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Old 11-15-2011, 10:57 PM
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Default Re: is 5 weight fly rod for steelhead possible?

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Originally Posted by kayo View Post
put it this way, my 5wt rod snapped on a 6 inch whitefish.
That sounds like a defective rod or operator error. That should not even happen downstream of the steroid plant.

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Old 11-16-2011, 06:33 AM
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Default Re: is 5 weight fly rod for steelhead possible?

Very good answer above which referred to 'lifting power' of a longer rod vs a shorter one. At the moment we're running our usual low late summer/fall flows here on the upper Rogue River. I'm actually using a 12' 6'' Meiser 3/4/5 2-hander and I can handle any of the fish (Steelhead) you'll find at this time of the year (3-6 pounds).

Above that 'fish weight' I'm probably doing more harm to the fish than good.
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Old 11-16-2011, 06:50 AM
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Default Re: is 5 weight fly rod for steelhead possible?

Keep an eye on craigslist in your area, when I was thinking about buying a heavier rod for a one time trip, I was able to pick up a nice SA 6-7 weight for a song locally ($30 bucks) off craigslist to fish Pyramid Lake. If you are in the area where steelhead can be fished, I suspect there are rods out there that are being bought and sold on your local CL. You may be able to pick up a heavier rod at a very low price, probably wont be a Simms, Winston or Hardy, or other top brand (gasp say it isnt so), but perhaps it will be functional for what you need to do and it wont break the bank.

d
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Old 11-16-2011, 10:25 AM
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Default Re: is 5 weight fly rod for steelhead possible?

I would fish with what I had to fish with. I did this for many years using a good 5 weight rod Orvis Graphite 1979 Far & Fine 5 weight I caught all species of salmon in America except sockeye and king and plenty of steelhead. Unless you hook a fish way over 15 pounds in heavy water you should be able to drag it in with a 'quality' 5 weight rod. I landed at least 40 silver / coho salmon this past fall while trout fishing with my old 5 weight. The fish ranged from small 3 pound Jacks to 12-13 pound males. Some went crazy, others came in without my seeing the backing at all. I used either an 8 or 10 pound leader for this.

Don't get me wrong please, I am not advocating using a 5 weight. I am saying that if that's all you have and you want to go fishing then go.

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Old 11-16-2011, 11:46 AM
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Default Re: is 5 weight fly rod for steelhead possible?

Another point that is misunderstood is that the actual maximum line tension you can put on a fish is not determined by the rod at all. It is determined by the breaking strength of the leader.

What I mean by that is if you have a 5 foot 2 wt fly rod and a 9 ft 10 wt fly rod, and you have identical fly reels loaded with line, leader and tippet of 12 lbs breaking strength, most fly fishers will say you can pull harder with the 10 wt fly rod.

Actually, the hardest pull is when we take the rod out of the equation. Because a fly rod is a FLEXIBLE lever, it dampens the strain on the leader by bending. The hardest pull is when we point the rod directly at the fish and prevent the rod from dampening the pull.

That is what we do when we get as snag and we want to break off the snag. We point the rod at the snag and pull on the line. If we pull up on the rod against the sang, we can break the rod.

It is a trick question of sorts. But the truth is that you can pull just as hard when the reel is on a 2 wt rod as when it is on a 10 wt rod.

The lesson from this, is that if you are going to use a 5 wt to fish steelhead and you get into a situation where you think the rod is going to break, lower the rod to decrease the tip angle. This places most of the stress on the rod butt. If the rod butt is still in danger, then point the rod at the fish and let the drag do all the work.
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Old 11-16-2011, 12:10 PM
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Default Re: is 5 weight fly rod for steelhead possible?

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Originally Posted by silver creek View Post
Another point that is misunderstood is that the actual maximum line tension you can put on a fish is not determined by the rod at all. It is determined by the breaking strength of the leader.

What I mean by that is if you have a 5 foot 2 wt fly rod and a 9 ft 10 wt fly rod, and you have identical fly reels loaded with line, leader and tippet of 12 lbs breaking strength, most fly fishers will say you can pull harder with the 10 wt fly rod.

Actually, the hardest pull is when we take the rod out of the equation. Because a fly rod is a FLEXIBLE lever, it dampens the strain on the leader by bending. The hardest pull is when we point the rod directly at the fish and prevent the rod from dampening the pull.

That is what we do when we get as snag and we want to break off the snag. We point the rod at the snag and pull on the line. If we pull up on the rod against the sang, we can break the rod.

It is a trick question of sorts. But the truth is that you can pull just as hard when the reel is on a 2 wt rod as when it is on a 10 wt rod.

The lesson from this, is that if you are going to use a 5 wt to fish steelhead and you get into a situation where you think the rod is going to break, lower the rod to decrease the tip angle. This places most of the stress on the rod butt. If the rod butt is still in danger, then point the rod at the fish and let the drag do all the work.
Awsome answer. I was going to delete some of it to get to the meat of it, but after looking at it decided every word should stay. Again, awsome answer.

When I use a single hand rod, most of the time it's my 5 wt. We have a lot of species here and most of them get big. Just because I am tageting something does not mean that's what I get. I have landed some pretty big fish and it did not take that long. I tend to use fairly heavy tippet. Along the line of what Silver was saying, if you use a 2 lb. tippet on a 10 wt, how does that make it better than on a 5 wt for the fish?
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Old 11-16-2011, 12:25 PM
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Default Re: is 5 weight fly rod for steelhead possible?

Hi Dan,

I agree, that's why I closed my remarks saying that I use either 8 or 10 pound leader when fishing the #5 rod. By doing so I'm pretty certain that the rod will be fine regardless of what grabs the fly. Silver Creek has done a good job of detailing that thought.

Ard
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Old 11-16-2011, 01:39 PM
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Default Re: is 5 weight fly rod for steelhead possible?

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Originally Posted by Hardyreels View Post
Hi Dan,

I agree, that's why I closed my remarks saying that I use either 8 or 10 pound leader when fishing the #5 rod. By doing so I'm pretty certain that the rod will be fine regardless of what grabs the fly. Silver Creek has done a good job of detailing that thought.

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Old 11-16-2011, 04:50 PM
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Default Re: is 5 weight fly rod for steelhead possible?

Way, way too light. You are either going to kill the fish or break the rod.
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:19 PM
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Default Re: is 5 weight fly rod for steelhead possible?

Well, today was my day on the water. I couldn't hep but give the five weight a try even though the water was high. At least it was wednesday and so no crowds and lots of room to work a fish if necessary.

I only managed one hook up... which I blame partially on my inexperience fishing steelhead and partially on muddy water conditions.

Anyway, the fish I hooked appeared to be above average size (I would guess a couple feet long or more) and I hooked it in about two feet of fast moving water. I have to say, it has been a very long time since I have had such a strong fish on the end of my line. My five weight really did feel too light...not impossible...but definitely not a good choice of rod for that situation. I fought the fish for probably 2-3 minutes before the hook pulled out of its mouth. I think I lost the fish because it dove and held to the bottom and I was simply unable to lift it. After probably a solid minute of trying to lift it off the bottom I resorted to pulling sideways to turn its head to force it to move and that is when the hook pulled out. I think if I had a heavier rod I would not have had to get creative and would have had a better chance to land the fish.

I will probably fish the 5 weight again but i can see now that the strength of steelhead, combined with the force of strong current, really is hard to appreciate until you have one on the end of your line. What an incredible experience it was!
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