Possibly dumb question about reel sizing to rod

cwb124

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Looking for a reel for my 5wt Orvis H3. Several of the reels I am interested come in one of two sizes.

3-5wt
5-7wt

Which would you lean toward for a 5wt H3? I am leaning smaller/lighter but sometimes spool capacity can be an issue. I also fear 5-7 is a bit heavy and unbalanced.
 

WNCtroutstalker

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I have no experience with that rod, but I tend to opt for the larger reel (e.g., I'd put a 5-6 reel on a 5 wt). That said, if in your shoes I would try various reels (with backing and line on) to see what weight balances best, then look up how much the best match weighs empty and then choose a reel that weighs about the same. Obviously the amount of backing will affect the weight, but as long as the test reel and the reel you decide to purchase have/will have approximately the same amount on I wouldn't think it would make a huge difference.
 

trev

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I'm usually liking bigger capacity reels over smaller capacity reels unless there is a huge weight difference.
 

flytie09

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I agree with all of Kelly's points about reel selection aside from the noise part. I guess I like rap music.
 

JDR

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A lightweight reel on a lightweight rod is not always a good match. I tried it with my lightweight 5wt. and it moved the balance point forward so it was in front of the grip. A larger reel with more mass moved balance back where t belongs, on the cork. I think you should use whatever reel balances the rod to your satisfaction. A proper reel should also meet your line and aesthetic requirements.

(formerly Brook Rookie)
 

jayr

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Looking for a reel for my 5wt Orvis H3. Several of the reels I am interested come in one of two sizes.

3-5wt
5-7wt

Which would you lean toward for a 5wt H3? I am leaning smaller/lighter but sometimes spool capacity can be an issue. I also fear 5-7 is a bit heavy and unbalanced.
With the reel breakdowns as you have them, the 5 is the top on one and the bottom on the other. With that being said, I pretty much always go with the size up especially when you have a reel size breakdown like you are listing.

I have also found that when it comes to backing, most makers are a bit generous on how much backing their reels will hold, especially Orvis. But then again, those numbers reflect (I am sure) putting the line/backing on with a machine which if you get it to the limit by the time you fish the reel a couple of times it usually will not all fit back like it did when it was spooled. Another factor is also the different types of line size even within the same weight. I have found AirFlo lines (of the same given weight) take up more space than Rio lines.

By going up to the 5-7 size I think you can allow for some of these descrepencies not to mention it might improve the balance point especially with rods longer than 8'-8 1/2'.
 

sweetandsalt

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Looking for a reel for my 5wt Orvis H3. Several of the reels I am interested come in one of two sizes.

3-5wt
5-7wt

Which would you lean toward for a 5wt H3? I am leaning smaller/lighter but sometimes spool capacity can be an issue. I also fear 5-7 is a bit heavy and unbalanced.
Which reels are we wondering about. I tend to ignore line size ratings and go by balance. My wife fishes an H2 #5 and it was outfitted with Mirage II but required the III to properly balance. My light weight Sage ONE #5 required a Nautilus FWX 7|8 to achieve gravity neutral balance. Reels have gotten proportionally lighter than rods which are lighter too and my experience is I tend to go up in size.
 

mike_r

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My conviction for a trout rod is such that it must be comfortable enough to high stick for hours without out tiring my arm. That said, my balancing of reel/line/rod follows a certain criteria:

For a typical, modern, 9’ 5wt-6wt rod
String the rod so that a length of fly line equal to the rod length is extended past the tip top. With the rod level, reel attached and fully loaded with it’s intended line and appropriate amount of backing, I want the balance point on the tip of my index finger right about 3 cork rings (1 1/2”) back from the winding check. This places the head of the line in the rod’s guide set, and would be a normal starting off point for a typical first false cast. On a 9’ rod weighing approx 3.0 oz., this would most likely be achieved with a 3 1/2” diameter, 1” wide large arbor reel in the 5-6 oz range (empty per manufacturer spec).

Perhaps that will help with perspective.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

sweetandsalt

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I concur with mike_r, my Igniter #5 likes its (empty) 5.6 oz. reel. It is also relevant to note that static balance in hand when walking/wading is different from a sense of dynamic balance when casting/fishing.
 

dennyk

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I always go one size up from the rod weight/line specs, one being a center grip balance point on the grip and two the retrieval rate of the reel winding the line back it in.

Denny
 

hollisd

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There's no right or wrong choice. Hold both reels, mount both on the fly rod, and pick what you like best. One will feel better to you and that is likely the best choice.

I was looking at Orvis's Battenkill click-and-pawl versus the disc and in the shop just liked the feel of the click pawl in my hand.

Both catch fish so it's more of a preference, and I love the click pawl on my 9' #5 which is a light outfit.

For a 5 wt, I would lean towards the smaller reel so the 3-5 wt.

If you're worried about backing capacity go with gel spun backing.

Especially for a finesse rod like the H3, I would opt for the smaller reel for a nice light rod in swing weight.
 

proheli

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5-7 sounds pretty big to me, and all the way down to 3 sounds a little skinny for a 5 wt. I might pick a different brand. For example Ross does a lot of their reels in 3/4, 4/5, 5/6. Now you would be choosing between a 4/5 or 5/6. That is a much better scenario. Ive got a 4/5 on my 4 wt and a the 5/6 on a 6 wt, both fit great.

One thing you can do is get ultra thin backing (I think it is still called “gel spun”), and only put on what you really need, so you can get the smaller reel if you want it. Plus, everyone takes returns, so you can load it up and if you don’t like it get the other one. Just don’t scratch the new reel and cause yourself a problem. Also, only tighten the reel onto the rod lightly, don’t scratch a reel foot and then expect a return.
 

WNCtroutstalker

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Not sure gel spun would make a huge difference in this case, if the alternative is 20 lb dacron. It obviously varies by manufacturer, but based on my research a 30 lbish gel spun isn't that much thinner than 20 dacron and the (very expensive) Hatch is about the same--where the gel spun really adds volume is compared to 30 lb dacron. There are ultra thin braids/GS, but they present their own issues. Trident did a quite excellent backing shootout a year or so ago and has a comparison chart that shows how x amount of 20 lb dacron translates to an alternate backing brand/material. My recollection is that using 30 lb gel spun increased the backing capacity for 20 lb dacron by 20%. So in this case, we're probably talking 10-20 yards at most. Hard to see that making a difference. Also hard to imagine, based on my experience at least, any fish hooked on a 5 wt taking one very far into the backing, if at all.
 

ddb

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One warning about Orvis suggestions on rod and reel combos. I have found them to be way off in terms of balance points on several of their package deal offerings.

Why don't rod makers specify the right weight in reels that best match their products?. That would at least give a starting point in the search.

ddb
 
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sweetandsalt

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One warning about Orvis suggestions on rod and reel combos. I have found them to be way off in terms of balance points on several of their package deal offerings.

Why don't rod makers specify the right weight in reels that best matches their products?. That would at least give a starting point in the search. ddb
This is nothing new. Back circa 1980 Orvis packaged CFO III with #5 even #6 rods with a capacity of 50 yds. of backing and waaaaay too light. I use(d) a CFO IV on their 4-weight at the time. It would be helpful if rod makers did not recommend a reel necessarily but did specify what weight reel would neutrally balance their rod and then leave it up to us if wanted lighter or heavier weight bias.

There is no formula for this that I know of. What I do is mount various reels I have, already loaded with backing and line to see what reel might balance best then look up the mfg. empty weight of that model and seek an appropriate reel in that weight. It helps to have lots of reels for this task.
 

JDR

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When I was teaching (photography) first year students would often ask if they should compose their photos to be cropped so they would fit onto an 8 x 10 sheet of paper. Of course the answer is NO!!! I would explain that the image is the most important part of the whole deal. The paper was to be used in whatever way was most appropriate to the image.
In this situation, the rod is the most important part of the package. The reel is there only to enable the rod to do its business. So, use the reel that accomplishes this best based on your rod. The actual size of the reel is immaterial if it is the reel that best suits the purpose of the rod.
 

Ard

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I like em big and so always go with one or two steps up from the rod spec. In other words most 5 weight 9 foot graphite rods will feel great with a reel deemed a 7 weight on the butt end. The larger reels always look better to me also, I haven't worried about backing capacity for years but in truth more is better for all the reasons already mentioned by other members. Go Big.
 

sweetandsalt

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My most recent reel is an exception. Sage's Spectrum MAX 5|6 is just the right balance weight for my Sage Igniter #5, matches in color too and has capacity for 200 yds. 20# allowing me to use 30#, my preference, I like thick backing.
 

thomasw

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I have a few old Hardy reels which are less than 3" diameter reels (so quite small) but they are still hefty by present day standards; to me this still makes them great reels for lighter weight trout rods for balancing the casting pendulum forces; the same physical laws to which Kelly Galloup alludes in the video linked on the previous page. But with modern lighter materials, I think it makes loads of sense to wind up a larger reel not only for the advantages in casting a balanced pendulum but also for the distinct advantages of storage space and, often overlooked, a slightly faster pick up rate. These facts are objective. However, I would be remiss if I were pass over Ard's point, too. Subjectively many just prefer the feel in hand and look of a more substantial reel --- the reasons perhaps are linked to the balance and performance aspects already mentioned, yet may be linked as well to the deeper sense of a harmony between a man and his tool.
 
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