Originally Posted by beadhead
I would like to get other opinions on the selection of a new 6 wt. fly rod dedicated to fly fishing for stream Smallmouth fishing. Several articles I have read in the multiple fly fishing magazines have suggested the use of mid-flex or medium action rods for Smallmouth fishing in streams. I was of the opinion that a medium fast or fast action might be preferable for this type of fishing. There seems to be a movement to move to medium action even for Smallmouth. This has been happening with trout fly rods for some time. I have even seen an article suggesting the use of medium action rods for saltwater fly fishing in back country and bay or inlet situations. If there are windy conditions, it was suggested that the fisherman simply move up to using a rod one or two wts heavier, instead of using a fast action rod. It was suggested that fast action rods still had their place in fishing the surf. Is this the new trend?
Magazines articles are a good source of information but you have to be picky about your expert. Some writers will say anything to sell a story. The trend to faster and faster rod actions began back in the 80's and the rod companies were only selling one or two actions of rods. Today we are fortunate to have some of the best casting rods ever available and most rod company are making multiple actions of rods. When you read reviews of rods it is always by an experienced caster who knows how to cast. The main criteria for rating a rod is power and distance. If you want power and distance you will end up with a fast to extra-fast rod. If you want to fight wind you need high line speed and the best choice again is a fast to extra-fast rod. Obviously a heaver line will work better in the wind but who wants to fish for bonefish with a 10wt rod. If I am going to be fishing in wind and want to cover big water I want a fast to extra-fast action rod.
Now there are casters that cast poorly with a fast action rod and in this case a medium action rod is the best choice for any type of fishing. The slow/medium action caster might have to move up to a heavier rod to cast in the wind but that doesn't mean it is the best approach.
If I was going to be river fishing for smallies I don't think I would want a extra fast rod like the Sage TCR. I could be very happy with a slower action rod like the Sage ZXL or a faster action like the Z-Axis. The key to getting the right rod is to cast them before you buy them. Magazine writers and posters on this board can only give you what they have experienced or have read. Your satisfaction with a particular rod may be entirely different than mine.