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> > need help deciding on a 3 wt rod combo

Cptenn94May 31st, 2015, 6:18 pm
Chattanooga

Posts: 17
Hello today I need some advice on which 3 wt rod I should get.


I already have a wild water 5/6 rod. I am unsure how it casts because it is the only rod I have used, and I have not yet received instruction on how to cast properly(I have tried to follow the many instruction online), and I have yet to actually bring in a trout on it(it is fun so far on creek chubs and panfish.

My native trout waters nearby are the hiwasses river and the tellico river, and sycamore creek in south east tn. I live in Chattanooga TN.(so they are a hour to a hour in a half away)

Right now I am not looking to purchase anything expensive, just a rod I can use to get the job done on smaller streams. I would like to practice with it on larger streams that feed into the rivers mentioned above, then I would like to ultimately use it to try to catch some wild trout in the smokey mountains park.

I have decided I will go with a 3 wt rod that is in the 7 ft range.I am somewhat stuck between 2 choices.


1. A wild water 3/4 7' rod package.

It comes with a 4-piece 7 foot rod, a large arbor reel with drag, preinstalled line, backing and leader, a rod sock, a rod case, a fly box, 3 Black Ants, 3 Parachute Adams, 3 Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear Nymphs, a spare leader and a lifetime rod warrranty that allows you to replace the rod at a reasonable fee(35 dollars?).
link



2. This is not a combo like the wild water is.
It begins with a 3 wt 7'6" cabelas three fork rod.
It is normally priced at 70 dollars, but is on sale for 35 dollars
link

Then there is the reel a cabelas wind river 3-4 wt reel
Normally 30 dollars, on sale for 20.
link

Then finally is just some basic line to go with it
Cabelas three fork #3 wt line, that comes with
90 ft wt forward fly line, 100 ft 20lb dacron backing, and a 9ft leader
It is priced at 25 dollars.
link



I am stuck in the middle right now. The lifetime warranty of the wild water is attractive, as is the case and fly box that comes with it, however the cabelas is a "greater value" due to a sale that is going on.
Ultimately if there is not much difference in terms of quality between the two, then I will probably decide to go with the wild water. But if the total price(normal price) reflects the quality, then it might be worth it for the cabelas purchase.

The cabelas purchase total price: 81 dollars normally 126 dollars
The wildwater purchase total price: 100 dollars normally 100 dollars

My ultimate plan in regards to fly fishing, is to slowly upgrade my gear until I have a really good combo(as I grow in experience). So for example, I am currently looking to upgrade the line on my 5 wt wild water rod mentioned above. Then I will upgrade the rod or reel(havent decided which yet) Then I will upgrade the counterpart.And I will do this so on and so forth as I am able to with my budget, until I settle on a rod and reel and line that works great for me.



So of the 2 options above which is the better choice for a 3 wt setup?
Is there another choice that would be better?
I considered orvis encounter set up, however they do not have anything in that series for a 7 ft 3 wt rod(or even 3 wt rod)

The absolute most I can spend now is 150. The less money spent the better.

Again remember I do plan to upgrade in the future. Right now I am just looking for something that works well enough to tide me over and learn with until I can upgrade in the future.





On a different note, I am also considering buying sage ultimate performance taper line for my current 5 wt rod.
It is going to be a 5 wt forward
It is normally 80 dollars and is on sale for 30.
link


Would this be a good purchase for my 5 wt rod?

I thank you for any advice given.


CatskilljonMay 31st, 2015, 10:18 pm
Upstate NY

Posts: 160
A couple things that jump right out at me.

First is, why not just continue to use the 5wt till you save/have the cash for a good outfit? Inexperience shouldn't require you to buy lower quality till you can afford to buy better. It ultimately will be cheaper in the long run to buy a quality set up one time than continually replace sub quality gear with better stuff.

A 3wt rod is going to be a little harder to cast in some conditions, although I don't know your ability so maybe that's not a concern. I personally would go with a 4wt.

Others hopefully will chime in, I know I am not much help! CJ

Jmd123May 31st, 2015, 10:42 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2351
OK, my 2 cents here because I am normally an advocate of the 3-weight (to the annoyance of some I'm sure...).

On this one, at the novice level I would suggest sticking with the 5-6 weight, presumably 8 to 9 feet. My "standard" (perhaps that of others too) for a basic fly rod is an 8 1/2-foot 5-weight. It's an all-around tool that you can use to catch trout, panfish, bass, and other species with using a variety of techniques (dry-fly, nymphing, streamers, even light bass bugs, I throw #6 poppers on mine!). For a person of average stature it might be the easiest size rod to learn on, not too heavy and not too light so you can learn the basics of fly casting. This size rod will continue to serve you throughout your fly-fishing life.

Once one masters this size rod, then you can branch out into the specialties. The 7-foot 3-weight is a much lighter "gun" than the 5-weight, and is best used for more delicate situations of smaller creeks and ponds. This is much of the territory I fish, for smaller trout that rarely top 15" and bass and sunfish and perch, and some trout even, in ponds and smaller lakes. Though I have a propensity to take the little stick out on much bigger bass, such as the 18" smallie from Cooke Pond last summer or the 18" largemouth from my hometown lake this spring. However, DON'T try this as a novice, I've been fly fishing for 30 years and you have to learn how to fight outsize fish on little 3-weight sticks or you might break 'em!! Don't know how I haven't yet, I'm usually not expecting a fish quite that big when I'm fishing the little stick. Any ways, stick with the 5-6 weight on bass and trout and you won't be disappointed, as your skill increases try the lighter rods, and the heavier ones too, this game is played for much larger fish than your average stream-caught trout. I personally saw 4 steelhead in the Au Sable River behind my house today...though one was beat up pretty badly!

Welcome to the Forum, hope the advice helps!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
WbranchMay 31st, 2015, 11:45 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2481
Well I just have to add my opinion on #3 weight rods (or lighter) In my opinion (and I've got lots of them) any rod lighter than a #4 in any waters where 17" and larger trout are a possibility is just a pain in the rear end. It often takes longer to land bigger trout on #3 weight rods and if there is any sort of a breeze casting can test your patience.

I have over twenty fly rods and only one of them is a #3 and that is heirloom Sage LL 8' 9" so it has the length to assist in casting but I rarely ever fish it because in my opinion, for the waters I fish, and the wind I encounter, it just isn't a practical fishing tool.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
RleePJune 1st, 2015, 5:18 pm
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 369
For the type and sizes of streams you are talking about fishing with your new rod, neither wind nor trout over 17" are going to be an issue for you.

I've fished the (mostly North Carolina and GSMNP) southern Appalachians quite a bit and of the two rods you seem to be considering, I'd suggest you go with the 7 1/2' Cabela's rod. I think it would be a more versatile choice. There are a lot of tight casting situations where a shorter rod might serve you well, but there are also a lot of places that are more open and where you're probably going to wish you had the extra six inches of rod both to help you cast a little farther and also to help you control your line on the drift. This is especially true on the GSMNP streams, but also applies to the entire Blue Ridge small to medium stream fishery

I'm also going to suggest you at least consider a four weight (or even a five...) for this rod you plan on buying if you can find either in a 7 1/2 footer. As you gain experience fishing small streams, you're going to find that it is a very useful thing to be able to "punch" a cast under a hanging hemlock bough or rhododendron branch into a relatively small target area. While today's lighter rods with their faster actions are better at this than they used to be, a three weight rod is still an inferior tool to a four or five weight for these kinds of casts.

Good Luck! I envy you. I could spend the rest of my life fishing those streams down there for wild trout and could care less if I never caught one over a foot or even 10 inches for that matter. Just to be there would be enough..
WbranchJune 1st, 2015, 5:47 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2481
RleeP

I could spend the rest of my life fishing those streams down there for wild trout and could care less if I never caught one over a foot or even 10 inches for that matter.


I'm so glad that you, and thousands of guys like you, love to chase little wild brookies in out of the way mountain creeks and freshets. The big waters are crowded enough already.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
RleePJune 1st, 2015, 8:07 pm
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 369
Well, actually, to be correct Matt, when discussing those streams down there, we are mostly talking about wild rainbows and not brook trout. They are the dominant species in the vast majority of southern Appalachian small trout water.

But I understand what you were trying to say..

Here's how I see it: When it comes to how I value a given angling experience, my guiding principle is proportionality. I am much less excited by "big" fish than I am by the unexpected fish or perhaps better put, the exceptional fish in a given situation.

I get as much of a charge out of a 14" smallmouth from a place where I've never got one over 11" before as I do from catching a 20" brown from famous water. The same for a 10" wild rainbow from a North Carolina stream where the average fish is closer to 6 or 7". Hell, the same goes for a 14" crappie out of my local lake.


Some folks need big fish. That's fine. Whatever makes them happy. I like big fish, but I don't need them. I believe myself very fortunate in this. I still get excited by virtually every fish I catch and I cannot remember the last time I felt crowded on the water.
WbranchJune 1st, 2015, 11:05 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2481
I need big fish. If I can't expect big trout I get bored, sit on the bank and get buzzed drinking Myers rum, coke, and lime juice.

Having said that "big" is a relative word and if I know a given body of water has nothing bigger than 15" then I can still have a good time if I'm catching the bigger fish.

There was a time when I used to think I'd love to catch an 18" trout on a dry fly, then it was 20", now I really don't consider anything less than 22" on a dry fly as a big fish. My goal is to catch a 25" wild trout on a dry. My closest is a couple of measured 24" and one 24.25". Maybe this year.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Cptenn94June 2nd, 2015, 1:34 am
Chattanooga

Posts: 17
For the type and sizes of streams you are talking about fishing with your new rod, neither wind nor trout over 17" are going to be an issue for you.

I've fished the (mostly North Carolina and GSMNP) southern Appalachians quite a bit and of the two rods you seem to be considering, I'd suggest you go with the 7 1/2' Cabela's rod. I think it would be a more versatile choice. There are a lot of tight casting situations where a shorter rod might serve you well, but there are also a lot of places that are more open and where you're probably going to wish you had the extra six inches of rod both to help you cast a little farther and also to help you control your line on the drift. This is especially true on the GSMNP streams, but also applies to the entire Blue Ridge small to medium stream fishery

I'm also going to suggest you at least consider a four weight (or even a five...) for this rod you plan on buying if you can find either in a 7 1/2 footer. As you gain experience fishing small streams, you're going to find that it is a very useful thing to be able to "punch" a cast under a hanging hemlock bough or rhododendron branch into a relatively small target area. While today's lighter rods with their faster actions are better at this than they used to be, a three weight rod is still an inferior tool to a four or five weight for these kinds of casts.

Good Luck! I envy you. I could spend the rest of my life fishing those streams down there for wild trout and could care less if I never caught one over a foot or even 10 inches for that matter. Just to be there would be enough..




Well right now I have not even ever fished the smokey mountains park yet. And it is still a little bit of a drive(2+ hour) to go there. However eventually I would like to go there monthly if possible. There is just something alluring about fishing a small stream for a wild trout(perhaps even a brookie!) even though I have not ever caught a true wild trout.






To answer why I am looking at getting a cheaper rod now instead of just saving up and getting a great rod later, is because I want to always have a cheaper rod available. A cheaper rod would be great to have when fishing in rough conditions, and great to have as a backup.

Also it would allow me to have a rod I can loan to a friend or family member and help teach them once I am better.

I fully plan to save up for a good quality rod/set next. I would just rather have a backup rod available once I have the good rod.



I currently do own and use a 5wt 9' fly fishing rod. And I already have a variety of flies. I am looking at getting the 3 wt just for small streams which my 5wt is simply to big for.(at least with my inexperience.)

However I plan to use my 5wt rod at least 80%, if not 90% of the time in the near future. Right now I will just catch what I can and learn to use techniques properly.

I want the 3 wt, so I have the ability to try my hand occasionally at getting fish in smaller streams, that are just not realistic with my 9' rod.




I thank all of you for your input and advice and will give it good consideration.



Luckily later this month I expect to get some proper instruction on fly fishing from a group of knowledgeable volunteers who host a fly fishing 101 class monthly.

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