I've been fishing with an Orvis Clearwater II for the last few years and have recently decided I'm going to upgrade my rod/reel combo for my birthday. I'm leaning towards a Lamson Konic reel, but I'm still out in la la land regarding a rod and I'm hoping some of you can help me out.
All of my online research leads me to the Sage VXP as my #1 choice rod but I'm also entertaining several other rods, like the Scott A4, and potentially the Sage Response, and a few others. I've fished the Scott A4 in 9' 6wt, liked it, but certainly didn't love it, I'm still entertaining it because I switched to that rod mid day and feel like I didn't give it a good test. I've also cast the VXP and Response in 5wt. I cast the Response better, but the VXP just felt like it was a better rod. here's my dilemma, should I look for a much faster rod than my Clearwater and "grow into it" or stick with something more like I'm used to? Casting the VXP I felt like I was having trouble keeping up with the rod and letting the rod do the work rather than me powering through it to get what I wanted. While casting the Response I picked up the cast fairly quickly with the new rod and it certainly cast better than my Clearwater, but I want to make sure I have a rod that will push me to the next level.
The entire purpose of the new rod is to push my fishing to higher levels and I feel a better rod will help me accomplish that. I'll be fishing for trout the vast majority of the time, small mouth occasionally, on medium sized rivers such as the Davidson, Watauga, the occasional trip into E Tennessee, ect. I fish double nymph rigs most often but am starting to fish dries and streamers more often as well, so I want a rod that will help me master both aspects. I'm also going back and forth between a 5 and 6 wt. I don't want the 6 to be too much rod and loose a delicate presentation, but I also want to be able to throw some decent sized flies. Also feel free to throw any other rods I may be overlooking as well, my budget pretty much tops out at the 5-600 range.
Congrats on being able to upgrade I can't give much guidance on the rods you are looking at but thought I'd bump your thread up so someone who knows them might spot it.
Another way to approach it would be to get a nice 7wt or 8wt for bass and to give you an option for salt. You could either wait to upgrade your Clearwater or find a nice 5wt and 7 or 8wt that together would fall within your budget. Just a thought.
Fortunately/unfortunately, there are a lot of high quality/performance rods in your price range, especially if you entertain used rods/clearance rods.
Also, nymphing and dries are kind of opposite ends of the scale, in terms of what you're asking the rod to do well. That said, there are rods that can do both and most everything in between. In my un-expert opinion, you need to first decide what style of fishing you either will do more often, or enjoy more, whichever is more important to you.
For instance, in my own case, I fish a lot of still water, from a tube, but lately have gotten more time in on creeks and moving water in general. However, regardless of the type of water I fish, I like fishing dries (terrestrials mostly) more than anything else. I will fish nymph rigs, indicator rigs, streamers, sinking lines, etc., when the situation calls for it, but when I dream about fishing, I dream about fishing dries.
So, when I came to the decision of upgrading my 5 wt., I decided I wanted a rod that leaned more towards dry fly fishing. Even though my 5 wt. does more duty as a nymph/streamer rig caster. Eventually, I ended up choosing a rod that could cast an indicator rig or even a 150 grain sink tip, but its 'wheelhouse' is in making delicate casts with dries. in other words, I chose a rod based on what I like, not what I usually do.
So far, it's worked out just fine. I have to make some concessions when casting heavy rigs or sink tips, but it does a decent job with that kind of fishing. But man, does it ever get fun when I tie on a hopper and get bit by a big brown.
As for actual rods, a good fishing buddy of mine thinks his 5 wt. Sage One is the cat's meow for either nymph rigs or medium size dries. G. Loomis GLX series rods I think are right around your price range, and St. Croix Legend Elites are around $450 I think. From personal experience, my Winston GVX ($500? retail) can nymph rig and indicator rig, but it is a bit soft for that sort of thing. Toss medium to small dries 45 ft. and in, and it comes alive. Of course, there are many, many other very good rods that will fit your budget.
To narrow your search, I'd decide what I really want that rod to be great at first.
"Three-fourths of the Earth's surface is water, and one-fourth is land. It is quite clear that the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn." ~Chuck Clark
Last edited by rangerrich99; 07-08-2013 at 10:15 PM.
Exactly what RangeRich said. Find a good all around rod, stay away from all the specialty rods if you value the longevity of your credit/debit card.
I fall in to the pit of having specialty rods or specific purpose rods. Don't forget for each "special" rod you buy you will want to treat it to a special reel too.
TXL 1 wt = Dry fly only
sage one 3wt = small dries / midges on bigger water (50+ foot casts)
Sage circa 3wt = dries only on medium sized water
Zaxis 4wt = bigger dry /dropper or small streamers on bigger water
On and on through 4 or 5 more rods, when really my 9' 4wt St Croix Legend Ultra can do almost all the applications very well ........ Oh **** did I just talk myself in to selling gear
Seriously a nice medium or medium fast 9' 4wt like the one you mentioned should cover almost all the trout fishing scenarios you will find.