Hopper Rod

peaks2creeks

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Hi Team -

First of all I have to admit I HATE these kind of posts but, due to my boredom which has lead to obsessing over and non-stop thinking about fishing season, specifically HOPPER SEASON! I have decided to post this and see what others have experience with or some thoughts on.

Needs: I am looking for the "perfect" rod for a small stream I consider to be the BEST Cutty fishing in the US (IMO). We typically fish big foam hoppers from size 6-12 and lots of other terrestrials. The last couple of years I have had several different rods up on this stream and I just don't feel I have the exact tool for the job. The stream is crystal clear, maybe a little glacier silt in the early/mid summer which turns the water a crystal blue color. The stream is anywhere from 20ft across to 8ft across where you can pretty much jump over it. There are large pools and some deep pools, lots of undercut banks and other structure for fish to hide, but the fish are SKETCHY of any movement. You have ONE chance to get your cast into the right area of the pool or run otherwise you might as well just move to the next.

Last year I took my Sage X 586, which I love for fishing smaller dries and more technical water, but just didn't like the way it handled big foam hoppers. So the next trip I took my Sage Igniter 590 and liked it for handling the hoppers but was not stoked on the presentation as it is such a fast rod there is not a lot of delicate presentations. It would just kind of slap the water...

For the majority of this fishing you are only casting 20-40ft to hit your spots, so I am looking for something between the X and the Igniter.

The other issue is that last year I got obsessed with the Abel Vaya Reel and ordered one is the Cutthroat pattern JUST FOR THIS STREAM, but after not liking how the Igniter did on the stream I am now on a quest to find a #5 or #6 rod that will excel in this type of environment and that will compliment the badass reel.

After reading S&S post about the Douglas Sky G, that sounds about what i am looking for. Something that can present softly at short distance but with enough backbone to fire out a large foam hopper 40+ feet when needed...

Any other thoughts? Are the Scott G rods to soft? Trout LL #6?

Thanks for the help!
 

peaks2creeks

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Welcome to the forum, Peaks.

steve
Quick Note: I have been a member for several years now, but lost my account info when I switched jobs so I created a new one... I was peaks2creeks... So, not some newby asking for help without ever contributing... :)
 

sweetandsalt

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Welcome, Peaks. I fish and enjoy both the rods you've tried and you are correct, Igniter is not going to make you happy with short shots. I concur with osseous, a "gentle" #6 might be just the ticket, I've been thinking about the same thing.

I have not tested T LL #6 but it is nevertheless a contender I'm confident. Two I've been impressed with in this rarefied sub-category (of three) are Scott GS 8'8"/#6 and Douglas Upstream+ 9'/#6. 6-weights are perfectly capable of delicate presentations as long as you are and optimal for bulkier flies. Good attention to your leader design would be important. And you've already got the reel. Yes. SKY-G is very interesting but my concern would be line mass of a #5 vs. 6.
 

WNCtroutstalker

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A few questions that might narrow the focus...

1. Even though it's a small stream, it sounds like it's not tight/overgrown where you need a short rod. Correct?

2. When you say you want something between your X 586 and Igniter 690, I presume you mean in terms of power rather than action/flex? So in other words a 6 wt that isn't as stiff as the Igniter?

In thinking about which of my current rods I'd choose for what you described, the one that came to mind is a Winston Biiix 6 wt. I have no idea how the new Air 6 wt compares to the discontinued Biiix, but you might read up on the Air. Though I have no experience with either of them, I also would look into the new G Loomis NRX+ LP and the T&T Paradigm, both in 6 wts. I also think the mentioned Scott GS (I'd probably opt for the 886 over the 906) would be a good choice. Finally, if you'd consider fiberglass, check out the Livingston Western Glass 866. Good luck to you.
 

burk48237

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One of my first hopper excursions was on the PM in MI. And I went with a buddy who was a much better caster and much more practiced at delicate dry fly presentations at the time. I started out as a bass guy. At the end of the first day I had out fished him 3 to 1, and landed a real quality 19" brown at dusk. Now I'll admit the Pere Marquette is a mid-sized stream, and while it's clear it runs fast and probably is the least spring creek like stream in the state. But the fish are wild, perhaps the oldest strain of Browns in the country. We talked to a guide friend later and he explained that with hoppers my sloppy presentation was the right one. Hoppers are a big heavy bug, they hit the water hard and since they aren't a water insect they tend to make a lot of commotion trying to get out of the water.

While I'm not sure it applies on you smaller stream. My experience is the biggest issue in hopper presentation is a rod that can handle the bigger wind resistant flies with ease while allowing you to present it accurately. But gentle landings at least from what I've seen in MW hopper fishing is not an element of good hopper programs.
 
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peaks2creeks

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A few questions that might narrow the focus...

1. Even though it's a small stream, it sounds like it's not tight/overgrown where you need a short rod. Correct?

2. When you say you want something between your X 586 and Igniter 690, I presume you mean in terms of power rather than action/flex? So in other words a 6 wt that isn't as stiff as the Igniter?

In thinking about which of my current rods I'd choose for what you described, the one that came to mind is a Winston Biiix 6 wt. I have no idea how the new Air 6 wt compares to the discontinued Biiix, but you might read up on the Air. Though I have no experience with either of them, I also would look into the new G Loomis NRX+ LP and the T&T Paradigm, both in 6 wts. I also think the mentioned Scott GS (I'd probably opt for the 886 over the 906) would be a good choice. Finally, if you'd consider fiberglass, check out the Livingston Western Glass 866. Good luck to you.
Correct, there are parts of the stream that are tight with willows but 90% of the time there is nothing directly overhead if you are wading in the stream. I did not see any advantage with my 586 vs 590 when thinking about it...

Also correct, I LOVE the Igniter for big water like the Green, Teton, and other spots I frequent but just not suited for "flopping" big bugs on the water at shorter & tighter spots.

@burk48237 - I 100% agree with you and that is what I still want to accomplish, but the Igniter almost made the hoppers do a like a skid landing, just not natural. I want to slow it down and do more of a "flop"...

I had initially thought a Radian would be a good Rod for this, as my fishing loves his Radian on the water... though he has the Radian no one else seems to like, but we both love it, its either the 486 or the 586, but it does this job well. However, I am not willing to buy a Radian at this point knowing the R2 is due soon, right? But, I also want to keep my options open...
 

proheli

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Hi Team -

First of all I have to admit I HATE these kind of posts but, due to my boredom which has lead to obsessing over and non-stop thinking about fishing season, specifically HOPPER SEASON! I have decided to post this and see what others have experience with or some thoughts on.

Needs: I am looking for the "perfect" rod for a small stream I consider to be the BEST Cutty fishing in the US (IMO). We typically fish big foam hoppers from size 6-12 and lots of other terrestrials. The last couple of years I have had several different rods up on this stream and I just don't feel I have the exact tool for the job. The stream is crystal clear, maybe a little glacier silt in the early/mid summer which turns the water a crystal blue color. The stream is anywhere from 20ft across to 8ft across where you can pretty much jump over it. There are large pools and some deep pools, lots of undercut banks and other structure for fish to hide, but the fish are SKETCHY of any movement. You have ONE chance to get your cast into the right area of the pool or run otherwise you might as well just move to the next.

Last year I took my Sage X 586, which I love for fishing smaller dries and more technical water, but just didn't like the way it handled big foam hoppers. So the next trip I took my Sage Igniter 590 and liked it for handling the hoppers but was not stoked on the presentation as it is such a fast rod there is not a lot of delicate presentations. It would just kind of slap the water...

For the majority of this fishing you are only casting 20-40ft to hit your spots, so I am looking for something between the X and the Igniter.

The other issue is that last year I got obsessed with the Abel Vaya Reel and ordered one is the Cutthroat pattern JUST FOR THIS STREAM, but after not liking how the Igniter did on the stream I am now on a quest to find a #5 or #6 rod that will excel in this type of environment and that will compliment the badass reel.

After reading S&S post about the Douglas Sky G, that sounds about what i am looking for. Something that can present softly at short distance but with enough backbone to fire out a large foam hopper 40+ feet when needed...

Any other thoughts? Are the Scott G rods too soft? Trout LL #6?

Thanks for the help!
I'd love to put in my 2cents, because I don't think you are looking for something in between X and Igniter. If you want a Sage, your situation sounds like LL is the answer. 904 or 905. I think I need to see pictures of this stream because it sounds to me like you just have way too much rod. I haven't cast the 865 X, but I didn't think the 905 was delicate, and they still swing pretty fast.

So first, 20' with a 6 weight is too close. There is not really any fly cast involved unless its its got a really soft tip. That is basically 3 and 4wt glass territory. From there you're going to place a hopper up to 40'. Well, that is medium flexing 904 heaven. That distance is the entire purpose of GS/PURE/LL/UL/G 4wts. Half of us around here have a special 4wt just to fish the type of water you are describing. Not a 6, and not a 5. If you can't hit 60' with a big bug, that is a casting issue.

I'd find a GS884 and see if you can cast it 40' with a leader and bug you like to fish. This is well within this rods ability. If it is a little frustrating then try the 885, but if you go any bigger you are just going to screw up your feel and touch in close, say under 30/35'. If a guy can't make the 60+ cast with the 855, well, that part is on him. He just needs some help with the cast. I got a 906 Air (which is a relatively a softer flexing 906, just so I could throw big hoppers on med to large rivers, but not small. I know a guy, got a 906 Air, and he is convinced it is the industries best big river dry fly rod. He can cast the whole line with decent aim. There is nothing "small river" about that. I mention the Airs because they are at the softer end of the 906 range. So, you say yours is a small river, 20' across max.... Well, I guess if you are are casting straight up river all day with an aerial mend, you could like a 6 for that, but you already said most of your casts are 20-40'. You know, TA has on the water videos of casting the Pure, GS, and LL videos. You could compare your casting to theirs because they hit some good some distance in all of those vids. It just sounds to me like you need a lot less stick, something that can communicate to you at those distances, and then just a little refining on your haul when you want to hit 60'.

So, 1, I do think you have too much rod. 2, I'd cast the 864s/865s and I'd make sure I had on a leader that a pro told me would turn over big bugs. 3. With a good 864/865, good line and leader, I'd expect you to hit the hula hoops at 25/35/45/55 all within an hour, and if you didn't I'd say it was me and get a casting lesson, probably focusing on your haul. All of that because I don't really hear 6wt calling out in your description.
 

peaks2creeks

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HAHA, OK I truly appreciate all the replies. The GS has an obvious fan base for this application. I will for sure check them out... The only other reason I want a 5wght, aside from the fact I got the VAYA 5/6 is that these cutties get BIG and having that extra backbone can be essential for keeping them out of the root balls and other tangles they do... I am a sage guy and will also need to look into the LL some more...

On leaders... I am basic. I hate tying knots... So I typically buy a 9ft 5x tapered leader and cut off about 2 feet and add some tippet, usually just tie on the last size, so either 4x depending on big we are going or 5x which is tough in this situation, these fish will break that no problem... Is that way off?
 

osseous

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I own the GS 884. I don't want to throw large foam bodied flies with it. The fly would overwhelm the weight of the line, to a degree where accuracy would suffer. The flies would pendulum against that too-light fly line.

A 6 wt line is better suited to making the weight and air resistance of these flies disappear. Our industry has lost it's way with regard to line weight and fly size. The fly should be unnoticed by the caster for the most part. Put a size 8 hopper and a weighted dropper on an 884 and you will be casting the flies- not the line. And in the strictest sense, that's not fly fishing. That's pitching.

A soft 6 weight will mask the weight of these flies more appropriately, while adding accuracy as a result- and the ability to turn those flies over at the end of a longer leader when delicacy is required. Distance is not what a soft(er) 6 wt is for- larger flies are what it does better than a 4 or 5 wt- even in close.

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
 

justahack

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I own the GS 884. I don't want to throw large foam bodied flies with it. The fly would overwhelm the weight of the line, to a degree where accuracy would suffer. The flies would pendulum against that too-light fly line.

A 6 wt line is better suited to making the weight and air resistance of these flies disappear. Our industry has lost it's way with regard to line weight and fly size. The fly should be unnoticed by the caster for the most part. Put a size 8 hopper and a weighted dropper on an 884 and you will be casting the flies- not the line. And in the strictest sense, that's not fly fishing. That's pitching.

A soft 6 weight will mask the weight of these flies more appropriately, while adding accuracy as a result- and the ability to turn those flies over at the end of a longer leader when delicacy is required. Distance is not what a soft(er) 6 wt is for- larger flies are what it does better than a 4 or 5 wt- even in close.

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
I will second this. I like the GS 885 or 886 for what the OP describes. I fish hoppers with the GS 885 and sometimes long for the 886. Soon.
 

el jefe

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I own the GS 884. I don't want to throw large foam bodied flies with it. The fly would overwhelm the weight of the line, to a degree where accuracy would suffer. The flies would pendulum against that too-light fly line.

A 6 wt line is better suited to making the weight and air resistance of these flies disappear. Our industry has lost it's way with regard to line weight and fly size. The fly should be unnoticed by the caster for the most part. Put a size 8 hopper and a weighted dropper on an 884 and you will be casting the flies- not the line. And in the strictest sense, that's not fly fishing. That's pitching.

A soft 6 weight will mask the weight of these flies more appropriately, while adding accuracy as a result- and the ability to turn those flies over at the end of a longer leader when delicacy is required. Distance is not what a soft(er) 6 wt is for- larger flies are what it does better than a 4 or 5 wt- even in close.

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
Oh, alright...go with the 885 or 886. Sheesh!:D

I haven't fished hoppers on my GS 884, but I have fished pretty large ants. I just shortened up the leader, and it worked fine. And I was landing Rainbows of 20"+ on the San Juan. But then I'm one of those nuts that would fish a Sage Circa 389 on the San Juan, too. I haven't fished, or even cast, the 885 or 886, and I think anything from the 884 up through the 886 would be fine for the task. As it gets windier, the heavier line weights obviously star a bit more, though the GS 884 does better in the wind than you'd think. I actually went from a G2 884 to a GS 884 solely for the improvement in the wind due to its increased line speed.

I would recommend to the OP watching the TA video of the GS. The rod used in that video is the 884. Observe the conditions, and see what you think. And then ask the guys at TA; nobody knows their Scotts better.
 

ibookje

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Have you considered a fiberglass rod? I love the way it loads at shorter fishing distances up to 50ft. It protects tippet like nothing else.

From very affordable ($150-250) to superbly built custom rods ($650+).
 

redietz

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Have you considered a fiberglass rod? I love the way it loads at shorter fishing distances up to 50ft. It protects tippet like nothing else.
With hoppers, you're generally using tippets stout enough that protecting them isn't a consideration.

Fishing hoppers -- at any distance -- is the one place where I prefer faster graphite rods over either glass or cane.
 

loomis303

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I learnt early on during my visits to NZ fishing large dries (Cicada patterns size 6 - 8 sometimes with 1.5 2.0mm tungsten droppers) that 'it takes mass to move mass'. My latest rod, a Stickman T6 (9 foot 6 weight) loads at all distances, especially in close and is not particularly line fussy. I would take a 6 over a 5, without exception. After that, pay attention to tapered leader construction. I have received great advice from Sweetandsalt on leader construction.
 

rsagebrush

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Really any decent medium fast 6wt would be perfect. I have 2 fiberglass 6 weights, Tom Morgan Streamer Special and McFarland 81/2' Parabolic that work great for this, and many other things too.
For graphite my original Scott G 9' 6wt is about perfect too, and has been for 34 years. I like the line to cast the fly.
Ya know 6wt fly rods can do just about anything but dinker fishing and when the wind kicks up your glad to have one.
If you want to use a 4wt just get and OPST (150 or 175grain) with a dry tip on it and that should work fine for you too.
 
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