I was at Cabelas yesterday looking for a fly rod as an alternative to ultra light spinning gear. The guy there showed me both a TFO Lefty Kreh Pro in a 4 wt, 4 pc, 8 foot rod as well as a Sage Fli in the same config.
My intention is to fish for panfish and bass in some ponds and streams in South Carolina. He thought the 4 wt could throw all but the larger bass bugs, and I have an 8 wt Zero G that I could use if I got into big fish there.
We went to the parking lot and casted both rods, and I clearly liked the Sage Fli better than the TFO, probably because it is a little faster.
However, I've noticed a lot of people on this forum like the Echo rods. Would an Echo cast more like the TFO or the Sage Fli? Also, I'm torn about getting a 4 or a 5 wt. Any recommendations there?
I've not yet cast the Sage Fli so I can't realy make a fair comparison there. However, I can say that I like how the Echo casts much better that the TFO Professional Series. The Echo seams smoother to me. I just like the way they feel.
They're all three fine rods and you'll be safe with which ever you choose.
"I was at Cabelas yesterday looking for a fly rod as an alternative to ultra light spinning gear. The guy there showed me both a TFO Lefty Kreh Pro in a 4 wt, 4 pc, 8 foot rod as well as a Sage Fli in the same config."
The Sage Fli is a more expensive rod than the Pro model. You should cast a TFO TiCrX rod to compare to the Fli. The TiCrX is a faster action rod like the Fli. If the X is too fast then look at a TiCr. The Pro model has a medium action. You are lucky to have a shop to try out the rods. See if they have the other TFO rods to check out. If you really like the Fli then go for it. I wish Steve would give us a report on the new Echo with the two tips.
There is an excellent Echo 2 review on this forum... Click Here
Now... as far as a 4 or 5wt... that's tough since I don't really know the area and conditions that you'll be fishing. However, I am a big fan of lighter rods so, for me, I'd go with a 4wt... If the bass get too big you can then go to the 8.
I bought an 8 ft 4 wt this spring expressly for bluegill fishing, and I really like it. However, I've also got a 5/6 weight, a straight 6 wt, and a 7 wt. If I could only have two rods, I'd have the 7 weight and the 5 weight. The 4 wt is noticeably tougher to cast accurately in even moderate breezes. Just this morning the wind was making it tough to cast next to shoreline brush and logs, and I got hung up a few times. I switched to my 8 ft 6 weight, and the bluegills felt just as nice on the line, but it was a lot easier to cast.
Having said that, bluegills and bass are not leader shy, so if you have a quality 4 wt rod, you can probably cast less than 30 feet with a 5 weight and not overload the rod too much, and it will handle breezes better. A spare spool and another line is cheeper than a third rod.
Thanks, everyone! Now I'm considering the Echo2 in the 5wt. I'm just a little worried that the 4 wt might have trouble with some of the bass poppers that I might want to throw. The point about the wind makes me lean toward the 5 wt.
Sounds like the Echo2 is quite a rod, although I'm now paying $130 more for the rod.
A 4wt will make catching mostly panfish much more fun, but a 5 or 6wt definitely would work better for throwing larger flies. Honestly, unless I'm throwing hoppers or other bulky stuff, a 4wt works just fine in the wind. (not true for a 3wt)
On your interest in a fast rod, let me relate it to my views when I first really got into the sport. My first rod was an 8wt, and I did most of my fishing on the TX coast. There was not a rod that was too fast for me. Sage's XP was great, but the Powell Tiburon was even better. I thought that I wanted all my rods to be fast. I cast an XP in 4wt and 5wt, and they felt great too. (just couldn't afford them) Then this guy at the fly shop I was working at let me cast his 9' 4wt Sage LL, which is not even a medium fast rod. I liked it, because it was one of the few "trout" rods that I didn't make tailing loops with using my overly-muscled casting stroke.
6 years later, I still love that rod. (more recent version, called a VPS Light) I can throw 70'+ with it, but it works great for fishing spots 10-20' from me too. I think you'll find that a slower action offers more versatility as you use the rod more and more. If you want to target bass, that 8wt will still be your best option. If you want a rod that makes catching panfish tons of fun and will make a great trout rod too, a medium or medium-fast 4wt is hard to beat.