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Old 06-27-2011, 11:42 AM
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Default Fly sizes for a 8.5' 5x

I was in at a couple fly shops when I was on vacation in the Smokies to buy some flies. I noticed that the leader packages note that the hook sizes recommended for a 5x outfit are 14-18. I was wondering is this a stricked rule or could I go larger, if so how big? Target fish are mainly bluegill, and small mouth & small large mouth bass. Thanks!

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Old 06-27-2011, 11:53 AM
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Default Re: Fly sizes for a 8.5' 5x

Kevin - what weight fly rod are you using? If large and smallmouth bass were my target species, I'd surely not be using 5X tippet.
Gary
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Old 06-27-2011, 11:55 AM
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Default Re: Fly sizes for a 8.5' 5x

I see no need to go lighter than 3x for bass.

For 5x, flies size 12-20 are workable, so 14-18 is pretty accurate.
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Old 06-27-2011, 12:00 PM
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Default Re: Fly sizes for a 8.5' 5x

There are folks here that can probably give you a detailed techical answer, but in short, you can tie on any size fly...the main thing is how well the tippet turns the fly over and control. It is a recommended fly size...for bream/bluegill/red ears etc you will probably find that most fly's will fall into that size. A 5x tippet will be strong enough to handle the fight. For largemouth and smallmouth you may want a heavier /leader and tippet - maybe a 3x - anyway as the fish are bigger (and most of the fly for bass are bigger too). When fishing for bigger bass I usually worry more about leader strength in terms of "pound test" than turning the bug over properly.
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Old 06-27-2011, 03:00 PM
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Default Re: Fly sizes for a 8.5' 5x

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Originally Posted by gt05254 View Post
Kevin - what weight fly rod are you using? If large and smallmouth bass were my target species, I'd surely not be using 5X tippet.
Gary
Gary, I have a 8'6" 5x fly rod and reel. I was fishing for trout in the Smokies last week. I lost my only leader in a tree (i'm a rookie) so I went down the way to buy some new leaders. From what i've read on this forum and other research i've done I was under the impression that you are suppose to keep all things the same as to what weight rating your outfit is. I purchased a 7'6" 5x leader for my 5x rod. As far as the tippet i'm just going to use mono or flouro line. What would your recommendation be for the info i have given? Thanks for the help.

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Old 06-27-2011, 03:16 PM
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Default Re: Fly sizes for a 8.5' 5x

Hey Smokey_Hiker

The main job of a tapered leader and tippet is to transfer energy and "turnover" at the end of the cast and lay the fly out. If the tippet is too light, like a 5x might be when casting a larger fly-- especially a wind resistant popper or heavily weighted fly like a beadhead bugger or clouser, the leader, tippet and fly might collapse in a heap at the end of your fly line. At the same time you want a light enough tippet for the fly to land and drift along naturally-- so for small flies you'd want a thinner, lighter tippet.

While you don't have to be too crazy about it, it does help to at least get a rough match up the size of the tippet with the hook size of the flies you're using.

Frank wrote an FAQ that might help with a chart of tippet and fly size, and a "rule of thumb" to match up hook size to tippet size (divide hook size by 4 then add 1 to get X size tippet. So a size 8 hook divided by 4 =2 add 1 = 3 so 3X tippet.

here's a link to Frank's FAQ:
http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/fo...-do-i-use.html

For smallmouth and largemouth bass I generally like a shorter leader, around 7 1/2 or 8 feet long and tapered down to 8 or 10lb test which would be about 0x or 1X-- (sometimes these are sold as 8' "bass leaders" and just give a lb test instead of an X size). Because panfish don't tend to be too picky, you can often get a way with using this shorter heavier leader on them too even if you 're using poppers for them on smaller hooks.
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Old 06-27-2011, 04:48 PM
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Default Re: Fly sizes for a 8.5' 5x

Do you mean 5 weight instead of 5x rod? If you do, you can use pretty much any leader you feel like. There is no hard fast rule as to what size leader you have to use. I fish a 5 wt. a lot and have used some pretty heavy leaders. 20lb. + type stuff. Depends on what you are doing and how big and toothy the fish you are targeting.
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Old 06-27-2011, 06:25 PM
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Default Re: Fly sizes for a 8.5' 5x

Quote:
Originally Posted by gt05254 View Post
Kevin - what weight fly rod are you using? If large and smallmouth bass were my target species, I'd surely not be using 5X tippet.
Gary
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diver Dan View Post
Do you mean 5 weight instead of 5x rod? If you do, you can use pretty much any leader you feel like. There is no hard fast rule as to what size leader you have to use. I fish a 5 wt. a lot and have used some pretty heavy leaders. 20lb. + type stuff. Depends on what you are doing and how big and toothy the fish you are targeting.
Diver Dan & Gary,

Sorry, I was confused. I have an entry level Bass Pro special; a 8'6" 5 line wt Dogwood Canyon outfit. It seems like around here (Central Illinois) the blue gill and small mouth bass out weigh the large mouth bass. Would there be another length and line wt that you would recommend using for said targets?
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Old 06-27-2011, 07:45 PM
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Default Re: Fly sizes for a 8.5' 5x

I fish an 8' 6" 4wt rod most of the time, and catch everything from bluegill to large smallmouth with it. Casting large flies is not as easy as a 5 or 6wt, but I use mostly smaller flies with this outfit. I do use 3X leaders, however, and that makes a world of difference in casting heavy flies. Smallmouth will chew up a leader quickly if there are rocks on the stream bottom, and 3X will help with the abrasion you'll experience. I caught a 17" smallmouth a couple weeks ago, and he tore up my two feet tippet along the rocky bottom. I had just replaced the tippet before making that cast, and had to replace it again after landing that fish. Sooo.....buy a few 3X and 4X leaders, and get a couple spools of tippet material to keep your leaders full length and full strength.
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Old 06-28-2011, 02:31 PM
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Default Re: Fly sizes for a 8.5' 5x

Kevin sorry I misunderstood what you were asking. With your 5 weight rod you can use whatever X leaders and tippet makes sense for the size of the fly you're using. So on your 5 weight rod, if you're throwing size 6 bass size poppers for largemouth, or weighted flies like clousers, crayfish or woolly buggers for smallmouths use a heavier, shorter leader like a 7 1/2 or 8' long leader tapered to 1x or 2x (or 8-10lbs) and if you're using smaller flies for trout like size 14 dries, a 5x leader and tippet would be a better choice. For panfish you can usually "cheat" a little and go a bit heavier than you might normally use for the same size trout fly.

A 5 weight is a great all around choice for trout, panfish and small bass and a very versatile outfit. If at some point you wanted to add another "arrow" to your quiver, you might think about skipping a line weight or two and getting a 7 or 8 weight. This would throw bigger, heavier and more wind resistant flies a bit better for bass, and if you're a glutton for punishment, it would also be a very good choice for chasing Great Lakes steelhead all winter and for light saltwater fishing for redfish, sea trout etc if you come to your senses after a few winter steelhead trips and need get away to somewhere warm.
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