Lightweight Rod [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Lightweight Rod

08-25-2005, 12:25 PM
I'm new to the activity and started out with a (TFO) 9ft 5 weight. Most of my fishing this season has been with dry flies on small mountain streams here in California where I'm casting 10-25 ft. In this situation, the 5 wt seems to overpower the small fish I'm catching. I'd like to try a much lighter weight rod and started looking at 2 wts. The material I've found on the web by some users of these ultralight rods (like Bill Byrd's site and Arthur Burton's article on this site) all talk about how much fun they are. Nevertheless, all the salespeople in several of my local fly shops, and some of the messages I've found on this board are pretty negative about anything less than a 3 wt. One local shop guy even steered me away from a 2 wt the shop had in stock (a TFO Professional 8 ft) recommending instead a 3 wt model they would have to order. It's very difficult to get hands-on experience with these rods, since few shops have 2 wts in stock and those that do aren't really set up (with appropriate test reels and lines) so that you can cast them.

The most consistent criticism I've heard applied to 2 wts is that they are incapable of casting anything but the smallest flies. It's unclear to me, however, how much experience the 2 wt critics have, or whether they are just passing on conventional wisdom. So, I'm curious about what folks on this board who have fished 2wts have to say about the comparison between 2 and 3 wts and what they think about the ability of 2wts to cast reasonable sized flys (e.g., 14-size drys and small nymphs) in a small stream situation.

08-25-2005, 03:40 PM
The 2wts don't cast bushy dry flies worth a darn. They do fine with small (#18-#28) sparsely hackled or no hackle dries; but add a normal amount of hackle and increase the size to #14 and they don't do so well. Likewise, a 2 wt is terrible with weighted nymphs. Bottom line is the 2 wt is a very specialized tool for fishing small flies where wind is never a factor. The 2 wt line just doesn't have enough mass for casting larger, bushier, weighted flies, even if only casting 20'.

A 3 wt is a far better semi-all-around choice for small streams when you are going to be using to fish flies from #12 down to #24 with some of them being weighted nymphs. Likewise, a shorter rod is better for fishing the smaller streams you appear to be fishing (if not small streams, you would be casting farthur at times than the distance you mentioned). A rod of 7'-7.5' is preferable to one of 8' or longer for small streams.

08-25-2005, 08:09 PM
there has been much discussion on this topic. Search "light weight fly rods" or some thing like that. If you are new, I don't think that a 2wt is the answer. A easy loading four or three weight in a shorter lenth (7-8'). If the shop guys know the streams you are fishing, ask them.

08-25-2005, 10:01 PM
This issue could be debated for decades. I know folks who regularly fish with the Sage 0 wt, and love it, and people would sooner quit than put down their 6 wt.

It comes down to preference, and your style and skills that you'll develop over years of fishing. However, I echo the sentiments here. If you're new to the sport, it seems unlikely that you'll get much pleasure out of a 2 wt - it really is a very specialized tool, and I've seen few people (myself not among them) handle these ultralight wts well. That said, find one and play with it, see what you think.

IMHO: I would suggest you drop down to a 4wt (or maybe 3), and lighter tippet. If you're able to "horse" the fish in, it may be as much a function of the tippet as the rod. You might even find that you catch a few more fish. Additionally, keep in mind that it's generally better for the fish to catch and release them quickly, and not exhaust them by playing them too much. The 8' 6" med to fast 4 wt is, again IMHO, the best all round small to medium water trout rod out there - it can handle a big guy, yet a little wild 'bow still gives it a happy little bend, and it can throw a decent sized lightly-weighted streamer in a pinch, and lay down a 22 BWO with a great deal of grace.

08-26-2005, 07:38 AM
The specific uses for a 2 wt are very limited. Since your only experience to date is with a 5 wt, I'd suggest you look at a 3 wt instead. As you get smaller and smaller in fly rods, the differences get bigger and bigger. A 3 wt will have a little more power to cast slightly larger flies, while still being a good size for the smaller trout you're catching. And it'll have enough power to land bigger trout too.