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Saltwater Fly Fishing Bonefish, Tarpon, Redfish, Permit, False Albacore, Striped Bass, etc...

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Old 11-20-2014, 04:37 PM
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Default Vacation booked now HELP WITH A ROD

Sorry guys for another "Which Rod" thread but I'm driving myself a little nuts with the research and would like some experienced opinions.

The trip is a family vacation to Belize. I've negotiated with the wife for a couple days for fishing so I'll need a rod - I'm sure I can rent one from them but since I've never cast a rod bigger than a 6wt I want to be able to practice before we go. The primary target will be bone fish. There will also be opportunities for Tarpon and Permit - in fact two guests of the resort scored grand slams this week.

The head guide recommends having a 7/8wt for the bones and a 10wt for permit/tarpon and for high wind conditions.

I'm thinking of getting the 8wt to practice with and use a borrowed/rented 10wt from the guide if needed.

Here are what I've been researching:

Budget route: TFO's BVK - at around $250.00 the price is attractive and scored great in the most recent Yellowstone 8wt shootout.

Mid Range: Sage Xi3 ($450ish on clearance) Or Sage VXP ($325 on clearance) Xi3 scored well on older Yellowstone 8wt shootouts and not bad on the most recent. VXP has excellent reviews but hasn't scored great in any of the shootouts.

Break the bank: Sage One, Sage Salt, Orvis H2 and GL-NRX all $800+ All score well except the Salt which was not part of the shootouts but getting great reviews.

I've also looked at the Allen Fly Fishing offerings I've read a lot of good info on this forum about them but just not as much info on them and I'm not a fan of the bright colors they offer. Their Kraken is the reel front runner but would still like to see the Omega before deciding but most likely won't be available for my trip and definitely not available for me to start practicing with.

The obvious answer is to go cast them all but that's just not an option - only shop in town only stocks the bread and butter 5 and 6wt rods and only a couple brands.

So here are my questions -

Is the 8wt the better choice or should I go with the 10wt? Figure 8wt will get the most use on the bone fish so better to practice my casting with it.

For an experienced fly caster will the BVK or VXP be enough or is it likely I'd be disappointed in them?

Not opposed to breaking the bank but if I do that the reel choice will become more limited. Is it better to have a great rod to deliver the fly or a better reel/drag to fight the fish with?

Leaning towards the Xi3 - beautiful rod, good reviews and scored good in the shootouts especially older ones and can get on clearance - been tough to find an 8wt though. 10wt looks easier to get.

Are there other offerings I should be considering?

Should I split the difference and get a 9wt?

Thanks in advance for any help in making the water clearer - right now it's pretty muddy.

Larry
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Old 11-20-2014, 07:01 PM
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Default Re: Vacation booked now HELP WITH A ROD

I bought a VXP 8 wt a few weeks ago but so far my experience is limited to catching a couple of 15" speckled trout on it. They are not tackle testers by any stretch of the imagination. I have no experience with an Xi3, but I had an Xi2 (its predecessor) for about 10 yrs until it was stolen last fall. It was a powerful 8 wt. I landed many red fish over 20 lbs on it and would not hesitate to fish permit with it. I also have a 10 wt RPLXi which preceded the Xi2 that I fish for tarpon. The VXP would be my choice if I was blindcasting all day long but for sight fishing situations I would rather have the Xi3 or Xi2 (some used ones on the big auction site most of the time) Also don't rule out a TCX.
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Old 11-20-2014, 07:53 PM
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Default Re: Vacation booked now HELP WITH A ROD

I would would go BVK 8wt maybe even the 10' for extra distance you can still land tarpon and permit on an 8 plus after your trip is over the 8wt makes for a much more useful rod when you get back home. Biggest issue I see in saltwater fishing is that guys dont put enough pressure on the fish early in the fight. With toothy cirtters every kick of the tail put more rubbing of the teeth on the leader and its only a matter of time. Take 30# fluoro and try and break it you can put a ton of force on it its only after abrasion when the line becomes compromised. This rod will allow nice presentation for your bones and for the bigger fish bend that rod till the cork starts to flex you push hard right off the bat and keep the fish from just ripping 100yds off with any hard pressure. I would go BVK with SA Mastery bonefish tapper line and heres the curve ball I would go Wright mcgill Sabalos fly reel For the money this is actually a damn fine fly reel and they can be picked up for $125. $500 total spend the rest on some flies or an extra day of fishing. Bring some single trand wire and some heavy lead wrapped blue chrome 5/0 flies and go offshore for some real excitement. If you think bonefish are fun try for a wahoo on the fly. nothing better than a fish that is so fast it throws an 8 ft fish tail of water as your line slices thru the ocean. Dorado on flotsam can be had on the fly big poppers. Plus the offshore species you can bring back to the hotel and have the cook grill them up for you. Have fun and bring a neck buff
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Old 11-20-2014, 08:07 PM
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Default Re: Vacation booked now HELP WITH A ROD

I'd split the difference and go with a 9wt...
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Old 11-20-2014, 08:25 PM
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Default Re: Vacation booked now HELP WITH A ROD

If I were in you position, I would call a bunch of fly casting instructors in Phoenix and explain your situation with Belize regarding rod choices and ask their their rates for instruction.

Then I would find out what rods they have that you could try out during your instruction. It is likely that at least one of them works at a fly shop.
I would be also be surprised if none had been to Belize himself, since it is not that far from Phoenix.

Casting Instructors

It is not possible for anyone who's never even seen you cast to recommend a rod that you might like and could cast well. Instruction is not all that expensive compared to vacation lodging,flights and guides.

You will probably come away a better caster besides. EDIT added from here down:As for the BVK, for one used to casting heavy lines, it is a very respectable casting rod. I've heard many stories about breakage though. I like the TCX's better, but I've been casting all weights in all actions, and all materials for a lot of years.

I also like the heavy old RPLX in 11 and 12 weights, but they require a concave hand path when casting to get the most out of them. However, they are very strong fish fighting rods. I do not like that same rod in lighter weights from a casting standpoint.
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Old 11-20-2014, 09:45 PM
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Default Re: Vacation booked now HELP WITH A ROD

Thanks for the comments. Keep them coming.
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Old 11-20-2014, 11:06 PM
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Default Re: Vacation booked now HELP WITH A ROD

Im feeling generous around Thanksgiving. Split the difference and get a 8 wt and 10 wt. You've been working hard and deserve it!!!!

get a good 8wt and borrow the 10wt, if you don't deserve it.
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Old 11-21-2014, 08:24 AM
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Default Re: Vacation booked now HELP WITH A ROD

Which lodge are you going to? El Pescador carries high end rods and reels so unless your going to have an extended use for it I would borrow the 10wt from them. Just make sure the lodge does have rentals as some places in Southern Belize don't offer much.

I would get a quality 8 wt that you could still use state side. The bones in Belize are on the smaller size so an 8 wt is adequate. Actually a 7wt is more fun but an 8wt is nice for windy days. Then you could use the same rod for streamer fishing at home.

As someone mentioned lot of guys in the salt really like the TCX. I just did a trip to Punta Gorda and I was the only guy not using one. They are very nice rods. Whatever you do budget for a quality reel. IMHO the reel is whats important in the salt. Even the little 2lb bonefish will take an 8wt to the backing.

Have fun......Belize is an awesome place.
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Old 11-23-2014, 12:22 AM
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Default Re: Vacation booked now HELP WITH A ROD

Others may disagree, but I see no need to buy anything other than the BVK. I've been saltwater sight fishing for 9 years non stop, have an arsenal of BVKs, and I have zero urge to pay more for anything else. I'd save money on the rod and get a high quality reel, Galvan Torque, Nautilus NV, Hatch, etc...

just my 2 cents
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Old 11-23-2014, 10:53 AM
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Default Re: Vacation booked now HELP WITH A ROD

A long shot but go see if your local Orvis dealer will loan you a 10wt for the trip. I read they did for another member here but can't recall the thread.

Hey, the Ceviche in Belize is phenomenal. Had it everyday for breakfast. Have fun.

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