: Selecting a new Fly Rod
11-24-2000, 12:36 PM
I am planning on purchasing a small stream fly rod, but there are so many out there I would like some help. I would like a rod around 8 feet and 3-4 weight. However, I do alot of nymph fishing in small streams and wonder if the the short length of the rods I'm considering would be a problem. The two rods I am looking at are both pack rods around the same price ($280). They are the Scott SAS 8' #4; 3piece rod with a medium-fast action and the St. Croix Legend Ultra 7'9'' #3; 3piece with a fast action. I can't decide which rod would be best for the money and for both nymph and dry fly fishing in smaller streams. I know that I would probably need a longer rod for nymph fishing, but I really need a short rod for the streams I fish and wonder if these rods could get it done.
Great topic, I live near some small streams and although I had been living out in the pacific northwest (long rods) for many years I have recently begun to re-think the stream strategy.
Last year I used an 7' 9" Sage LL 3wt with a floating double taper. It was a slower rod, but like all Sage graphites it is not lacking in the ability to create a tight loop. The old LL's were much slower than the RPL and other rods. These have been re-visited for 2001 - the LL has been replaced with the VPS light series; the RPL with VPS; RPLX with RPLXi; etc. These are not the exact same rods - for instance the old RPLX was very stiff, the RPLXi is just as fast but not stiff at all.
I like the slow action for small dry fly work in streams because there is no need to cast far, and there is a lot of finesse roll casting and a high demand for a delicate presentation. These graphite rods provide a distinct pendulum loadpoint and are cane-like (sort of).
I like the shorter lengths because I need to bushwhack thru the brush a lot out here, and longer rods make it that much harder even when I walk with the rod tip backwards.
It's true that a highstick nympher prefers a longer rod - but you can get away with a elkhair / deerhair / high floating dry fly (humpy, trude, caddis, etc) with a flourocarbon dropper and a beadhead nypmh. Fish the dry like you normally would and the fish will hit either fly. If you nymph with an indicator and practice good line management (mending and positioning, cleaning and treating, etc) the extra 12-18 inches aren't the most important factor.
Caveat: for stillwater ponds and lakes, and big west coast rivers - the short softer rods are not the ticket. Test cast the new SAGE XP 4wt for an example of a good trout rod for big waters, the 9'6" 8wt is a good steelhead and salmon rod; Spey rods in 14-15 foot lengths, etc.
<!--http--><a href="http://www2.sageflyfish.com/za/SFF?PAGE=ROD_DETAIL_POPUP&SERIES=VPS%20Light" target="_blank">Link to SAGE's VPS light page</a><!--url-->
Provided you are fishing streams with light lines and you're not going to want to do distance casting with the rod, the shorter finesse rods would be my choice.
If you want something that will give you the firepower on lakes and big rivers, I would go for something a little longer, bigger, and faster.
If I could only have one rod I would opt for an 8.5' 5wt to cover everything trouty... but it's not ideal for streams nor big water. That's tough to explain to my wife though http://188.8.131.52/images/flytalk/Wilk.gif
11-28-2000, 10:35 AM
3wt 7'9" would be hard to nymph with. I would go with the 8' 4wt. That will still be a fun rod with small fish.
11-28-2000, 10:50 AM
I will throw this into the mix--for the same price you can also get the 8 1/2' 4 wt. St. Croix Legend Ultra, which is a 4 piece. At last year's ff show I tried a bunch of 4 wts and settled on that one because I thought it was the perfect do-everything rod for where I fish--small streams, medium rivers, ponds etc. It also casts great. I got down to between that and a Sage but can't remember which one, I think the VPS, which I believe Juro recommended to me at the show, but I recall it being over $300. The St. Croix has been a good nymphing rod for me and also throws an intermediate line well for the small kettle pond fishing that I have been trying, mostly unsuccessfully, to get into...
It is by no means slow, but I would not consider it super fast action by today's standards. I found 8 1/2 to be a good length because my roll cast tends to suffer with shorter rods (but that could me!).
11-28-2000, 01:04 PM
If in your case it is really a compromise between a small stream rod and a nymphing rod, then I think it is no compromise at all. I have casted both rods in the past, though probably the 5 weight jobs. I would tend to side with the Scott ASA which has a more progressive taper, as opposed to a faster action rod like the St Croix Legend Ultra, for the reasons Juro indicated. If the streams you fish are small and perhaps even brushy, then the 8 footer has an advantage over anything longer... control in tight quarters is everything. Also, if casts tend to be really short you may end up overlining the rod anyway. For instance, if you find yourself nymphing much of the time with a 7 or 9 foot leader plus 15' of line out, you may want to overline the thing with a 5 weight line, in order to load it more easily and so that it responds nicely without any jerkiness. The action of the Scott would also help casting dry and nymph jobs like say, a Klinkhammer to which you attach a small nymph to prospect small pockets and runs. This is a fun way to fish small water. Then again, I'm not sure how small a stream you're talking about. Hope this helps.
11-28-2000, 02:12 PM
When I first started fly fishing, the only fly rod I had was a 7 1/2 foot Shakespeare Wonderod. Glass naturally. Talk about being limited, but it really didn't matter. Made that rod do so many thing never thought possible. Back then, rods were not graded. It took experience to match the line with the rod. Sometimes it took several lines changes to get it right. HCH was the system they use to grade fly lines. The middle letter meant the weight and would change accordingly. Ex. HDH (heavier line)
Whenever I rolled cast, I could always keep up with longer rods. Probably because I honed my skills using just one rod. People were amaze how far I could get that rod out there. Things are very different today. Don't know your casting techniques in the rivers you fish, but roll casting was predominate here in RI.
My opinion is that length is not the really a factor in roll casting, but the transfer of energy is. A mid to full flex rod will keep the coil moving longer, much better than a fast tip rod that imparts the energy quicker. Fly presentation is the other principle most of us are concerned about when trout fishing. How the fly lands? Fast action rods are incapable of presenting a dry fly correctly. Line will slap the water. You want to land that fly like a butterfly with sore feet. Mid flex will give you an all around good stick for trout fishing. Stick with the rod that fits your primary way of fishing. If it's small streams, down size.