appreciate it even more and will know its worth.

I really have no problem with you fishing with any damn rod you please or can afford. I mean this. I'm just worried that if I want something better one day it may no longer exist and I'll have to be happy with my made in Vietnam sold at Wal-mart ugly-stick...


I'm gonna make a chicken gumbo
Toss some sausage in the pot
I'm gonna flavor it with okra
CAYENNE pepper to make it hot
You know life is what we make of it
So beautiful or so what
I'm gonna tell my kids a bedtime story
A play without a plot
Will it have a happy ending?
Maybe yeah, Maybe not
I tell them life is what you make of it
So beautiful or so what
So beautiful, so beautiful
So what

I'm just a raindrop in a bucket
A coin DROPPED in a slot
I am an empty house on Weed Street
Across the road from a vacant lot
You know life is what you make of it
So beautiful or so what

Aint it strange the way we're ignorant
How we seek out bad advice
How we jigger it and figure it
Mistaking value for the price
And play a game with time and Love
Like a pair of rolling dice
So beautiful, so beautiful
So what

Paul Simon, "So Beautiful or So What"
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
OldredbarnNovember 10th, 2011, 12:03 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608

You posted your video while I was blathering on above...I guess that's Tenaka to the extreme! :) I just hope the guy doesn't forget those are wax worms and confuses them with his trail-mix. Ouch!

That part where he loads up the ole' sling-shot and "chums" the pond with them would be considered illegal here in Michigan...Not that I have never ever let my splash wash some Brown Drake stillborns from under a dock or two out in to the bubble-stream...;)

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood

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