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  1. Default Re: is 5 weight fly rod for steelhead possible?

    I was told not to and ragged on, using a four weight on a local lake here. Saying i was harming 3-8 pound trout. Where am i harming fish? Fights dont last any longer then using a 5 weight. Hell i've hooked into a nice solid 4lb rainbow on a 3wt and had no issues. Fight times maybe last 2-4 minutes each fish.

    I think a lot of it is bull *&*^ to an extent. Yeah a 5 weight rod is a little light to be steelheading with, but not because of the fish size (more towards rigs your throwing) unless you're fishing for skeena system and bigger steelhead (averages being 10-25lb +). I like to say you can catch fish that are double by your rod weight for light rods. These are maximums. (and it does change when you reach the 8/9 weight area.) 1wt - 2lb, 2wt - 4lb, 3wt - 6lb, 4wt - 8lb, 5wt - 10 lb and so on. But this does not cover water flow, so its really what you feel comfortable with, with your fish fighting skills.

  2. #22

    Default Re: is 5 weight fly rod for steelhead possible?

    I've seen many beginning fishers who do not know how to fight large fish inefficiently. This is because they mimic what they see on television shows. Almost all anglers on TV hold the fly rod up at an angle.

    It is more effective to fight fish with the rod tip parallel to the water. By parallel I don't mean that you point the rod tip at the fish. Rather, hold the parallel rod to your side, so that the angle of the line to the fish from the rod tip is still the same as if you held the rod up.

    Why does this make a difference?

    When you hold the rod up, your angle of pull is up and part of the force is going to fight gravity by pulling up against the dead weight of the fish. This portion of the force is wasted and not tiring the fish, nor is it pulling the fish toward you. By holding the rod to your side, parallel to the water or even under water at the level of the fish, all of the pull on the tippet is pulling the fish toward you. As an example, if the angle of pull from the fish is upward at 45 degrees, half of the pull is lifting the dead weight of the fish and only the other half is pulling the fish toward you. If the angle is 45 degrees but parallel to the water, almost all the pull is against the fish and not gravity.

    A fish can dive simply by angling its pectoral fins down. With this little work, the hydraulic pressure of the water is then added to the downward pull of the line. Tarpon fishers will actually place the tip of the rod under water to their side to so that all of the force is pulling on the fish and not lifting the fish.

    When you pull to the side, the fish will counteract by pulling against the direction of pull. You can use the instinct of the fish to to bring the fish to you.

    Say you are facing the fish and you have the rod to your right. The fish will pull away and to your left. If you now switch the rod to your left side, before the fish can reverse his angle of pull to the right, the fish will swim to the left toward the rod tip. By alternating your pull from the right to the left, and left to right; you confuse the fish and each reversal brings the fish ever closer to you in a zig zag pattern. Basically, it is using the principle of Judo to fight and frustrate the fish. You are using the natural tendency of the fish to pull against line to tire and confuse it.

    There are times when you do need to elevate the rod. One is when the fly line needs to clear a snag that is in the water. You must raise the rod to clear it from wrapping abound a boulder, log, etc. The second is when the fish has taken so much line out that the friction of the fly line in the water can break the tippet. Then raise the rod. Some fish like bonefish will have have a blistering first "run" that will take out huge amounts of line. You have to raise the rod tip on these types of fish.

    But in most instances the high rod position places you at a disadvantage especially when using a lighter rod than usual. Try the parallel rod technique and you will be surprised at how quickly you can bring the fish to you.
    Last edited by silver creek; 11-18-2011 at 11:02 AM.
    Regards,

    Silver



    "Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy

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  4. #23

    Default Re: is 5 weight fly rod for steelhead possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by silver creek View Post
    I've seen many beginning fishers who do not know how to fight large fish efficiently. This is because they mimic what they see on television shows. Almost all anglers on TV hold the fly rod up at an angle.

    It is more effective to fight fish with the rod tip parallel to the water. By parallel I don't mean that you point the rod tip at the fish. Rather, hold the parallel rod to your side, so that the angle of the line to the fish from the rod tip is still the same as if you held the rod up.

    Why does this make a difference?

    When you hold the rod up, your angle of pull is up and part of the force is going to fight gravity by pulling up against the dead weight of the fish. This portion of the force is wasted and not tiring the fish, nor is it pulling the fish toward you. By holding the rod to your side, parallel to the water or even under water at the level of the fish, all of the pull on the tippet is pulling the fish toward you. As an example, if the angle of pull from the fish is upward at 45 degrees, half of the pull is lifting the dead weight of the fish and only the other half is pulling the fish toward you. If the angle is 45 degrees but parallel to the water, almost all the pull is against the fish and not gravity.

    A fish can dive simply by angling its pectoral fins down. With this little work, the hydraulic pressure of the water is then added to the downward pull of the line. Tarpon fishers will actually place the tip of the rod under water to their side to so that all of the force is pulling on the fish and not lifting the fish.

    When you pull to the side, the fish will counteract by pulling against the direction of pull. You can use to bring the fish to you.

    Say you are facing the fish and you have the rod to your right. The fish will pull away and to your left. If you now switch the rod to your left side, before the fish can reverse his angle of pull to the right, the fish will swim to the left toward the rod tip. By alternating your pull from the right to the left, and left to right; you confuse the fish and each reversal brings the fish ever closer to you in a zig zag pattern. Basically, it is using the principle of Judo to fight and frustrate the fish. You are using the natural tendency of the fish to pull against line to tire and confuse it.

    There are times when you do need to elevate the rod. One is when the fly line needs to clear a snag that is in the water. You must raise the rod to clear it from wrapping abound a boulder, log, etc. The second is when the fish has taken so much line out that the friction of the fly line in the water can break the tippet. Then raise the rod. Some fish like bonefish will have have a blistering first "run" that will take out huge amounts of line. You have to raise the rod tip on these types of fish.

    But in most instances the high rod position places you at a disadvantage especially when using a lighter rod than usual. Try the parallel rod technique and you will be surprised at how quickly you can bring the fish to you.
    Awesome advice! I've seen this done but never understood what was being accomplished by all the right to left movements.
    Last edited by wannafish; 11-17-2011 at 03:55 PM. Reason: quoted twice
    "I cast my hook into a single stream; but my pleasure is as if I owned a kingdom." - Chi K'ang (223-262)

  5. #24
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Akron Ohio (don't let that fool you)
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    Default Re: is 5 weight fly rod for steelhead possible?

    That was one of the best descriptions of how to properly fight a fish I have ever read! Kudos Silver Creek.
    Oh I live to be the ruler of life not a slave

  6. #25
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    Cottonwood Heights, Utah
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    58

    Default Re: is 5 weight fly rod for steelhead possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by kayo View Post
    put it this way, my 5wt rod snapped on a 6 inch whitefish.
    Sorry but that is the worst example ever.

  7. #26
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    White City (tad north of Medford) Oar-E-Gone
    Posts
    10,835

    Default Re: is 5 weight fly rod for steelhead possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by bhflyfisher View Post
    I was told not to and ragged on, using a four weight on a local lake here. Saying i was harming 3-8 pound trout. Where am i harming fish? Fights dont last any longer then using a 5 weight. Hell i've hooked into a nice solid 4lb rainbow on a 3wt and had no issues. Fight times maybe last 2-4 minutes each fish.

    I think a lot of it is bull *&*^ to an extent. Yeah a 5 weight rod is a little light to be steelheading with, but not because of the fish size (more towards rigs your throwing) unless you're fishing for skeena system and bigger steelhead (averages being 10-25lb +). I like to say you can catch fish that are double by your rod weight for light rods. These are maximums. (and it does change when you reach the 8/9 weight area.) 1wt - 2lb, 2wt - 4lb, 3wt - 6lb, 4wt - 8lb, 5wt - 10 lb and so on. But this does not cover water flow, so its really what you feel comfortable with, with your fish fighting skills.
    +1 here. Use 'gear' that's appropriate for the water/fish.
    When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost. - Billy Graham"

  8. #27

    Default Re: is 5 weight fly rod for steelhead possible?

    I fished Erie the following three days. Conditions were great and the fish cooperated. A five weight is way to light for those fish. I have caught fish on a 5/6 weight that I have but it was a long long fight. You just can't put enough pressure on the fish. I have used a 6/7/8 weight. I like the 8 but if I was buy just for that area I would go with a 7 in 10'. I caught one fish that made a 60 yard run. After I caught up with her she made another run. When she stopped she got in fast water and just stayed there. I ended up moving in and scaring here out of the area. What a great fight. I was lucky as I was on private water and no one was around for me to mess up.

  9. #28
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    Aug 2010
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    On a trout stream/Suburban Pittsburgh
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    Default Re: is 5 weight fly rod for steelhead possible?

    10ft 7 is ideal for Erie tribs, some guys even like a 10ft 6. Unless you're talking switch rods, I'd stay away from the 5wt if at all possible. It can be done, but with risk of damage to fish, possibly the rod and taking a few combat fishermen out of commission for a few minutes--if you're near the mouths. Although based upon last week's Sunday experiences, combat fishing is not limited to the mouths anymore. WAY upstream is the new area for full combat fishing!
    ~*~Leave only your footprints~*~

  10. Default Re: is 5 weight fly rod for steelhead possible?

    i fished the Salmon river lake ontario trib.-upper fly zone this past spring april and may with a 9' 5 wt fly rod. it was a little on the light side for fighting the steelhead that ranged 7-12lbs. i had no problem indicator casting and fishing pocket small stoneflies and egg patterns with minimal splitshot on the leader. it was fun playing these fish with such a light set-up, but needed to overplay some of these fish b/c of the rod flex.

  11. #30
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    Aug 2007
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    Grand canyon of Pa.
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    1,105

    Default Re: is 5 weight fly rod for steelhead possible?

    I have chased steel with all the normal stuff 9' 6,7,& 8 wt. spey rods upto 14 ft. 10wt. this year I found a 11' 3wt. blank which my builder did a really nice job. I can use it as a switch style rod with an extended butt. going to use it on steel with a rio indicator 4 wt. the rod has a bottom 2 sections thicker than a 8 wt. lots of backbone for heavy fish with a lighter tip section.
    sandfly/ bob
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    N.J.B.B.A. #2215

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