5 wt for steelhead - Fly Fishing Forum
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  #1  
Old 06-17-2006, 04:41 AM
josko josko is offline
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5 wt for steelhead

My guide keeps telling me my 5 wt (10' TFO) is not stiff enough to set hooks on steelhead, and that I'm missing fish because of that.
I feel fine with the rod in terms of casting and fighting fish, but would like feedback on whether a rod can be too light or soft for steelhead purely from a hook setting point of view. Thanks in advance.
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  #2  
Old 06-17-2006, 06:16 AM
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sean sean is offline
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How often is the guide sharpening your hooks? That is the culprit on missing fish 90% of the time. You do not need much hook setting power at all if your hooks are razor sharp. All it should ever take with any rod is just a lifting of the rod to hook the fish.

I sharpen mine at the start of the run and everytime I bump anything with the hook.

-sean
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Old 06-18-2006, 08:14 AM
t_richerzhagen t_richerzhagen is offline
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Sticky sharp

is the rule. You can check by sliding the hook point across a nail. If it digs in, it is sharp enough, if not sharpen.

As to the 5 wt., how big are the fish? You want to be able to land them fairly quickly, if you are going to release them, and that may reqire a heavier rod.
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Old 06-19-2006, 07:36 AM
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I agree about making sure your hooks are sharp. I also agree with Ted about landing the fish. I would be willing to bet I could land a 10lb. steelhead on my 3wt trout rod. However, the amount of time it would take to do it would probably increase the likeliness that the fish would not survive. I seldom use a rod lighter than a 7wt. for my steelhead fishing. A 7wt. rod will also give you some extra hook setting power in case you do, for some reason, have a dull hook. A 7wt. also makes a good Bass rod for the summer months when the steelhead opportunities are not so numerous.

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Old 06-19-2006, 07:58 AM
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A winter GL steelhead is fighting in water just above freezing and could be subdued on a 5wt, but a hot skamania or western ocean run steelie would end up dead from over-fighting or you'd never turn it.

As you already know a head-on strip set doesn't involve the power of the rod anyway so unless you are doing the orvis highset I think the important thing is whether you are killing the fish or not.

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Old 06-21-2006, 02:31 PM
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5wt

5wt is too light for steel, just as charlie said a 7 would be worlds better for both you and the fish
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Old 06-21-2006, 06:19 PM
josko josko is offline
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Yes, but is it too light to set the hook adequately, or is it too light to fight the fish quickly enough?
The question was whether a 5 wt is too light for an effective hookset, not whether it's politically correct to fight a steelhead on a 5 wt.
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Old 06-21-2006, 08:12 PM
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Point the rod at the fish and you can strip set on a tarpon
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Last edited by juro; 06-22-2006 at 06:43 AM. Reason: forgot to say "strip"
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Old 06-22-2006, 06:41 AM
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At the risk of sounding like the proverbial broken record, fly rods are designed to cast flylines and present flies. They are not designed for setting hooks or fighting fish. The guide should know better.
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Old 06-22-2006, 01:33 PM
josko josko is offline
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Well, now, guys, if I'm high-sticking (like I usually do when steelheading) I hold my rod tip way up, and it's tough to go from that to a strip-strike.
I get that slight hesitation and twitch the tip to see if it's a fish, and then set again if I'm sure it is.
If I were swinging flies, a strip-strike is a natural; but somehow, whenever I have time to drivce up to the GL's it's below freezing, water is cold, and the method of choice seems to be high-sticking.
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Old 06-23-2006, 10:18 AM
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High sticking with an indicator, big fly and some shot on it?
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Old 06-23-2006, 05:48 PM
shotgunner shotgunner is offline
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Quote:
High sticking with an indicator, big fly and some shot on it?
are you really willing to pop the top on that can of controversey again?

i use a 10' 6wt occasionally and love it. i still think that individual rod actions play one of the largest roles with low water & light tippet, if you can call powerflex 3X light![its as light as i ever get] not real abrasion resistant but if its fresh its tough.... i can lean into a fish hard and normally stop him with out worrys. back to my weak point.. i've had my hands on a few 'fastfives' that were atually more of a seven... some of the older redingtons come to mind.. i have a IM6 6/7 that to me is a dryfly five... all blanks are subject to individual assessment.

lots of variables.... how big are the fish? i've never shied from a 6 lb trout in summer water, why would i back off from the same in cold water, only just up from the lake?

given a choice i would much rather fish a 9'6" 7 with ultra grn 6 lb but the same rod will part the PF 3X with ease... the six keeps me in the game long enough for a rush and a grin or two at least.
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Old 06-24-2006, 05:59 AM
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Quote:
I agree about making sure your hooks are sharp. I also agree with Ted about landing the fish. I would be willing to bet I could land a 10lb. steelhead on my 3wt trout rod. However, the amount of time it would take to do it would probably increase the likeliness that the fish would not survive.
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Use the right equipment to do the job, so the fish survive and we all get to enjoy them.

Quote:
given a choice i would much rather fish a 9'6" 7 with ultra grn 6 lb
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Old 06-24-2006, 07:51 AM
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Food for thought:

The fastest way to land (or lose) a fish that weighs less than the angler is with a handline.

Would that be a 0 wt?
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Old 06-24-2006, 08:30 PM
shotgunner shotgunner is offline
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Adrian, i'm unsure of your intent... but a zero weight as a handline would perform well, considering the 12 lb core it contains.

Spock, why didn't you include the very next sentance of Charlies post when you quoted him? the one that reads "I seldom use a rod lighter than a 7wt. for my steelhead fishing." which confirms that he does occasionally. since a 6 is the next line weight descending why did you not admonish him on or about 6/19 when he placed the post rather than wait for me & mine placed on the 23'rd?

for the record, i agree that a 5 wt is to light for steelhead fishing 90% of the time. not sure what your finger lakes fish amount to but if they resemble any of our inland lake stock they run on the small side, a size that would certainly be doable with a five. i wasn't aware that lake Erie harbored that many sizable steel either? as i said [and you ignored] there are many variables involved. very rare to get big steel out of Lk. Superior tribs but i'd be willing to bet that they have much more steam than the Erie stock and are normally easily handled on a six. infact, thats the weight rod reccomended by many 'in the know' up that way.

Quote:
"For smaller tribs (like yesterday) I drop down to a 9 1/2' 6 wt. and tie up a heavy butt mono leader, add weight if needed. For couple of larger swing holes a small trib may offer I then loop on a 5' - 7' homemade sink tip made out of a type six, mono core shooting head. posted by h2o on 12/19/04"
i suppose this poster dosn't know any better either or just dosn't care about the welfare of steelhead?

i'm always seeing people steered towards sixes for almost any trophy trout destinations, alaska, south america, and both islands comprising new zealand. tell me again how a six to ten pound trout is so much more powerful than a 6-10 lb trout? is that label 'steelhead' like a shot of nitrous? its not a shot of salt, thats for sure, not in these parts.

my pet peeve is when hard fast guidelines are attempted to be 'strong armed' into place re what acceptable tackle is, the story is not often that simple.
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