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Rod selection advice


Adam
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Oh wise and informed fly fishers…help teach a simple bait chucker….

 

I’ve enrolled in The Fishin’ Hole’s 2-day fly fishing course by RMH to learn the ropes of fly fishing. I’m looking for your advice on gear. I know there are a ton of different products and a ton of different opinions, but I figure this is a good a spot to start.

 

I’ve done a fair bit of researching to see what gear would best suit my needs. So, what are my needs. Well..not really sure, as I’ve never fly fished before, and don’t know what or where I’ll end up. I assume I’ll continue to mostly fish the pothole lakes around Edmonton, with the occasional trip to RMH to visit the lakes and streams in that area. I will probably occasionally head to Grande Cache for some action around there.

 

So, I think I need a 6 wt rod. Is this a safe assumption? From what I read this is a good multi-purpose rod, can even be used for some pike fishing if you want to push the limits.

 

I’m considering getting the Sage Launch 9’ rod in a 6 wt ($189 at fishing hole). Thinking about the Pflueger Trion 1956 reel ($80 on ebay). I like the idea of a reel that you can get additional spools for different line as experience and needs grow. Add a fly line ($65) that’s a total of $334 for the rod setup. Comments?

 

I’ve read lots of suggestions saying that TFO is an excellent rod to start with. The Fishin’ Hole has a combo for $240. Comments?

 

I’m interested in getting a good rod for the long term. If I have to pay more now for better long term performance (and happiness) I’m willing to pay for it within reason.

 

Is the combo I’m considering making worth an extra $100 over the TFO combo?

 

Thanks for your help.

 

See ya

Ace

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Ace/Adam:

You came to the right place for advice.

We don't turn our noses up at bait chuckers here.

Most of us have done that at one time or another and maybe still do when the situation warrants.

As a club we enjoy introducing new people to fly fishing and can give lots of advice.

Here's my two bits worth:

I would normally advise an angler looking for a new rod to make sure ot try out several before purchase, but if, as a beginner, you don't fly cast well yet, than it will be harder for you to evaluate the differences.

So first bits of advice.

Attend a casting course:

It just so happens that NLFT&F is giving one for beginners this Saturday at Rundle Park. Cost is $5 for members and a membership for the year is only $20. So at $25 for a day's instruction its the best deal you'll find around here. Check out the newsletter for detailed information.

Cast before you buy:

This is even more important as the price of the rod increases. Every caster has a different rythm and style and will find different rods perform differently for them than for others.

Don't expect quality to come too cheap:

There are kits out there for $70 but you'd be better to buy a bottle of scotch instead. Less frustrating.

Don't expect higher price to mean better:

Some rods cost more due to name and advertising and some high end rods are so fast that anyone other than an experienced caster will run into trouble.

Make sure your rod and line are matched for weight:

Every rod should have a line weight marked on it. It is designed to load properly with about 35 feet of that weight line outside the tip.

 

As to your specific suggestions:

Outfit weight:

For general purpose fishing I would recommend a 5 or 6 weight rig. They have enough line weight to handle a bit of wind and cast a fair distance, but are still light enough to make delicate presentations and enjoy fighting a smaller fish.

Rods:

I'd suggest a first rod length as a 9 foot or 9ft 6" . They have enough length to enable some distance and keep the fly out of your ears. Shorter rods tend to be best for small streams, longer ones for saltwater and really big fish.

I don't own a TFO rod , but have heard good things about them. Perhaps a club member or two who do own one can comment. I do own a 4 weight Sage FLi. It's a bit more expensice than the Launch series, but I really like it. I also own a mid priced 5 wt Loomis and a four piece 6 wt St Criox imperial. All are good rods for their application.

Reels:

Most reel manufacturers in the $125+ price range offer spare spools for additional lines. For a beginner, I wouldn't break the bank on one.

Lines:

For a first line I would recommend a weight forward floating. There are a buch of specailty lines out there, but you should pick a general purpose line. Scientific Anglers, Cortland and Rio are all good manufacturers.

 

If you do mange to make it out Saturday, there will be a variety of rods there, so you could have a chance to try a few out. You'll also meet a bunch of good anglers.

Dave

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I’m considering getting the Sage Launch 9’ rod in a 6 wt ($189 at fishing hole). Thinking about the Pflueger Trion 1956 reel ($80 on ebay). I like the idea of a reel that you can get additional spools for different line as experience and needs grow. Add a fly line ($65) that’s a total of $334 for the rod setup. Comments?

 

I’ve read lots of suggestions saying that TFO is an excellent rod to start with. The Fishin’ Hole has a combo for $240. Comments?

 

I’m interested in getting a good rod for the long term. If I have to pay more now for better long term performance (and happiness) I’m willing to pay for it within reason.

 

Is the combo I’m considering making worth an extra $100 over the TFO combo?

 

Thanks for your help.

 

See ya

Ace

 

Ace,

 

I started off with a Fenwick Eagle 6wt graphite 16 years ago and a Scientific Angler Series 2 reel 4-5-6. I only just had to replace it (the rod - S/A reels are tanks) last year as the real seat was working itself loose. Alan fixed it with epoxy for me... but I decided to finally retire it, and I take it out on the NSR once in a while. I decided to replace it with a TFO Series 1 rod 6 wt, and Okuma Reel Combo from FH for about the same price of $250. IMHO... stay away from the Okuma reels.... far away as you can!! The Pflueger Trion would be a much better choice.

 

As for how I like the TFO, well it's my primary rod... but in hindsight... a Sage woulda been the better investment or a TFO Series 2 (more upscale one). I did pickup a second TFO 2wt rod and Teton reel package this year which I have not had a chance to use yet, but have casted Scratch's for Grayling. It's a fine rod indeed!

 

So, anything in a 6wt, 9 foot, under $300 complete will last you for years. Yes, a good middile of the road rod for streams and lakes.

 

I can't knock the under $50-150 combo 8wt fiberglass packages if you find yourself going after Pike. I fished a Canadian Tire 8wt (them old green ones) for 10 years. Replaced it with a Mitchell just last year... it gets the job done.

 

Cast as many rods as you can before you buy, and after you have bought, you will soon learn what type of action you like in a rod -- and depending on the fish you go after will likely look to get next a 4wt for smaller streams. Then, soon after you will have several rods in your basement, and wonder where the h*ll they all came from as you try to buy one of each weight in between to fill in the gaps... and then just fish your prized 5 or 6wt anyways.

 

If you have the luxury of checking out Army & Navy, or other discount places -- Scratch has more on some deals he picked up at a reel repair place in Edmonton he might share.... you may find some neat 'BACKUP' rods to carrry in case of emergency (i.e. broken in car door).

 

See my $10 flyrod post here -- I mean... really.. how can you go wrong!

 

http://forum.nlft.org/index.php?showtopic=...p;p=entry

 

ALSO, I can't speak highly enough of this one rod I got... it was a Quantum 4 piece 5 wt at Fishing Hole. I take it many places -- and at under $80 such a deal! Check it out as a backup, portable rod sometime.

 

PS - Welcome aboard, and before you know it... you'll be tying flies... and looking at roadkill in a whole new light.

 

PPS - I got suckered into assisting Dave in teaching the casting course. I'll bring my entire rod selection along with if wanna kick some tires... and I can instill what bad casting habits I've inherited over the years to you.

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Hi Adam, one thing I would add to Dave's fine advice is to check the pricing and availability of the spare spools for the reel you end up choosing - and along with the floating line that Dave suggested, is get an extra spool and get a medium sink line on it.

 

I too fish mostly lakes (but hope to change that this year!), and personally, I find that I use a sinking line more often. It's definitely nice to be able to do the quick switch of lines. I have a couple sinking lines - a #3 which is a medium sink line, and also a faster #5 sink that I use in deeper lakes.

 

I use an Okuma Sierra reel - which was around $80 iirc - and spare spools were around $28-$35 (depending upon where you buy them). Been very happy with the reel (its the second reel I've purchased - the first was a Scientific Angler large arbour reel - which had a less than satisfactory drag).

 

Good luck! I know I was instantly 'hooked' the first time I tried fly fishing!

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I find that I use a sinking line more often. It's definitely nice to be able to do the quick switch of lines. I have a couple sinking lines - a #3 which is a medium sink line, and also a faster #5 sink that I use in deeper lakes.

Tuber makes an excellent point. Get the spare spool, or know that it's an option with your reel. As a first starting out line I recommend a WF-6, although some swear by a DT-6 and flip the lines around when one end wears out. You can buy sink tips these days to add to them for lake fishing.

 

Buying a spare spool in like a 456, gives you that luxury of lining one up with say a 6wt line... and another with a 5 wt line when you move into another rod. That said, don't be afraid to try casting the 6wt line on a 5wt rod. Sometimes you'll find that mis-matching lines one weight out either way on rods... sometimes improves their casting performance.

 

Some food for thought on Fly Line Selection below and reels. Again, my choice has always been Scientific Anglers and RIO, but I've been meaning to try out some AirFlo lines sometime.

 

http://images.google.ca/images?hl=en&q...sa=N&tab=wi

http://www.bcadventure.com/adventure/angli...n/flyline.phtml

http://www.flylines.com/

http://gorp.away.com/gorp/activity/fishing...ing_started.htm

 

 

Whatever rig you get, just make sure it's well balanced.

 

http://www.hookhack.com/startfishing.html

 

PS - Ray, nice blog. I just linked you up on NLFT&F forum Links (http://nlft.org/links.php), and my own blogroll.

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Last year I bought a 6wt. 10$ rod from A&N at the suggestion of Lance. Wonderful tool. It now has a lot of class attached to my Islander reel. IMHO any rod will do; learn to use it, where as any reel will not do; buy the best you can, even take the money you would spend on an expensive rod and use it for the reel. When you learn to cast (don't be blaming your short comings on the tool) even a whip like stick will do.

 

regards

Wally

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Wally's words carry some weight here - and oddly - other anglers will say the reel is nothing more than a line holder, spend all your money on the rod...

 

I fall in the middle - but don't have the years of experience that both Sparky and Flywing speak from.

 

The combination of the Sage FLI and Pflueger Trion would make a very nice setup for most fishing you'll do around edmonton. NSR for Goldeye/Walleye, Small pike in Jackfish or Wabamun, and the stocked trout lakes. Overall a good bet.

 

If you want to go cheaper - there are indeed alternatives. I think TFO makes some very acceptable rods at a reasonable price, and there are plenty of 'inexpensive' reels out there...

 

Flywing's point about reels is this:

 

You can spend 300.00 once in a lifetime - or spend $50.00 a year, and have to replace equipment every season...

 

Based on your original question, the FLI and Trion would most certainly stand you well for (I'm sure) quite a while.

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Last year I bought a 6wt. 10$ rod from A&N at the suggestion of Lance. Wonderful tool. It now has a lot of class attached to my Islander reel. IMHO any rod will do; learn to use it, where as any reel will not do; buy the best you can, even take the money you would spend on an expensive rod and use it for the reel. When you learn to cast (don't be blaming your short comings on the tool) even a whip like stick will do.

 

regards

Wally

Wally, I still like your 10 foot garden bamboo rod you built, with the oversize duct-tape guides and rope seat handle. Seeing you launch your line across the Lil Smokey a few years back prooved that point well. Indeed, practice makes perfect.

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I have a 6 wt sage married to a Pflueger Trion. As a 3rd year fly caster I would say that I am more than happy with this set up.

When I'm in the zone the rod is very gracefull and when I'm not(most of the time) its more than capable of handling my muscling my way through the cast.

 

The reel is smooth and only takes a small touch to the drag for fine adjustment and only a smidge more the tighten it up good. I like this as one of my other reels takes almost a full turn or more to make the same major adjustment and the fine is not really that fine.

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My 2 cents,

 

I have two 4 piece TFO (6 & 9wt with the 9 being a smoken ebay deal) and love them both :vdaylove: Seeing I tend to be extremely hard on equipment, the TFO warrenty is hard to beat......if you courier you broken parts to Calgary you can usually have your replacement rod section in less than five days(I speak from the experience of several mishaps) just put out the 25 beans per broken section.....No reciept or registration card needed......I also aquired a Sage FLi 4wt at the outdoor show this year, special thanks to Dave Robinson who help me with the purchase......But it has yet to have it's maiden voyage....I am still shopping for a reel..........As for reels, I'm on the fence and open to suggestions for my 4wt.

 

Good luck in your final decision :drinked:

 

TT

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I tend to agree a bit with Wally, although I'm not as extravagant

Reels costing less than about $70 typically aren't very durable and only have a paul style drag.

There are good reels in the $100 to $250 price range.

Most have adjutable drag and are hard anodized.

If you want to go whole hog, buy one that has a totally encosed drag mechanism

They seem to start at the $200 price range .

For a 6 weight setup though, you aren't lilely to be trying to put the brakes on a monster,

so a smooth and enclosed drag may not be as necessary,

It's probably best to buy one made by a manufacturer who has a history of fly fishing gear,

rather than a mass market outfit that specializes in bait and spin gear

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It's probably best to buy one made by a manufacturer who has a history of fly fishing gear,

rather than a mass market outfit that specializes in bait and spin gear

Are you knocking my Quantum rod! Are yah!? Why I autta bring it... yes.. I will so you can cast it at Rundle on Saturday.

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Hmm...I was hoping the rod/reel decision would be simpler. Just plop down some money and be on my way. I should have known it wasn't going to be this easy.

 

I think I will wait until after my fly fishing weekend course to get a better idea of rods/reels. Maybe I'll get some insight while i'm there.

 

I saw the casting course you held last week. As I was going fishing on Sunday and Monday, my wife had a list of chores for me to get done on Saturday, so I wasn't able to make it. I'll have to see what comes up in the future.

 

Thanks for everyone's advice and insight.

 

See ya

Adam

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I had a lotta fun breaking in my new TFO 2 WT last night.... 41 fish C&R'ed... and caught fish on my every first cast with the new rig. After that, well every other cast had a fish or several bumps on it. Verrrryyy nice. Great Success!

 

K... back to my PAYING DAY TIME job now, so I can afford to go fishing again... Gas Prices will soon be on the rise.

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I had a lotta fun breaking in my new TFO 2 WT last night.... 41 fish C&R'ed..on undisclosed waters . and on my every first cast with the new rig. After that, well every other cast had a fish or several bumps on it. Verrrryyy nice. Great Success!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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I had a lotta fun breaking in my new TFO 2 WT last night.... 41 fish C&R'ed... and caught fish on my every first cast with the new rig. After that, well every other cast had a fish or several bumps on it. Verrrryyy nice. Great Success!

 

It a 2 WT he was probally fishing for goldfish in his tank at home. Poor Goldfish. B)

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It's quite likely that it would be either Aircel (the cheapest one available) or an inexpensive Rio. Only way to know for sure is to ask TFO. (They are very friendly folks - located in Calgary...)

 

/g

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It's quite likely that it would be either Aircel (the cheapest one available) or an inexpensive Rio. Only way to know for sure is to ask TFO. (They are very friendly folks - located in Calgary...)

 

/g

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Concerning rod selection, I'm with Wally - rods don't matter much to a beginner but a good reel could last a lifetime. I learned to cast on a Fenwick similar to Ranger Bob's. I would suggest you pick one with a sturdy reel seat, a grip that's comfortable for your hand (though a bit of sandpaper can help fitting the grip) and is less than $100. Team that up with a decent reel & a double taper line (you will probably go through a line per year your first few years). Learn to cast on that outfit and when you feel ready (after a year or two), start trying out other rods to see what kind of action feels best for you.

 

I also second Scratch's point - building is better than buying. When you are ready to move up to a "better" rod or one that is more suited to your default casting style, go to high end stores and cast a bunch to find one you like. Then fire up your search engine and find a blank, or better yet a kit, from some place like Hook & Hackle (http://www.hookhack.com/). You will save about 40% and get some satisfaction out of the project. High end blanks are still guaranteed, you just have to re-wrap the guides on the new section. It takes me about 40 hours to build a rod (about a month or two of evenings) and I believe anyone can do it. I've built five or six so far and it's the easiest way to expand your inventory.

 

Jim Fox

 

PS - I've built three rods on Hook & Hackle in-house brand blanks and they are a quality product for a great price.

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