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Thread: Expensive fly rods, I have questions.

  1. #1
    Member ysr_racer's Avatar
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    Default Expensive fly rods, I have questions.

    I've been a spin fisherman my whole life, but I'm starting to fly fish. I have a 9' 5wt that I bought as a cheap combo from Bass Pro for $150.

    So far so good. I used it a few times and always caught fish. It does what a rod should, it puts the line out there, then the reel pulls it in if a fish takes the fly.

    I'm coming up to King Salmon next August and I want to bring up a 9' 8wt. When I go into fly shops they tell me I'm crazy to bring up a cheap combo. Then they show me $$$$ rods and a cheap rod, and honestly I can't feel the difference.

    I'm looking at this combo for next year: http://www.cabelas.com/product/Cabel...3Bcat104721480 it has really good reviews.

    I should add that I'm a pretty serious shotgun competitor and shooter. I have a bunch of shotguns, and spent about $2000 on my competition gun, but I shoot it every weekend. If a new shooter asks me what gun to buy, I always tell them to get something cheaper, it works just fine for what they're going to use it for.

    What do you guys think?
    brad g.
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    I've fly-fished all my life and have owned fly rods from an Orvis and Paul Young split-bamboos to a cheap Wright & McGill and a whole bunch in between including LL Bean and Cabela's. Personally, I think all the hype surrounding fly rods is pure, marketing BS, designed more to catch gullible fisherman than to catch fish. Pick a known brand like Bean or Cabela's lower-end models and go for it.


    Second, I'd recommend a 9 or, preferably, a 10-weight for kings. As Robert Ruark said, "Use enough gun." Met a guy on the Anchor years ago who said it was his life-long goal to put a king on the gravel with a 5-weight . . no telling how many he killed trying.

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    Member SockeyeOne's Avatar
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    For the type of fishing you are talking about doing I have been using an Orvis Clearwater II. 9 foot for 8wt. 4pc. with tip flex. It cost a bit more than the 'other' rods out there, but it came with an excellent warranty (I already broke the tip section and they just gave me a new one, no questions asked) and its an excellent quality rod.

    I don't think they are making that model anymore, but have a new model that takes its place in their product line.

    http://www.orvis.com/store/product_d...subcat_id=7015

    For the money, I think that you get an excellent rod with the backing of Orvis for product support.

    Good luck with whatever you end up purchasing.

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    Where are you going to be fishing? That will make a difference in rod wt. If it's the Kenai 10wt would probably be a wise choice. If not 8wt would probably be ok & that combo might serve you well.

    the Orvis Clearwater SockeyeOne mentioned would be one of my 1st choices, but that's a good sale at Cabela's.
    BUT, Cabela's, 10yr limited warranty. Orvis, 25 yr no matter what warranty. TFO also offers great rods at a great price with a lifetime warranty.
    If you are going to be anywhere remote you might consider a backup rod...
    Vance in AK.

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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post



    I've fly-fished all my life and have owned fly rods from an Orvis and Paul Young split-bamboos to a cheap Wright & McGill and a whole bunch in between including LL Bean and Cabela's. Personally, I think all the hype surrounding fly rods is pure, marketing BS, designed more to catch gullible fisherman than to catch fish. Pick a known brand like Bean or Cabela's lower-end models and go for it.


    Second, I'd recommend a 9 or, preferably, a 10-weight for kings. As Robert Ruark said, "Use enough gun." Met a guy on the Anchor years ago who said it was his life-long goal to put a king on the gravel with a 5-weight . . no telling how many he killed trying.
    There is a difference between high end and low end fly rods how they cast and how they feel.

    However, like most things it's the law of diminishing returns. Is a 400 dollar rod better than a 200 dollar rod. Yes it is, but it's not twice as good. It's probably 10% better.

    I got my mother in-law that rod you are talking about. It's a good rod but I found the line that came with it to be junky and the rod did break our first trip out. After casting it and other rods in a similar price point I prefer either a TFO or Echo rod.

    http://www.cabelas.com/product/Fishi...3Bcat105571980

    I would look at this package. TFO comes with a great warranty (25.00 dollars if you break it and they will send you a new rod). I also think that having a good fly line is very important and this package comes with a very good fly line.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Russp17 View Post
    There is a difference between high end and low end fly rods how they cast and how they feel.

    However, like most things it's the law of diminishing returns. Is a 400 dollar rod better than a 200 dollar rod. Yes it is, but it's not twice as good. It's probably 10% better.

    I got my mother in-law that rod you are talking about. It's a good rod but I found the line that came with it to be junky and the rod did break our first trip out. After casting it and other rods in a similar price point I prefer either a TFO or Echo rod.

    http://www.cabelas.com/product/Fishi...3Bcat105571980

    I would look at this package. TFO comes with a great warranty (25.00 dollars if you break it and they will send you a new rod). I also think that having a good fly line is very important and this package comes with a very good fly line.
    Agreed with Russ here, having a good warranty makes a huge difference when you don't have the $$ to purchase a new rod. I started off with the less expensive rods when I first started fly fishing and have gradually moved up to more expensive rods that I have built myself. It's really about what you are fishing for, make sure you have enough backbone to bring in the fish your are fishing for. I also find the wt of the rod I use is dependent on the system I'm fishing ie fast water vs slower water. I hate being under gunned when trying to bring the fish in. Also whether or not you are truly fly fishing or if you are "flossing" for reds makes a difference. I try not to use my more expensive rods to flip for reds when they are in, having all that weight and using an expensive rod when you are flipping the fly out 15ft is just not worth it, I know...I've busted a few nice rods doing so.

    Also make note of the action when you choose your rod, you'll notice a huge difference with a medium action rod vs fast action. Many of the local shops will give you good advice on what to use and which rod wt/action you should purchase. Don't be afraid to ask questions in those shops, most local outfits will give you good/sound advice.

    In reality, the fish don't know what kind of rod you are using and whether it is expensive or not. It's all about getting the presentation correctly on the fish that determines catch success or failure. Having the right rod for the situation helps....just have to plan and know the system your fishing.

    Fish On!
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    Low end rods work, high end rods work better typically. I have both, and I often take out the St. Croix over more expensive rods. I'd take a look at some of the St. Croix rods. Great warranty, made in USA, and they cast well. I abuse mine and take it on the heavy bush wack trips and can't seem to break or damage it. As someone else mentioned, a good quality line to match any rod is important.
    "The North wind is cold no matter what direction it's blowing"

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    Member ysr_racer's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, I'm going to be fishing for silvers and rainbows.

    I agree about the law of diminishing returns. Same thing with shotguns. A $20,000 shotgun is not 10 times better than a $2000 one (but it sure looks pretty)
    brad g.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigcox View Post
    . . make sure you have enough backbone to bring in the fish your are fishing for. . . I hate being under gunned when trying to bring the fish in. . .

    Also make note of the action when you choose your rod, you'll notice a huge difference with a medium action rod vs fast action. . .

    Good advice here . . especially about being under-gunned . .


    Back in the old days—and I'm talking about back when you had to tie your own tapered leaders, when fly-lines were designated GBH and such, and all rods were either bamboo or the new-fangled fiberglass that had just come on the market—virtually all rods were slow action, flexing evenly from tip to butt. With the advent of Western fly fishing—Dan Baiiey, et al.—came the introduction of fast-action rods . . stiffer in the butt, more flex in the tip . . designed to cast further distances.


    I still prefer a slow-action rod . . what I grew up with fly fishing in Michigan . . more finesse in my mind.


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    Sorry, read your OP wrong. Thought you were fishing FOR king salmon, not IN King Salmon! Need another cup of coffee....
    Vance in AK.

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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by DannerAK View Post
    Low end rods work, high end rods work better typically. I have both, and I often take out the St. Croix over more expensive rods. I'd take a look at some of the St. Croix rods. Great warranty, made in USA, and they cast well. I abuse mine and take it on the heavy bush wack trips and can't seem to break or damage it. As someone else mentioned, a good quality line to match any rod is important.
    Agreed St Croix makes a nice rod! I have two and like them quite a bit!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Russp17 View Post
    Agreed St Croix makes a nice rod! I have two and like them quite a bit!
    It really depends. I've got a 9' 4wt Imperial and it's fine at longer distances but it's like casting with a broomstick at shorter distances (I mostly fish the upper Chena - small water). For less-expensive rods that are a pleasure to cast and still have a great warranty I like Redington a lot, and I'm planning on picking up one of their Vapens in the spring. I've also only heard good things about Echo.

    That said, I agree with Marcus and like to cast slower rods. For graylings I almost always use an Orvis 3wt Superfine Touch, which isn't a super high-end rod but isn't cheap, either. It's a lovely rod to fish, though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlshore View Post
    It really depends. I've got a 9' 4wt Imperial and it's fine at longer distances but it's like casting with a broomstick at shorter distances (I mostly fish the upper Chena - small water). . .

    Likely that at short distances, you've not enough line out to load the rod . .


    . . maybe carry a spare spool loaded with 5-weight for such fishing? . . the heavier line would load the rod more quickly . .


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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    Likely that at short distances, you've not enough line out to load the rod . .

    Exactly. I've already overlined it one line weight and I'm not going to take it up more. It's a cheap rod (don't get me started on the reel seat) and it's fine for certain things and not for others. I guess the point is that the right answer here (and nearly everywhere) is "it depends." The Imperial sucks on 20' casts, but it's fine over 30'. In that sense it's less versatile than a softer rod in the same price range (say, Redington Classic Trout - a lovely rod) might be, but if someone's on larger water, is doing a lot of tight-line nymphing, etc. it's fine and is a reasonable recommendation. As a "value" brand I'd probably recommend Redington or Echo before St Croix, but again, it depends. The Imperial was what they had in the store when I needed a backup rod, so I bought it. Meh.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlshore View Post
    For graylings I almost always use an Orvis 3wt Superfine Touch, which isn't a super high-end rod but isn't cheap, either. It's a lovely rod to fish, though.
    I like that series of rod a lot as well. I didn't mention it because the OP was talking about an under 200 dollar combo in his post, and I thought I might be pushing it a little to suggest a $225 rod only solution. I think he was also looking for something a little stiffer in a higher line weight too.

    I bet fishing Grayling on a SfT 3 wt. must be a hoot. Around here the closest thing we get to that is Splake or Adirondack Brook Trout fishing in some of the remote ponds and tributaries like the Cold River. Some of the Splake get fat and you can have a reel good time on a full flex outfit. I tend to go 5wt. in those situations because I usually find myself on some pond in the wind somewhere. A 2 or #wt. in the tributaries is the way to go though.

    I'm one of those brand loyal folks, and could go on allday long Orvis this and Orvis that. I have never owned any of their super expensive rods. Just the 200-500 dollar ones. I really appreciate their customer service, and the fact many of their rods are made in a facility right out back from their Manchester, VT store. Right here in the good ole US of A, with real US employees getting paid in real US dollars. Thats a different rant though.

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    You can find the specs on the rod I mentioned first here in a pic on my G+. Sorry for the photo quality. I shot it with my phone.

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    These guys give some fly rod reviews and side by side comparisons...a pretty good read while at work...

    http://www.yellowstoneangler.com/gear-review

    Fish On!
    You know your not catching any fish when you start talking about the weather...


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    If you are going to fish the Naknek, and or many of the other rivers in that area, you will likely want something fast action to lay out lots of line as it is not a small river. It's become increasingly popular for folks to spey fish that river due to it's size. However, a decently loaded 8 weight will do the job. personally, when it comes to distance, I prefer a 9'6" or 10' 8 wt as you will notice the line pick up when you are waded out in a deep river to be markedly better than a 9 foot rod.

    you are going to big water with big fish......bring a big rod.

    Brand means little to me, I have sage, loomis, orvis, echo, St. Croix. I know that TFO is making great rods, so is Reddington. Biggest thing here is to get something fast enough to shoot some line. Should not have to spend more than 300 bucks.....200 will likely do it. For 150 or less you cannot really find a true fast action rod.

  19. #19

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    Racer, you might want to check this site out. They have some really good deals...

    http://www.flyshopcloseouts.com/inde...l-outfits.html

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    For a beginner, it doesn't really matter what rod you have, as you probably won't come close to maxing out the potential of even the cheapest POS rod. As you begin to learn more about the fly cast and the nuances thereof, you will start to develop opinions about different rods you have cast and these will be largely based upon your personal style and casting idiosyncrasies.

    Are there differences between high-end fly rods? You bet - shockingly HUGE differences between brands and even between models from a single maker. As a beginner, should you concern yourself about these differences? Nope. Just go out and have fun - soon enough, you'll feel yourself being limited by your equipment, and THAT is the time to consider investing in a better rod.

    FWIW, the setup I have for clients is $360 full retail - ECHO edge 790s rod, ECHO ION 6/7 reel, ECHO SOLO line - and after 10,000+ fish with 4 rods broken and one reel needing maintenance (like a dummy, I dropped it about 8' and bent the frame), I'm pretty convinced that this is the best setup for the high-intermediate / low-advanced caster-angler.

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