Rod selection process- match line to rod or vice versa?

logan1994vh

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Hey all,

I'm in the market for my first 8wt setup. Since I have virtually no experience outside of medium fast 4-6 weights, I will definitely be test casting as many rods as possible before buying. However, it seems to me like there are some issues with the standard process of test casting rods behind a fly shop. The reels used by the fly shop may balance differently than the reel you choose in the end. Also, the fly lines tested may not be the most appropriate for your fishing conditions.

I am currently planning on buying a Danielsson F3W 7Ten reel for this new setup. The reviews are outstanding and it shouldn't need upgrading anytime soon. Considering I already know which reel I want to use, shouldn't I just purchase a fly line designed for my application and fly sizes, and THEN test cast fly rods with these variables eliminated? In concept, this would allow me to test cast the complete system before spending hundreds of dollars on a fly rod.

This seems smart to me, but I have much less experience than many of the forum members here. What flaws are there in this logic? Is there a better process to follow when assembling a new setup from scratch? Any advice would be much appreciated!
 

flytie09

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Ideally you start with the fly then work your way back. Usually the reel is the last to consider. Is it proper weight, capacity, drag you need and aesthetics last. I guess you like taking the test in reverse like me.

If you’re hell bent on that reel..... see what the weight is and test a few rods out with a reel with a similar weight at a local fly shop.

I personally wouldn’t fret too hard about it. Almost every rod and reel I’ve bought were sight unseen.
 

original cormorant

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I'm not sure how to put this, but the smart approach is first select the fly, then the line, then the rod, and then the reel. Some may disagree but the reel is the last item to select.
 

trev

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You don't say just what your fishing conditions are, so;
Are you set on a particular specialty line?
Does it have special needs in the kind rod it's suited to?
If not, then it probably won't make a huge difference if for example the shop line is 1/2 heavy or has a slightly longer or shorter taper. A few feet more or a few feet less of line out the guides will change the balance some anyway. Rods have a working range, and we tend to adjust I think. If the lines used by the shop are cheap demo lines, then any premium line should make the rod better?

I personally don't put much emphasis on the reel, I'd say that's as good as any, so, in the advice above both members are suggesting you pick a rod that matches the chosen line,- ie. 1) fly>2) line>3) rod & we'll not worry about the reel- and if I read your post correctly that is what you want to do- carry reel and line into the shops and try the line on various potential rods?
Sounds to me like all are on the same page more or less, I don't know how the fly shops might react?
 

flytie09

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The reel is 6.5 ounces. Go on down to your local fly shop and shoot the breeze with them. Tell them what you're wanting to do, how much the reel weighs, what flies you want to use, what line you might be interested and test drive a couple sticks. They call them demo rods for a reason. IF they give you a weird look...come back on here and tell us where you live and someone on here will give you a tip on a great fly shop. That I'm certain of.
 

logan1994vh

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Thanks for all the quick responses! I plan to use this rod primarily for pike/salmon streamers, but with a little salt flat mixed in if I go on vacation down south. The Danielsson reel has captured my attention because of their factory direct business model, excellent value, and proven design. However, it does sound like the reel decision is the least important piece (at least in terms of putting flies in front of fish).

Sounds like the test line shouldn't matter too much as long as it's approximately the same weight. That makes sense. I will talk to my local shop and see what fly lines they have available for testing. Since my freshwater fishing will lean towards larger streamers, I'll probably go with a line like a Rio Big Nasty or SA Titan. Maybe the shop will have one I can test cast with the rods.
 

flytie09

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Danielssons are great reels. I'm sure it's a purchase you won't regret. If I found a Bogdan at a pawn shop in Reno... I'd figure out a rod to pair it with.
 

brokeoff

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Pick a line first then go test cast a bunch of rods. I don’t know much about pike/salmon fishing but I would think those lines would be different than a bonefish line.

90% of my fishing is for stripers with an intermediate line. So it’s better for me to test with that first, find my favorite rod pairing, then search for a tropic line later (you won’t have trouble finding one).

Lastly, reel weight balance is a preference. It’s not about rigging something up in the shop and putting it on your finger. Just as an extreme example, I fish a Mako that is a brick. I like the way it balances/fishes. I really don’t like super light reels, but some guys love them. For me a light reel is a Tibor. So, find out what you like and you should be all set.
 

sweetandsalt

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Yes, 6.5 oz. is too light to neutrally balance most 9'/#8 rods. Rod/line relationship first, reel selected to balance and have proper capacity and performance attributes last. Don't put the cart before the horse.
 

LOC

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Thanks for all the quick responses! I plan to use this rod primarily for pike/salmon streamers, but with a little salt flat mixed in if I go on vacation down south. The Danielsson reel has captured my attention because of their factory direct business model, excellent value, and proven design. However, it does sound like the reel decision is the least important piece (at least in terms of putting flies in front of fish).

Sounds like the test line shouldn't matter too much as long as it's approximately the same weight. That makes sense. I will talk to my local shop and see what fly lines they have available for testing. Since my freshwater fishing will lean towards larger streamers, I'll probably go with a line like a Rio Big Nasty or SA Titan. Maybe the shop will have one I can test cast with the rods.
Your line choice will be a bigger factor then most guys buying something like a Rio Gold for trout since you'll be throwing big flies for Pike.
I'm sure that taper of line will do better on certain rods. It's not so much the weight of the lines but it's how the weight is distributed along the fly line. You could have two lines with the same grain weight but they will cast very differently.
Danielsson is a great choice for a reel BTW.

Ok good luck on your purchase.
 

bonefish41

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Yes, 6.5 oz. is too light to neutrally balance most 9'/#8 rods. Rod/line relationship first, reel selected to balance and have proper capacity and performance attributes last. Don't put the cart before the horse.
SS That's the naked reel weight ...mine with backing and Cortland 9wt Crystal Guide weighs 8.9 oz and I think works/balances my 9wt TCX
 

sweetandsalt

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I'm surprised that backing and line weight 2 1/2 oz. but I admit to have never weighed them. Aren't Danielson's a bit on the wide side for you?
 

bonefish41

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Logan...your F3W 7Ten reel will work on an 9' 8wt...as for the rod
I'm surprised that backing and line weight 2 1/2 oz. but I admit to have never weighed them. Aren't Danielson's a bit on the wide side for you?
Not that Model...it's the narrowest and largest diameter at 4.25 in diameter exposed rim but full cage... the one I use for 12wt the H5D 11fourteen is but also 4.7 diameter and without fly line but with backing it weighs 11.8 oz( Got some new Mastery 12wt Grand Slam on sale waiting for it) as you can see by the picture there is no real work on my deck just reel work...the Digi scale is in the background...btw I replaced the original drag knob with an Abel Rosewood just to keep the feel

Dab11fourteen.jpg
 

bonefish41

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Logan...get a salt 8wt...an 8wt is a chevy ford pick-up in salt rod volume...look at the used market for Loomis, Sage, Scott, find an 8wt used NRX Blue, Sage One, Scott Meridian in excellent condition under 500 or for heavy duty bang around the gunnels..clouser strikes...and jerk the Pike out of the weeds an old Loomis 8wt CrossCurrent GLX under 300
 

logan1994vh

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As for fly shop lines, I made some calls. One shop said they used standard trout lines like Rio Gold (I'm in MT) and the other said they didn't even know- just some old junk lines for casting on pavement. However, they said it's cool to use my own reel and line on their rods when testing. Perhaps I'll go ahead and buy a freshwater streamer line and worry about the saltwater line later like bonefish41 and brokeoff suggest.

bonefish41, I'll keep an eye out for an affordable used rod, but my budget is fairly tight right now (like $300 tight). Considering the Danielsson is a light reel, perhaps I could add some lead core for backing if I don't like the balance, and then still have an excellent reel that nicely balances the high end rods when I can afford to upgrade?
 

trev

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About 40' of LC to the ounce, if I did my calculations right. I was just going to suggest that. I have extra... I use it tying flies, 5 colors lasted about 35 years.
 

hatidua

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I'm apparently doing it backwards, I start with picking a rod in a line weight appropriate to the species/conditions as I figure I can swap different lines a whole lot cheaper than I can tailor rods to a specific fly line.

Oh well, it certainly isn't the first time I've done something backwards 🤪
 

LOC

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I'm surprised that backing and line weight 2 1/2 oz. but I admit to have never weighed them. Aren't Danielson's a bit on the wide side for you?
Since you been around the block a few times with a fly rod in your hands I'm trying to figure out how a wide reel has a negative affect on your fishing outcome
I've read where you have referenced this before. I fish wide reels all the time with no negative outcomes. Is there a structural problem I am not aware of. Thanks.
 

sweetandsalt

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No, not structural and some believe wide is good as there is less diminution of diameter as a fish takes line keeping the drag setting more consistent. That is engineering, I'm a fisherman. When a large, strong fish takes a lot of backing and I can retrieve it back, I intend to focus on the fish, not on level winding and visually constantly checking that my backing - line is going on evenly. I've seen fish lost even a rod broken by a chap who knew what he was doing but built up a pile of line on one side of his wide spool Lamson, jammed a pillar and his H2 exploded into multiple pieces...and he lost he bonefish. I insist, personally, on larger diameter and narrower spool aspect ratios. Abel, Hatch, Nautilus and modern Hardy concur. I've trained myself all my life to level wind and I'm fine but the narrower the spool the more intuitive the process.
 

trev

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No, not structural and some believe wide is good as there is less diminution of diameter as a fish takes line keeping the drag setting more consistent. That is engineering, I'm a fisherman. When a large, strong fish takes a lot of backing and I can retrieve it back, I intend to focus on the fish, not on level winding and visually constantly checking that my backing - line is going on evenly. I've seen fish lost even a rod broken by a chap who knew what he was doing but built up a pile of line on one side of his wide spool Lamson, jammed a pillar and his H2 exploded into multiple pieces...and he lost he bonefish. I insist, personally, on larger diameter and narrower spool aspect ratios. Abel, Hatch, Nautilus and modern Hardy concur. I've trained myself all my life to level wind and I'm fine but the narrower the spool the more intuitive the process.
Narrow also means that as the line is wound back in the effective arbor increases faster meaning less winding to retrieve all that backing.
 
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