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  1. Default Fly fishing with 8ft Rods

    Does anyone fish an 8ft rod on large rivers? How do they compare to a 9ft or an 8'6"?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Crowded Colorado

    Default Re: Fly fishing with 8ft Rods

    I have the 8' 4wt Orvis Superfine Touch. It's a full flexing rod designed for dries. My 8' 4wt Redington CT, being a mid flex does better on a larger river in my opinion. But what's a large river to one, may not be to another. So an 8ft. rod on the Colorado, Yampa, Arkansas, Rio Grande, no, I wouldn't do it. But on the Big Thompson, and maybe the Poudre, and these two are considered as medium size rivers, you may get away with it. I would use an 8'6" on a medium size river that may be 50 feet wide.

    As for line control, like mending, and lifting the line off the water to get a good drift, on a large river I would struggle with all that. I would want a 9ft rod to make all the other details come into play easier. So an 8' rod wouldn't do so well in my opinion.
    The only thing human kind ever learned through history, is that through history, human kind has learned nothing.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Fly fishing with 8ft Rods

    I saw a couple old videos of Lee Wulff he was using a rod that looked shorter than 8' with no problem

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Fly fishing with 8ft Rods

    Opinion................ I think that a rod is what you make of it. Let me explain that, I have an eight foot bamboo rod that I can use anywhere comfortably. Anywhere that is except really tight conditions where a rod 1 & 1/2 foot shorter would be better suited. On larger waters we generally wade while fishing so we can shorten the distances that we need to cast generally speaking. I realize that depth can be an obstruction to wading as can current speed but I am speaking generally here. When we can wade toward areas we wish to cast a fly to we can account for a rod that is a foot shorter than a nine footer can we not?

    Ever since I matured as a fly fisher I developed a desire to keep things simple and to make the fishing as effortless as can be. For that reason I became one who would rather close distances between myself and a rising fish that one to over exert while attempting very long casts.

    If we consider truly large rivers, those at least 150 foot wide or larger with depths that we cannot safely wade then we may need to reconsider trying to fish them unless we use streamers and a two hand rod of 13 foot or longer. As far as the 'how do they compare to an 8 1/2' or a 9' Other than their being a tad shorter I see no differences at all if we do as I described and fish within the distance limits of an eight foot rod.

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

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  6. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    SF Bay area California

    Default Re: Fly fishing with 8ft Rods

    I agree with Ard (But there is no like button?) length is not a big deal because you can usually adjust your location to reach the fish that are farther away.

    But there are times when more distance is consistently needed so for me the length of my rod if all else being equal, is a choice between accuracy and distance. I am more accurate with my shorter rods but, I can achieve greater distances with my longer rods.

    If the water I am fishing calls for greater accuracy I will use a shorter rod and if it calls for more distance then I use a longer rod. Sometimes I take both a longer rod and a shorter rod because river conditions do change.

    Because your length range was 8' - 9', I thought I should mention that I think the 8'6" rods split the difference between length and accuracy pretty well. So I do have two 8'6" rods one in 4wt and one in 5wt which I use if I am not sure whether I want more distance or more accuracy and I am only taking one rod. I recently took the 8'6" 4wt because I was fishing a small lake and it's outlet stream that had long pools. Because the lake had a drop off out about 60' I wanted distance but because the pools were narrow I wanted accuracy. I thought about taking two rods but decided against it as I had to hike in. I decided on the 4wt because the average trout was 9-11 inches long.


    Tim C.
    Last edited by tcorfey; 08-14-2017 at 02:45 AM.

  7. #6

    Default Re: Fly fishing with 8ft Rods

    Back before graphite a cane or glass trout rod longer than 8' was unusual. I am with Scotty above, on big rivers I prefer a modern 9' rod as much for line handling as anything else and I do go shorter, to 8 1/2' on smaller rivers. On a small stream I still fish an 8' rod and enjoy the way a good one can cast. I am enamored with Winston's new 8'/#4 AIR but have only lawn cast it.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Hudson, Florida

    Default Re: Fly fishing with 8ft Rods

    Past few years I've been accumulating more rods under 9'. Most are for specific applications in freshwater. Of the few saltwater rods that are under 9'. Only one is graphite. 8'6" - Loomis ..... rod suffers not at distances.
    Regardless of rod length. Line used , head length so forth. Will have effect on casting distance. Whole lines are often thrown with half a rod at demonstrations. How far you want to cast effectively is determined more so by line than rod.

    ........ pc

  9. #8

    Default Re: Fly fishing with 8ft Rods

    I agree with Ard that on most streams, astute wading can get you within range of most fish. Couple that with the fact that you might be more accurate with the 8' rod, and you have the makings of a fun time.

    The one thing for me that the 9' rod has over shorter rods is the ability to keep line off the water. Being able to reach over that extra bit of off-speed current can make a difference several times a day, even on smaller streams. And the 9' rod is the longest with which I can attain the type of accuracy I expect of myself so it stands to reason that I use 9' rods most.

    All this being said, I regularly use my two favorite 8'6" rods on even the largest streams. I love their accuracy and their precision and their lightness and fishing them makes me smile pretty much the whole time. I don't feel that I am handicapped at all and sometimes feel that I make more thoughtful presentations with them than with even my pet 9' rod, my 490 Sage ONE. I tend to go for heroic, nearly impossible casts with that rod because I enjoy it very much when I pull them off. With the shorter rods I tend to get closer and try to find places to cast from where I can avoid tricky currents, rather than trying to beat them, which is what the 490 ONE rod inspires me to do.

    I also take my 382 Sage Little ONE out to bigger streams when the water levels are down and I expect mayflies to be hatching. That rod is fast and wickedly accurate and a total blast to cast to rising fish with. I pretty much am grinning from ear to ear when that rod is in my hand on streams large and small.

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  11. #9
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Franklin, West Virginia

    Default Re: Fly fishing with 8ft Rods

    Actually in the past bamboo rods over 8 feet were the norm, in fact 9 feet 6-8 weight was pretty much standard fare, that is why rods 8 feet and shorter command a more premium price, they are rarer.

    8 foot rods are about my favorite length, like Ard I just position myself better, it is a comfortable length. If eight foot is too short on a large river a 9 footer will eventually be too short too, don't we all just want to get a bit further out there. The longer the rod the better the line control and the more cumbersome too.

    I would think that 81/2' foot to be about the perfect length all things considered. I like them too.

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  13. #10

    Default Re: Fly fishing with 8ft Rods

    I prefer the line control of a 9' rod, but happily fish an 8 as well. Although all my rivers would be small and the biggest would only be medium compared to US rivers. Even on those sizes I like a 9' rod if the casting/bankside veg isn't too tight... that's in part also related to my favourite rod being a 9', so that all may change if (when... ) I purchase a new Scott G in an 8'4" length

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