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Tokyo Tony

Flyrod suggestions

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This post may be better suited to a different forum, but I know some of you guys out there go for smallies on fly, so any advice?

I used to fly fish quite a bit, but haven't done it in quite a while.  This coming year I'm looking to start fly fishing a lot more, mostly for smallies in New Hampshire, but also I'd like a flyrod that I can use in streams for trout.  

I'm thinking about using 5 weight line - is this too light for small to medium poppers?  I'd like something that can cast tiny dry flies but also small poppers, if possible.

What's the price I can expect to pay for a decent-quality, but not super high-end setup?  Compared to spinning gear quality, I'm talking comparable to a Shimano Crucial, for example, with a Stradic.  I'd rather not spend more than $300 for the setup, but if you think there's a big difference to go up to $400 or $500 I'm all ears.  Any ideas on brands?  How are the Cabela's combos?

I'd like to use the setup in my float tube on little lakes in NH, and also wading for trout in smallish streams in CT.  I don't expect to be catching 5 lb smallmouth on the setup, but anywhere from 1-3 lbs and trout in the same size range.

Any advice on fly fishing for smallies would be awesome  :)

Thanks.

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For fish in the size you mentioned, a 5 wt is plenty, and depending on your flycasting background and the type of trout waters, a 4 wt might also be a good choice.  I will say this on flyrods/reels... unless you are going to fish saltwater or have a BIG budget, spend almost all of your money on the rod.  A flyreel for this purpose rarely acts as anything more than a line storage spool.  

As a general rule, decent fly rods start at about $100- as a hard rule, TFO makes excellent fly rods for $100:

http://www.templeforkflyrods.com/rods/signature.html#T

There are lots of good rods available today and any decent fly shop will let you test cast any rod outside... I highly recommend you do this before buying, regardless of brand.

I have no experience with TFO reels but they offer what looks like a nice reels w/ 2 spools for $50.  Most of the $50 reels offered will do everything you need a 5 wt to do.

Don't skimp on fly line.  $60-$75 is not too much for line... it lasts for years and makes the difference between fair and great casting.  

I don't think I can help much with smallie advice- since our smallies are in a canyon lake and we use large streamers on 7-8 wt rods.  (plus we normally fight a good wind)

Smallies on the fly are awesome...  good luck!!

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My experience is somewhat limited so take it for what it's worth.

I think a 5 weight rod is just about right for the kind of fishing you've described.  It would be better, in my humble opinion, to spend the majority of your money on a good rod and fly line and not on the reel.  Apart from the drag, the reel is mostly just a spool to hold your line.  But you probably already know that.

Where I live in East Central Illinois, fly fishing is almost non-existent so the selection at sporting goods stores (also almost non-existent) is very limited.  I can't really help you on the best choice(s).

Good luck and tight lines.

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Awesome, thanks for the info flechero!

And very good to know about the reel - I'll definitely spend more on the rod and line than the reel.

When you say depending on my flycasting background I might want to go to a 4 wt, do you mean it's more difficult to cast a 4 wt than a 5, or vice versa?

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And one more thing - what length would you recommend for the type of fishing I described? I take it 8' would be more manageable but 9' will cast farther?  And is 2 piece noticeably better than 4 piece?

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Depending on where you are fishing- the above posters are right on concerning the reel. Small streams with little to no current and average to smaller sized trout does not warrant a good drag system.

If you want to make it out to the western states where the currents coming off of the mountain lakes are a bit stronger and the fish (in some parts) can be a bit bigger- you are toast without a reel with drag. Ross makes an excellent reel. Not too pricey (depending on the model).

Fishing the small trout parks/streams here in Missouri- you are fine with a low end reel. My first was a Cortland reel if I remember correctly and it was fine for the trout parks and neighborhood fishing for small bass/panfish.

While I have not tangled with a good sized smallie on the fly rod- I would want a reel with some drag if I knew I was casting to 3lb+ fish- especially if there is current involved- but that is just me. I have just lost way too many 6lb+ trout in Colorado when I was using my 'lower end' reel. Once I switched to the Ross with a good drag system- I landed ALOT more fish.

I agree with the Temple Fork recommendation- great affordable rod. A buddy of mine had one that I fished and in most instances, I preferred it over my Sage.

Hope that helps,

Evan

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Howdy,

New guy here, I use fly gear exclusively now, and get out about 100 days a year.  

A 5wt will work fine to handle that size of smallmouth, but you will run into problems casting wind resistant flies, such as poppers, into the wind with a 5wt line.  You'll be better off with a 9', medium fast, or fast action 6wt and a Weight Forward Floating line.  These guys were right about the reel,  it just holds the line, and smallies aren't gonna take very long runs.  

I don't have 10 posts here yet so I can't post links, but if you click on the link in my signature it will take you to my personal website(non commercial), On the Navigation bar on the top of the page there is a "How To" button, click it and check out the parts on choosing a fly rod/reel/ and line.(this isn't spam, I swear ;D)

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When you say depending on my flycasting background I might want to go to a 4 wt, do you mean it's more difficult to cast a 4 wt than a 5, or vice versa?

You said in your 1st post that you used to fly fish but didn't say how proficient you were.... a "better" caster can normally get away with a lighter rod. The larger, heavier or more wind resistant the fly, the harder it is to cast. The heavier rod and line will cast those better. So we usually choose the rod wt for flies and the casting conditions, not the fish we expect to catch. I had a 5 wt for trout streams and ponds... but as I got better, I built a 4wt to use instead. I like it better, but it took a little more practice to do what I used to w/ the 5wt. I also built a 2 wt for no wind days... It's FUN!

Length is part preference and part function. Most stream rods are shorter, due to over hanging trees and tree lined banks. I honestly don't think a 9' rod is needed in 5wt or less. (but I see those are river/stream rods) If you were going to use it mostly in lakes, then it might be better to go w/ 9'. My casting doesn't get better w/ 9' rods in 4 or 5 wt... it actually gets a little worse. Distance is about the same but I lose some accuracy and can't lay it down as softly.

2 pc. vs. 4 pc (or even 5pc.) is mostly a travelling convenience, IMO. (I don't think one is "better" as you could make a good arguement for either) I occasionally fly to my destinations so I have gone to all 4 pc rods for that reason. (I keep them in the hard case, with carry on luggage) Some airlines will let you put 2 pc rods in the coat closet between 1st class & coach but that's hit or miss and I am not willing to chance my trip on it. Generally speaking, today's rods will cast about the same and the joints will work (flex) in the cast so they all feel similar. I don't have any 4pc rods that cast "worse" than 2 pc... at least not that I can detect. Even my 6'6" 2 wt. is a 4 pc... overkill? yes, but it goes inside my back pack while hiking. I use a tube sock as a soft case ...lol

I linked you to 2 pc. rods but only because I wanted to suggest a good rod that was affordable, and I wan't sure if your budget was "all gear" or just the rod/reel.

My intent was not to write a book but I haven't talked flyrods in a while. ...lol

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Thanks so much for the replies folks, I know all I need for a basic setup.  I'll post about some of my trips later this year.   ;D

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I've been fly fishing a little over fifty years so I do have a little knowledge.  

Don't try to find an "all around" rod.  

I would recommend a 9' rod for any float tubing.  If you are not going to throw a bug bigger than a #4 Dahlberg or Whitlock popper I would still say a six weight is the smallest I would go.  

The TFO's and the Reddington Red starts are both great lines for the money.  Actually the very top end rods are only justified if you are always fishing on the edge of distance.  

Orvis makes a 7'9' 5wt rod that has been around for years.  The sell it in their Clearwater line for 159.  But you can probably pick one up on E-Bay for less.  It is a great stream rod.  But the Reddington and TFO have 4wts that are very good also.  

For a reel, Cabelas has a graphite bomb for $19.  It works fine for holding line.  You can get an extra spool and use it for another line.  

Cortland 333 is a low end line.  It works real well for throwing bass bugs.  

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Great advice so far !

I would like to just stress a couple things:

-It's not the size of the fish that is important in choosing your gear, it's the weight and air resistance of the fly that dictates the AFTM weight of the rod. Of course it's recomanded to have matching reel and line, but is not mandatory. You can underpower or overpower a rod, but not to much. For example: you can use a #5 line on a #6 rod to gain some distance; or use a #7 line to cast bulkier flys, but a shorter distance.Of course the line has to be capable of handling the fly.

-For open water I would not fish a rod shorter than 9 ft

-For tight quarters on small trous rivers and creecks I would preffer a 7-6, unless I'm nymphing, when I'd pick a 9'-er. I do a lot off "roll casting" in this situations

-For any kind of bass fishing I'd go for a minimum #6 with a "bass taper" line or Weight forward, but probably a #7.

-For dry fly fishing for trout, I'd choose a #4, or even #3 if the flys go smaller than #18; for wet flys and nymphs, a  9ft # 5

-For small flys i preffer a "softer" action rod, for bulkier flys I think a faster rod works better. Yes, fly rod come with different action, too.(Anybody who cast a split cane rod and a modern/graphite  rod could confirm this)

-Spend most of your money on the rod & line.

-There is not a lot of difference between 2 pc rods and "travel" rods (4,5 even 7 pcs) manufactured recently.

-Even todays cheaper graphite rods (the apropriae weight, of course) do a good job in tossing heavier flys a good distance with good accuracy; the smaller the flys the more you gonna feel the need for a  better quality rod

This is just my opinion (based on about 30 years of fly fishing)

hope it helps

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This is my OPINION... Im  a fly fishing guide.

Theres more things to consider then simply rod weight/length. Ill be the first to say I believe drag IS an issue. Especially when you may hook into some large smallies and just cause you target smallies doesnt mean a 15lb species of other fish wont hit your fly.

I personally fish a 9ft 8wt for two reasons. One, if I hit a large fish I know I got the rod to man handle it, I dont want it to run around and build up lactic acid which may kill it if you release it. Two, I want to use it for other species such as steelhead,salmon, stripers(although a little light for this).

Buy a reel with a disc drag, so what if you invest $100 or more youll be glad you did when that one LARGE fish doesnt get away because the gears in your drag got smoked. I also suggest a large arbor reel for this kind of fishing, 500 revolutions or 100 to get the fish in... you decide!

One other thing people forgot to mention is action, well, i saw it mentioned but not discussed. Are these creek fish? Is the water clear? If you go with a slow rod you will see that it will protect your tippet/leader during hard runs and or hooksets. The downside is a slow rod has a learning curve that you should prob get used too. A medium fast will give that backbone to punch flies and will sorta protect flies. The Tip flex... fast rod will let you wing out 80-90 ft cast.

Invest the money if youre serious, you dont wanna get sick of the rod and buy another one in a year.

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With all due respect, JHOFFMAN, I think a 9ft/ 8wt combo for NH smallies and trout is overkill. You take all the fun out of the game.

I landed carp up to 16lb on 6wt  combo without to much fuss. As long as your tippet holds, you can put serious pressure with a 6wt.

A good drag is usefull, but if you don't have it, back off your drag and palm the reel.

I agree with the "large arbor " issue.

I recomanded a 7 wt just because of the air resistance and weight of the poppers and other bass flies Tony might wanna use.

Tight lines

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With all due respect, JHOFFMAN, I think a 9ft/ 8wt combo for NH smallies and trout is overkill. You take all the fun out of the game.

I landed carp up to 16lb on 6wt  combo without to much fuss. As long as your tippet holds, you can put serious pressure with a 6wt.

A good drag is usefull, but if you don't have it, back off your drag and palm the reel.

I agree with the "large arbor " issue.

I recomanded a 7 wt just because of the air resistance and weight of the poppers and other bass flies Tony might wanna use.

Tight lines

I missed the trout part... yeah ill agree a 6 would be good.

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