Tips & Tricks

Busting the myth

My favourite fly rod is a 7-foot stretch of 2-weight fiberglass. It’s gradual and noodly. Delicate, even.

And once I present folks the rod — possibly we’re gearing up on the tailgate, they usually see it tucked away in my rod vault — their first response is usually one thing like this: “You want these little brookies, huh?”

Effectively, sure. I do. However that’s not why this piece of glass is my favourite. It’s the rod that serves me finest within the locations I like to fish most, and it permits me to fish utilizing my favourite technique.

Truthfully, the dimensions of the fish is immaterial. For some, when confronted with a 6-foot, 6-inch 1-weight on the fly store, their first response is one in every of confusion. Why chase little fish when we have now a number of large fish round these elements?

It’s a logical query. For larger water the place longer casts are mandatory — or the place having the ability to high-stick a nymph via a riffle is important, as an example — most anglers aren’t going to decide on a rod shorter than the business norm of 9 ft. However for intimate quarters the place an extended solid is likely to be 30 ft, and the place shaving two or three ft off the highest of the rod offers you a little bit of cushion to your backcast, a shorter, lighter rod is sensible. It particularly is sensible should you’re going to fish dry flies nearly solely.

So let’s bust that fable. Shorter, lighter rods aren’t only for shorter, lighter fish. Somewhat, they’re for tighter circumstances on small water the place presentation and accuracy matter greater than longer casts and the power to toss larger flies.

Definitely, lighter fly rods give smaller fish extra spine. No argument there. However, over time, I’ve caught loads of large trout utilizing mild fly rods. Within the distant higher reaches of British Columbia’s Elk River, I caught a dozen 20-inch cutthroats in a single morning utilizing my go-to small-stream dry-fly rod. And no, I didn’t tire fish out unnecessarily — as a rule, that’s a tippet difficulty, not a rod difficulty (for backcountry trout that don’t usually see flies, there’s nearly no purpose to go lighter than 3x). I didn’t need to solid greater than 40 ft, and what I wanted greater than heft was a lighter contact and the power to place a measurement 12 hopper inside an inch of the financial institution.

You wager … the fights that the fats cutthroats put up have been epic — glass has a manner of permitting the angler really feel each pulse, each shake of the top and each dive a fish makes. However with a deft method and the aforementioned 3x tippet, the battles ended simply as they’d have had I chosen a 9-foot size of the newest and biggest graphite.

Usually, when selecting a fly rod’s size and weight, it’s finest to first contemplate the kind of fly fishing you get pleasure from. In case you’re a drift boat angler, you’d be foolish to fish something shorter than 9 ft. And, since you’ll want larger flies (streamers, heavy nymphs and large, foam terrestrials), you’ll possible want a heavier rod, like a 5-weight or perhaps a 6-weight should you’re after fish which can be deep.

However should you love backcountry trout streams that you just would possibly be capable to leap throughout with a operating begin … the place willows line banks as an alternative of tall cottonwoods, and the place you’ll have to climb a spruce tree to retrieve your fly fairly than having the individual on the oars row the boat to shore so you may unhook an errant solid, it is best to contemplate a stick that performs finest beneath the circumstances.

And should you like to solid dry flies in tight quarters to keen trout that conceal within the densest of root wads and beneath the deepest cutbanks, a lighter, shorter rod will serve you finest. Right here’s why:

  • Shorter rods for shorter casts require tighter, extra compact casts, usually only a few ft. And most fly strains designed for shorter, lighter rods are “weight-forward,” that means the top of the road is the place the load is, so anglers could make these quick casts simpler with only a few ft of fly line out of the tip.
  • There’s much less of a footprint. In tight circumstances, you’re not going to wish to make longer casts. Slicing two or three ft out of your rod size cuts two or three ft out of your backcast size, decreasing the chance that you just’ll catch branches and bushes along with your backcast. However, let’s be sincere. In case you fish in water that tight, you’ll catch your share of wooden. However you would possibly catch much less with a shorter rod.
  • Every thing is compact on small streams, together with your solid. In case you’re casting 50 or 60 ft on a small stream, chances are high, you’re casting over the fish which can be within the holding water only a few ft out of your ankles. As an alternative, your casting movement is shortened and compact, and a shorter, lighter rod lends itself to that tighter casting movement. Examine it to golf, if that helps — you wouldn’t use a 3-iron to chip onto the inexperienced from the tough, would you? Why use a rod designed to solid 60 ft when the fish are 15 ft away?
  • You’ll really feel higher on the finish of the day. And, sure, that is coming from a 50-plus angler. On small streams, you solid extra. Much more. Drifts are shorter. The necessity to dry flies with false casts could be higher. You’re extra lively than you’re on larger water, notably should you fish that large water from a ship. A lighter rod will scale back resistance and scale back the fatigue that may include repetitive casting.

Are there exceptions to the small stream/small rod rule? In fact. Over the past dozen years or so, I’ve come to understand the virtues of longer rods on small water once I’m dapping or nymphing (and if weight is a matter, there are some actually stable 9-foot, 3-weight rods available on the market right this moment). And I’ve develop into the angler who additionally appreciates what 12-foot-long tenkara rod can do on small water — there’s one thing deeply gratifying about having nothing on the water besides the fly, with no errant drag to spoil an in any other case good solid.

However, on the entire, a lighter-weight rod is a better option than an extended, heavier implement. And, no, it’s not as a result of the fish are small (though, in lots of situations, that’s, certainly the case). It’s as a result of the circumstances name for a extra exact instrument. And that’s the great thing about small-stream angling. In case you can catch fish on small water and carry out all of the casts mandatory to succeed in undercut banks and keep away from overhanging willows, you may catch fish anyplace, irrespective of how large they’re or how hefty the rod should be. Let the small-stream skeptics keep that manner. Whenever you come throughout that 7-foot 3-weight within the fly store, simply think about the locations it may take you and the fish that it may assist you catch. Then have a look at your buddy who’s shaking their head and muttering about “these little brookies” they suppose the rod was designed to catch.

Exhibits you what they know.

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