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Coldwater Fly Fishing Trout, Salmon, Steelhead, etc...

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Old 10-06-2014, 07:34 PM
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Default Horsepower rods - thoughts? Jerking steelhead in.

I have been using a 6wt rod since I really started flyfishing (about 13-14 years ago). In the past couple years I bought a 4wt rod and at the same time I put a real nice weight forward line on the 6wt. The set up covers all my fishing to date - the 6wt does the bass, pike, and muskie flies and the lighter weight streams are covered on the 4wt - even works bass nicely.

Now I have a bit of a problem - its called fishing for steelhead

The streams around here are loaded with down trees and other obstructions. I can throw every fly I have in my arsenal with my 6wt but asking it to jerk a ticked off steelhead in before it heads under cover in the trees is a tall order.

I was thinking about getting a 10wt rod to add to my collection. I figured my 6wt set up how it is will handle all the flies I have so stepping up to an 8wt wouldn't be too much different there. A 10wt is another notch up so I would have a significantly more powerful rod than my 6 and easier casting the big streamers, even though the 6 is adequate.

Now my question. I found a deal on an orvis 12wt - almost half price, 4 piece - same rod as my 4wt - Access series.

If you were considering a 10 and had the option of a 12 would you go for it?

My concern is actually that it might be too heavy duty. I know from shopping for 10wts before that a 10 is a pretty substantial rod. A 12 is going to be even more so. Though, it is going to have even more horsepower for big fish so it has an advantage there.

Thoughts?
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Old 10-06-2014, 09:36 PM
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Default Re: Horsepower rods - thoughts? Jerking steelhead in.

12 - way,way,way overkill.

Most people who fish for muskies with a fly rod in Minn-Wisco use 9 and 10 weight rods. Mainly so they can throw the ridiculously big flies, that often carry a lot of water, with force all day.

You could fish for steelhead using a 10 weight but you don't need that heavy of a rod for the kind of flies you'll throw and you also don't need that heavy of a rod to fight a steelhead.
I've caught plenty of west coast/Columbia summer runs between 4-12 pounds nymphing with an 8wt and it handled them just fine.
I've also caught a few bigger winter runs on the 8wt and it handled those just fine as well. I was never feeling like I wished it had more back bone.

There's a big difference between a 6 and an 8.
You might find that you prefer to throw the larger flies you use on an 8wt without it feeling like a broom handle and it will handle steelhead just fine no matter where you're catching them.

Given what you've outlined I don't really see a need for a 9 or a 10wt unless you're throwing 12+ inch flies from a boat for Muskies all day or getting into fishing the salt.

Also, I've been using 8wts for Muskies in Minnesota and Wisconsin every summer for the last 9 years or so and could see having a dedicated 9 or 10wt for Muskies if I fished for them all the time, just so I could throw the bigger flies easier but I wouldn't have a use for a rod that big otherwise unless I was fishing saltwater a lot or big salmon like chinooks.
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Old 10-07-2014, 08:33 AM
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Default Re: Horsepower rods - thoughts? Jerking steelhead in.

I'm using an 8wt. and haven't had any problems throwing big streamers all day with it for steelhead. It also still has enough finesse to throw some pretty small flies when needed. I've had some pretty large fish on 30"+ and felt it did fine. I've actually considered going down to a 7wt. for steelheading in Ohio and PA when I buy a more expensive rod and keeping the 8wt. For salmon and saltwater.
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Old 10-07-2014, 11:41 PM
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Default Re: Horsepower rods - thoughts? Jerking steelhead in.

4WT, 6WT, and 8WT you will have a lot, a lot of fishing covered. I have been using the same three WT rods for a long time. 7' 4wt, 8.5' 6wt, and 9' 8wt. I've pulled in my share of big Steel and Browns with the 8WT and never felt undergunned.

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Old 10-08-2014, 01:42 PM
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Default Re: Horsepower rods - thoughts? Jerking steelhead in.

I'm not the expert here. My first steelhead trip will be November 2nd and 3rd. I've asked similar questions to yours and have a 7 and an 8wt that I will be using.

What I didn't see mentioned here is the length of the rod. With steelhead fishing, there is a lot of mending or holding your line out of the water across multiple currents in whatever stream you are fishing. If this is to be exclusively or even primarily a steelhead rod, having a 10' rod may be helpful. If this will be a multipurpose rod, a 9' rod should be fine.

Others here know far more than I when it comes to steelhead. Please DO take their word over mine. I just thought it would be helpful to get this thought out there for discussion.

Todd
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Old 10-08-2014, 04:48 PM
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Default Re: Horsepower rods - thoughts? Jerking steelhead in.

Theres no way youre going to "jerk" a steelhead out of any cover with ANY rod if he decides to go there. I started steelhead fishing with an 8wt and narrowed down my needs to a 7wt. I have a 12wt and I don't even use it for tarpon. That rod is saved for Tuna and Marlin. A 10 weight is way too much rod for steelhead.
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Old 10-09-2014, 09:17 AM
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Default Re: Horsepower rods - thoughts? Jerking steelhead in.

From today's MidCurrent email

Is There Such Thing as a "Steelhead Rod?" | MidCurrent
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Old 10-09-2014, 09:37 AM
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Default Re: Horsepower rods - thoughts? Jerking steelhead in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rip Tide View Post
Thanks for the link. That was an interesting read. My fishing buddy has been fishing a center pin rod, 10ft, for drifting weighted flies and spawn sacks. I can see where the longer length would be best for line mending. However, my 9ft 6wt gets tangled in the trees as it is so I am not real sure I'd want any more length. For bigger, wider tributaries I can see having a bigger rod but the waters I've been fishing just aren't that big unless all I am doing is drifting and line mending.
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Old 11-01-2014, 06:05 PM
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Default Re: Horsepower rods - thoughts? Jerking steelhead in.

I stopped by a fly shop today and got to talking to one of the guys there. I asked him about the Orvis Access going out and he said there was a new series coming, but it sounds like it is going to be a little bit higher price class. He pointed out the TFO Mangrove rod they had and said it would be a good contender with a lighter tip. Looking around some more I spotted the TFO BVK model in the same price class. I got to cast both of them (10wt).

My thoughts are both are right what I want with "power". Today was really windy and I was still able to cast the rods, considering the conditions, I would say "adequately". I had noticeably better cast-ability with them over my current 6wt given the conditions. Though, the cast-ability today wasn't much of a factor - my main question now is what action rod would be a better option.

The BVK is a "stiffer" rod. From my rod shopping in the past I always have gravitated towards the tip flex/fast action rods and don't do so well with the mid flex/medium action rods. In the case of the Mangrove, it is a lighter tip but there is still a lot of meat in the mid section of the rod and it didn't feel like a wet noodle to me - I could still horse it around without it feeling like butter.

The salesmen I spoke with seemed to think the Mangrove, the softer of the two, would be a better option because the softer tip would help protect lighter tippets. From my perspective - I am not looking at another rod for "light" fishing. I want a rod that has a lot of power so I can lean in to it and have the ability to pull a fish in - certainly no environment for a "light" tippet.

With that being said, the guy also mentioned the BVK was a more "brittle" rod. Maybe I should have got some clarification on what he meant, but in the wording he used my take-away was it was a harsher rod that would be faster/harder on the tippets and flies. I don't know that this would be a real factor in my use of the rod anyhow.

What thoughts do you have for the rods?

I think I am pretty much set on either one of the above TFO's. They look like decent rods and aren't too expensive. The next two necessities are line and a reel. I have really enjoyed my textured Scientific Angler Titan Taper on my 6wt. This would be my first choice, but I see there are some other textured lines they have - maybe one of those would be a better option? I do notice that the Titan Taper feels a bit "heavy" for the line weight on my 6, but it also transformed the performance to cast bigger flies. With a 10wt that may not be necessary, but I would be curious what you think.
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Old 11-01-2014, 08:15 PM
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Default Re: Horsepower rods - thoughts? Jerking steelhead in.

I would say he mentioned "brittle" because so many BVK's come back for repair after they break. They have a reputation for that.

I have a BVK in a 10 wt, and it is a fine distance casting rod, but I would not push it the way I do my other rods with a fish on the end.
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