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Old 02-08-2012, 07:46 AM
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Default How to choose my first rod

So it won't really be my "first" rod, but rather the first one that I'm going to pay more than $25 at a yard sale for.

I'm very new to fly fishing and have only held a fly rod a few times, but this year my father and I have decided we're going to jump in and put our spinning rods away for a while.

As a beginner, what should I look for in a rod? I've heard people state that a 8-9ft 5wt mid flex is the best beginner rod. I've looked through the FAQs here and noted that a 5wt would definitely cover 80% of the fish that I'd be going after, but what about the action rating?

Based on my fishing experience with spinning rods, I'm a firm believer that whatever you start on, you get good at using because you have to (or you give up). I've fished with an old light weight moderate action spinning rod for years, caught lots of fish and can use it well, but I picked up a fast action rod at the end of last year and it's 20x easier to set the hook and bring in the fish.

I have 3 rods at home to choose from that I picked up on closeout that I couldn't resist. I can't keep them all because they were still quite expensive, but I have a selection that should afford me at least one good rod to start with. I have an 8' 6" 5wt fast action, 9' 5wt fast action and a 9' 6wt fast aciton. Would any of those make a good starter rod? Since I haven't fished much yet and definitely haven't handled a variety or rods, how do I know what "fits" me best? I'm definitely not limited to these as I'm sure I can sell all of them for at least what I paid, so if you can think of a different length/weight/action that would be better, please let me know. I can still get a few other weights and lengths in the same rod (#3, #4, #9 in 8' 6" to 9' 6"), but they're all still fast action.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'll be working with a guide in the upcoming months, but it's nice to get opinions from multiple people instead of just one.

Thanks!

Matt
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Old 02-08-2012, 08:00 AM
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Default Re: How to choose my first rod

Your best bet is to test cast all three rods. Just in the yard or a field with a line and no flies. This way you will get a feel for how the rods fit your arm action.

From that you can decide which one you want to keep. All three are pretty similar in length and action. You may even be able to overline the 9' 5 wt with a 6wt line, depending on how it casts. 9' 5wt is a great 'all rounder'. A 6wt will help you land bigger fish faster, but overall, in my opinion, you will do will with any of these rods.

I'm sure others will chime in with some words of advise, but test casting is key to finding which one to keep.
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Old 02-08-2012, 08:25 AM
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Default Re: How to choose my first rod

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtowner23 View Post
Based on my fishing experience with spinning rods, I'm a firm believer that whatever you start on, you get good at using because you have to (or you give up). I've fished with an old light weight moderate action spinning rod for years, caught lots of fish and can use it well, but I picked up a fast action rod at the end of last year and it's 20x easier to set the hook and bring in the fish.
I have fast action rods, slow action rods, and most everything in between.
I find that the rods at both ends of the spectrum are not as "forgiving". You actually need to think about your cast. That may work for other people, but I'm not that disciplined. I don't want to have to concentrate on my casting, I want it to come naturally
Medium to med-fast rods let you do that
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Old 02-08-2012, 09:22 AM
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Default Re: How to choose my first rod

I agree with both posters comments. Take all 3 out for some test casting and see which one feels best to you. In a perfect scenario, you would have a rod that's medium-medium fast in the mix as I believe them to be the most forgiving. With that said, the line you use on each of them will have an impact on how the rod loads. Look for a line with similar taper to SA GPX or Rio Grand, which is slightly heavier than what the line is rated in each respective weight.

I referenced this once before in another post, but Silver Creek made an excellent post about fly rod line rating, power and action. Read it. Really it's good stuff.

Fly rod line rating, power, and action - an explanation.

Something else that might help you narrow down your choice on those rods is by identifying what your locale is, the type of species you're fishing and size of stream, river, lake, etc. Not a bad idea to update your profile with that info as well. Also, by noting the specific manufacturer of the rods, you might get some help with regard to opinions/experiences with that specific rod and some help dialing in the right line.

I too have rods that vary but mine are in the medium to fast range. With each type of action, I just need to remember to adjust my stroke. It takes concentration and a little bit of work, but is worth the reward for me. In the end, getting good with what gear you have is really all that matters.
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Old 02-08-2012, 09:54 AM
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Default Re: How to choose my first rod

I tend to focus on rising fish or cruising fish more than I do casting. So my best rod is a mid flex. The one thing I learned from our friends at International Angler Jas...slower actions rods will stick a steelie better(in other words, they don't get off as easily). They haven't proved that theory wrong yet. Anyway. if the waters you fish tend to be smaller, I would use an 8'6" rod.
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Old 02-08-2012, 11:55 AM
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Default Re: How to choose my first rod

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Originally Posted by jaybo41 View Post
Something else that might help you narrow down your choice on those rods is by identifying what your locale is, the type of species you're fishing and size of stream, river, lake, etc. Not a bad idea to update your profile with that info as well. Also, by noting the specific manufacturer of the rods, you might get some help with regard to opinions/experiences with that specific rod and some help dialing in the right line.
Done! I thought I had filled that out before when I signed up, but apparently that was for something else.

I'll primarily be fishing small local streams and rivers or private ponds. I'm used to ultralight fishing, so finessing large fish won't be a problem on a light rod.

The rods that I picked up are the Sage Z-axis rods. They were drastically reduced, so I thought I would give one a try. How does the fast action of these rods actually play out. Are they a definite fast or are they a mod-fast?
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Old 02-08-2012, 12:30 PM
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Default Re: How to choose my first rod

Ahhh, you're my neighbor to the north I see.

Ok, very familiar with the Z Axis line, I own 2 of them. This is a fast action rod but the tip is very sensitive and perfectly soft. The 590 is an incredibly versatile rod, and if I were to pick one of the three of them I would opt for that. I use it when I target trout and smallies. Throws everything well, small (#8-12's) streamers, nymphs with indy, even SMALL dries. I have mine laced up with Rio Grand and for me that's the right line. Great rod, I for one am sorry to see them go. If you are new to fly casting, it may take you a bit to get used to this rod, but the good news is that once you get there, you've got an incredible rod! Get to a local shop and get some fly casting instruction, even before you go out with the guide--if you can swing it. It's not ideal on small/smaller streams, but you can absolutely make it work assuming you're not fishing tight and brushy streams.

Now here's your dilemma. I see that you fish the Great Lakes for Steelies. None of those rods mentioned are ideal for that, though a 690 will work for Erie Tribs. I have a bud of mine that uses a 690 in Erie all the time. If you are also fishing Ontario, you will want to add an 8wt, maybe a 9 if going for kings, though you would be way over gunned with a 9 in Erie. For Erie, I recommend a medium-medium fast 7wt anywhere from 9-10ft--assuming you're talking single handers. My go to stick in Erie is a 10ft 7wt in medium-medium fast action. Strong butt and soft tip. Like Okuma said, the softer rod will help landing fish--the softer tip will act as shock absorption. Two hand rods are a different story. If you are fishing both Great Lakes I would recommend an 8 if you can only add one rod, then back fill your quiver as you can or "need" to.

Hope that helps.
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Old 02-08-2012, 03:43 PM
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Default Re: How to choose my first rod

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtowner23 View Post

I'm very new to fly fishing and have only held a fly rod a few times, but this year my father and I have decided we're going to jump in and put our spinning rods away for a while.

As a beginner, what should I look for in a rod? I've heard people state that a 8-9ft 5wt mid flex is the best beginner rod. I've looked through the FAQs here and noted that a 5wt would definitely cover 80% of the fish that I'd be going after, but what about the action rating?
Thanks!

Matt
I notice that you have chosen the Z axis. They are very good rods, but not the medium fast that I thought you were going to get. They are fast action rods.

I'd like some feedback as to how you do initially casting these rods. I have a theory and I think you will do well; but please let me know how it works out.
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Old 02-08-2012, 06:17 PM
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Default Re: How to choose my first rod

dear god keep the z axis. unless the other rods are Nrx and Zenith
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Old 02-08-2012, 06:18 PM
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Default Re: How to choose my first rod

Really it sepends on what you like to cast. I recently casted a couple of rods including a G. Loomis, an Orvis Clearwater, and a TFO Lefty Kreh Finesse. I preferred the finesse by FAR, odd considering it costs less that the Orvis and a lot less than the G. Loomis. I started on a 5wt., hard to beat, You can chase trout or lm bass on a 5wt, even bigger fish if you are gutsy. And who makes the rod is the largest determination of quality. Go to Cabelas, Sportsmans warehouse, or Bass pro. Cast as many rods as they will let you. buy the one you like. Or, at least cast the three you are deciding between.
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