I use a couple of rods depending on where I am going to be walking/crouching/crawling to get to some of the best spots in feeder streams off main creeks. I use a four peice 3/4 wt. with 3 wt. line. I also have a two peice 3/4 wt. with 3 wt. line. Unless you want to spend a great deal on a rod, I'd go with a redington, st. croix, browning, Temple Fork, or clearwater. The new Zero Gravity is real nice, but way beyond my pocket book. You can purchased an outfit for 150 to 200 dollars that works real well and catches fish. There are many websites to go to or you might want to check out ebay to possibly get a great deal on someon else's purchase. Lots of times, guys want to learn, buy a really nice setup, and get frustrated and give up. They sell them for a steal. Your choice. Good Luck.
Back Again! One more thing you might want to consider. Don't buy a cheap rod and an expensive reel and vice versa. Get a pair that will work together. A rod needs to be able to load up to make a good cast. A reel needs a good drag system to "play" the fish. Stay pretty even with them to have the best combination and best results.
I think that a 5wt would serve for most purposes of Trout, Panfish, and Bass. However, for Big Flies/fish I would go with an 8wt. The 8wt will handle Big Bass bugs and will fish equally well inshore. I started buying TFO a couple of years because of the price and their quarantee. The rods average around $129.95 and they have a Lifetime quarantee. I broke my 8wt by throwing a nice tailing loop that slammed a heavy Clouser into the rod, they stood behind their quarantee and I had a new section for my rod within a couple of weeks. Personally, I prefer a rod with a fast tip which helps you load the rod more for distance casting.
As Slowriser said, Look for a reel with a good drag. As with conventional reel, drag is everything in saltwater. However, you don't have to break the bank. I fish with Okuma Intergrity Fly reel on my 8 and 10wt rods for a cost of around $80 each. I have used the 8wt several seasons now and have caught quite a few respectable fish with no problems. Like any SW reel the thing to remember is to clean and flush the reel immediately after use.
Hey Backlash, what you say is right on target for saltwater and bass fishing, but I believe he was really asking about fishing the mountain trout streams and in those small spaces, overhangs, and ripples you have to go with a small rig and learn the technique of roll casting, sling-shot casting, and casting from behind cover. I too have an Okuma fly reel that is a 4/5 wt. Good reel, good performance, and excellent price. Maybe together, we can get this person to move on over to being a total fly-aholic.
As Crummy said, The Orvis clearwater rods and reels are economical and perform well. I like a 7'6" rod or 8'. Anything else up there, unless you are in a larger run of water with elbow room is asking for trouble. I say that because, yes there are branches and bushes and boulders and fallen debris, but it is not just where you are casting, you have to think about your hike and carrying a rod through the forest cover. Some of the best spots are in dense brush or cover. That is because novice won't make the effort to go through the rough terrain and thus, there is less fishing pressure there. I use a 4 piece browning 7'6" rod and battenkill reel. I prefer 3 wt, but a 4wt is fine too. Just what you are comfortable with and both will do well for most of the fish you will catch. Backlash, I want you to know that I wasn't trying to be a smart***, just making sure BassFLy didn't get confused. I use a 9' and/or 9"6" rod for SW with 8wt intermediate line. You were right there, just the other side of the state.
I've got a couple different that are in steady use. 1) 4 pc 3wt Orvis Silver Label mid flex 8'6" probably my allround favorite rod works beautifully for small drys on real light tippet but I also put 4wt line on and can punch out some bigger streamers. I got this when they took the Silver Labels out of production so I was able to get it almost at cost. I also have a Diamondback 3 pc 4wt 9' great on the Nantahala or where I expect some bigger fish, again it will throw a dry on light tippet beautifully but it has the backbone so throw something heavy and chunky, for really closed in streams I have a St, Croix 4wt. 6' I don't use it often but it is nice in real closed in streams.
Reality is once you get used to the 8'6'' or 9' rods you can use them in pretty tight quarters. I have the real bad habit of casting somewhat side arm but that is from staying under rhodo's in the mountains it works well there but when I get on open water or throw my 8wt it's tough to break the habit.
As far as reels I use the cheap Orvis clearwaters and have extra spools it makes it easy to change lines and there are a million of the things out there so if I'm at a fleamarket or rummage sale quite often I can pick up a spool for 5 or 6 bucks. As far as having drag on it 99.9 percent of the time when I catch a fish in the mountains I don't play it off the reel I play it letting my line slide through my hand and stripping in the fish. In my opinion the reel is used to store line so splurge on the rod and on good fly line and on good leader material. As long as the rod and reel balance nicely you should be good.
All good points, NCtrouter. We all seem to be side-armers in those tight spots. I too use extra spools to quickly change from floating to sinking or wt of line, but I didn't when I first started out. Once the Tackle Monkey hit me, I started adding on.
Slowriser I noticed you use the battenkill reel, I really like those but I've got so many of the clearwater reels and spools for my under 5wt lines that it would cost me the price of a new boat to change over. I haven't used the browning rods but hear they are good for the price. I have been hearing alot about the Lefty Kreh Temple Fork rods, 90 bucks or so and lifetime warranty supposed to be pretty responsive, I'me due for a 5 wt so I think I might try one of those.
Slowriser- I understand what you were saying. Guess I got excited about the Fly fishing thread. I think that you and Trouter have answered Bassviafly's question quite thoroughly and in my limited Trout experience I am in agreement.. Thanks for keepin it straight.
On the other note, I also have a 7'6"4wt TFO for fishing those tight places. I have been pretty pleased with these rods. They cast great and I find myself fishing with them more often than I fish with my Loomis.
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