I need some help here. I am looking for a rod that will come as close to being an all around rod for my favorite river and style(s) of fishing. Now, this said you all need to know some more information.
This "river" is by most peoples standards a medium/large "stream". The banks are for the most part are tree lined and are pretty high/tall. The overhead canopy can close in once in awhile but for the most part the ceiling is clear.
Casting required distance is 50' tops with most presentations under 25'. Target species are rainbow and brown trout. There are some 20" plus fish in the river but most of the fish that end up in my net are on average 12-16".
There are good opportunities to fish small dry flies with size 30 trico's being the smallest and a size 8/6 hopper being the largest. Now, this said, when I am specifically targeting trico sippers I will take either my 3wt or 4wt. I routinely need to fish a moderate size nymph rig using a yarn/wool indicator, heavy point fly and whatever the dropper of the day is. I will also use tight line, high stick, quasi czech/pole technique from time to time. Lastly, I do like streamer fish. I will use both weighted streamers as well as unweighted streamers. I usually just use a floating line and if I need to stay deep I slip on a Versi-Tip sinking leader.
So there you have it. I hope I have given all the gear heads here enough information to chew on. The rods I am considering are:
Winston BIII LS 865-4
Winston WT 865-4 JWF
Sage Circa 895-4
Scott Radian 855-4
Scott G2 855-4
Scott M 885-4
Kabuto 805-3 (fiberglass option)
There is a theme here with 5 wt. rods under 9'. I am not opposed to a heavier or lighter line and a 9' or even longer stick, but I do feel that I want a rod that will load quickly and in close. I will be able to cast both the Winston BII LS and Sage Circa at my shop and possibly even fish both before purchasing either or. I will not be able to test cast either the Winston WT or the Scott rods.
I have also read the 2013 Yellowstone shoot-out. I appreciate the information, I'm just not sold on their conclussions however.
Your thoughts and suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thank you.
The Redington CT's are awesome and not expensive.
The Orvis Access are fine rods with mid-flex.
The Orvis Superfine is one of the best trout rods in existence. (my personal favorite so far in this game)
Winston's must be great rods too. I have no first hand knowledge but a slower action Winston gets raves most rods never hear.
A 'good' all purpose rod would be St Croix 'Imperial'...little faster than the ones I've me mentioned but not overly fast. Will do anything you want it to do. At around 200 - 225 they are a good buy.
Good luck,,and my words are just suggestions and worth exactly what was paid for them
Great job asking your question! We should use this as a model for asking the "what's my best choice?" question.
I'd second Fly_guy's suggestion of adding the Orvis Superfine's to the list.
If you have Redingtons available to cast, I think you'd be remiss in not trying their new Butter Stick. I've only read the hype, but it sounds good.
Honestly, my 8.5 ft CT sounds perfect, but I suspect you're budget allows for more rod than that...although you might consider finding one for 75 bucks just to have a very inexpensive, viable backup...you never know when a backup you like fishing will become important.
I have that exact rod, it is awesome. I also have the 8' 4wt and 7'6" 3wt. i am trying to resist the urge to get a 2wt to round out my collection. No need for a 6wt for me because I have a 6 I like and it never gets used because I just never have the need for a 6 in my normal fishing.
The Classic Trout is a GREAT rod, don't let the price fool you.
I am interested to hear from others why an individual looking to spend in excess of $500 and up to $800 for his favorite brand of trout rod wouldn't opt to have it built by a custom rod builder. To be able to get top quality components and a personalized rod every bit as good and better than most manufacturer's products seems to me a reasonable option for that price range. The reason I mention this is that the original post mentions a Kabuto 805-3. That is not to say that this rod is a rod for all occasions. I don't see much mention of custom builds and especially glass, suggested on this forum and I wonder why. Glass today is not your "pappy's glass of years ago. IMHO, look at what Kabuto and Epic have to offer. Not everyone's idea of the perfect rod, but I love them.
I certainly agree that if your looking for a softer full flexing rod, the orvis superfine is hard to beat, in your case either an 8' 4 weight (my favorite superfine) or 8'6" 5 weight superfine. Keep in mind these are pretty much dry fly rods, they dont handle weight nymphs and streamers very well. They are like the two seater sportscar of the fly rod industry, not very practical but insanely enjoyable.
For an all-rounder rod, and given your conditions, I would say either an 8'6" 4 weight sage VXP or 8'6" 5 weight VXP. Thus far I have bought been displeased and sold so many fly rods over the past few years for my perfect "all-rounder" rod, including some of the rods on your list. This thing proved to cover dry fly, wet fly, nymph and streamer with equal measure and ability like no other rod I have fished. I am a huge proponent of this rod so I am biased Might be worth a test cast.
I think the Scott M would be a good choice too, I love that rod. No matter what you end up buying make sure you at least cast it before buying, obviously fishing with it before buying would be the best thing, but I understand not everyone has that option.
I just got back from Feather-Craft and had a chance to spend some time casting the Sage Circa 895-4 as well as a Sage LL G3 905-2 side by side with Rio LT wf5 line.
I am liking the LL as it is noticeably slower than the Circa. Both are fine rods. I am hoping to fish both so I can actually feel them in action. I have little doubt that both of these rods would be fantastic dry fly rods. I would like to fish both of these rods with an indicator rig to see how they handle. I would also like to get them in on a little streamer action.
I do have a Kabuto 805-3 blank in my closet. I am wondering If I should spring on the build or stay vigilant in my search.
I appreciate the responses on the Orvis Superfines. The 761-4 is an incredible UL rod. I am not sure how the 5 wt would handle a heavy-ish nymph rig however and I don't think it is suited to handle streamers in a pinch.
Kudos to those who mentioned the Reddington CT. The 2 and 3 wt. rods are indeed special... I never thought about their 5 wts. as an option.
I hope to hear from some folks who own and fish the Scott rods.
I know it's not on the list but I'm gonna bring it up. I love my loop Evotec 590-M. I have nicer slow action rods, and bigger rods to huck streamers and weights, but I fish it a ton because it is that "all arounder". Considering I put an 800 dollar budget on that rod and cast everything under the sun and I ended up buying the 430 dollar rod surprised me too.