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Old 02-18-2012, 08:39 AM
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Default Re: What weight?

I don't have any problems catching very large bass and trout with 4 and 5 weight rods. The 5wt does have a decent amount of backbone, but it's not a broomstick. The largest fish I've caught have all been on smaller flies (and lures back in the day). The notion that a big fish requires a squirrel-sized "fly" seems to be a failure to let go of the spinner bait gear. That might sound a bit harsh, but why is it that we can fish for 20+ inch trout with a #14 nymph, but feel that a LMB won't move for anything less than a squirrel's tail with a couple of huge hooks woven in? I've lost one large smallmouth (REALLY LARGE) because my 4wt couldn't turn it away from a strong current, but that fish was REALLY large.

I know there are anglers that use large flies to keep the small fish from biting, but that could lead to days without fish (at least until you switch to a "fly"). My local lakes and streams hold fish of all sizes, including some real monsters, so my "big" flies are #10 Wooly Buggers and Clouser Minnows. Without sounding like a braggard, I catch more and bigger bass than the guys I see throwing 1/2lb crankbaits and rubbery whatevers from a $20,000 bass boat. I was fishing for stocked trout on a stream a couple of years ago, using #16 Blue Winged Olives. They trout had learned to take a dry, but the smallmouth were just as interested in eating a little mayfly as the trout. That was a good month....
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Old 02-18-2012, 09:17 AM
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Default Re: What weight?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankB2 View Post
I don't have any problems catching very large bass and trout with 4 and 5 weight rods. The 5wt does have a decent amount of backbone, but it's not a broomstick. The largest fish I've caught have all been on smaller flies (and lures back in the day). The notion that a big fish requires a squirrel-sized "fly" seems to be a failure to let go of the spinner bait gear. That might sound a bit harsh, but why is it that we can fish for 20+ inch trout with a #14 nymph, but feel that a LMB won't move for anything less than a squirrel's tail with a couple of huge hooks woven in? I've lost one large smallmouth (REALLY LARGE) because my 4wt couldn't turn it away from a strong current, but that fish was REALLY large.

I know there are anglers that use large flies to keep the small fish from biting, but that could lead to days without fish (at least until you switch to a "fly"). My local lakes and streams hold fish of all sizes, including some real monsters, so my "big" flies are #10 Wooly Buggers and Clouser Minnows. Without sounding like a braggard, I catch more and bigger bass than the guys I see throwing 1/2lb crankbaits and rubbery whatevers from a $20,000 bass boat. I was fishing for stocked trout on a stream a couple of years ago, using #16 Blue Winged Olives. They trout had learned to take a dry, but the smallmouth were just as interested in eating a little mayfly as the trout. That was a good month....
I do agree with Frank, I have caught large fish on small flies but the bite when a fat Bass hits a 3" Bunny Clouser is very different than when they take a small fly. I enjoy catching panfish, but when I'm fishing a 7wt I'm not looking for Bluegill.
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:10 PM
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Default Re: What weight?

Fishing for Large mouths in the wind, I would use a 9" 7 wt, but that would be too much rod for panfish, where a 4 wt would be more fun.
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Old 02-18-2012, 07:22 PM
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Default Re: What weight?

The problem I see is not so much trying to cast beach ball sized flies (in fact, a lot of the bass I catch now come in on small vibrax spinners and the occasional 4" plastic bait). The problem is trying to cut through somewhat windy conditions. Will a 5 wt. have enough backbone to push even small foam bugs or wolly buggers and medium sized streamers through windy conditions? That is why I was thinking the 7 or 8 wt.

Brian
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Old 02-18-2012, 10:16 PM
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Default Re: What weight?

Hi Brian,
During the winter of 2006-2007, I decided to take advantage of the windy frozen days to practice casting into the wind. This was in my backyard, and I began to want more and more wind! I doscovered that during the back cast, the wind put helped put more of a bend in the rod. Combined with a double haul, firing off line into a stiff breeze became pretty simple with a 5wt.
My 9' 5wt Z-Axis is my wind rod, and I can easily toss a #6 foam bug and a weighted dropper with ease (within normal fishing distances of 15-45 feet). My Clousers are all tied on a #10 stinger hook, and run around 3-4". They are
a breeze in a breeze. I use dry muddler minnows for bass bugs. They're easier to tie and can be pulled under when needed.

Using a 6wt line on my 5wt Z-Axis makes the rod an insane cannon! I never tried over-lining it, eventhough a forum member suggested this to me several times (he guides on windy waters). The first time I did it, the rod was nearly torn out of my hand! I realize some people are more comfortable with an 8wt rod for LMB, but I've never had the need. I would like to have had at least my 5wt Z-Axis last September, however, when a smallmouth the size of my arm took a #12 Wooly Bugger fished on my supple 4wt rod. It was a heck of a fight, but that fish knew how to work the current....
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Old 02-18-2012, 10:33 PM
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Default Re: What weight?

i like your train of thought frank.... i over line most of my 2,3 and 4 weight rods and love the results.
never tried on my larger stuff, but perhaps now i will

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Old 02-19-2012, 01:18 AM
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Cool Re: What weight?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankB2 View Post
The notion that a big fish requires a squirrel-sized "fly" seems to be a failure to let go of the spinner bait gear. That might sound a bit harsh, but why is it that we can fish for 20+ inch trout with a #14 nymph, but feel that a LMB won't move for anything less than a squirrel's tail with a couple of huge hooks
A bit of research will answer your question. Here's a start with an exerpt from some research done by the Dept of Zoology SIU:
Table 5.--Utilization of shad and size utilized by various sizes of largemouth bass

Bass Length in mm---- Range of Shad size eaten in mm
251-275-------------- 63-209
301-325 ------------- 133-221
426-483-------------- 158-190

http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/cgi/view...rage%20size%22

As one can easily see, Bass like big prey. Doesn't mean they will not eat small but that they prefer big in relation to their own size. They didn't evolve a mouth like that for sipping itty bitty bugs!
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Old 02-19-2012, 09:17 AM
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Default Re: What weight?

Frank, that is some intersting stuff there. Still being pretty new to fly casting I had passing questions in my mind about what would happen if one were to use heavier or lighter lines than the rod was rated for. This seems like an interesting idea to think about, especially since it means I could potentially make an easier (read that to mean cheaper) experiment by getting a 3 wt rod (for panfish) and a 7 wt. (for bass) and switching out inexpensive reels between 3 wt and 4 wt and 7 wt and 8 wt (respectively) to try overlining it. Could mean an whole level of flexibility and all off two rods instead of 4. Simple and cheap. How can you go wrong!

Brian
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Old 02-19-2012, 10:18 AM
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Default Re: What weight?

Hi Chuck,
I read the study you linked, and this stood out:
Limiting consideration of food items to gizzard shad at the time the shad were consumed, the smaller bass ingested relatively bigger food items than did the larger bass.

Even more interesting was this portion:
Snow (1971) believes that the degree of satiation is an important factor affecting feeding behavior. The normal stimulus is certainly "hunger." The second is a reflex-like response to easily available prey. Vanderhorst (1967) described a feeding behavior in bass as involving a fairly lengthy series of preparatory activities. Lewis et al. (1961) reported that bass held in tanks with minnows always present and which they consumed ad libitum would still instantly "strike" and usually consume a minnow thrown into the tank. Furthermore, in the present study bass were seldom observed to eat more than one gizzard shad.

The observation that bass in a tank with minnows present will instantly strike a minnow thrown into the tank would explain my success with smaller flies. I caught a 20+ inch channel catfish a couple years ago on a #10 Green Weenie. That fish made more and longer runs than any other fish I've ever caught! It looked sort of silly with the Green Weenie in its upper lip, and I was simply drifting the weenie along to see if the bluegill were biting yet (it was during March).

Brian,
I can't recommend over-lining just any fly rod. The Z-Axis will take a heavier weight and toss it well. My reels all look alike, and I grabbed a 4wt rod and a 5wt reel last year. I wasn't aware of what I had done, and began fishing. It felt a little odd at 25 feet, and was overwhelmed at greater distances. A look at the back of the spool made me realzer my mistake, and I kept my casts shorter that day. I know carry a few reels. Over-lining in close is a common practice, but I was trying to cast across a wide stream on that day.

Last edited by FrankB2; 02-19-2012 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 02-19-2012, 12:10 PM
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Default Re: What weight?

I own 3/4, 5/6 and 6/7 weight rods. I fish them with 3, 5 and 7 weight lines, and I have not yet found the need for anything else. 3 wt for small streams and bluegills, 5 weight for rivers and lake trout, and 7 weight for pyramid lake where the lahonton cutthroats can get big. I dont' bass fish, but, doubt a 7 weight would not be enough rod.

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