Re: The Perfect Small Stream Fly Rod - By Steve Robbins
As a small-stream junkie, I wanted to throw-in my .02 based on numerous hours spent dodging brush to get a 10' cast to go where I want it.
I own way more 'small stream' rods than I need ( I just really like them for some reason ) and I guess it's quite funny that I spend some much energy looking for the perfect rod to catch tiny trout. I fish big water for big fish just as often, but I've never felt it was difficult to get geared up for those days.
A small stream will definitely give you a variety of casting problems. You may need to cast through a tunnel to a small pocket 10' away in one hole, then 100 yards upstream need to make a 30' cast across the current and mend. I'm always trying to find the proper balance between these two scenarios with my rod length. I own and use 6', 6'6" & 7' rods, but I've found that in most cases a 7'6" to 7'9" works best for me. If it's super tight, you can 'choke up' on the rod to make it feel shorter on those rare occasions, but the extra length really helps for high sticking and mending scenarios.
Also, I get very good results by overlining my rods by up to two line weights (I use a wf-4 on my 2-weight rods) to get them to load with just a little line out and accuracy is usually outstanding with a 5-7' leader.
Having said all that - here's my criteria for the perfect rod though I don't think it exists yet: A medium fast 2-weight that quickly converts from 7'6' to 8'6" by removing a guideless section between the grip and the stripping guide. Without a guide, you can add/remove it instantly without the need to rethread the line/leader. I have a wonderful rod (March Brown Hidden Water)that works this way, though it's shorter - converting from 6' to 7'. By contrast, I think the 7'6" would handle all but the tightest casting scenarios, then lengthen it to 8'6" for the high sticking. If anyone knows where I could find such a beast, please let me know - I'll buy two!