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tx_newb 09-27-2013 08:57 AM

5wt vs 6wt for first rod...
Hello everyone.

I'm looking at purchasing my first set up (since I was a kid at least), and of course after browsing the web for a while I'm experiencing some "paralysis by analysis".

When it comes to deciding between 5wt vs 6wt, how much of a difference is there? From what specs I see online, when you look at "recommended" fly sizes for these two weights respectively, there is a very small variance. I'm going to either southern Colorado or northern New Mexico in a few weeks to and will do some trout fishing in mountain rivers/small lakes, which would lead me towards a 5wt, if not smaller. However, after the trip most of my fishing will be Texas rivers and lakes, often from a kayak, often for bass. With that in mind, I was thinking a 6 weight might be better. I realize the "best" option would probably be to have a 4-5 weight and a ~8wt for bass/lake fishing, but I'm not ready to committ to buying two set-ups just yet. So I guess the end question is would I be better off getting a 5wt and making due with it for lake fishing until I can afford another heavier rig, or getting something like a 6wt that probably isn't perfect for either but might be functional for both? a beginner am I even going to be able to tell much of a difference between the two?

Thoughts? Snarky comments?:)

Thanks in advance for the help.

thenewlushlife 09-27-2013 09:11 AM

Re: 5wt vs 6wt for first rod...
There is a significant difference between the 5 and 6 wt. My first question to you would be where are you fishing? how big are the fish? what kind of flies will you be throwing? In most cases if an angler is looking for 1 all around trout rod we recommend a 9' 5 weight, the 5 has enough backbone to handle throwing nymphs, streamers and wet flies, yet is still delicate enough to be a good dry fly rod, its sort of the jack-of-all-trades of fly rods.

The 6 weight really excells at wind penetration while casting, and casting heavy junk like big streamers and sink tips. Line weight is more synonymous with the size of the flies your casting than the size of the fish your catching. The downfall of the 6 weight is, if your catching fish that average 12in. long and under a pound the 6 weight isnt going to be much fun b/c you'll simply drag in the fish with all that power.
The downfall of the 5 is that if your fishing on very windy days with heavy flies, you may struggle casting a bit until your technique gets better. Still, if it were me I would go with the 5 weight to start. Hope this helps.

tx_newb 09-27-2013 09:26 AM

Re: 5wt vs 6wt for first rod...
Thanks, that kind of verifies my dilemma...I initially decided to purchase a fly rod for my upcoming mountain trip, which will be primarily for trout. But I've wanted to get one for a while, and after this trip the majority of my fishing will be local (Texas) rivers and lakes, where wind can often be a factor. I'd be fishing mostly for bass, sometimes crappie. While I'd like to say i'll be landing 5+ lb bass all the time :) , it sounds like a 5 wt would probably be ok (and fun) for 2-3 lb fish, no? Assuming I could get my technique down to where I could cast in some wind with a 5 wt....

thenewlushlife 09-27-2013 09:51 AM

Re: 5wt vs 6wt for first rod...
yes a 5 would be great for 2 to 3lb fish. However, the fact that you fish bass changes things IMO. If someone comes into my shop and asks for a fly-rod best suited for bass fishing, my suggestion is almost always a 6 wt. Typically when fishing bass folks throw some big flies, such as large terrestrials, bass poppers and other big patterns, and theres always the chance of catching that bucket mouth! If large flies are a factor and bass is a target species, my suggestion would be get the 6, you will enough backbone for playing big bass, casting in windy conditions, big flies, and you can still use the rod for trout. Based on what you've said, if it was me, I'd go with the 6.

brookfieldangler 09-27-2013 10:24 AM

Re: 5wt vs 6wt for first rod...
I am leaning towards the 6 on this one. Your primary use sounds like it will be bass with the occasional trout and crappie outing. The size of the fish you are going to be primarily landing is sort of moot in your situation in that bass, be it 1lb or 10lb, are typically fished for with bigger flies. I have caught plenty of small bass on BIG flies but very rarely have I caught BIG bass on small flies. As a result, I rarely fish smaller flies for bass and for those bigger flies, I definitely prefer my 6wt or sometimes an 8. With all that said, go with the 6 as choosing a rod isn't completely based on the size of fish you will be landing but rather the size/weight of the flies you will be casting.

tx_newb 09-27-2013 10:35 AM

Re: 5wt vs 6wt for first rod...
Makes sense. From what you guys are saying it sounds like trout fishing with a 6 is definitely doable, just might not be "as" fun as it will take some of the fight out, correct?

gzarboni 09-27-2013 10:37 AM

Re: 5wt vs 6wt for first rod...
I am going to have to agree with thenewlushlife. I am still kind of new to the sport but I was told the same thing when purchased my first rod. I opted for the 5wt and I love it. The feeling and sensitivity are sweet for trout but for bass I had a hard time and after 45 mins of fishing I pulled out my spinning gear. I would go for the 6wt if bass is going to be your primary target.
The newlushlife, i noticed that you are located in the Adirondacks. I am in the ADK also, Where abouts is your shop? I am currently getting into fishing for Salmon. I was in Pulaski at the beginning of the month and caught some monster Kings, we are going back on the 5th of October for the cohos and hopefully some steelhead. I am looking for an 8wt or 9wt maybe you can hook me up. Send me a PM with your coordinates.

imxer 09-27-2013 10:38 AM

Re: 5wt vs 6wt for first rod...

+1 for the 6wt.
Suggest you fish the it for a few years before adding a second rod , you might discover it is all you need.

Best of luck. :)


mridenour 09-27-2013 10:55 AM

Re: 5wt vs 6wt for first rod...
I'm not sure I agree with everything these guys are saying. If you are bass fishing in Texas aren't you looking at catching fish as heavy as 10 pounds in heavy cover? I don't know if a 6 is going to be the way to go for a big bass that has burrowed into vegetation. Sure, not all of your fish are going to be like this but even here in Missouri I catch lots of 5 pound plus bass that I have to horse and work out of grass and underwater veggies. Texas is loaded with gigantic bass. I would want to be suited up to land them when they take my fly.

I am thinking you are wanting to do two VERY different things with one rig. Sounds to me like you need two different outfits.

dar 09-27-2013 11:24 AM

Re: 5wt vs 6wt for first rod...
Since you will be fishing mostly for bass in Texas, I agree with those who have suggested a 6wt. Back in 1990, I fished up and down the front range of Colorado with a 6wt and never felt I had too much rod. Buy lengthening my leader I was even able to catch some of those finickly trout in the Cheesman Canyon section of the South Platte.

As you progress in fly fishing, you might want to add an 8wt and then maybe a 4wt.


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