So I'm about 7 years into the fly fishing process and thought my first rod would have broken by now. I have a 9' 5wt Cabela's lst with a prestige reel and try as I might it just won't break, so I am looking to get a new rod/reel anyway. I have taken my current rod and caught fish on almost all the major Colorado rivers, tons of small streams and alpine lakes, been to Montana , Utah and New Mex as well. No matter how many game trails I crawl through, brush I get tangled in or times I've went under from misjudging footing this thing won't break (probably just jinxed this). So Initially I was thinking of getting a 3wt or upgrading the 5 wt, but I saw a few deals on 4wts and started wondering if any one used one of this wt as a primary rod in Colorado. I like to throw dries as often as possible and my budget is around 500 for rod only and have been looking at both new and used. So opinions are sought, would or have you used a 4 wt as a primary rod for typical (I realize this is subjective) Colorado fishing.
Thanks in advance, Del
I love my 4wt. I built it to replace my 3wt that did break (try tripping and catching the tip in branches on the way down if you want to break a rod) and I found it cast much better with a 4wt line than the 3 I intended it to be. I've landed 20 inch trout on the 4 with no problems and cast small weighted streamers, though not ideal for it. When I go to bigger rivers I grab my 5 wt but the 4 is my go to rod.
One thought, if you get a 4wt maybe get it a touch shorter than you 5 for smaller streams with some overhead branches.
Welcoming you to the forum and asking, what's wrong with a #5 rod? I know what it's like to just simply want something new so I get that part but having fished all over the country with a five weight I sorta feel they are a good tweener for just about anything you'll get into. I would say if the old #5 is still a good companion rod and you want something more then go drastic. Either a 9 - 10' 7 weight for big water ........... or a 6'6" #3 for those little creeks. Anything but another rod of the exact same length and almost identical line weight.
A few years back the most common Colorado fly rod was a seven weight but with the advent of graphite that changed quickly and folks settled on the six and five weight rods. Going below that, except with certain fisheries, can cause more frustration than rewards. Colorado has a lot of bigger waters and bigger fish plus they do warm up at times in the summer. You don't want to take too long playing a hard fighting fish in warmer water as mortality goes way up then. Colorado also has considerable strong winds and mr. wind says 7 weight but will settle for a six. Going light is great fun if the fish are smaller and the water protected so by all means get a four weight "also," right after thatsix or seven! He who has the most rods when he dies wins!
Lots of people like a 4 wt in CO. I have used a 5wt for a few years, which seems to suit my streamer chucking well, but also throws dry dropper setups well. It seems like a stiffer/faster rod can 'shoot' a tighter loop under branches and snags better in tight cover.
I just got a 7'6" 3wt (TFO pro from last year), it is much easier to move around with. Casts nicely with a 4wt line up close. I have lost a couple fish though due to the soft tip (ie incomplete hook set), but I just need more practice getting more of the hook set in the stripping hand.
The TFO surprised me with being able to throw small nymph rigs and streamers better than expected. I did get my first dry fly bite of the year on the 3wt, very gentle presentation.
Tough to decide which to take along lately, the 5wt caleba's, as you said, has taken some serious abuse and continues to be my 'go to' rod for bushwhacking adventures.
That said, I also have taken my 7wt along to some of CO's tailwaters, and found the extra leverage very useful when fighting fish in high flows.
I fished a 9'/#4 Scott S3 (built in CO) on the upper Yampa a couple years ago and it was great for presenting PMD's to thoes nice sized rainbows. My base trout arsenal East or West is a. a technical 9'/#5 currently a Sage ONE for wading medium to large rivers, b. an 8 1/2'/#4 with a crisp action but softer tip for spring creeks and smaller streams, a Hardy Zenith and c. a powerful 9'/#6, currently a TFO BVK for larger flies, windy conditions and drift boat use. I escew line sizes smaller than #4 because there is inadiquit mass in super light lines fo execute the reach cast with in-air mends and on-water line manipulation that I employ to maximaize the dead drift dry fly presentaions I favor. I enjoy having different size and personality rods and, while, fishing Idaho and Montana, usualy have 5 or 6 rods in the truck. If I were to fish one rod for trout in the West though, it would be a 9'/#5 or 6.
I historically I always fished a 3wt unless I went to North Park then I took the 4 or 5 wt in 9'. I ended up getting a Sage TXL 7'10" 4Wt and I find I use it all the time. Dont get me wrong I still love my 1Wt and 3Wt but 90% of the time I end up using the 4wt
Sensitive enough to feel the fight in the little fish, strong enough to land a 15" Brown no problem at all. Line is light enough to throw a 20 dry and land it softly but heavy enough to throw doubles in the wind.
Just my opinion but a 4wt is perfect for the front range. Just keep the 5wt for if you go to Cheesman, Deckers etc etc