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Old 07-10-2015, 09:25 AM
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Default Advise needed newby smallmouth outfit

Howdy,

Picked the fly rod back up after 30 yr hiatus, and am now hooked with a vengeance again..... I am in the process of teaching myself to cast again and initially bought a TFO Signature II 9' 6wt with Aircel wf7f line to fish primarily the North and South fork of the Shenandoah for SMB with smaller streamers.

So far, it is great. I have a few holes 10 minutes from me where I can go down to the river after work and knock out 20-30 smallies and still be home for dinner.

The problem is that they are in the 8" range and although I do know where to go get the bigger fish, 90% of my practice time will be at the "nursery" and I would enjoy myself much more if it was a little more sporting. I don't feel like I am getting that with the 6wt.

Money is tight so I can't get a second outfit but I am still in the return window. My thought was to downsize to the TFO 8' 4wt for now and then maybe next year add a 6wt if money allows. I think the 4wt might get some use for brookies in SNP as well.

So my main questions, is the 4wt TFO going to have enough in it to throw #6 streamers or do I need to downsize flys a little? What would be a good line choice for this setup? Should I switch to an intermediate line to help sink the smaller streamers/buggers and such? Is a 3wt out of the question for this type of fishing with my current experience level?
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Old 07-10-2015, 10:39 AM
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Default Re: Advise needed newby smallmouth outfit

I have a smallmouth river down the road that's much the same.
No problem catching on the high side of 50 dink smallmouth almost any time you please.
It's not the same as targeting mature fish in the cool hours of the day but on a hot summer afternoon standing in the river catching dinks is a lot of fun . Those little guys are very aggressive.
I started out fishing a 3wt weight using my "reject" trout flies. Small streamers and soft hackles mostly, they're not very picky. Somebody once even wrote about what I was up to in an article in an old regional fishing magazine..

I don't have that 3wt any longer and instead I use one of my many vintage glass rods which are mostly 6wts. ...and they're just as fun with the dinks
You won't need to switch from a floating line, just learn to cast and mend your line to get the fly to sink.
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Old 07-10-2015, 11:42 AM
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Default Re: Advise needed newby smallmouth outfit

I would for sure recommend going all in on a Rio Outbound Short fly line. It'll sure help launch big streamers.
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Old 07-10-2015, 11:58 AM
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Default Re: Advise needed newby smallmouth outfit

There are scores of guys on this forum with the skills to cast a brick with an ultralight. As a fellow noob, I'd recommend you don't make it unnecessarily harder than it needs to be. 3WT + streamer + any wind is really asking for torment. A 4WT will be challenging enough, and the rod will still be great when you get around to chasing those trout. Truthfully, I'd concentrate more on my 6WT skills as you are likely to want an even bigger rod when you get the chance to chase big smallies.
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:11 PM
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Default Re: Advise needed newby smallmouth outfit

I fish the section where the South river meets the South fork Shenandoah river, the bass are also in the same size and I use my eagle claw 6'6 Rod while wading. poppers are the only thing I use as it works really well.
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:28 PM
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Default Re: Advise needed newby smallmouth outfit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rip Tide View Post
I have a smallmouth river down the road that's much the same.
No problem catching on the high side of 50 dink smallmouth almost any time you please.
It's not the same as targeting mature fish in the cool hours of the day but on a hot summer afternoon standing in the river catching dinks is a lot of fun . Those little guys are very aggressive.
I started out fishing a 3wt weight using my "reject" trout flies. Small streamers and soft hackles mostly, they're not very picky. Somebody once even wrote about what I was up to in an article in an old regional fishing magazine..

I don't have that 3wt any longer and instead I use one of my many vintage glass rods which are mostly 6wts. ...and they're just as fun with the dinks
You won't need to switch from a floating line, just learn to cast and mend your line to get the fly to sink.
Yeah, sounds exactly the same! I work in a machine shop all day with no AC so the short drive to stand in cool water is looked forward to this time of year. Cabelas has the CGR glass rods on sale now, which is where my return credit would be, would you think that is a better direction for the rod? If so, which weight and line combo. I'm happy to use conventional tackle this year when chasing the bigger fish on weekends and if I hook up with a big one on small fly and it breaks loose, it is not going to hurt my feelings

---------- Post added at 11:18 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:16 AM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by markg52 View Post
I would for sure recommend going all in on a Rio Outbound Short fly line. It'll sure help launch big streamers.
I didn't see this line is less than a 6wt?

---------- Post added at 11:21 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:18 AM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by ia_trouter View Post
There are scores of guys on this forum with the skills to cast a brick with an ultralight. As a fellow noob, I'd recommend you don't make it unnecessarily harder than it needs to be. 3WT + streamer + any wind is really asking for torment. A 4WT will be challenging enough, and the rod will still be great when you get around to chasing those trout. Truthfully, I'd concentrate more on my 6WT skills as you are likely to want an even bigger rod when you get the chance to chase big smallies.
I had a feeling the 3wt might be pushing it at my level. In all honesty I am not having much difficulty putting the 6wt where I want it, when I am thinking about the motions, I am however not on "autopilot". The doah is tucked in pretty tight to the valley and plenty of trees that block the wind, so that is not much of an issue on this body of water.

---------- Post added at 11:28 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:21 AM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by nah85 View Post
I fish the section where the South river meets the South fork Shenandoah river, the bass are also in the same size and I use my eagle claw 6'6 Rod while wading. poppers are the only thing I use as it works really well.
Top water fishing has always frustrated me. I was out last night and there were thousands of mayflies on every blade of grass, the fish I found were all looking down

I have been trying poppers though in the pools above the riffles but I don't think I have a good handle yet on fishing this effectively in current. Need to read up on that....
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:35 PM
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Default Re: Advise needed newby smallmouth outfit

How far north are you? I occasionally make the drive to Shenandoah where there's a boat ramp to take my kayak out, SMB are bigger there and it's here I use my spin gear.

But the section where I fly fish I can wade from both sides of the river, if ever down here I can take you, those poppers will be very effective.
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:41 PM
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Default Re: Advise needed newby smallmouth outfit

Quote:
Originally Posted by camovan View Post
Yeah, sounds exactly the same! I work in a machine shop all day with no AC so the short drive to stand in cool water is looked forward to this time of year. Cabelas has the CGR glass rods on sale now, which is where my return credit would be, would you think that is a better direction for the rod? If so, which weight and line combo. I'm happy to use conventional tackle this year when chasing the bigger fish on weekends and if I hook up with a big one on small fly and it breaks loose, it is not going to hurt my feelings ....
My taste in fly rods is a lot different than almost everyone else's around here and I don't keep up with current events, so I'll let the other guys help with that
I'd suggest a 4wt for the size fish that we're talking about, but the CGR 4wt is only 6'6" and too short for the rivers you have in mind.

oh... and fly rods are conventional tackle
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Old 07-10-2015, 03:21 PM
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Default Re: Advise needed newby smallmouth outfit

Quote:
Originally Posted by nah85 View Post
How far north are you? I occasionally make the drive to Shenandoah where there's a boat ramp to take my kayak out, SMB are bigger there and it's here I use my spin gear.

But the section where I fly fish I can wade from both sides of the river, if ever down here I can take you, those poppers will be very effective.
I'm in Strasburg, the furthest south I have fished on the south fork is Elkton. I am going to be camping later this month in Sherando and was thinking of hitting the South river. Are you in the port republic area? I was also thinking of hitting Douthat Lake when down there as I have never fished it and looks pretty nice (and stocked, good for the confidence lol). I yak fish too, where do you drop in?

---------- Post added at 02:21 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:20 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rip Tide View Post

oh... and fly rods are conventional tackle
Point taken!
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Old 07-10-2015, 06:41 PM
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Default Re: Advise needed newby smallmouth outfit

I am a 4wt junkie...... I guess I just like em that much. I have everything from soft glass to high speed plastic. When I get to fish SM they are usually "looking up" or almost, and they are hot so 4's do fine even up to bigge fish for us. I do fish a 3 wt for SM on some water but not a bunch. This is when fish are smaller but not dinks.

I would think unless you are needing to throw some big meat at your SM a 4 will get you by since wind is not a problem. That being said..... You might consider a 5 wt. I would look at 8'6" rods, in the faster configuration. Thats just me.

Other suggestions here are good so its your choice based on budget......

Good luck and good fishing.
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