Attention Fly Fishermen... recommendations please!

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So I recently went fly fishing in Ketchican, Alaska for the first time this month. And I'm HOOKED. I'm working on learning more, I've been reading online, and just order a book to help me learn. I'm already drooling over gear, especially since our outfitter had full Simms gear.

BUT, I'm wanting to find something that would work well for wilderness usage. Something small, but fully functional. People have recommended a 6wt rod to start with. Seems I've read good things about Cabela's Stowaway rods. What else is in this category? I'm selling one of my canoes to fuel the habit, so I'll have a decent amount of starting cash... but I want to spend it s l o w l y and wisely.

Backpacking Light had a few good articles on going "light". So I'd like to keep it simple, so... what are some recommendations for gear? Primarily interested in rod and reel thoughts, but also some general equipment thoughts.

L!
 
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Spend most of your money on the rod, since the reel on a fly rod really doesn't need to cost $500, no matter how cool they look. I am a huge fan of Sage rods and I think I spent less than $100 on my reel... Anyway, 6-7 weight is a great size if you are only going to have one setup for a while. The more you fish you will find yourself moving towards lighter gear, at least I did. As far as backpacking, I figure if I am packing in to fish, the place I am going will probably be pretty small so I won't need a 7 weight to fling turkey feathers across a lake. A 7 or 8 foot rod in a 4 or 5 weight would be perfect. A word of warning, be careful of the rods that break down into 4 pieces. They are great to pack, but I have yet to use one that felt good in my hands. To me, they feel like they load and unload funny, like the flex isn't a smooth curve, if that makes any sense...

Find a local retailer that has demo rods that you can take out in the parking lot and "test drive" and remember, you don't need to spend a ton of money to have a lot of fun. When I was little, I fished for years with a Zebco fiberglass flyrod and a $12 reel. I also outfished most of the gear heads that showed up at my local fishing pond too...
 

Guyon

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6-7 is a nice all-around size. If you're going to be fishing for large steelhead or such, you might to want to bump that rod size up to an 8 or 9.

I'm partial to some of the newer large arbor reels.

Have a look at sierratradingpost.com. I've bought quite a lot of good fly-fishing gear there at reduced prices. It's a closeout or overstock outlet. Like REI and LL Bean, Sierra backs everything they sell with 100% guarantee for life. They generally only sell good quality gear.
 
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I would also suggest the length to be in the 8-9 foot range, especially if you're a beginner, leave the smaller rods for when you have developed more experience/skill. The 6-7 weight system is a good range to start with, it's very versatile. If you're going with a packable rod, meaning 3-4 sections, these can be a little stiffer than a 2 piece because of the multiple ferrules, so you might want to consider or try a line one weight higher...meaning a six weight rod with a seven weight line. Flyfishing is all about the balance of line weight, flex of the rod and the speed of presentation that is comfortable to the caster. Marketing hype will stress line speed but that may not be what works well for you. If you can, go to a shop that will let you try various combos.
 
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If you think that fly fishing is addictive, wait until you start tying. ;)

I third (or fourth?) the advice on a two-piece in the 8-9ft range for starting out. Get a decent case for it and you can carry it in on the side of your pack.
 

jpr9954

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Start looking at St. Croix. The Legend Ultra is dollar for dollar one of the best rods out there.

The other thing I'd start looking at if I was at all handy is building my own. It isn't hard and you'll get the rod you want at a good price.

Go to Tom Kirkman's rodbuilding forum for all the info you could ever want: http://www.rodbuilding.org
 
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Difficult to beat Sage, 6 sounds about right. Used equipment is generally a bargain. Get a four piece rod regardless of maker.
 

Guyon

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naked, before you start spending money, spend some time on a fly fishing board or two, and go to a number of shops. Some places will let you try out rods. Google the phrase "choosing a fly rod" and read some of the links.

Fly fishermen, like trap shooters and gun/knife nuts and just about any other hobbyist, can become convinced that their brand is the only brand, often because it cost high $$$. I've seen my fair share of elitism when it comes to fly fishermen who are convinced you're not up to snuff if you aren't beating the water (that's what some of them do) with a $1000 bamboo rod. Fly fishing gear, in particular, can be pretty expensive. That's one reason I mentioned Sierra.

My advice for starting out is to buy a decent quality, two-piece, nine-foot, 6/7 weight rod and a solid fly reel with a decent drag. Don't skimp on the fly line. Yes, you can buy line for about $10 at Wal-Mart, but you'll be much better off buying a good line for about $25 to $30. (Again, I'm thinking of Sierra or a similar outlet here. Fly lines can retail for $75 to $100.)

Then just go practice and have fun. Get good at casting that rod before you buy another so that you'll know your own preferences and what you're looking for in the next rod.

Multi-piece rods have come a long way. Still, if you go that route, as some point out here, the flex may be a little different from the same weight rod in a two-piece.
 
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I would second the advice on not getting the cheapest fly line you can fine. You won't need the most expensive in the beginning either. You can get by with a basic reel and a mid-level rod and line. Until you develop a style and have made all the normal mistakes you won't understand what the top level stuff really offers. There's a lot to learn in flyfishing, but you can catch fish and have fun in the process. It really is a life long hobby with many techniques to learn along the way...if you're willing to pay some dues and work at it, it can be a very rewarding endeavor. It's much more involved than just catching fish.
 

m. wohlwend

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Oh boy, my OTHER addiction !!! Fly fishing !! Naked, depends on what type of water you are going to fish as to the weight of the rod. Here in the Ozarks I stream fish alot, and a 7 ft 3wt is great, however, a 3wt won't cast some of the bigger wet flies that well. On bigger water, a 5wt or 6 wt is better, and I would lean to the 5wt just cause I like to fish lighter tackle. I do have Cabela's take down rod in 4wt and the one I own can be set up with a spinning reel or a fly reel, I have fished it both ways and it is not that bad. Don't skimp on line, I like the feel of the orvis lines. I have rods and reels that are expensive and budget priced. My 3wt has a 200 dollar reel mated to a 50 dollar rod! I bought the reel first and was going to buy a 400 dollar rod later, but the Korean $50 rod has done so well, I haven't bought the more expensive rod yet...
 
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What sort of fish and water are you going for?

For me I don't think you can beat taking trout out of alpine streams with a 1wt rod, makes a 15" trout feel like a much bigger fish.
 
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Boy that's true, flyfishing can be just as additive as knives. And just like knives there are sizes and designs for many purposes...and of course opinions about what's best and forums to post on...life is good. A couple of more suggestions: it will matter what type of water/type of fish you want to go for in terms of the rod and line weight choices, so a little research is in order before parting with your money. There's pretty much no limit to what you can fish for with a fly rod, but choices are necessary for best results. One last thing, don't over look the humble bluegill and his cousins, you can use any type of trout outfit and have a blast with simple poppers. When I first did this years ago it was looked down upon...there is sometimes a little elitism in hardcore flyfishers...but it was so much fun! Since then I've fly fished saltwater, big river salmon and steelhead and all sizes of trout and river bass water down to little brooks and I still wouldn't pass up an opportunity to hit a bluegill pond.
 
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i too have also been on the hunt for a fly rod and reel... but it's another really expensive hobby that i can't afford... i did a little fly fishing when i was in mammoth lakes a few weeks ago... i loved every minute of it... it was soooo much fun...:D

my friend greg also taught me how to tie a few flies... i can definately see me doing a lot more of that... it was very relaxing... i thuroughly enjoyed it..
 

m. wohlwend

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What sort of fish and water are you going for?

For me I don't think you can beat taking trout out of alpine streams with a 1wt rod, makes a 15" trout feel like a much bigger fish.

A 1wt ???? WOW you go even lighter than I do !!! :D
 
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I poked around for some fly fishing forums, but most of the ones that I came across didn't look too busy... any recommendations on forums?
 
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Be careful. Fishing gear can easily be as addictive as knives. I have several rods but only a couple get the majority of use. But like knives you can also find custom rod makers that can make you a great rod cheaper than a lot of the high end fly fishing brands. Don't get caught up in brand hype either. My favorite fly rod is an old 2 piece 9 foot fiberglass rod I got for $15. I paired it up with an old Kalamazoo Tackle Co. automatic reel. You catch more fish by doing it than by having expensive gear......save money for beer.

I'm glad I don't know of any good fishing forums, I'd be in trouble if I did. But like others have stated I'd go for the most versatile rod off the bat. One that isn't too heavy or too light.
 
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What sort of fish and water are you going for?

For me I don't think you can beat taking trout out of alpine streams with a 1wt rod, makes a 15" trout feel like a much bigger fish.


We sure think alike on a lot of things.

Years ago I found the smallest, lightest fly rod I could locate. My old fiberglass St Croix was built the same year I was born, 1957 and is 2-1/4 oz. and 48" long. I have always used extra light leaders. There is some great fishing in tiny creeks under trees, bushes and in narrow places where there is almost no room at all to stand much less cast. Learning to flip a fly with a short, light weight fly rod is the door to fishing for brook trout at its best.

I once hooked a giant rainbow trout on that same rod. It was in the club house pool of Bull Head Creek in Stone Mountain state park. I was throwing a bright yellow dry fly that I tie to simulate trout chow. I use it in streams where hatchery fish are released. They are used to trout chow and they hit my round yellow fly. When Mr. Big rose to meet it the battle that ensused was one to be remembered for a lifetime. I would estimate he was every bit of 28" long and as soon as I hooked him I opened the drag and let him have all the line he wanted. Club house pool is about the size of a two car garage and is fed by a waterfall. There was nowhere for him to go. He would run, strip line, and I would take it back. At one point I had a close to three foot rainbow in sight on a 1 1/2 lb leader. No room for mistakes. It was similar to playing a 500 lb marlin according to scale. Finally he ran straight toward me and came to the top. I could not keep the line tight enough and the barbless hook just popped out.

Big difference between hooking him on a 7-8 weight rod with 8 lb leader and horsing him to the bank.
;)
 
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Any pictures of that fly riddle?

Soory for the poor quality but the macro on this camera sucks. Most of my trout flies are in my gear at our place in the mountains but this is the famous "bread fly" as tied my nephew. We use it for carp in lakes and ponds. It will also catch any top feeding fish. The main difference between it and the "trout chow" fly is that Eli added a squrrel hair tail to it so it would float longer. The tail holds the surface tension a little better. This number is grey or white while the trout flies are bright yellow.
The general idea is to simulate what the fish are eating right? Hatchery trout eat trout chow, carp eat bread or anything else floating when they are feeding on top.

breadfly.jpg


Oh yeah, the body is yarn. Colorfast yarns will often outlast the hooks if you don't snap the line too fast.
 
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I will chime in here too. Check out Temple Fork Fly Rods (TFO). They are low to mid range price wise, but they cast like more expensive rods. I have Sage rods, Winston rods, and some TFO rods. For the money you can't beat TFO. Cast great and a lifetime warranty. Reels depend completely on what you fish for. Trout don't require expensive reels, but if you are going for steelhead or saltwater species, it is nice to have a smooth disc drag. You can "save" (save in this case means spend tons more) money by learning to tie your own flies. Good luck.

-Mike
 
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