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  1. #1

    Default First Rod: Targeting smallmouth and striped/hybrid bass in Ohio small rivers/streams

    Hi everyone,
    First post looking for a little more focused clarity. Been doing quite a bit of research over the weekend after going to a fly fishing seminar with a buddy. As a kid in Ohio I fished lakes with my Zebco. Got out of fishing as a teen/adult till a few years ago when a good buddy of mine got me into kayak fishing on our local small rivers/streams. Our targets are usually smallmouth with spinning gear, but we are known to snag some bigger hybrid bass and even carp. I'm interested in trying out fly fishing using our kayaks for access to river spots, but most fishing will be just off shore or wading.

    From what I've gathered a 6wt seems to be just on the cusp, with the 7wt giving more options for bigger baits. It does get windy from time to time as well which would tip to the 7wt a bit more. 9' long and medium-fast or fast action? I'm still getting up to speed on all this, so completely open to suggestions from those in the know.

    The thing everyone hates to see... BUDGET! I'd like to keep in under $200 for the rod alone. I have some freedom but I'm a big fan of value. I'd prefer to get something 80-90% as good as the best for a quarter of the price or less. I'm also a gear hog so even if I start out with the best, I'll be buying more in time. This one I just want to get my feet wet and make sure I enjoy the hobby as much as I do with my spinning gear. I'm sure which ever I don't get round one will be put on the quiver list pretty quick.

    Thanks all!
    Hawk
    Last edited by hawk45; 04-14-2019 at 11:33 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: First Rod: Targeting smallmouth and striped/hybrid bass in Ohio small rivers/stre

    Hawk,
    There are others on here that are far more knowledgeable than I, and I'm sure you will hear from them, but I will offer my humble suggestion. I think you are correct in the line weight. A six would probably be fine for smb, but if you plan to target larger fish, a seven might be a better choice.

    Keeping the rig under $200 might be more problematic. It can be done and I'm sure others will have suggestion, but I've had good luck buying used from ebay. Just be sure you look at the pics closely and read every word of the description, and pay particular attention to the sellers feedback. If there is a return policy, so much the better.

    Good luck and keep us informed on your progress
    steve
    "As no man is born an artist, so no man is born an angler" ...Izaak Walton

    "Nothing is as bad as something that is not so bad"...Sr. Percival Blakeney, aka The Scarlet Pimpernel

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: First Rod: Targeting smallmouth and striped/hybrid bass in Ohio small rivers/stre

    I'm with spm on the budget issue. For not just a whole lot more, I have a suggestion. The TFO Mangrove. You can find them for $280'ish new or maybe less used. Buy once and cry once as they say.

    The reason for my suggestion is it was suggested to me by kyclouserguy here on this and another forum. He is THE man on small mouth and carp which is what I primarily got mine for. I went with the 7 weight. It does very well. I am sure he will be along soon to offer his very good advice.
    Mainline the blueline

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: First Rod: Targeting smallmouth and striped/hybrid bass in Ohio small rivers/stre

    I think that it would be easy to get a combo in your budget.
    The only problem might be that a 7wt (which is best for smallmouth IMO) is kind of a niche size. Not all that popular.
    A 6wt or an 8wt combo would be much easier to find.
    Personally, I'd go for the 8wt

    This isn't a "name brand", but a custom build by a very reputable company
    I'm guessing that it's built on a Batson blank and I own a few home rolled Batsons myself
    On sale too.

    H&H Rod/Reel "Steel Head" Combo-Hook & Hackle
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements. --- Horace Kephart

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  8. Default Re: First Rod: Targeting smallmouth and striped/hybrid bass in Ohio small rivers/stre

    Jayr, thanks for those kind words man. I no expert, but I am very happy to have been able to share some helpful advice!

    Hawk, one question, when you say you want to spend less than $200, do you mean on the rod only or the entire outfit? I live and fish in KY, but also fish a bit in Ohio, particularly the northern lake Erie tribs. We fish for smallies during the summer up there. For the smallies and carp in those streams, I like a 6 weight. The best rod I can think of for smallies under $200 would be the Redington Vice 9' 6 weight (for $199 lol.) It's a very fast rod, and the 6wt matched with an aggressive line like SA Titan, Rio Smallmouth, or the Orvis Bass line would work well for Ohio creeks. A 6wt would be a decent all around size for Ohio smallies, carp, and trout.

    However, as jayr mentioned, the TFO Mangrove is in my opinion the best value out there for a smallmouth rod. It is a tough, durable rod with an easy casting action for about $275 or so. I have the 7wt and am often talking myself out of buying the 6 as well. If you think you're gonna stick with fly-fishing for the long haul, I think you should consider if you could hang in there a bit longer to save up and get the Mangrove.
    Last edited by clouserguyky; 04-14-2019 at 04:05 PM.

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  10. #6

    Default Re: First Rod: Targeting smallmouth and striped/hybrid bass in Ohio small rivers/stre

    Quote Originally Posted by clouserguyky View Post
    Hawk, one question, when you say you want to spend less than $200, do you mean on the rod only or the entire outfit?
    Hey Jay!
    $200 for the rod only. I've got $100 set aside for line. Haven't even looked at reels really yet but may cheap out on one of those to start.

    Thanks for all the options/opinions so far everyone!

  11. #7

    Default Re: First Rod: Targeting smallmouth and striped/hybrid bass in Ohio small rivers/stre

    I am a "budget" shopper. I have accumulated 13 fly rods, and all would be considered "budget" rods (the most I paid for one was $200 for a 4-wt LL Bean Pocket Water). I think overall the best rod I own is the Fenwick Aetos (it retails under $200; I got a bargain on Amazon for $129). I have the 9 foot 6-wt, but it does come in an 8-wt.

    I fish out of my kayak (LMB/SMB, pike, and stripers); one of the beauties of kayak fishing is that you don't have to make Herculean distance casts. One of the downsides is the risk of dropping something valuable overboard if it isn't tethered (as my brother taught me, vis-a-vis my best spinning rod/reel). So this year my fresh water kayak setup for bass is going to be an old Garcia Conolon 6'-6" 6-wt (or HDH or whatever the old designation was) that I got for free and repaired (needed a new guide), and a Ross Flystart reel that I got at STP for $17. For pike and for the salt though I have a Redington Voyant 7-wt, which I think is is a an odd duck. You don't come across many reviews or even mentions online, and it doesn't seem to have had a long production run. I came across it on craigslist; I think a guy bought a bunch when they were discontinued. Anyway, I paid $100 for it and it is a pretty nice rod, a fairly stiff 7 that casts an 8-wt line well (at least based on my meager skills).

    Keeping an eye on vendors like Amazon, craigslist, STP, the bargain section at Basspro/Cabelas, you can find pretty good equipment for very reasonable prices. Oh, and yard sale season is upon us...

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  13. #8
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    Default Re: First Rod: Targeting smallmouth and striped/hybrid bass in Ohio small rivers/stre

    I've been fly fishing all my life and I only own one rod (that's not bamboo) that I paid more than $100 for.
    Don't be fooled into thinking that you're required to spend spend spend
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements. --- Horace Kephart

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  15. #9

    Default Re: First Rod: Targeting smallmouth and striped/hybrid bass in Ohio small rivers/stre

    By the way, for kayak fishing I think a shorter rod is more convenient, though people debate this.

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  17. #10
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    Default Re: First Rod: Targeting smallmouth and striped/hybrid bass in Ohio small rivers/stre

    Quote Originally Posted by gpwhitejr View Post
    By the way, for kayak fishing I think a shorter rod is more convenient, though people debate this.
    8 foot Garcia 9/10wt ($10)

    IMGP0003_2.jpg
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements. --- Horace Kephart

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