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HELP: Fly rod wt recommendation - 5/6 or 7/8 wt?

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I'm going to buy a fly rod and reel and would appreciate someone educating me as to what wt rod I should get. I've read that most of the fly fishing experts recommend a 5/6 wt for a beginner fly fisherman, BUT I was concerned that it might not be strong enough for LMB and Northerns and was considering a 7/8 wt. Maybe I should just buy both??  Many thanks for any recommendations/advice that you can give. THIS is one Fantastic Forum!!!

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Welcome aboard. I think most "experts" recommend a 6wt because it may be the most versatile. You can cast small flies as well as some of the larger sizes. I use a 6wt for bass most of the time, and have no problems landing a decent sized fish. I even landed a 4 pounder on my 3wt. So, fish fighting power is not really the problem. The issue is the size of the flies you want to use, and more important their wind resistance. Some of the larger bass bugs; the big deer hair things, are difficult to cast with a 6wt or less. That's when I get out the 8wt. Keep in mind that the line is what gets the fly to the target, and the rod must be matched to the line. The rod casts the line not the fly. The fly is just along for the ride.

If you're just staring out, I'd say get the 6wt, and get a good, read that as pricey, weight forward line. A bass taper line would be even better. I know a lot of folks who recommend the double taper because you can reverse it to extend the life of the line. That's OK as far as it goes, but you'll cast a lot better with a weight forward line, particularly if you're new to the game.

Another thing to consider is the reel. You don't need one of those $500 reels for bass fishing. My 3wt, 5wt and 6wt rods have a $40 BPS Hobb's Creek reel. The reel just holds the line. All the casting and fish fighting is done with your hands and fingers. So, save money on the reel and spend it on the line. Now if you want to get after some reds or bonefish, you're gonna need a reel with a good drag. A decent bone would likely smoke the guts out of those BPS reels I use.

Good luck, fly fishing is addictive.

Cheers,

GK

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THANKS, GK!!!

PS:  I'll be living on my mini-farm that I bought in NW Indiana (Brook, In.) about 100 miles or so South of Chicago, just across the Illinois/Indiana state line. My Mom, 3 brothers, and sister all live around the Kankakee area and I know I'll be doing a LOT of my fishing in Northern Illinois as well as Northern Indiana when I retire next June. I'll also be keeping my home here in San Diego and there are several great bass lakes to fish when I'm back here in CA.

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The wt of your fly line and rod has less to do with the size fish you may hook than it does with the size and type flys/baits you want to cast and where you will fish. A 5 or 6wt fly rod will handle LM bass in most parts of the country. 7 or 8 wt rods/lines will cast larger flies better. Leaders and tippits for either are a bigger concern as they will range in the 2lb - 8lb class. You have to get your mind around how much of a shock absorber an 8 or 9 '  long fly rod is. I have caught 3+lb bass on a 3wt fly rod with a 1.5lb tapered leader. If you aren't planning to make long casts into the wind with big flys, I would go with the 5/6 wt. You can always buy a heavier setup after you have more experience. You can always use the smaller rig for panfish/trout etc. JMHO

Ronnie

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There are a lot of factors that go into this but if I was starting over, I would start with a 7 wt.  It's by far my most used rod.  I use it  for fresh and saltwater, large and small mouth bass.  I can fish big flies if I want to or I can punch into the wind on the coast.  Wind is the biggest consideration for me. (and my home lakes and the TX coast are notoriously windy)

Now to be honest, I don't panfish and I rarely trout fish... but I love my little 2 wt rod!

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My go to rod for lake, pond or big river fishing for bass/pike/etc. is a 9' or 9' 6" 8 wt.  It can cast small streamers and big heavy flies.  Also casts heavy sinking lines very well (which are necessary if you really want to get good at catching bass on a fly rod in any condition).  Probably not the easiest set up to learn on, but possibly the best tool for the job.

For smallies in small streams I'll usually drop to a 6 wt.

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Welcome,Might I add that when you go out to buy the first rod you look at a med. to med.fast action rod as they will be more foregiving to learn with.See if you can find a F.F. club to join as there will be folks happy to help you learn.A very good line that I have now gone to on all my reels is a S.A. HeadStart,it's a bass taper floating line and it cost's 15-20 dollars less than a "Bass Bug" line.............Good Luck,Alan

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There are lots of issues involved in getting into fly fishing. First, it is easy to read all articles on fly fishing for trout and get the idea that fly fishing for bass require a lot of sophisticated equipment. You can effectively fish for bass with just basic "stuff". Pick a rod and matching line size in the 6,7,8 size range. If you plan to use large streamers and bugs under windy conditions pick an outfit on the larger size of that range, otherwise the rods on the smaller side are a little less tiring to use. Most folks use rods in the 8'6" to 9'6" range for bass fishing. Most any reel of the appropriate size will be fine also. Line is the most complicated choice. As people have already said a weight-forward or bass taper is generally best. For floating bugs, a floating line is what you need. As you get into deeper running streamers there are sinking tip lines and lines that sink at various rates. It is probably best to start with a floating line and move on to sinking lines as you progress. Leaders for bass bugs don't have to be complicated. A simple 6 foot length of 6 or 8 pound nylon monofilament will work OK but tapered leaders make it easier to lay the bug in delicately. Get someone to coach you a little when you begin to learn how to cast. You can fish effectively in most waters if you can cast 40 feet although 50 to 60 or more is certainly better. Just get out on the lawn and practice. You will have fun!

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i would definitley go w/ the 5/6 for all of the reasons Ghoti stated. but if your going for northerns, depending on how big they are, you MIGHT want a 7 or 8. but for bass a 5/6 will put up a good fun fight and cast flies well.

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Thanks guys!! I certainly appreciate all your advice and recommendations!! While I have actually fly fished in the past, it was the DISTANT past more than 40 years ago. I just want to cover all the bases and fly fishing sure looks like it will be fun.

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I got my first fly combo this past summer and caught my first bass on my first trip to the lake with it. I went with the 5/6 wt with a floating line I can throw poppers for bass and panfish with ease. Its a blast.

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