I am green as the grass regarding fly fishing. I have just started, and know enough to get myself into trouble. I have done enough research to know that I need to match the reel, the rod, and the line wt., depending on the fish I'm after. Hmmm..kinda like regular fishing!
Anyway, I was told that I needed to take a fly rod with me this year to my annual Canadian trip, as the Big Pike love "flies" in the early Spring. With that said, that was all I needed to get interested, and now I have the fever to learn everything there is to know.
I want to start out kind conservative, as to not take out a second mortgage to finance all my gear for this "new little hobby". Since I live in Indiana, and will be predominately fishing for "ears of corn" (just kidding) Smallmouth Bass and largemouth Bass, I wanted to try and get a multi use set-up if possible.
It seems that I need to lean towards the 9 Wt.-9 Ft. rod/line Wt. for the Pike, and around a 7 Wt.-8' 1/2" Rod for Bass? If that information was correct? So, since I had some money burning a hole in my pocket I decided to buy my first reel. Here is what I bought...Scientific Anglers Concept 79LA. This is a large arbor reel( I think) as it will comfortably hold 250 yards of Scientific Anglers Dacron Backing, and 82' of Scientific Anglers Air Cell WF-7Wt.-F fly Line. And wouldn't ya like to know how I found that out? Look at title of post!
Anyway, the reel will hold line weights of 7 thru 9, so I figured it would do the job for either Bass or Pike in that regard. However, I am also the king of oversimplifying life's most difficult pursuits! I figure in my newfound fly fishing widom, that the reel would double for both species, but I would need two rods, one for the bass and one for Pike that was heavier as mentioned above.
So, now that I have written a novel, I have a bunch of questions. First, I would like thoughts, comments, general ridicule etc. on the reel and if it is in fact a decent choice for the species I am after and at least a decent quality of a reel.
Next, I am willing to spend around $80-$150 per rod at this time. I don't really want to spend $700 on a rod (s) Please recommend a good quality rod brand that would fit within these specs. if possible. Are my weights and lengths on the rods correct for Pike and Bass?
Now, as mentioned the reel will hold 250 yds. of Dacron backing and 82' of 7wt. line comfortably....how much should I actually spool up before attaching and spooling the actual fly line? Oh, and prepare to laugh uncontrollably...is the 82' of fly line enough? How long are normal casts? Yep, I'm as green as the little dancing frog to the right!>
Finally, how oft does one change fly line/or backing? Or is it necessary as with mono line?
Any and all advise, thoughts, comments are welcome!
Welcome to the wonderful world of fly fishing, where you can spend a little or mortgage your life and first three born. If you have a limited budget, I would recommend any of Orvis' Clearwater rods. My favorite is a Clearwater 5 wt that I have fished all over the US with. And the greatest thing is their no quibble 25 year guarntee. I somehow snapped the tip on my rod last year, sent it to them for repair and 3 weeks later a brand new rod showed up on my doorstep, no questions.
Man… I think I need a cornea transplant after reading all of that J. Now, let me try to sort it all out and answer your questions. I'll try to answer your questions above as well as the questions you asked me in your email.
1. Yes… You did your homework well. 9 Wt.-9' Ft. rod/line Wt. for the Pike up North, and maybe around a 7 Wt.-8' 1/2" rod/line for Bass will work well. Now, I also feel that a 9’ 8wt rod would serve both purposes adequately… then you only need one reel and one fly line.
2. The reel is fine. SA makes good fly reels at a good price. The LA79 Concept is a very good reel. It’s certainly not top of the line but it will serve you well for years to come.
3. A few rods stand out as excellent quality sticks in the price range that you’re looking at. One is the St. Croix Reign. St. Croix is one of the most popular fishing rods on the market… and for good reason. You can get a 7, 8 or 9wt from $140 to $160. I sell them but do not yet have them listed on my website. You can see them at http://www.stcroixrods.com/rods/default2.asp?rodname=62§ion=fly
4. The specs on the LA79 Concept indicate 200 yds of 20 lb backing with a WF-8-F line. You may or may not be able to find the specs for backing and a 7wt line. So, you kinda have to guess at the correct amount of backing. 250 yds of backing may be just right for 7wt fly line. Spool it up and see. You can always take the line off and shorten the backing.
5. 82ft of fly line is fine. Most fly lines are in the 80 to 90ft range. Most folks can’t cast that far anyway.
6. Unless you fish several times a week you probably won’t change the line very often… especially if you take care of it my keeping it clean, out of the heat, etc… One line should last you several years.
7. A proper panfish set up will, of course, depend on the size of panfish you’re after. When I think of panfish, I think of bluegill that are about the size of you hand and a little larger. How far you need to cast is another factor. Personally, I use a 2wt and a 3wt, 8ft and 8ft6 fly rod. I enjoy feeling the fight. You’ll need a WF fly line. Now, this outfit will also make an excellent outfit for fishing small to medium trout streams (my favorite type of fishing)
8. The Orvis flex specification refers to the action of the fly rod. Most rod manufacturers use flex terminology like… slow, medium, moderate/fast, fast, etc… The Orvis Full Flex is a slow action, the Mid Flex is a medium or moderate action and the Tip Flex is a fast action. Each of these actions are at varying degrees depending upon the flex rating… 8.0, 8.5, 9.0, etc…
To explain the basic rod axctions require time, a lot of typing and a corpul tunnel evaluation. So… I borrowed the following explanation from FlyFishingGear.info
Fast action fly rods, due to the fly rods stiffness, are more powerful. And by more powerful, it is meant that the fly rod is able to cast line further than slow and medium action fly rods. The stiffness of the fly rod helps generate more line speed during the cast. The extra speed of the fly line allows for both more fly line to be held up during the cast as well as for the line to be shot further than slower action fly rods.
Additionally, fast action fly rods are also designed to facilitate landing larger fish. A stiff fly rod makes the chore of landing really big fish - and we're not talking about your average trout here - much easier. A fast action fly rod, due to the rods stiffness, makes it much simpler - if somewhat less fun - to bring in the fish.
A medium action fly rod is a fly rod that has a fair amount of flexibility but is still somewhat stiff. The fly rod bends much more than a fast action fly rod but not nearly as much as a slow action fly rod does. Which, of course, is why it is called a medium action fly rod. In the real world, what this means is that when casting, the fly rod will bend moderately for about half of its length, from the middle of the rod upward to the tip of the rod. The lower half of the fly rod, the half nearest the fly reel, will basically remain stiff.
Medium Action fly rods are the workhorses of the fly rod world. They are by far the most popular fly rod on the market today. Medium action fly rods are also the most versatile of fly rods. They can make longer casts quite adequately, especially in the hands of a good caster, yet function well enough to allow them to be used in most spring creek fishing conditions. Thus, if you plan on fly fishing in a wide range of conditions, from big rivers to spring creeks and everything in between - and can afford/only want one fly rod - then a medium action fly rod is the fly rod of choice.
Additionally, medium action fly rods are generally quite forgiving. Beginner anglers can quickly pick up on using them and begin making decent casts quite quickly. The slower line speed gives beginner anglers more control over where the fly line, and the fly, ends up.
A slow action fly rod, as the name suggests, is a fly rod that has slow action. This means that the rod is very flexible. While not as flexible as a spaghetti noodl, the difference in flexibility between a slow action rod and a fast action rod is very significant. In the real world, what this means is that when casting, a slow action rod will bend significantly for most of it's length - almost resembling a shallow U shape at the height of the backcast.
Slow action fly rods, as they do not generate high line speeds due to their flexibility, are designed for anglers who need to make short and very accurate and gentle casts. As such, slow action fly rods are ideal for fly fishing smaller rivers, spring creeks and other areas that require anglers to make short and accurate casts.
Additionally, slow action fly rods excel in another area - protecting light tippets. All too often, many of the best trout streams have some of the most difficult fish to catch. As a result, very light tippets are needed to fool these trout. As any angler who has used light tippets knows, it is all to easy for the fly to part company with a light tippet.
Slow action fly rods are designed to alleviate some of this problem. The tremendous flexibility of a slow action fly rod allows some of the strain that would otherwise be put on a tippet during a fish strike to be transferred to the rod itself. Because of this, when using very light tippets (in the range of 6x and 7x), a slow action fly rod can prevent many a lost fish due to tippet breakage.
Slow action fly rods are also an excellent fly rod for beginners. The flexibility of the fly rod and the slow line speed allows beginner anglers to have very good control of the fly line, allowing for more accurate casts by inexperienced anglers.
Now… you still with me???
9. Now, learning to cast with a 7, 8 or 9wt fly rod will not be easy. Every credible fly casting instructor on earth will recommend that learn how to and comfortably develop your casting skills with a 5 or 6wt, 9ft. medium action rod. You CAN learn to cast with a heavier rod but your learning curve will be much longer. You will likely need some instruction from a quality casting instructor.
10. I wish you had the funds to get a 5wt outfit also because it will make learning to cast much more enjoyable. Your 5wt should be a medium action and your heavier rod should really be medium/fast or fast. The 5wt would serve you well for medium to large trout on larger rivers and small bass on ponds and small lakes.
11. Panfish leader… probably 4x. Pike and Bass leaders… 0x or larger. For pike… you may want to consider Cortland’s Toothy Critter tippet.
12. The L.L. Bean Fly Fishing Handbook by Dave Whitlock is probably the best book to use for learning to fly fish. It is the book I use at the community college where I teach fly fishing classes. Get one… its worth it.
Geez y'all's windy! I agree with Steve's statement that a 9' 8wt would be a good rod for both your local bassing needs and for those pike up north. A 5wt and an 8wt will cover 95% of fishing needs in North America.
I actually learned to cast with an 8wt, and its not all bad. (Then again, i was a 240lb NCAA athlete at the time.) An 8wt will wear you out if you try to muscle it. An adage Rodney Dangerfield applied to another pastime important to us all applies here: "If it hurts, you're doing it wrong". When you make a cast that felt easier than usual, but then line went farther, you're doing it right, so keep doing that. That means you were letting the rod do the work, and it is going to be a better caster than you are, for a while anyway.
I bought a 10' 8wt (with small fighting butt) for Muskie and Pike are in the same class, so I agree....8wt. Nice thing is, I have been invited to fish Manitoba and informed to bring that 8wt for the Browns. Great steelie rod also.