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Old 01-21-2011, 04:55 AM
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Default Light Rod & Little Fish for Beginners?

Most of the advice I've seen recommends the 5/6 wt as a good all around rod for beginners. Sometimes I think a bit heavier because I am coming from a bass fishing mindset.

However, I realized that this summer I would probably have only a few hours a month to dedicate to fly fishing. So, instead of trying to catch a few whoppers, I'm wondering if it makes sense to concentrate on panfish in ponds and maybe the brookies in our small brooks.

So, does it make sense to slightly downsize a beginners outfit? (such as 4 or even 3 wt)?

Leon
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Old 01-21-2011, 06:28 AM
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Default Re: Light Rod & Little Fish for Beginners?

I started out years ago with an old fiberglass 5-wt and focused on bream and creek chubs. It really helped bring my casting up to a functional level and kept me interested because I was catching fish one right after the other. If I were only going to have one rod, I'd probably opt for the 9' 5-wt. The one rod-approach seldom holds for long, though.
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Old 01-21-2011, 06:45 AM
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Default Re: Light Rod & Little Fish for Beginners?

I had always considered the St. Croix Avid 8' (now 7'9") or 8'-6" 4wt a great beginner outfit. It's a mid fast action that one can really feel load with little effort.

Although I've never fished with one, a fiberglass rod sounds tempting. I started with a slightly faster action St. Croix Imperial. I really struggled to "feel" that rod load, especially after my instructor handed me his Scott G (dont' recall the length or wt).
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Old 01-21-2011, 06:45 AM
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Default Re: Light Rod & Little Fish for Beginners?

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Originally Posted by ghostdncr View Post
I started out years ago with an old fiberglass 5-wt and focused on bream and creek chubs. It really helped bring my casting up to a functional level and kept me interested because I was catching fish one right after the other.
I'm thinking that catching more will keep me interested longer I just read the article: Bream Fly Fishing - By Cliff Hilbert. It's pushing me more towards fishing for panfish. However, the article also reminded me of bass fishing (my comfort zone)
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Old 01-21-2011, 07:13 AM
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Default Re: Light Rod & Little Fish for Beginners?

Feeling the rod load was incredibly helpful for me, and fiberglass is excellent in this respect. I've seen excellent examples of the old Eagle Claw and Fenwick 'glass rods sell for less than $20 on the big auction sites. Mated with a simple reel (Martin's 61 is a commonly-seen favorite) and a good line, you can catch buckets of panfish while figuring out what you're doing. Let me know if you'd like to put together a rig like this and I'll go into further detail regarding what worked for me. Always glad to help out.

Save the long dry spells, stalking, and precise targeting of lunkers for later. Btw, the old 'glass rods will land any largemouth swimming if you do your part.
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Old 01-21-2011, 07:54 AM
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Default Re: Light Rod & Little Fish for Beginners?

You can get one of the new Eagle Claws off of Amazon for just under $25 bucks.

Don't think that you can't fish panfish with a 5 or 6 wt. You can, it just won't be too much of a fight.

I would recommend the 5wt, that way if you decide that you do want to try you hand at bass or some other larger fish, you can use the same outfit. The 5wt (or even better the 6wt) would have more "oomph" to help turn over those larger bass flys.

If you bought a 3-4wt and in a year wanted to go after some bass, you'd be in the market for a new rod pretty quick. I think that you would get more bang for your buck with a 5-6wt.
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Old 01-21-2011, 07:57 AM
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Default Re: Light Rod & Little Fish for Beginners?

Quote:
Originally Posted by leon o View Post
...I'm wondering if it makes sense to concentrate on panfish in ponds and maybe the brookies in our small brooks.
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by leon o View Post
So, does it make sense to slightly downsize a beginners outfit? (such as 4 or even 3 wt)?
Yes.
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Old 01-21-2011, 08:10 AM
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Default Re: Light Rod & Little Fish for Beginners?

I spend almost every evening tossing flies to panfish (bluegill, crappie, green sunfish, small bass) at our local lake when weather permits.

My go-to rod is a 3wt (either Sage Vantage or Gremlin Matrix from eBay) and it is a lot of fun to fight a 8-9" 'gill on those rods. I've lost 1 bass (probably in the 3# range) in the past year, and that was the 6X tippet breaking that caused the loss.

However, the 3wt is tough to cast if the wind is brisk. On those days I usually grab my 6wt (Ross FlyStik). The fight isn't as memorable, but at least I can usually get the fly in the water.

If I could only have one rod I'd probably go with a fairly fast action 4wt and over-line it in windy conditions (5wt line - I have a Sage Launch set up that way for my 10 year old son) or a medium action 5wt.
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Old 01-21-2011, 10:42 AM
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Default Re: Light Rod & Little Fish for Beginners?

Hi Leon,

I do want to stress that if you are just starting out, a lighter rod/ line will be less 'noticeable'.... Meaning that you will have a harder time feeling the rod load and unload.

This being said, I would steer you towards nothing lighter than a 4 wt.

You also mentioned that bass fishing is your 'comfort zone'-- many of the same tactics you employ with your 'conventional' tackle will translate nicely to fly gear. example-- you can get the same strike from a weighted bugger 'jigged' on the bottom that you will on a carolina rigged worm....

I'd say go with a five weight for the feel of the load/unload, and fish it just like you would your bass tackle (throw to cover, pound banks, etc.)

I also want to say that I've been in many situations that a fly was much more effective than 'conventional' gear-- ie- submerged timber, the fly had a slower sink rate than a heavy plastic, I could keep my fly in the strike zone longer than my buddy with fewer snags....

plus, you have many more (IMHO) top water options-- both in 'lures' and presentation, and where and how you can fish them.

my .02

//edit// a 5 wt. will be plenty fun for those sunnies as well--- especially if you are fishing like you would with your other gear-- you'll tend to find the bigger sunnies/ panfish....
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Old 01-22-2011, 12:17 PM
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Default Re: Light Rod & Little Fish for Beginners?

Thanks, lots of great points and perspectives to consider. It's tempting to go blow the gift card I just got for Cabelas. It seems as though there are advantages to both 4 & 5 wt.

Leon
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