We're going to be heading down to Belize for some Bonefish/Permit/Tarpon fishing in early April. We have the gear for Bones/Permit (8-10 wts.), but I've never fished for Tarpon before; so I'm short on that gear (read "short" as "I don't have any"). The outfit that we're going with, Turneffe Flats, recommends a 12 wt. rod. Any suggestions? It's not going to get a lot of use, but I'd like to have the right gear for this species.
Sage Xi3 1291-4 - This is the model without the foregrip.
Scott S4S 9012/4
Tough call on the two rods. Both feel like an 11 weight when I cast them, but they build up line speed like a 12. I think that the Sage may have a tad more butt stiffness which might make for better lifting or putting the big hurt on a fish. I would probably have to recast them to give myself a reminder.
Thanks MP. I poked around Sage's website last night and had a look at the Xi-3 (same model that you recommended; the one without the foregrip). I have an Xi-2 in a 9 wt. and a 10 wt. and like both of them. I also have a Scott A3 9 wt. that I use for Stripers and that I like better than the Xi-2 for that purpose; making me, likely, a minority of 1.
So, the S4S has me interested. But, for some reason, I can't get into Scott's website (??). Also, there aren't a whole lot of dealers up here in the Poconos that carry Scott (this is Sage/Winston country; mostly small stream trout fishing; like the Catskills).
Since it won't be a rod you use a lot check out the Redington CPX. You will save a bunch of money that can be used for a reel. The CPX 12wt is only 4.9ozs. So it would be lighter than the Sage Xi3. For occasional use it may be a good fit. Give Todd a call and see what he thinks (937) 434-8472. You know he sells both Sage and Redington.
I have never fished there but did a little research and it seems some lodges recommend 10wt rods. Most of the Belize Tarpon are smaller than 70lbs.
I have heard the same as Frank, that the tarpon are rarely huge down there. I would just use a 10 wt. if that is true.
In Florida during migration, we get some enormous fish, and unless you are the only fisherman on the skiff, it is not very considerate to the other angler to use less than a 12 wt.
Fish over 130-140 lbs often do not jump more than once or twice, and the battle even with a 12 with foregrip can be a protracted, and boring ordeal - even for the angler with the fish on- especially if you haven't much experience fighting one and are nervous about the tippet popping.
Tarpon flies are not real wind resistant so that's not an issue.
If getting a 12 wt., I would highly recommend one with a forgrip.
While I don't disagree with any of the above suggestions, I'll just suggest a prioritization of parts based on scale. The rod is important, and I wouldn't suggest taking anything too cheap, but the reel is of greater importance when battling fish like this. I would suggest you get a great reel first, line second and rod third. Something like a Ross Momentum, SA Sharkskin, and a Redington RS4 seems ideal to me, for a lower budget package.
That said, a Xi3, Abel Super 12, and Sharkskin would work quite well also.
(Last tip- 11wts can sometimes be found cheap due to them being a bit of an oddball, and that might be perfect for where you're headed)
During my lunch break, I recasted the Sage Xi3 (no foregrip) against the Scott S4S. Both rods cast a line beautifully. As I mentioned in an earlier reply, the Sage has a tad more butt stiffness. It's very subtle though.
Back in the fall, I casted the Xi3 12 weights with and without the foregrip. I prefer the model without the foregrip. For me, I can cast a line straighter. The model with the foregrip caused my casts to curve off to the left.
The foregrip for the Xi3 is an extention of the main grip. It appears that Sage has followed suit to that of Winston and Orvis. It is a one piece unit rather than a two piece unit like that on the Xi2.
I contacted my local fly shop yesterday and I'm going in this weekend to cast the Xi-3 12 wt. The owner said that he never really cared for the Xi or the Xi-2 blanks; too stiff. I tend to agree with that. I can cast my Xi-2 rods; a 9 wt. and a 10 wt., but they're not pleasant and I get a distinct "tug" at the end of both the forward and back casts when I'm chucking anything heavy or wind-resistant. He said that the Xi-3 is a much smoother blank, so I'm looking forward to giving it a try.
I'd like to do the comparison that MP has done, but I can't source a Scott S4S rod; as I said earlier, no one around here sells them.