Underground Entertainment

Fly Fishing Keeps Losing Weight, And Why That Might Be A Bad Thing

Posted by Tom Chandler 12/10/2012 5 minutes

We've all seen the trend whereby the "standard" trout fly rod has migrated downward at least one line weight; at one time a six weight (or even seven) was considered the all-rounder, yet today, it's maybe the five weight though I'm hearing more non-streamer fishing types pointing towards the 4wt as the "all-rounder." (I once talked to someone who fished the Rogue's stonefly hatch with a 3wt.)

From one perspective it's understandable; tapers have gotten steeper and line speeds have increased, so you don't need the line mass you once did to throw a hopper.

On the other hand, a reasonably tapered 6wt is one of the easiest-casting, most-useful all-around fly rods you can own. It's a shame it seems to have largely disappeared.

It's possible I'm not the only person who feels that way; John Juracek cops to a similar perception on the Blue Ribbon Flies blog:

It’s impossible to pinpoint the time when the five-weight usurped all other lines as the de facto standard for western trout fishing. I only know that it has. I know also that it shouldn’t have. It’s been this way for quite some time. Years and years of rod and line sales at the fly shop confirm it. So, too, do my on-stream observations and discussions with visiting anglers. Tellingly, five-weight lines outsell all others combined.

I told my friend—rather emphatically—that he would do well to consider a six-weight rod instead of a five. That’s because I believe a six-weight rod is a better all-around choice, especially for a beginner. I told him it’s better for casting in the wind. Better for casting two nymphs, split shot, and an indicator. Better for chucking large dry flies like salmonflies and hoppers. Better for blind fishing attractor dries. Better, too, for throwing streamers—of any size. In short, a six-weight line is better suited than a five for every kind of fishing out here, save for some specialized, expert-level situations.

You can read his entire take at the original post, or simply call your favorite rodmaker and order your Superfine/G2/Helix/CIRCA/Glass/Whatever 6wt. Tell them the Underground sent you (expect a 10% penalty if you do).

Any Undergrounders members of the 6wt Fan Club?

See you at the rod rack, Tom Chandler.
Destinations
 (1)
It’s fair to say that for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors, the city of Bend should be on your radar screen. Once known as a logging town on the Deschutes River, it is now hailed ... moreas premier destination for anyone that likes mountain biking, hiking, skiing, camping, white-water rafting, horseback riding, paragliding, golfing and of course, fly fishing! Lumberjacks may now be hard to find here, but adventure tourists and outdoor sports lovers are in great abundance.

One look at what the city has to offer and it’s easy to understand why Bend is a magnet for athletes and rugged sports enthusiasts. Among many other events, the city has hosted 2 USA Winter Triathlon National Championships, several national cycling competitions, 2 XTERRA National Trail Running Championships and is home to a men’s division 3 Rugby club, a women’s flat track team and a West Coast Collegiate Baseball team. 

Not far from town, is the 1.8 million-acre Deschutes National Forest that contains parts of 5 designated wilderness areas – Mount Jefferson, Mount Thielsen, Mount Washington, Three Sisters and Diamond Peak as well as six National Wild and Scenic Rivers. Great waters to trout fish near Bend include the Crooked River, the Fall River, the Metolius River and the Deschutes River that runs through town. The town also boasts the Old Mill Casting Course, the first and only, 18 station fly casting course where anglers can hone their fishing skills.

If you like to grab a cold one after fishing, Bend has over a dozen microbreweries and offers beer seekers bus tours, horse-drawn carriage tours and bike to beer trails. It even has a “find a beer” phone app. In keeping with other historical tourist towns, Bend has several museums, shopping areas, art galleries, live entertainment, and a wide range of restaurant and lodging choices.

There are several options for traveling to Bend, including:

Fly into Portland International Airport and drive for approximately 3 hours

Fly into Eugene, Oregon Airport and drive for approximately 2 ½ hours

Fly into Seattle’s Sea-Tac Airport and drive for approximately 5 ½ hours

Fly into Boise’s BOI Airport and drive for approximately 5 ½ hours
Fishing Waters
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Starting at Little Lava Lake in central Oregon, this 252 mile, southward flowing River, takes a turn at the Wikiup Reservoir, defies gravity and flows north until it empties into the ... moreColumbia River. Archaeologists will tell that for eons, the Deschutes was an important route for Native Americans as they traveled to and from the Columbia. Later, in the 19th century, Historians will tell you that the river was an important marker for pioneers, eventually becoming part of the famous Oregon Trail.

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Today the river is considered an important part of our national heritage due to its extraordinary beauty and bountiful fisheries. Over 145 miles of the river have been designated as a National Recreational River while another 30 miles are crowned with National Wild and Scenic River distinction. Typically thought of in three sections – upper, middle and lower - the river passes through high arid country, flower filled meadows, and steep canyons.

As an official “blue ribbon” river, the Deschutes is perhaps most famous for its Columbia River redband trout, known locally as redsides. These trout have an unusual, bright red stripe that covers the bottom half of their bodies; the spots on the upper body are darker than other wild rainbow. Depending on where you are on the river, there can be as many as 1,700 redbands per mile, ranging from 8 – 16 inches. 

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Warm Springs to Macks Canyon is the preferred stretch for catching redbands. There is good redband fishing along Warm Springs Tribal Land but special permits are required. The section from Pelton Dam to the River’s mouth has high concentrations of wild trout, including summer steelhead. The entire river is managed as a wild trout fishery.
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Less than an hour northwest of Bend, Oregon, the Metolius River, secreted away in the Deschutes National Forest, is little known since professional guides are not permitted and the ... moreriver is not advertised. The river begins at Metolius Springs, near the base of Black Butte, and is fed from cold spring water that keeps the river at an even flow and a near constant 48 degrees – ideal trout habitat. The river ends at Lake Billy Chinook.

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While only 29 miles long, the Metolius is large in what it has to offer. Nearly half of the river is designated as a National Wild and Scenic River while another 12 mile run is a National Recreational River. In the estimation of many naturalists and conservationists, the lower 17 miles of river that run along the warm Springs Indian Reservation, are among the most gorgeous to be found in the lower 48. To maintain the pristine quality of the river, legislation was passed in 1990 and again in 2009 to limit development within 86,000 acres of the Metolius water basin.

Not just beautiful, this river is full of rainbow, bull and brown trout. Rainbow and brown can easily measure up to 24 inches, while bulls 15 pounds and over have been pulled from these waters. In the fall Kokanee can be seen in the river, ready to spawn. The upper Metolius is limited to fly fishing, catch and release and barbless hooks. This is a great choice for anglers seeking an authentic fishing experience, but be sure to pack your waders - fishing from boats is prohibited.

If you’re traveling with people interested in other activities, camping, rafting, skiing and horseback riding are widely available.
Game Fish Opportunities:
The Rogue River begins near Crater Lake and flows 215 miles through the mountains and valleys of southwest Oregon emptying into the Pacific Ocean at the town of Gold Beach. Rushing ... morefrom the Cascade Range, the river glides into the Rogue Valley floor, drifting peacefully past cities and towns and agricultural lands. The Wild and Scenic River designation begins west of the city of Grants Pass where the Applegate River flows into the Rogue River. The river turns north, flowing through the scenic Hellgate Canyon, and then bends sharply west at Grave Creek, where the Wild Section of the Rogue River begins. Here the powerful river cuts through the rugged terrain of the northern edge of the Klamath Mountains. The river churns through the steep rock walls of Mule Creek Canyon and the boulder-strewn Blossom Bar Rapids before slowing in Huggins Canyon and Clayhill Stillwater. Below the town of Agness, the Rogue and Illinois Rivers join and flow through picturesque Copper Canyon. Below Copper Canyon, the river widens and slows, with the Wild and Scenic designation ending where Lobster Creek enters the Rogue River.

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Flowing through time, the Rogue River has nurtured those who have come to its lush banks. The earliest inhabitants were Indians who lived a life of hunting, fishing, and gathering. Various Indian tribes made their homes and found sustenance along the Rogue River for over 9,000 years before Euro-Americans arrived. In the 1850s, miners poured into the Rogue Valley and Indians awoke to the coarse cry of “Gold!” which, with startling immediacy, signaled an end to a way of life Indians had known for thousands of years. The boatmen of the early- to mid-1900s, whose daring and perseverance established dominance over the wild waters of the river, were responsible for opening these waters to the guide-fishing industry and whitewater boating that has become so economically vital to southwest Oregon today.

The Rogue River was one of the original eight rivers included in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. With its famous steelhead and salmon fishing, challenging whitewater, and extraordinary wildlife-viewing opportunities, the Rogue River continues to be one of the world’s most popular recreation destinations. The 34-mile Wild section features predominantly Class III (or less) rapids, and includes thundering Rainie Falls (Class V) and breathtaking rapids at Mule Creek Canyon (Class III) and Blossom Bar (Class IV).
Trips
$
750
-
$
850
/ Angler
Capacity:
1 - 3 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
2 days
$
500
-
$
525
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 3 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
1 day
DESCHUTES FLY FISHING GUIDES & STEELHEAD GUIDES Regulations & Fishing Methods: Lower Deschutes River regulations prohibit fishing from a floating device, which means that ... morewe wade fish exclusively. As well, the regulations only allow fishing with artificial lures and flies on the Lower Deschutes, so we do both. We primarily fly fish for trout, but we always have a couple of spinning rods along just in case the fish aren’t hitting the fly. We focus our Steelhead fishing efforts swinging flies with spey rods in morning and evening and use a combination of nymphing techniques, throwing lures and using side planers with plugs through the middle of the day.

Above Maupin (River Mile 52): The famous Deschutes Redside Trout are the focus of our efforts above Maupin from mid-April through September when Steelhead begin to show up in the 50-miles above Maupin. September and October provide an opportunity above Maupin for “combo” trips where we target both Redside Trout and Steelhead in the same trip. November and December can be some of the best Deschutes River Steelhead fishing of the year if you are tough enough to brave the cold weather!

Below Maupin (River Mile 52): Beginning in mid-July, when Steelhead start to enter the Mouth of the Deschutes, we focus our Steelheading efforts to the last 50-miles of the river, below Maupin, where the Deschutes meets the Columbia River. Trout are common in this section of the river as well, but the main focus of our attention are powerful and fresh Deschutes River Steelhead.
$
1,650
-
$
1,950
/ Angler
Capacity:
1 angler
Days:
On Aug 29, 2016 - Nov 2, 2016
Duration:
3 days - 4 days
Trip Details Floating and fishing the "Wild and Scenic" Rogue River Canyon is considered one of the Pacific Northwest's most spectacular river experiences. Enjoy this stunning canyon ... morefrom the classy comfortable ride of a beautiful wooden drift boat and spend your evenings in unique riverside lodges. Spend four days floating the 43 miles of protected waters while fly fishing for half-pounder and adult steelhead fresh out of the ocean. Legendary for its combination of dramatic rapids and tranquil pools, fishing on the Rogue River has been popular with guests of the Helfrich family since 1931 when Prince Helfrich first explored the canyon.

His legacy continues as newcomers enjoy the same majestic old-growth forests of Douglas fir and twisted Madrone along the riverbanks. Picturesque grassy pastures, wildflowers and wildlife are all part of this unspoiled wilderness. Deer, otter, black bear, blue herons, osprey and bald eagles call this paradise home.

And then, there are the fish! With two fishermen and one guide in each drift boat, you’ll have a unique opportunity to catch fall run Steelhead and Salmon on lures and flies. Even the most experienced fishermen will be challenged by the great sport of landing these fighters on light tackle. This is a world-class fishing river and our guides serve as skilled fishing instructors and experienced boatmen. Their knowledge of the river and the maneuverability of the drift boats allow them to easily access the placid pools and rich holes where the fishing is best.

Our trips begin at Argo Riffle and for four days and 43 miles we will travel west in McKenzie River drift boats through the Coastal Range to Hog Eddie at Agness. You’ll get a firsthand look at Rainie Falls, Zane Grey’s cabin, Mule Creek Canyon and Blossom Bar rapid.

Each night you will enjoy the comfort of three different rustic wilderness lodges. Shore lunch stops along the river allow time to relax and explore the area. We often barbecue or pan-fry any freshly caught steelhead or salmon. Delicious! No one goes away hungry.

The combination of unforgettable fishing experiences and drift boating through exciting whitewater make this outing on the Rogue River's "Wild and Scenic" section Helfrich River Outfitter's most sought after and desired fishing adventures.

River Accommodations

Nights are spent in comfortable wilderness lodges with private sleeping accommodations for couples or singles. All of the breakfasts and dinners are served family-style by the guides and lodge staff. Each remote lodge offers its own distinct character, which adds a memorable element to the trip that few ever experience, as they are only accessible by river or hiking trail and are run on generator power.
Outfitters
BEND FLY FISHING GUIDES | DESCHUTES RIVER FISHING GUIDES Guided fly fishing trips on the Deschutes River, John Day River, Grande Ronde River, Crooked River, Rogue River, North Santiam ... moreRiver and throughout Central Oregon are our specialties and our passion. We offer everything from multiple day fly fishing trips on the Deschutes River to full day wade fly fishing trips on the Crooked River. We also offer a complete course of fly fishing lessons in Bend and throughout Central Oregon. Please have a look at our Guide Servicepage for more details about all of the guided fly fishing trips in Oregon that we offer.

River's Bend Fly Fishing Guides is owned and operated by professional fly fishing guides in Bend, Oregon. Our client-focused approach to guiding ensures that your guided fly fishing experience in Central Oregon is one you will not soon forget. We are Bend's premier provider of guided fly fishing trips in Central Oregon.
Guides:

AuthorPicture

Tom Chandler

As the author of the decade leading fly fishing blog Trout Underground, Tom believes that fishing is not about measuring the experience but instead of about having fun. As a staunch environmentalist, he brings to the Yobi Community thought leadership on environmental and access issues facing us today.

78 comments
Do you know of any 9'? I've found at least one graphite that seems to have a good enough action and can be found in a 9. Unfortunately the line used on it at a local shop was over-weighted by half a weight so I'm going to have to try test casting with a proper weighted line.
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James: Unfortunately I have no seen any fiberglass longer than 8?.Looking into custom could be worthwhile but I would have to see what the price would be compared to cane. Steffen Brothers sell an 8.5' rod (as do several others, including Larry Kenney). I own the Steffen, and it fishes nicely. Not a great heavy nymphing rod, but fishes nice.
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Unfortunately I have no seen any fiberglass longer than 8'. Looking into custom could be worthwhile but I would have to see what the price would be compared to cane.
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If you like the slower casting feel of cane, take a look at some of offerings in glass rods (especially the rods being offered by custom builders). The Fiberglass Flyrodders site has a lot of information.
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The more I talked to those who advocated the 4 and the more I thought about what they said the more I realized their arguments were lacking.
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Planning to go with the 5 weight. Now I just have to debate Orvis Superfine, Hardy Lightweight or custom ordering a split cane. The initial price difference doesn't really concern me, the cost to repair or replace in case of damage does. On the other hand I know that in some ways cane can be more durable. I tend to like tradition but not into the more nostalgic end of interest in cane. I think my ... more main reasoning for considering cane is that much of cane rod production seems to be based on selling a product to last a lifetime while the graphite market is one of "expected obsolescence". I also like softer actions and that in a cane rod the added weight of the rod means it does more of the casting work while I do less.
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I agree.
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Get the damn five weight... I simply can't imagine a scenario where a five weight would "cost" you a fish you might have caught on a four weight. I've seen it go the other way though. All too many times.
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I came accross this while doing some online research for a new rod. So far I have a total of three rods: an 8' 5-6 weight and a 9' 5 weight, the former was my first rod and the second another intro level rod someone gave me, both about 20 years old. My third rod is an old Horrocks-Ibbotson cane which I bought over 15 years ago for $75 and had refinished by Long Island's best rod builder for maybe ... more a third of the cost of the rod. I'm living in Ohio now and finally looking at getting a middle to high end rod, probably Orvis Superfine or the Hardy Classic Lightweight. For well over a decade now I really haven't been paying much attention to the rod market or what other people use and am surprised by how specialized rod's have become. People seem to have their dry rod, their nymph rod, their streamer rod and their soft hackle rod-and different rods to use each class of fly on different rivers. My boss's father is a serious fisherman and I have heard how he went fishing with some people in the fly equipment business who would change rods almost every time they changed flies and still didn't catch as many fish as he did with a single rod. Maybe it was all that walking back to the car? For western fishing to have dropped a weight for standard doesn't surprise me. I recently read a 4 weight being recommended as the best all around rod for the chalk streams when no less an authority on the matter than Dermot Wilson recommended a 5 weight. My own debate has been between a four and a five. One man who works at a fly shop told me that for the river where I will do much of my fishing a four would be a definite advantage. Wondering what he meant I asked if that meant a different of 10%-25% in how many fish would be caught and he said yes. Keep in mind this is a not a small spring creek but a river in what might best be described as the small to medium range where 9 or 10 foot rods are common. This also was in reference to a full flex/slow action 9 foot rod. I could see the 10% difference as being realistic but 25 sounds a bit of a stretch. The man also admitted that he likes to bring as many rods as possible with him. For myself I tend to the theory "beware the man with one gun (or few rods)". Overall I think one will fish better by perfecting the use of one or two rods through constant use, knowing exactly how to cast it in all situations, exactly how to control the line, etc. rather than by constantly using "perfect" rods in ways which are more or less inferior due to lack of consistent experience in using them well. A man at another fly shop said that lighter weights are being used more because the fly fishing world is moving towards specialization rather than a "one size fits all" approach. I really wonder how much of this is either a) marketing or b) an absurd attempt to constantly fine the "perfect" rod which runs into the problem already mentioned. That being said since most of my fishing will be on rivers no larger than medium I am still wondering if 4 weight or 5 weight is my better option. Fishing the larger western rivers is something I would like to do at some point (so is fishing the chalk streams and Yorkshire) so what I am really looking for is versatility for the American northeast, provided it doesn't cost me 25% of what I catch in my local river. If it wasn't that Dave Hughes was writing of a 4-weight as an all around trout rod some years ago and that Oliver Edwards seems strong in favor of 4-weight I don't know that I'd be considering one. Also the fact that I already have a 5 and I'd prefer using that one more than I'd like rather than buy a new 5 and wish I had a 4. But I would really prefer my new rod to be used for 90% or more of my fishing. Any thoughts would be helpful.
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[…] Re: 6-Weight Renaissance 6 is probably my favorite line weight for all around trout fishing, if you get a rod that feels right in your hand. A 6 can do just about anything a 4 or a 5 can do, but it can also do more. Just recently I picked up a 9' 6 wt Sage ZXL, which I can already tell is going to be getting a lot of use soon. Here's a similar discussion from a while back on another ... more board: Fly Fishing Keeps Losing Weight, And Why That Might Be A Bad Thing – The Trout Underground Fly… […]
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Thramer was using a beveler for at least a little while (after beveling to within a few thousands of the final taper, he'd hit with the plane a couple times). Shoulder injury? Blech. Good to hear he's back at it.
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He's getting back to it and taking orders again after a sabbatical due to shoulder surgery. I guess thirty-something years of pushing a plane will do that to ya. Despite the romance inherent in the idea of a hand-planed rod, there was a reason the big shops all used bevelers.
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Idaho steel: all up AJ Thramer and place an order for one of his signature hollowbuilt rods. I heard a rumor that Thramer had stopped building. You talked to him lately?
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Hey Tim, that Scott is a sweet stick for sure. As previously noted, the Winston WT in the 8'6" length is pure magic (provided you can find one.) A current production model, and the best graphite trout rod I've owned in 30 years is the Winston GVX. On the affordable end, the TFO finesse 8'9" five weight over-lined with a DT-6 is a fantastic rod, and not just for the money. 'Course if you want to go ... more really top-shelf, call up AJ Thramer and place an order for one of his signature hollowbuilt rods. Mmmmm...
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Very cool post! I am relatively new to the sport and purchased a fast 5 at the recommendation of my local fly shop. I would really like to purchase a medium 6 instead. I think it would be a better fit for the waters that I fish ( arksnsas river, eagle river, lake fork ), and would hopefully help me to learn how to cast better. I have been hunting for a scott g 906. Does anybody have recommendations ... more for me?
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Sadly, my new GVX six weight has supplanted the venerable WT as my favorite Winston graphite. The WT however, still remains the graphite rod against which all others are measured.
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Mr. Mckenzie - I agree. They will have to pry my #6 8'6" WT out of my cold, dead fingers. Funny thing, though - I read once, on the now defunct Winston Forum, that the #6 8'6" WT was their least popular WT and was removed from the lineup early. Go figure. I had a fabulous couple of evenings last year swinging #18 emergers on 6x tippet with that rod. All strikes on a taught line. No break-offs. None. ... more What a great rod. Mark
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[…] Re: Reel and Line Suggestions for Zeniths Here's Tom Chandler on why you should think of your 6 weight and not your 4 as your all-purpose rod: Fly Fishing Keeps Losing Weight, And Why That Might Be A Bad Thing – The Trout Underground Fly… […]
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I just came accross this post and I think it is spot on. My 2 rods that I've never been able to beat for all-rounders are my Sage 690 SLT and Winston WT 8'6'' #6. Sure, I'd probably take something different for a day of designated small fly or small fish fishing, but for all around western trout fishing, they do everything comfortably. I have friends fishing fast action 4 or 5 weights for casting ... more salmonfly dries. They're no good in the wind or casting short lines when under the trees. The more full-flexing 6 weight casts and turns over a short line and big fly very easily and roll casts beautifully. The fast, light line rods are impressive when cranking line in the parking lot of the fly shop, but put me on the river and a full-flex six just does so many things well. They're also plenty flexible into the butt to make a 12" trout a lot of fun. Some of my buddies give me grief for my "heavy" rods. I wouldn't trade them for anything. Long live the medium-actioned #6!
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Tom Chandler: An Imperial? The old Imperials were lovely rods. That's the rod that I use, oddly enough in a 6 weight, just wish it was a 4 piece. Anyone have any idea on rods with similar action available these days?
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dubthethorax: I started on a st croix 5/6 weight and that’s still my go-to rod for all around fishing. You can still finesse it for dries if you have to. An Imperial? The old Imperials were lovely rods.
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DarrellKuni: Hm. Only reason I’d fish a six-wt. rod where I live (So. Cal., where we hv some good trouting believe it or don’t) is to launch tiny trout farther into the sage and yucca behind. You say that like it's a bad thing.
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I had a Powell 6 wt that caught thousands of fish. I ended up breaking it catching a musky. I've looked in vane to replace this for a few years and I think I 've got the new hot ticket. I have. A St. Croix Bankrobber 9' 6 and this rod is about as good as it gets. I landed a 21" smallie and a ton of other fish this season. Try a bass taper and you are set for any large fish. Smaller rods don't work ... more in the wind well and won't allow you to land fish quickly. 6 is ideal for streamers, small poppers, buggers, hoppers and big stoneflies. I've fished soft hackles on this rod also.
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I started on a st croix 5/6 weight and that's still my go-to rod for all around fishing. You can still finesse it for dries if you have to.
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TR: And a note about overplaying trout with light rods. It has more to do with the user than the equipment. A 3wt in the right hands can land the average trout just as quickly as a 5 or 6. I always felt it had more to do with tippet strength rather than rod weight -- and what you're used to. On my recent steelhead trip, I was putting what I thought was all kinds of pressure on the fish, and then the ... more guide told me to lean on him some. Huh? Thought I was on the verge of breaking him off, but that's what a small stream guy would think.
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DocF: One thing that has been missing for me in the discussion so far is that a rod that is a little softer is the better rollcaster. An effortless rollcast is something you do not get from a fast action 4wt or 5wt. A softer action 6wt, however, rollcasts very easily even if a streamer is dragging behind. I do not know about you guys, but 70% of my casts are rollcasts when trout fishing. Recently ... more got a 6wt Sage ZXL on sale. The Sage “soft” action rod that was now replaced by the circa. I do not know if you guys would consider it reasonable tapered. You would probably consider it fast, I guess. However, it does not need to be overlined. 6wt Rio Gold line is a great match. I could do reasonable rollcasts with it on the asphalt behind the shop. On the water rollcasting that rod is a joy. The softer Sage rods are lovely. The newer series (SLT and ZXL) aren't even close to medium action, but they are fun to fish with. I wish a shop here would get the Circa rods in. I'm still waiting for the Underground's review of those. I am enjoying this shift away from super-fast graphite rods. I have a feeling we are going to see some outstanding medium-action rods from the major rodmakers in the next few years.
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fausto: (But the 8’6? 5 weight Winston IM6/WT is still awfully nice.) That's the problem. You firmly assert that "XX fly rod" will do everything you need it to, then find yourself fishing something else because it casts so damned nice. If fly rods were navies, we'd be down at the docks waiting for the fleet to come in.
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DarrellKuni: All a 6-wt. ‘boo can do for me is support another broken femur outside of Dunsmuir. Now you're blaming your innate clusminess on bamboo fly rods? You gotta get back on that horse and ride it, which means coming up for the winter BWO hatch (soaking in cold water eases the pain of old breaks).
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Tom Chandler: Yes, you are that old. In my experience with cane rods, I think an HCH translates to somewhere between a 6 or a 7. yep HCH is a 7 all the C's are a 7 all the D's are 6's and works backwards to H as a 2wt.
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Craig: What?I’m not the only one this old, am I? The first fly line I used, which was pretty much standard at the time, was HCH.What’s that? About a 7? Yes, you are that old. In my experience with cane rods, I think an HCH translates to somewhere between a 6 or a 7.
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One thing that has been missing for me in the discussion so far is that a rod that is a little softer is the better rollcaster. An effortless rollcast is something you do not get from a fast action 4wt or 5wt. A softer action 6wt, however, rollcasts very easily even if a streamer is dragging behind. I do not know about you guys, but 70% of my casts are rollcasts when trout fishing. Recently got a ... more 6wt Sage ZXL on sale. The Sage "soft" action rod that was now replaced by the circa. I do not know if you guys would consider it reasonable tapered. You would probably consider it fast, I guess. However, it does not need to be overlined. 6wt Rio Gold line is a great match. I could do reasonable rollcasts with it on the asphalt behind the shop. On the water rollcasting that rod is a joy.
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What? I'm not the only one this old, am I? The first fly line I used, which was pretty much standard at the time, was HCH. What's that? About a 7?
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Hoo, a 6-wt. in bamboo is strong and heavy stuff. Carpel tunnel in one afternoon, 1 -- 1:30 p.m., to be exact.
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All a 6-wt. 'boo can do for me is support another broken femur outside of Dunsmuir.
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Funny, I think the 6 has always seemed normal to me. This is probably because the books I read about fly fishing and tying when I started in 1995 were at least 15 years old.
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Dave R: If I could only have two rods for trout it would be a 4 & 6. Dave R(Quote) if I could only have two rods for trout I would Cry...but If ...it would be a 8 1/2 4/5 and 9 1/2 6 and, and,and.... Dave R: If I could only have two rods for trout it would be a 4 & 6. Dave R(Quote)
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Have a 9'-6" Scott "G" that I just keep coming back to except for small stream work where I use an 8' 5/6 or a 7'-6" 3/4. The old G will toss # 20's on a 14' 7x leader as well as throw classic Atlantic Salmon patterns on a heavy hook with a long belly Salmon/Steelhead taper floating line. It handles heavy nymph rigs as well. Very versatile and sweet stick. Love to get it in an 8' 4 weight.
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I tend to put the rod, line, flies, and stream all together into what kind of fishing I expect to do, then let my gear come together and make it happen. Sometimes my buttery smooth, early-90's Scott 6wt fits into that equation. Other times it's a faster, shorter 3-weight rod throwing a 4 line because I happen to like that combo at 25 feet casting caddis with little room behind me. I don't think there's ... more anything wrong with using any kind of rod, fast or slow, modern or old. I do, however, have a problem with the idea so many seem to express, that a faster rod is a better rod (like George Anderson & co.).
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DarrellKuni: Hm. Only reason I’d fish a six-wt. rod where I live (So. Cal., where we hv some good trouting believe it or don’t) is to launch tiny trout farther into the sage and yucca behind. the problem is that a new rod off the rack that's advertised as "fast action 6wt" but needs a special "fast action taper, half weight heavier" line to fish is actually a 7wt rod that's throwing an 8wt line but, ... more y'know, they 6wt so maybe you'd better buy a 5wt, or a 4wt... a fast 4wt makes sense. i started understanding with a "moderate fast 4wt" that needed a GPX taper on it. this last year i fished a true 6wt rod, a '30s vintage bamboo, when i realized that a REAL 6wt rod was quite capable of fishing flies down to sz24 on 6x tippet, and successfully. i've added 4 fly rods to my collection since then, all of them 6wts.
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When I first started working at a fly shop in MT the 5wt was firmly established as the "all around" rod and I sold lots of them and fished one most of the time. There were two 5 wts in my boat everyday when I started guiding too, but in the last couple of years after over a decade on the water those 5 wts went to ebay and a pair of 6 wts have taken their place. Most people can fish a 6 wt far more ... more effectively than a 5. When it comes to western float fishing the only real shortcoming for a 6 wt is fishing small (16-20+) dries, otherwise a 6 is the clear winner for everything else. And a note about overplaying trout with light rods. It has more to do with the user than the equipment. A 3wt in the right hands can land the average trout just as quickly as a 5 or 6.
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I really enjoy fishing a Winston IM6 6wt and i agree on the ll-around aspect of the 6wt, but for smaller dry fly outings, a Marty Kastetter 8' 5wt bamboo rod was my choice this past summer. Nice blog. Thanks.
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Go figure I'm just putting the finishing touches on a Payne 79. But 99% of my fishing in done with a 4wt (dries). The 6 is for winter streamers and the odd nymph or two, when the midges stay under.
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Old school versus new school with a little marketing thrown in. When common sense prevailed the 6 weight was recommended. New technology equated to better. I'm better with a 5 weight than my father's 6 weight. Even better with a 4 weight than my friend's 5 weight. No different than golf where I can hit the ball the same distance with my pitching wedge than you can with your 9 iron. As long as you ... more are close to the hole who cares? Everyone wants to demonstrate in some way that they are better. I guess I'll never be good with my 6 weight on small creeks.
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I have an 8' 6 wt Diamondback Carbonite recommended to me as an all-round trout rod by Bill Alley when hes still owned the company, and my most recent is a 9' 6 wt Orvis Hydros that I bought when Orvis marked them down for closeout. IMHO there's nothing a 5 can do that a 6 can't do just as well, and a few things it can do better. Add a shorter, softer 4 for more delicate fishing and you're all set ... more for trout. (But the 8'6" 5 weight Winston IM6/WT is still awfully nice.)
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Darrell..well then.get your butt up to no.cal we have trout that can put a bend in a six weight..if the fishings slow we can poke at the rattlesnakes or chase the bears with it....p.s. Myrna Rae says Hi....
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Hm. Only reason I'd fish a six-wt. rod where I live (So. Cal., where we hv some good trouting believe it or don't) is to launch tiny trout farther into the sage and yucca behind.
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paul worsterberg of the deplacements: the guy at the fly shop wearing the tenkara shirt and hat said a tenkara rod was the standard.i bought the 11’2” and the 11’4”.thinking about the 11’6? but i just don’t know. He was correct. And you didn't buy the 11'5.25" rod?? Don't you know how undergunned you'll feel (and largley inadequate as a human being) when you fish those streams you ... more can almost -- but can't quite -- jump across?
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the guy at the fly shop wearing the tenkara shirt and hat said a tenkara rod was the standard. i bought the 11'2'' and the 11'4''. thinking about the 11'6" but i just don't know.
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i have to go #2.
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Peter: Well, I’m old enough to have started this back when the 6 *was* the generally accepted all-around rod. And over the years I’ve managed to accumulate a kangaroo collection/selection of 2, 4, 6 and 8-weight for various situations. I was recently gifted a 5-weight packable rod (6 sections), and didn’t bother buying a line for it. I have fished it with both 4 and 6 lines, and it does just fine. ... more So I guess I have to agree that a 5/6 debate is more about marketing than functionality. The only downside to this is that my kangaroo quiver is now ruined by the gift. I have to get a 3 and a 7 to fill out my straight. It is a cross I’ll just have to bear. I'll bet you're murder at tic-tac-toe.
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I started out fishing a 6wt and for years that's all I owned. Because I do most of my trout fishing in spring creeks I tend to use a 4wt most often. About the only time I bring out a 5wt is if the wind kicks up to the point where the 4wt isn't practical. If I could only have two rods for trout it would be a 4 & 6.
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A 6 is one of the few weights I don't own. I have a 3 (my daughter's, really), a 3/4, 2 different 4 wt's, 3 different 5 wt's, 2 seven weights, 2 eight weights, an 8/9, a 9 and I'm getting a 10 for Xmas (thanks Santa). A 6 just never fit for me. On the Upper Sac, I like a 5 wt or a 4 wt and on the Lower Sac a 7. A 6 feels too heavy for me to throw a #20 dry fly. It just feels that way.
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When away from the oars and not guiding, I favor a 5wt - the Freestone 905 or my olde school Winston IM6 5wt from 14 years ago. The Freestone 905 has proved itself time and time again. There is a difference between the Wintson IM6 5wt of back then and the WT 5 wt. of today. In a pinch, my 5 wt will cast a streamer, but if it's spring or fall and the chance of streamer fishing is apparent, then I rig ... more 6 wt. The Freestone 906, while expensive, is one sweet stick. I ask that clients bring along a 5 and 6 wt rod for boat fishing and I always have extras in the boat.
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Well, I'm old enough to have started this back when the 6 *was* the generally accepted all-around rod. And over the years I've managed to accumulate a kangaroo collection/selection of 2, 4, 6 and 8-weight for various situations. I was recently gifted a 5-weight packable rod (6 sections), and didn't bother buying a line for it. I have fished it with both 4 and 6 lines, and it does just fine. So I guess ... more I have to agree that a 5/6 debate is more about marketing than functionality. The only downside to this is that my kangaroo quiver is now ruined by the gift. I have to get a 3 and a 7 to fill out my straight. It is a cross I'll just have to bear.
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Robert: I would say that many people are fishing 6wt rods, the rods are just marked for 4 or 5 wt lines. I use a moderate 6wt more than any other line size outside little streams. I recently flexed the butt section of a fast 3wt, and marvelled at how much stronger it seemed than the much-older 5wt next to it.
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Huh? What? Gierach's here on the Underground?! (sfx: things being tidied, mostly by being thrown in closet.) OK, where is he? Paul Bruun: Sevens are just right in awful weather when we have the rivers to ourselves I learned the above when I started fishing my Beasley-built Canadian Canoe with a 7wt. Just bosses anything around -- none of that jerky open loop crap. Love it. Thinking of getting ... more a 7wt graphite rod for streamers, but just don't fish the things enough to justify the cost. (I keep waiting for a rod manufacturer to realize the promotional value of the Trout Underground [and to recognize the fact i can be bought] and outfit me with a complete set of fly rods [I'd wear a baseball hat in return] so I simply don't have to make these hideous compromises).
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Tom Chandler: I haven’t cast a WT but have cast a Winston LT, which seemed like a fairly sweet rod (by today’s standards). The LT has a bit softer tip, and a steeper taper than the WT. From a purely dry fly perspective I think it's as good as it gets (in graphite anyway...) But if you want a workhorse to handle anything and everything, the 6 weight WT is still the bench mark to me. I love 'em ... more both, but if you made me choose it would be the WT. I also love love love the fact that they are "true" to line weight...
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Bravo! Well said...
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Mr. Gierach, I hear you and recognize the majority of the rods seen in our part of Wyoming are 5's with lots of 4's showing up every day. Watching the users, however, doesn't prove that light is always right. Our river fish know how to swim and the antics produced by the light rod folks encourage swimming rather than landing. Longer fights are just as unhealthy for the fish as is being nearby when ... more a half-rabbit on a big hook is being lobbed on a 5 in the wind. Fives are light and fun. Sixes are practical for my style. Sevens are just right in awful weather when we have the rivers to ourselves. Pb
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Scott: Hank would say that weight never matters.What matters is slappin’ it down on the water.Slap it!Slap it! Once you've made your 1500 shadow casts...
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I haven't cast a WT but have cast a Winston LT, which seemed like a fairly sweet rod (by today's standards).
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trout chaser: Tom, I think you said is pretty well in one of your past installments, where you noted that rod makers haven’t been entirely able to overcome the laws of physics, although they have managed to overcome the laws of economics… Or words to that effect. Pretty sure that one won me all sorts of fans in the industry. The "playing fish" thing is an interesting one, and probably deserves ... more a post of its own, but probably a post by someone else since I think "playing" a fish is the least interesting (or gratifying) part of the exercise, so I'd rather just get it over with as quickly as possible.
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I use an 8', 5 wt for my local small streams as does my wife. Small stream, small fish, works great with all of the overhead trees. However, we have travelled all over and when we travel we bring our 9' 6wt's. OK, it can be a bit much when we fished some small streams in Yellowstone last year (a 6-8" trout was standard for some of the streams) but the rod is versatile enough to cast #20 bwo's and ... more #6 wooley buggers. I couldn't imagine the hassle of bringing multiple rods on a trip.
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Hank would say that weight never matters. What matters is slappin' it down on the water. Slap it! Slap it!
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I would say that many people are fishing 6wt rods, the rods are just marked for 4 or 5 wt lines. I use a moderate 6wt more than any other line size outside little streams.
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Steve: Aaaaah, just frickin’ great.Now I also have to buy a six weight. See, I should stock up on fly rods to sell before I post these things...
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APfromNC: The important question is what does Hank Patterson use? I've used WWGD in the past (What Would Gierach Do?), but perhaps Hank is the new standard.
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I'm a reasonably tapered 6wt fan too... currently an 8014 taper built by a friend is the favorite... tippy enough for 7x and midges if needed but enough wood to turn a big tailwater fish. The other issue with so many modern "fast:" rod is how little tip many have just no protection for tippet when a bigger fish starts head shaking. The 6 wt was the standard for about 100 years and judging from walking ... more amongst the Hoi Polloi I'd suggest that they certainly haven't become smarter in the last century........
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My Winston WT 8'6"- 6 weight 3-piece is my favorite brown and bow rod. It's ability to chuck trash as well as size 20 dries, all the while protecting 6x tippets, speaks volumes. I love my lighter rods for dry fly dusting, BUT, if it's adventure time on a new stretch or the water I am going to demands I fish the entire column, I'll grab the 6, six times out of six.
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Tom, I think you said is pretty well in one of your past installments, where you noted that rod makers haven't been entirely able to overcome the laws of physics, although they have managed to overcome the laws of economics... Or words to that effect. (In addition to the trend towards lighter rods, I'm seeing a trend towards "playing" fish literally to death. I have noticed a correlation between the ... more folk who claim "the rod can handle it..." and the folks who seem afraid to actually put a bend in the frickin rod. Perhaps we shouldn't ask if the rod can handle the fish, but rather can the fish survive the rod?) Anyway, I think the key phrase here is "reasonable taper." There is a pretty compelling reason why Rio and 3M are selling the hell out of their over weight lines... Which does kind of beg the question. So yeah, count me in as a fan of the reasonably tapered six weight.
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Aaaaah, just frickin' great. Now I also have to buy a six weight.
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The important question is what does Hank Patterson use?
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I am in the younger breed of fishers out there and use many weights for different circumstances but my 6 does the vast majority of trout fishing... the one rod to rule them all!
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For years, Chris Raine fished almost elusively with a "Soft 6" (a reasonably tapered hollowbuilt bamboo rod he built from scrap strips), and on the Upper Sac -- where you can end up fishing everything from an October Caddis to a BWO, it was a pretty good fit.
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Scott: Funny – I’ve used a 5 wt for the last 33 years, but this summer bought a nice Sage 6 wt and have been loving it!I guess someone has to buck the trend, right? You're either way ahead of the curve or way behind it. I won't speculate further...
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If I had to have just one rod for trout it'd be a #6. I use a #6 for teaching unless the student has his own rod that he'd like to use. A #6 does most things and does well for stillwaters and heavier river stuff. I think if I only ever fished rivers I prob. go for a #5. In the UK the standard stillwater trout outfit is a 10ft #7. On rivers it's prob a #5 depending on where you are.
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Funny - I've used a 5 wt for the last 33 years, but this summer bought a nice Sage 6 wt and have been loving it! I guess someone has to buck the trend, right?
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A 6 wt. is all I use. I have an 8 and a 4 wt. for special circumstances, but my 6 is my horse.
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