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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 01-13-2013, 04:39 PM
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Default Re: Is it better to have a 4wt and a 5wt, or a 4wt and a 6wt?

There is no single right answer as far as I am concerned.

The answers to the question reveals a schizophrenia, IMHO. What I mean by that is, here we have a question about skipping a rod weight by one poster with some saying that they have never felt a need for the missing weight. Simultaneously, you can find other threads about whether a rod is a true 5 wt or a 5.5 weight.

I understand that the questions are different, but some fly fishers obsess about getting by and others about having just the right rod. When I started, I tied to get by, and now not only do I have rods from 3 to 9 weight; but I have different lengths in several of those weights. I've gone from one type of fly fisher to the other as my income and tastes changed.

I always had the same needs. What changed was my ability to fill those needs. The original question presumes that a given rod weight is better, which is backwards to me. One is not better than another unless we know the need for that rod. Because if we were honest, the different rod weights exist because there is a need for each rod weight, just the same as there is a need for rod different lengths and different rod actions. We haven't even addressed that.
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old 01-13-2013, 04:40 PM
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Default Re: Is it better to have a 4wt and a 5wt, or a 4wt and a 6wt?

As you would suspect from this crew, lots of good posts and advice. Three posts really stuck out to me: Frank's, Chi's and Avs.

Edit: Add to that Silver's post. I too started off with the premise of getting by, now I add because I'm fortunate enough to do so. Understanding the need will help us provide recommendations.

I agree with Frank, rods in given line weights perform differently so it's important, especially when building a quiver to consider what type of flies you're throwing and for what species. Once you have a rod that covers the majority of your fishing needs, then you can backfill for other circumstances.

Similar to Chi, I started out with a 5wt and then moved down to 4wt rods for trout fishing and probably some occasional panfish. My current smallmouth rod is a 5wt Z Axis, ideal for the dry flies I use it for and it handles streamers OK as well. For as much smallmouth fishing as I do, this works for me.

My first steelhead rod was a 7wt, 9ft rod. That'd my preference and a starting point for Lake Erie Steelhead. You can get away with a 6wt, I have a buddy who only owns one fly rod and he's got a 6wt as it covers pretty much all of his fishing but he fishes maybe once a year for steelhead. It doesn't shine, but it gets the job done considering how much he fishes. If you go the route of a 6wt, learning how to fight the fish using side pressure will become paramount.

Avs asked some great questions as those answers really will help give YOU an idea of which rods to consider. What rods do you currently have in your arsenal? What species of fish are you targeting, and what size/type of flies do you intend to use these rods for?

Last but not least, I agree with lots of posters, one can never have too many fly rods. Chi and I both know this all too well.
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:34 AM
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Default Re: Is it better to have a 4wt and a 5wt, or a 4wt and a 6wt?

I think a 4 and 6 would cover everything. Of course what I think and what I do are two different things. I use my 4 wt TMF for tight areas I am fishing, my 5 wt for larger river areas I have access to and my 6 wt for smallmouth and medium carp ( my 5 wt z-axis would probably do this also).
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:51 AM
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Default Re: Is it better to have a 4wt and a 5wt, or a 4wt and a 6wt?

As is obvious, there is no correct answer to your question. It has been pointed out to you that there are two fundamental approaches; having as few rods as possible or having as many as possible and the majority of us err on the excess side...including me.

I have rods from #2 through #12 excluding only #11 and I have my eye on one (the Proaxis 8'10" one-piece #11). My trout quiver includes two #4's, a gentle one and a big river one, two #5's with different personalities and one #6 principally for drift boat use. I fish a 9'/#5 for about 75% of all trout fishing because it offers the best combination of dry fly delicacy, authoritative line control and ability to cast a long leader in close or at distance even if there is a breeze. I love fishing the 4-weights as specialty ultra light rods on spring creeks and calm side channels and virtually never fish my line sizes smaller than the 4's...not enough mass for line feeding and mending. 6-weight rods are so much lighter and more refined than they were just a few years ago that some of them almost fish like a #5 but with expanded line control. I regularly fish #16 and 18 dry flies with my #6 on big water where long casts and longer line feeds are the norm.

I am not answering the question because, like most of us, I am using this thread to expound on my own style but if I were to try to answer I would say stick with a fine 5-weight and ditch the rest.
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:17 PM
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Default Re: Is it better to have a 4wt and a 5wt, or a 4wt and a 6wt?

I would ask that you consider in your purchase that a fly rod casts with the upper third or on softer rods, the upper and middle third. But a rod fights larger fish with the butt section.

So there are two considerations here. Casting and fish fighting are separate issues, and both are affected not only by the line rating of the fly rod, but ALSO by the rod action and the rod length.

Softer rods have a softer rod butt for a given rod length. So a softer rod has less power as I defined it on another post.

Longer rods have stiffer and more powerful butt sections for the same rod action than a shorter rod. A rod tapers from top to bottom so the butt section of a longer rod will have a thicker and more powerful butt section than a shorter rod of the same action. My 5 wt 10 foot GLX has the power of a 6 or 7 wt 9 ft GLX.

So if you need to cast delicate flies but have the potential for hooking big fish, get a longer rod if the extra length does not hinder you're fishing. That is why the 10 and 11 foot euro nymphing rods are 3 and 4 weights but can handle larger fish than the typical 8 foot 3 or 4 weight.

Casting and fighting fish are NOT just a matter of line weight as has been assumed in this discussion. It should include rod action and rod length.

Finally, I have often heard that a higher line weight fly rod can pull harder on a fish. That is absolutely not true. The degree of maximum pull is determined by the weakest part of the line and leader system. That is the tippet.

The reason is that for maximum pull the rod is taken out of the equation. When we want the maximum pull on a snag, what do we do? Do we pull the rod at an angle to the snag? We do not. We point the rod at the snag and take the fly rod out of the equation, because to pull against the snag with the rod tip risks breaking the rod.

A 3 weight rod with a 10 lb tippet can pull just as hard as an 8 weight rod with a 10 lb tippet when both rods are pointed at the fish. You lose the shock absorption of the rod, but when a large fish threatens to break your rod, lower the rod angle and point the rod at the fish and let the reel drag absorb the shocks.
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Last edited by silver creek; 01-14-2013 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:39 PM
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Default Re: Is it better to have a 4wt and a 5wt, or a 4wt and a 6wt?

All Silver Cr. says is so; I will add though that there is an imperative to line size too. It is the mass of the (first 30') line that loads the rod for casting but it also the mass that dictates the degree of angler control while roll casting, in-air reach casting and in-air and on-water mending. It is in this post-cast line manipulation that the length and quality of a dead drift fly presentation is achieved and thicker fly line in a taper designed to minimize hinging in its transitions is advantageous.
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:59 AM
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Default Re: Is it better to have a 4wt and a 5wt, or a 4wt and a 6wt?

There was question posted on another BB about what fly line and rod is used for what fly. A poster suggested this Orvis URL which I think is a good start for a beginner to start.

Choosing a Fly Line

But the more you learn about fly cast casting, you learn that there are exceptions; and fly fishing and fly casting cannot be fit into a chart or graph. There are exceptions.

The chart is a guide but it ignores the fly rod action and rod length. I am not dissing Orvis because you have to simplify for a beginner. However, a beginner or even an experienced fly fisher can believe that this chart is all there is.

To understand what is happening during a fly cast, you need to understand what a high school student learns in a basic physics class.

The physics definition of what a fly rod does is Work (W). Work is the application of a Force (F) over a Distance (d). Work is a very simple concept. When you move a box from point A to point B, you do Work. When you move a fly and fly line from point A to point B, you do Work. How do you move the fly and line? You move it by applying a Force to it.

Fly rod length is important because a longer rod gives you a longer lever, and longer lever gives you the ability to lengthen the rod tip path, and a longer rod tip path combined with the longer rod taper allows a greater force to applied, and force applied over a greater distance results in more work. This means heavier or bushier flies can be cast.

Rod action is important for the very same reason. A faster action rod allows for the application of a greater force for a given stroke length.

A 10 foot 4 weight fast action rod can cast heavier and busier flies a greater distance than a 8 foot 5 weight slow action rod.
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:43 AM
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Default Re: Is it better to have a 4wt and a 5wt, or a 4wt and a 6wt?

Short answer would be, I'd skip a weight. You can always underline or overline each rod. This will give you a broader range of fly/bass bug sizes and allow fishing in a wider range of wind condtiions.
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