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  1. Default Heavy weight rods - big flies

    I posted another thread apparently on the UK site. I just figured out there was a North American version so maybe I'll get a bit more action over here.

    In any event, I am looking at getting a heavy weight fly rod. I have a 4wt and 6wt now. I used to use just the 6wt for many years with a trout line on it. That served me fairly well, but it left a lot to be desired with some of the bigger fishing I've done in the past. The trout line just wasn't up to the task of throwing bigger streamers to bass, pike, and muskie.

    When I got my 4wt rod I got new line for my 6wt - Scientific Anglers Mastery Textured Titan Taper. I figured I needed to spread out my purposes a bit - the 4wt has taken over for my dry fly and nymph fishing, and is a wonderful rod to suit the purpose. The 6wt I wanted to cast bigger flies. The new line transformed the useability of the rod - I don't have the same affect of the fly taking the line as I did with the trout line while casting the streamers I have.

    The limit I hit is with heavier/bigger flies. I'm right at the max with the streamers I've cast. They are tied with bucktail, deer hair, and/or zonker strips on #10 4x hooks (articulated and single) and 2/0 1x hooks (articulated and single). I had a deer hair frog fly that was about the heaviest I've cast, it was tied around a 2/0 hook (not sure on the shank length). The frog would pull on my new 6wt line to where I knew it was "too much". The other side of it is wind - its one thing to get a fly out in calm conditions, a totally other experience in the wind and choppy water.

    I have a good handle on the temperature differences between lines and core materials so I will leave that out of the equation for now.

    My core question here is rod weight. I have thought for a while that a 10wt would be the ideal choice. However, I want this rod to be able to bridge the gap in to salt water fishing. My 6wt rod is pretty capable so where I want the heavy weight rod to take over is the horsepower to get the fly out when the 6wt isn't enough. I am not too concerned with any cross-over, if I am big lake fishing I'll have both the 6wt and the heavy weight. If I am stream fishing I'll have my 4wt, and if I'm running streamers the 6wt will be there too. If I get a trip to a tropical destination the heavy weight will be all I'd take - maybe with a couple line types.

    Would there be any negative affects of going higher in rod weight, say to a 12wt over a 10? My goal is to get big flies out and be able to fight the wind so my thinking is having the head room available would be better than not.

    Last question - Regarding line types, I have always used floating lines. I don't see any real reason to switch. That having been said, I see a lot of the heavy weight salt water lines are sinking. Would I be OK getting a sinking line for my big lake fishing (pike, muskie, some big bass)? Should I stick to a floating line for the lake and get a sinking line on a separate spool?

    Thanks for taking the time to read through, I am learning a lot!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Heavy weight rods - big flies

    unless you want surgery on your rotator cuff dont get a 12 wt. a ten wt is even a little heavy to be casting around. the most you are going to need fore pike musky and bass is a 9 weight with a bass or pike taper. if you fight a fish correctly you wont need more than an 8 weight but for casting purposes go with a stout 9 weight. if you want a recommendation, go with the TFO Axiom. very fast and strong rod. tons of butt section.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Heavy weight rods - big flies

    Have you considered a switch rod or perhaps a light spey rod.

  4. Default Re: Heavy weight rods - big flies

    I have never had someone recommend a switch or spey rod before. What benefits do they have over a standard fly rod? I know they're longer and more made for roll casting.

    That would be real nice to lay out a bunch of rod options and cast them but the store here rarely has anything over an 8wt and no spey/switch rods.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    quiet corner, ct

    Default Re: Heavy weight rods - big flies

    For me, whenever I break out the 10wt, I automatically put the wrist brace on and if the day involves big flies or it's really windy I've got an elbow brace as well.
    I try to stay away from the 10wt unless the wind is up and over 20 knots. False casting a 10wt all day is tough. In my mind a 12wt would be out of the question. That's a specialty rod.
    I find that I can cast a 1/0 fly all day with an 8wt rod, but with 2/0 or 3/0 flies it's a bit more difficult. That's when I'll move up to the 9wt. However I like to stick with the 8wt whenever possible as it's much easier on the arm.
    I over-line my rods, especially when I'm casting large air resistant flies. It's really the line weight that casts the fly and not the rod and that makes a big difference
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements.” --- Horace Kephart

  6. #6

    Default Re: Heavy weight rods - big flies

    I agree a 10wt is more than needed. I have a 9wt Redington CPX overlined with a 10wt line that will throw anything short of 15" billfish flies,...actually it might throw those I've just never tried.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    White City (tad north of Medford) Oar-E-Gone

    Default Re: Heavy weight rods - big flies

    Quote Originally Posted by kc8qvo View Post
    I have never had someone recommend a switch or spey rod before. What benefits do they have over a standard fly rod? I know they're longer and more made for roll casting.

    That would be real nice to lay out a bunch of rod options and cast them but the store here rarely has anything over an 8wt and no spey/switch rods.
    Couple of very good reasons:

    You can over head cast these very easily and you won't bust yourself up in the process. Not to mention normal 'spey casts' executed with ease. A 11 to 12'6" 8wt will chuck anything you want to tie on to the end of the leader.
    When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost. - Billy Graham"

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  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Buffalo/SRQ FL/Götebörg, Sweden
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Heavy weight rods - big flies

    While I am a huge proponent of the spey/switch suggestion, with regard to single-hand rod weight, like others have said, a 9-10wt will be more than enough for pike, muskie, bass, and most saltwater except for the biggest fish (tarpon, tuna, bigger billfish). I have spent days casting a 12wt and the best part of those days was picking up the 8 or 10 later in the day to throw flies at smaller fish. While a 12wt will certainly get flies out there, unless you are buying the rod specifically for tarpon or the other species mentioned, do not get the 12wt. The first few casts will really get your fly out there (if you've already practiced with it) but after that, it ends up being counterproductive. You're going to see a marked advantage in casting just by stepping up to an 8wt from your 6wt. A 9 or 10wt will absolutely cast those 2/0 flies and bigger (far, far bigger). As far as sinking line... I use intermediate sink-tips for most my saltwater fishing. I also use them for some freshwater, but my lake fishing has overall been very limited.

    Where will your saltwater fishing be occurring? And how often? And for what? For musky and pike, most guys I know use floating lines, sometimes using sink-tips but not often. They are fishing to musky in reed-lines that are more than willing to attack surface commotion.
    - A.J.

    Working out a way to convince my university to allow me to hold my TA office hours on the nearby creek...

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  11. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Manning, S. C. (formerly MD)

    Default Re: Heavy weight rods - big flies

    Good advise already given. For what it's worth, I've bass fished with a 6 wt quite a bit, particularly when it was the only rod I had, but now use an 8, 9 or 10 wt. The main reason I might bass fish with a 10 wt is there are Stripers in the same waters & I toss some really big flies sometimes at both. I've landed some 20-30" Stripers on the 6 wt, which are about an average size range that I might encounter but would not specifically target them with the 6. Most of the time an 8 wt is sufficient. The 9 or 10 can be very useful at times particularly as the wind speed increases or when further casting distance is needed or when using really big flies. I sometimes throw rabbit strip eels that may be 8-10" in length & once wet they get heavy.

    An 9 wt would be a good compromise. You have to ask yourself, if you'll need the 10 wt, which should give you a bit more distance with bigger flies than an 8 or 9 and a bit more power for fighting wind. Otherwise, any of the 3 should easily handle all but the largest fish.

    A 12 wt is as gator said, much more than you need unless you intend to only target the largest fish. Plus, it will get tiresome if you do a lot of casting. Keep in mind that those folks who may use a 12 wt, even for species such as Tarpon are usually sight casting. If you'll be blind casting, that could wear on you quickly with a 12.

    As far as sinking lines, I own several in various sink rates, but the majority of the fishing I do is with a floating line, as most times I'm fishing shallow water of less than 10 ft. At that depth the only time a sinking line is any advantage is when there's a strong current. Beyond 10 ft depth, and particularly combined with current, a sinking line can be good to have when needed, but if you intend to get 1 sinking line, be sure the sink rate fits the waters you'll fish most so you get the most from it's use.

    I never fly fish water deeper than 30 ft, at least not down to that depth. But between 20-30ft a fast sinking line has been beneficial at times. Between 10-20 an intermediate sinking line is what I use most, again except when there is a strong current. If I see the need to fish deeper than 30 ft, frankly, I would rather use other tackle.

    As far as tapers, the lines I own vary, but all are WF. Because the majority of the casting I do is within 50 ft, I don't see much difference between the tapers with the same rod & fly. One line I have is an Orvis Salmon/Steelhead 9 wt line & another is a SA Striper 9 wt line ( might be the other way around, my memory sucks!) & frankly for me there is little difference in the way they cast.

    IMO, specialized tapers are that way for a specific purpose, and beyond that purpose, there may not be much benefit. I own such lines because I got them a decent price, and really no other reason.
    Remember, no one likes to be behind the big truck, but that's better than being under it!

  12. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Grand canyon of Pa.

    Default Re: Heavy weight rods - big flies

    I'm sorry had to jump in here, how is a 12 wt that much different than a 10 wt these days. maybe a few xtra ounces. comon if you cast a 10 all day you should be able to cast a 12. i use a 12 alot on the beach for big flies. yeah i know thats what they are for big flies and fish but if you can't cast a 12 go home dude. in todays world the difference is minimal if you know how to cast properly..i agree a 9 would fit his bill perfect. I would like to know how many of you have actually used a 12...there are not alot of people who even own one unless they tarpon fish alot. i get more tired from casting my 14' 10wt spey than a 9' 12 wt..even my 11' 3wt. wears more on me..if ya can't cast a 12 all day go to the gym..
    sandfly/ bob
    N.J.B.B.A. #2215

    I did not escape.....they gave me a day pass!
    from the outer edge of nowhere
    fly tying and fishing Gillie..

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