Need help picking a weight/length rod to balance out the quiver

munsonbw

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Hi gang,

I went to a local shop yesterday thinking I knew what I wanted (wt and length), but came away uncertain as I articulated my wants and needs to the guy at the shop. I hope you all can offer some opinions.

Rods I have:
9' 6wt Recon
8'6" 5/6 Cortland 2pc (old, slow graphite from the early 90's)

What I would like to do:
What started this search is the rod pack length. I am looking for a 4pc rod. I don't love my old cortland as it casts like a glass rod and I much prefer the action of my Recon. However, if it were a 4pc I would probably just make do. I don't do a lot of hiking to fish, but when I do or even a car ride somewhere the long 2pc rod/reel case I have is just annoying. I live in North Central Alabama and am looking for a rod that will be a good fit for smaller rivers that contain sub 2# bass and panfish. I also would like something to hit the local trout waters, which are larger/more open small-medium rivers. This is a lot of nymph fishing and mostly stocked fish of 15" and smaller.

I thought I wanted an 8' 4wt and the St. Croix Imperial felt very good casting (I tried a Scott G series and didn't care for it as it reminded me of my Cortland). But the more I talked with the shop, the more I wonder if a 9' rod in the do-it-all 5wt might be a better choice? Or maybe a 9' 4wt? My concern is the 4wt will be limiting on flies like poppers or buggers for bass, and that a 8' will be really hard to manage a double nymph rig or high-stick nymphing. I like my Recon a lot, but it seems seriously overkill fishing for smaller redeye and sub 15" trout. It is a great smallmouth rod, though. Perhaps I am asking too much from one rod, but at the moment I really don't have super specific needs I am trying to fill and don't want to get too far away from an "all purpose" rod.

Thoughts?

Ben
 

rmorrison

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You can cast a 4wt line on any modern 5wt rod. And a 6 for that matter. It’ll work just fine. I’d find 5wt you like in 4 piece and use it for all those situations. Go with an 8’6” or 9’.
 

WNCtroutstalker

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Based on what you described, I would go with a 9' 5 wt. While a 4 wt would be "more different" than your Recon, it doesn't sound like the right tool. I don't have much experience with warmwater species, but you think you'd be undergunned if throwing poppers or other bulky flies. As for your trout needs, I'm assuming you'd be indicator nymphing and I personally don't think of a 4 wt as a nymphing rod (except for maybe a 10' 4 wt); a 4 wt can certainly handle lighter rigs, but not what I'd grab if throwing larger/heavier rigs (whether the weight comes from adding shot or just using a heavier pattern). So to me a 4 doesn't sound like the best fit for either your warmwater or coldwater outings. So I'd get a 5, and a 9' is probably the most versatile. Since most of your trout fishing is nymphing, if not too long for your trout rivers and it would also work OK for your bass fishing, I would even consider a 9'6".
 

munsonbw

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Thanks, guys. After thinking about it more I wondered if the 5wt might be better. I don’t plan to throw huge streamers and the local guys seem to be happy with a 4wt for the same species, but some wind picked up when I was test casting the 8’ 4wt and the forward cast fell apart. Maybe technique.

I have been seriously considering jumping on the Radian close out. I fished a 4wt with a guide and liked it well enough. It was pretty easy to throw the double nymph rig, but I did feel it to be a little hard to judge the loading. My casts were pretty decent though.
 

silver creek

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Have you considered a 9 ft 4 wt Recon?

You already like the fast action of the Recon. You can upline it with a 5 wt line when the type of fishing you do requires a 5 wt.
 

proheli

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I don’t like over/underlining, but similar to the post above, if you already like your 906 Recon, then Id get the 905. That would be a good all rounder, plus for the most part, nymphing and poppers are not 4 wt territory.

One thing you mentioned above, where the 804 you were casting had problems in the wind, well, most 804s would have less power than their 904 siblings.

After you are fishing your 905 you will figure out a lot , and your next step down might be an 864
 

proheli

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I don’t like over/underlining, but similar to the post above, if you already like your 906 Recon, then Id get the 905. That would be a good all rounder, plus for the most part, nymphing and poppers are not 4 wt territory.

One thing you mentioned above, where the 804 you were casting had problems in the wind, well, most 804s would have less power than their 904 siblings.

After you are fishing your 905 you will figure out a lot , and your next step down might be an 864
 

munsonbw

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Thanks for the help guys. My only comparison of a 5 vs 6wt is my fast-ish Recon and my slow Cortland. To me, these rods do not overlap at all - the Cortland is much flexier and feels like you are giving smaller fish a fair fight. If I go for a faster 9' 5wt do you think that will be too close to the 9" 6wt? FWIW, I tried the 9' 5wt Imperial adn was immediately struck by how much "heavier" it felt to cast compared to the 8' 4wt. This isn't surprising to some I guess, but I wasn't expecting such a dramatic change. Maybe I need to jump on the buy one, get one at Allen :)
 

flafly14

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Since you mention small to medium water, and because you already have a 906 that you like, I'd probably suggest checking out a newer 8'6" #5.

#5 will cast bigger flies better than a #4. It doesn't sound like to want this rod for primarily fishing super tiny stuff.

The shorter length should feel really nice - lower swing weight will make you very happy when you cast it. Especially if you're not needing to bang out 80 or 90' casts. IMO you only need the longer rod for two things - line speed and mending control. I'm not getting the sense that either of those things are critical for your situation. So go shorter.

You'll have some overlap in you quiver, but not too much. If you get a 905, then you'll have a lot of overlap. Take your 906 for streamers and nymphing and bass bugging. Take your 586 for dry-dropper. That would be a nice combo. I think you'd like that.

When I lived out west I had a 906 and a 904. 906 for streamers and 904 for everything else. Knowing what I know now, I'd do a 906 and a 586. Shorter length on that smaller rod is just really, really nice.
 

munsonbw

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Interesting. I hadn't considered that 8'6" vs 9' in a 5wt would be different enough to matter. It is good that most of the discussion is pointing to a 5wt or a fast 4wt that I an upline. Which is good, because I have a reel already to go with a quality 5wt line.

I am fast realizing that there isn't really a rod for all my scenarios. There are compromises everywhere and I need to sort out which compromise is the least detrimental to the other goals. I talked to a guy at Orvis yesterday who likes fishing the smaller waters around here with a 7'6" 3wt. It was fun to lawn cast and I am sure for the small streams it would be super fun to hike into the national forest and fish for small bass and panfish, but I can't see how a short 3wt makes much sense on a more open medium sized river or for throwing indicator nymph rigs (so far the most successful tactic for the local stocked rainbows). I guess it is time to decide to perhaps pick up a less expensive rod(s) and see what I get the most use out of before landing on an ideal setup.
 

dillon

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[QUOTE="munsonbw, post: 1564051, member:
I am fast realizing that there isn't really a rod for all my scenarios.
[/QUOTE]

Correct, but I’d suggest to start building the quiver with a 9ft 4 wt. and go from there.
My preference is:
8 ft 6 in. 4 wt for small streams
9ft. 4wt for big rivers, small flies
8ft 6 in 5 wt for mid size rivers
9ft 5 wt. all around dry/ nymph rod
9ft 6wt. For windy days on big rivers, boat casting, and streamer casting.

With a reel and line(s) dedicated to each rod.

Then throw in more rods/reels/ lines with various actions and specialized situations. Or, just because you desire a new rod and have the money to spend...
 

lookard

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I am currently using a 9ft 5wt Orivs Recon 1. I paired it with the 200gr OPST commando head. You can sling out some serious streamer and poppers with that. And when you want to fish for trout just switch to your favourite 5wt trout line. I had a blast using it yesterday on the Housatonic river for smallies. I've through 4.5 inch mouse and 3.5 inch barely legal with the 200gr head.
 

munsonbw

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I thought I would close the loop on my rod search. After considering that a lot of the locals use 4wt or even a short 3wt, I decided to lean towards a 4wt as it is "more different" than my 6wt Recon. I tried a 9' 4wt Sage Foundation and found it fit my cast very well. It seems similar in action to my Recon, and like Silver Creek suggested I tried it with my 5wt Hydros Trout line and I liked it a lot for sub 40' casts. The Foundation seemed like a good balance of all of what I was trying to do, so I bought it. After I got home I cast some #8-ish tungsten buggers and a #6 (I think) popper and with the 5wt line I was happy with the result.

I am curious to do a deflection experiment similar to what Yellowstone does comparing my 5/6 Cortland to the 4wt Foundation. I am not sure that will really tell me, but I sure seems the Foundation has more power than the Cortland. This makes me wonder, is a "slow" 5 less able to throw line and flies than a fast 4? Is a fast 4 over-lined similar to a slower 5? Either way, I am pretty sure if I really tried to cast for distance I would take the over-lined Foundation over the 5/6 Cortland for the rod that would allow me to make the longest cast. Perhaps it is more a reflection of what my Cortland than anything else. While I don't prefer its action in general, when you really want to make delicate casts and take your time, it is a nice rod. I made a lot of casts and caught a lot of fish on it. Reminds me of my dads Garcia Conolon glass.

On a related note, has anyone used the Wulff Triangle Taper Nymph line? The guy at the shop said it is the same as their bass line (except available in a 4wt), which makes sense how it cast. It immediately felt like I could cast twice as far with half the effort, if that is what one was going for. What is surprising is that they call it a nymph line. From what I gather it has a short, 27' head, which is a different than what I thought one would want with a nymph line. I am thinking of picking it up as it seems like a good fit for punching heavier flies out there at <40'.

Thanks again for the help,
Ben
 

deceiverbob

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I use a Wulff TT bass line on a 6 wt for inshore saltwater and some freshwater, (bass, panfish), if the nymph taper is the same it should work for your main uses. A Scientific Anglers MPX or infinity taper would work well also. I use an Infinity taper on a 5 wt for the same fishing as my 6 wt and the Wulff bass line.
 

jayr

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AirFlo makes a specific nymph indicator line (not the euro nymph) that does well with double nymphs. I just spooled a 4 weight Mod with it to throw just that, double nymphs with indicator and I am extremely pleased with it so much so I got the same line for my 6 weight Recon to do the same.


 

joe_strummer

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When I lived in North Central Alabama and was fishing those waters -- the Sipsey tailwater and Tim's Ford -- I was using an 8'-6" 5wt mainly, and a shorter rod, 7'-9", when I went up to Nantahala/GSMP. A 7wt on the bass.
 

mikemac1

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Don’t give up on the Scott G2 8’6” 4 weight. Out here in SW Montana, it handles wind, big fish and big hoppers nicely. Pair it with one of SA’s WF textured lines and it is a casting machine.

The other alternative to consider is a TFO BVK 5 weight. This is a rod that will handle all manner of conditions and flies and will save you a few $$ that can be used for a better line.

Finally, see if you can find a Sage XP 905-4 to test cast. When I was living in Alabama, Montgomery area, it was my go to rod for stripers, spotted bass, etc on the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers. They are still readily available on Ebay. A classic and effective rod and still used regularly here in SW Montana.
 

sweetandsalt

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Were I to recommend a specific rod to you, it would be the new Sage Sonic 8 1/2'/#5 (or #4 as a second choice) or the 9'/#4 Scott Radian on close-out.
 

munsonbw

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Thanks for the replies. I rambled in my post above and it likely was missed; I bought a Sage Foundation 9' 4wt. I like how it cast and the local shop suggested a 4wt for what I was planning to do. The price point was right too.
 

munsonbw

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I use a Wulff TT bass line on a 6 wt for inshore saltwater and some freshwater, (bass, panfish), if the nymph taper is the same it should work for your main uses. A Scientific Anglers MPX or infinity taper would work well also. I use an Infinity taper on a 5 wt for the same fishing as my 6 wt and the Wulff bass line.
Do you have any insight on how this line compares to other bass lines, like the Hydros for example? If I understand correctly, the TT lines have a reverse taper when compared to most other lines. Is this a benefit, hindrance, or different for the sake of being different? Also, what about weight - true to weight, heavier? Unless my google is broken, Wulff doesn't make much an effort to provide info on their lines. Had I not test cast it I wouldn't have ever considered a "nymph" line.
 
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