I am looking at getting a Redington CT 8'6" 5wt as my all-around trout rod, but I'm worried it might fall short in some situations. What sort of casting distances are you able to achieve with these slightly slower rods? What about tighter loops for slightly windy situations? I am a proficient caster and can double haul with the best of them if I need to.
The hardest conditions I'll see will probably be some slightly windy lake fishing and some windy days on the Deschutes.
I have a slow parabolic rod you can still throw a bit of line with soft rods. The timing of you casting and speed of stroke will be the biggest factor in casting. they can be difficult to get use to if you are used to fast rods But I have always favored slower rods.
The in close presintation will be awesome with a soft 5! my 6 even suprised me in close.
in practice I have done 40' with ease (need to get out with the rod to know how far it will cast just got it)
The control of your loops has little to do with they type of rod it is a technique thing you will still manage tight loops with it
I usually fish a 7'6" and 8'6" moderately fast 4wt. Moderate winds and distances are easily handled, and a double haul helps quite a bit. While I feel that I've mastered both of these rods, a fast 5wt is much easier to use when fishing on the windy Delaware River. Lakes aren't a problem for distance or wind, as I usually fish from a canoe. Positioning yourself to overcome distance and wind can solve most of your problems, but there are those times when you're forced to cast into the wind, or to reach further than normal. I have a bamboo 4wt, and that's my softest rod by far. It does well in wind and distances, and you just have to spend some time practicing in adverse conditions. A few years ago, I spent every windy winter day possible casting into the wind in my back yard. The lakes were frozen, and the warmwater fish on the local stream weren't interested in feeding due to icy cold water. I made more progress as a caster that winter than I had in the previous 30 years!
I still have distance limitations, and honking winds are still a nuisance, but I've found ways to get the most from the lighter/softer rods I prefer.
Yeah, I've mostly fished with medium-fast rods, and I can cast as far as I need to with those. I used to have an LLBean 4-weight that was a bit slower, and I absolutely loved feeling the rod load, though I can't remember what kind of casting distance I could get with it. The only rod I've ever had issues casting was a super-fast Echo Ion, and my main issue was wind knots and tailing loops as it was a very unforgiving rod. Though, I loved being pretty unaffected by wind and being able to shoot line until there was backing hanging out the tip.
I'm just trying to decide wether the Classic Trout (medium action) would be more versatile than something like a TFO Pro. I mainly want a jack-of-all-trades trout rod, and a 5-weight Redington CT seems like the ticket. I had also thought about getting the faster TFO Pro 5-weight and getting an extra spool loaded with 6-weight line to fish dries with. Does this generally work out? Or does the heavier line screw up presentation?
If you can shoot leader, line, and backing, you are casting 100'+. Depending on what line weight that is, you might want to polish up and get into some casting competitions.
I can do it with my cheapie pflueger 5-weight out on the lawn and my old Ion 8-weight out on the water (so, 90ft and 105ft respectively). Though, casts collapse pretty easily at that point. Might have to take some video of it before I get called out as a fraud, LOL.
Like many things I comment on here I offer an opinion based on my own experience. Just like rods vary so do the results and opinions reached by their users. I can't tell you about all the new rods on the market today because I already have 18 different ones as I write this. Although none are 2011 models they do cover a pretty wide range of actions or at least by todays standards they do. I think that todays fly fisherman is presented with way too many choices in rod actions that border on 'hair splitting'. Terms like slow, medium slow, moderate, medium fast, fast, and extra fast only serve to further confuse a buyer. The power of suggestion is a omni potent factor when it comes to a person actually being able to define rods into the three categories that still do exist. The three (in my opinion) are, slow, medium, and fast action rods. Beyond these three types I think it almost takes laboratory conditions in order to discern differences between some actions unless we allow that power of suggestion to overrule what our hands , arms, and eyes are telling us.
You write that you are a proficient caster and that should be a big help in making any rod selection. I would simply ignore the suggested action rating of a rod I may be willing to buy and take it out and cast it. When doing the testing I never began by trying to blast out the entire line. I like to start by working short casts of 30 - 40 feet which is the primary range that I cast and where most of my targets lie. If the rod works well within my established fishing range I start stretching the casts out a bit to see if the rod will meet those special needs that occasionally present themselves. What I mean by 'special needs' are those times where I actually must cast 60 or more feet due to some conditions that stop me from wading closer to my target.
I mentioned having a bunch of rods and over the years have found that every one of them will answer the full range of casting that I may run into on the rivers, creeks, and streams that each one is appropriate for. Some of the rods are bamboo, some are graphite, and there are a couple of old glass rods in the group too. The ability to cast a rod truly lies within the caster and all of this worry over rod selection in todays market seems like it is causing undue stress. I base that comment on the number of posts I see where folks are asking the same questions regarding rod action. Any advice I may give about choosing a rod may fail because I may be able to fly cast with a 25 year old 7' spinning rod with a broken ferrule that needs to be duct taped together. I use that example because it has had to be done at one point in order to be able to fish.
I think you should choose the rod you want and if it seems to cast well in your hands it will make a fine rod for any river, creek, or stream.
When I was the director of the American Museum of Fly Fishing, I used to take old bamboo (calcutta as well as tonkin) rods, and even greenhearts and such to a friend, Bill Cairns. I would meet him at the Orvis casting ponds in Manchester. Bill worked at Orvis some years ago; one of his jobs was to start the Orvis fly fishing school.
Anyway, Bill would wiggle the rod a little, stick a reel and line from the bucket full of 'em we'd borrow from the Orvis fly shop, and usually on the second cast get the entire line out...if he thought the rod could handle it. Didn't matter the rod, fast, slow or indifferent. He is easily the best caster I've seen and (hero statement coming, you knew it would), I've hung out with guys like Mel Kreiger (best teacher ever) and Lefty Kreh (great caster, incredible story teller) and a bunch others.
My point is that I fully support the guys that have mentioned above that its more about your ability as a caster than it is about the rod IN MOST cases. I would not want a noodle on a flats skiff when the wind was howling in my face. If the rod feels good to you, you're good to go. me thinks.