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Thread: Fly rod, reel and line setup.

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    Default Fly rod, reel and line setup.

    Hi to all
    This is my first post on your great forum.

    I am going over to fish the Kanetok river in mid July 2008.
    We will be float rafting down the river over a period of 10-12 days.

    What I would like from you experienced guys is a recommendation for a suitable fly rod, reel and fly line set-up. Preferably a 3 or 4 piece rod, all types of budget considered.

    We will attempt to target all species present, however I think we will be giving the kings a miss as we will not be able to keep up with them once hooked.

    regards
    Richard

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    Default Travel Rods

    I would encourage the travel rods so you have that idea right. I have a spey that is 3 pieces but otherwise I don't go less than 4 and feel it's excessive to go more than 6.

    TFO (Temple Fork Outfitters) make excellent rods with lots of variety on price wt. length and action. They also have a bomb proof warranty. I worked in sales for a while and found that TFO has the best warranty around, Loomis has a good one but still not better than the TFO. Also TFO has a better variety than most other companies.

    I also prefer 9 foot rods for general use unless I think I will be in close quarters, this length has always worked well on alaskan streams and rivers for me.

    I would look to spend $150 for my lowest level on the TFO's, they have good rods in this range so don't dismiss them just because of their price. They go up in price range over $300 if you want something really sweet.

    I will admit I am not intimately familiar with that river but I can make some general suggestions as you know what you are looking to do there.

    For trout I use a 5 wt. to a 7 wt. depending on if I am fishing for 18" fish (5 wt.) or 30" fish in stronger currents (7 to 8 wt.). I tend to like fishing a little on the lighter side and in a moderate current have landed reds (sockeye) on my 5 wt. after I broke my 9 wt. on one simply by being more careful than I was with the first rod of the day.

    My favorite combination is to have 2 rods of similar length in a double rod tube. I carry my 5 and my 8 to cover the full range of fish. I have caught grayling and big bows on the 5 and caught red and kings up to 35 lbs. on my 8. If you think the water you will fish will be cooking along get a 6 and a 9, this is also a popular combo especially with guides on the kenai.

    For reels I would say that the Okumas are fine for 5 and 6 wt on down unless you are expecting fish to run for a mile. They are a little heavier but they work fine in fresh water and are fairly inexpensive. On light gear they are just holding line anyway and you can get spare spools for $15-$20.

    If you want something a little nicer that will be awesome in salt as well and is in my opion, as an owner of Okumas for my lighter gear, the best way to go for salmon get a teton tioga. They have some of the best drags money can buy and have been around for a while.

    As for line I recommend Rio and Cortland although I may try some of the Jim Teeny lines for salmon next summer, they are some really fast sinking lines meant for Alaska salmon fishing.
    River Runnin

  3. #3
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Kanektok....

    I floated the nearby Goodnews this past Aug/Sept. Beautiful part of the state. The big draw on the Kanektok in July would be the kings. I would not pass up on that opportunity. A ten weight would be a good choice. You would likely enounter them in the lower reaches of the river. In the upper sections, it would be dolllies and rainbows. You should be catching reds and perhaps some chum as well. I thought of floating the Goodnews again the first week of July for kings. But we are going back to NW Alaska to fish for dollies on the Wulik in Sept. So I guess the Goodnews will have to wait another year. For dollies/bows/reds, a fast action 7 wt would be a good all around choice. There was a good deal a few weeks ago on www.sierratradingpost.com for Powell Advantage rods for $100 and Lamson Velocity reels for about $150. Big bang for the buck here. I own the reels and have used that rod. Very high quality stuff. Cabelas is having some good deals in their "bargain cave" as of recent. Most my rods now are Scott (S3, S3S, and E2). They are the best rods I have used. I can recommend Ross Evolution and Cimarron, Lamson Velocity, and Orvis Battenkill reels. The Lamson Velocity is a great value. I can not offer specifics on flies as I have not fished that area that time of year. We were fishing for silvers and bows the last week of August and the first week of Sept. But I have heard good things about mice, sculpins, and such for bows that time of year. We did great with a purple egg sucking leech with pink head. Hard to go wrong with that. We also caught some bows on olive leeches and olive esl with pink head. That made a pretty good slimy scuplin immitation I guess. We used WF lines mostly but also got plenty of use out of Scientific Anglers 16 ft sink tips. Ours were III-IV and got down well in the current. But WF lines did most the work. We used 6, 7.5, and 9 ft leaders. 1-2X is what we liked. Saw no difference with florocarbon or mono. These fish were not leader shy. Many of our fish were caught on sink tips and 3 ft of 10 lb leader. Our best flies for dollies were battle creek special, polar shrimp, and esl. I must mention again, if you float the Kanektok in mid July and don't fish for kings, you are missing the boat. You may want to think on this some. Don't think about fishing only from the raft. Get out when you find fish and cast from the bank to them. Most of our fishing was done this way. Often at camp, we would walk a few hundred yards and see schools of silvers all over the place. I suspect fishing for kings will offer some similar opportunities. If anyone spin fishes, I got some Cabelas XML pack spinning rods a few years ago for my wife. They are excellent rods and about the same size as a 4 piece fly rod tube. I won't bore everyone here with the details, but if you want some advice on the float trip, email me and I will tell you anything I can that may help you. We float a different river each year and have our gear list situated well. We usually float NW Alaska rivers with our Ally pack canoes in the Fall. If you want any fishing advice or camping/floating info, let me know. I will attach some picture here from our recent trips. When the link opens, you can select "view slideshow" in the upper right side.

    http://www.flickr.com/gp/21144083@N02/XF429i
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Books...

    I also ment to mention these two books. "Flyfisher Guide to Alaska" by Scott Haugen and "Top Water, Flyfishing Alaska" by Troy Leatherman. They are the best two books I own. Also "Alaska Fishing" by Rene Liemeres and Gunnar Pederson is a great book. Scott's book breaks the state down by section and there is a section on the Kanektok. The other two books are divided into species. For example, a whole chapter on rainbows. And in that chapter, it tell you everything you need to know. The when, where, and how kind of info. Also lots of good info on flies to use. These three books taught me more than the other dozen or so I have put together. Aside from these books, you should get maps. I get mine from University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Dept. Great maps. You just call them and tell them where your trip will start/stop. I usually get a 1:250K for insight of area. But we navigate by 1:64K maps which are one mile per one inch. Here is the contact info for the maps. The books can be ordered online at barnes and noble or amazon. Must haves in my opinion.

    http://www.gi.alaska.edu/services/MapOffice/
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Default

    I agree about sculpins. I started using them in all my fly boxes last summer after I used them with great success for kings out of talkeetna. If you need a fly specific book (I tie but have still learned a lot about assortments from it) I recommend the Alaska Fly fishers Fly Patterns of Alaska.

    If there will be any spawning going on (maybe if there is an early king run they will have spawned by then?) I wouldn't waste my time on glow bugs unless regs required it, I would bring along a small bead assortment. If there isn't spawning then no biggie, you can get by with battle creeks and such but I never leave home without my beads.

    I find that pre-spawn smolt problems are hard to beat. Anything from larger smolt patterns down to a few deer hair strands with bead chain eyes depending on the water.
    River Runnin

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    Thanks guys
    You have given me a lot of excellent info to mull over. I truly appreciate all advice. And if anyone else has anything to add to the post by all means feel free. When I get a chance to take it all in I will be back to additional questions.
    regards
    Richard

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    One of my companions on this trip has fished the Kanetok before and his experience was that the kings just broke tackle, and they were unable to keep control over them on the fly rod. Fish would just run off and pass through a log jam and your were left scratching your head!!
    Reading on the internet it would appear that most people who fish for kings hook them and then pursue them via a boat. Seeing we are floating down we are not able to maintain that high pursuit .
    What are you guys experience?
    regards
    Richard

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    I find that in really fast water there isn't much hope with anything less than a 10 wt. I will be getting a 12 for them next summer. It also depends on how big the kings are, in most places I have been other than the Kenai, it's a big fish if it's more than 35 lbs. Not to say that it's easy to land one of those but I find that if you pick the water they can be taken from shore.

    I recommend florocarbon leaders, they are very abrasion resistant but be careful, without cuts in your line you will realize how easily your old line breaks, I was using 20lbs and with my 8 wt. couldn't break off kings, this almost broke my rod. It also sinks like a stone making it perfect for salmon fishing.

    Lastly remember that the fish after the initial run pull only as hard as you do, if you try to horse them in or pull too hard on your rod and over flex it you will break line rods hooks etc. I see this most often with tourists trying to look tough for their girlfriends trying to horse in the fish or bend their rod in half. I play them in a little at a time and when possible get between them and the main river by wading, then I pull away from shore and they "pull" they launch themselves up onto shore (or close enough to kick them up on the bank). It doesn't always work out but if you keep thinking about them pulling as hard as you do and that they will often go blindly in the opposite direction you can pick your fights and land more fish.
    River Runnin

  9. #9
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    Default kings...

    Your buddy who floated the Kanektok may have been using too light a rod. Or perhaps just an inexperienced fisherman. Or hooked a big a#$ fish. You can take kings from shore and the Kanektok offers one of the best places to do it from what I have heard/read. I would not use less than a 10 wt. A fast action one at that. But there is great opportunity on this river for fly fishing for kings. As far as taking them from the raft. What would you do if the fish swam upstream? I would prefer to be on solid ground myself. In the store here on the forum, there are a few DVD's titled "Floating the Aniak" (and others). The Duke brothers made these videos of four popular floats in Alaska. Tons of footage of king fishing from shore. On tackle mostly, but it would offer some insights and is better than the crap we normally have on the idiot box. Neat scenery as well. I picked them up a while back and have enjoyed them.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  10. #10

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    Dan is right. 10wt for sure. It also can blow a lot in the lower part once you get out of the mountains in the tundra delta. You want to have some heavy sinking lines too, like a Teeny T-400 for the kings, and the 10wt will handle that fine.

    If I was to do the trip with only two rods, I would take my Beulah Guide Series 10wt (www.beulah.com) with a Rio 10wt Steelhead, Teeny T-400 and Teeny Pat Ehlers mini-tip lines and my 8wt Sage Zaxis with a Sage Performance Taper 8wtWFF line and Teeny Mini-Tip 8 line. If I could take 3 rods, I would add my Echo 9136 traditional spey rod with a Rio Skagit 650 line and Rio Windcutter 8/9/10 line.

    You will loose kings on the Kanetok, no doubt. But I have landed a lot of them there from the bank too. You just got to play the game once you are hooked up. Putting too much burn on them will only break them off, but you have to do that to keep them out of the logs in some areas. I would use the Segaur Max 01X tippet which is 18lb and IMHO one of the best tippets out there. Wish I had it the last time I was there, I only had 0X Rio Flourocarbon. I would use a salmon furled leader with stainless steel ring, so you only have one knot. And you better make your knots good!! But you can do a perfection or surgeons loop in your tippet and do a loop-to-loop with your tippet onto the ring and you have a 100% strength knot. Fly goes on the tippet with a Homer Rhodes knot, another big-game 100% strength knot. I was landing 60-75 Tarpon this winter with this same rigging, so a Kanektok King would be no problem for gear strength. Kings there are rare to go 50lbs, but they have some gumption.

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard T View Post
    Hi to all
    This is my first post on your great forum.

    I am going over to fish the Kanetok river in mid July 2008.
    We will be float rafting down the river over a period of 10-12 days.

    What I would like from you experienced guys is a recommendation for a suitable fly rod, reel and fly line set-up. Preferably a 3 or 4 piece rod, all types of budget considered.

    We will attempt to target all species present, however I think we will be giving the kings a miss as we will not be able to keep up with them once hooked.

    regards
    Richard
    I'd get two rods a 9 foot 5 wt (I have a cabelas stowaway which I like a lot) and a fast 9 foot 8 weight paired with a reel with a good drag you should be able to land every thing there, just don't put your hand above the cork when you are fighting the fish unless you want your rod to break. An 8 wt is fine for kings, you just have to know how to fight fish, use side angle keep the fish going upstream and use a lighter leader than you think, use your legs to follow the fish (try to keep it upstream from you) you gotta control the fish, not let the fish control you. A good rod will not break on a fish unless you use too heavy of leader (my 7wt tfo didn't break on a big lingcod that bent a mustad 34007 in half)
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Default Rod up!

    For a two week float, have spare rods. Wouldn't it suck to have a 12 wt king rod and a 6 weight trout rod and break the 6 wt the first day out? 8 Weight will handle all salmon except for heavy kings in fast tight water, and won't overgun most trout too badly. The spare rods wouldn't all need reels; if one breaks the reel from it transfers easily. For my main trout rod, its a 6 or 7 weight. Unless you have a lot of experience in Alaskan waters, a 5 is going to be too light, resulting in overplaying fish and wearing them out unnecessarily. Ross CLA is a great reel in the $200 range, and Sage has 2 entry level reels that give a great bang for the buck- $100. If you're not scared of price, Galvan, Ross, and Lamson reels are all terrific. I like the Delron process drags, because they require no maintenance other than a light rinse once in a while. Any of the anodized aluminum machined barstock reels will be a lifetime purchase that won't leave u disappointed. Even when you have 4 piece travel rods, think hard about having a double,two piece, reel on rod tube. Sage and Harding and Sons both make cases in the $80-90 range. Mountain Cork has a $50 one, but the tubes aren't as sturdy. Tie this to your oar frame, and you can slide your rod into it whenever your on the move. Breaking it down to two pieces and reassembling it between holes is way easier than trying to break down a 4 piece all the way. Keeping it in the case while on the move keeps the breakage way down too!

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_powder_monkey View Post
    I'd get two rods a 9 foot 5 wt (I have a cabelas stowaway which I like a lot)
    That is bad advice in my opinion for the Kanektok. The current is very heavy, and flows more CFS than the Kenai. There is no dry fly fishing here, you need to fish a sinking line to get down in heavy glaciated colored water with heavy current and possibly 20mph+ winds. You would be better served to have a 7wt as your "light rod". Landing a fish in the Kanektok with a 5wt is not fair to the fish, and will be frustrating to you. I stand by my recommendations, I would take at least an 8wt and 10wt. That way too you could exchange reels if one reel failed. It is good advice to have a minimum of two rods and reels as a minimum, stuff can happen to take one rod out (loose it overboard from the raft or break it by a multitude of possibilities) and you would be SOL with a single rod gone. You should consider taking a couple of spare tip-tops in larger sizes than your standard one and some glue in case you just break a tip on something. That will get you in action. And have two reels for sure, possibly that would cover both your 8wt and 10wt.

    I have fished the Kanektok over 40 days, and have over 300 landings and take offs piloting a floatplane in it for a reference point that I am not blowing wind.

  14. #14
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Good points...

    Flyboy makes some good points here. I fished the nearby Goodnews this past Sept and had my hands full when the silvers took to my 8 wt Scott S3s. It is a stiff (and strong) rod, and it took plenty of work to get the larger silvers out of the current and to the bank. I hooked one king on that trip and it took 20 minutes to get him in. And he was spawned out and dying! I would not intentionally fish for kings with less than a 10 wt on that river. I recently bought a custom Sage Xi2 10 wt (with spare tip) and have a Sage XP 10 wt for the back up. That is what I will be taking on my next trip to the Goodnews for kings. The suggestions for taking back up rods could not be more strongly encouraged. Think of the time/money/energy you spent getting to the Kanektok. One false move, one sudden run, and snap! I was using my wifes spinning rod on a silver on the Goodnews. The fish literally swam up on the bank, and then took off. The tip snapped just like that. I was standing there with a stupid look on my face. I consider myself an above average fisherman (who doesn't) and take great care to avoid these kind of mishaps. Good thing I had a spare for her as well. But even still, she had to go the rest of the trip babying her one rod. This was a high quality pack spinning rod (Cabelas XML 7 ft med/heavy). I have used it for a while and caught chums/silvers/dollies on it with no problem. In one instant, it was broke. In my opinion, an ideal compromise would be a fast action 6 wt for dollies/bows and a 10 wt for kings. For me, the 6 wt would get more use on my home waters in NC than the 7 wt. Also, a 6 wt would allow you to enjoy the smaller dollies and bows. Not to mention grayling. I do like a stiff 6 wt though. My favorite is a Scott E2. Second choice St Croix Legend Ultra. If you get a nice bow on, it will come in handy. As others have said, take a spare. Even if you get a less expensive rod as a back up. Take something so you will be able to keep fishing. I have a TFO and Echo rod that I would highly recommend for such uses.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    In relation to a 10 wt rod, it is a piece of kit that will not get used much when I get back home to the UK, except to maybe fish for Pike.
    I am reluctant to spend a large sum of money on an expensive rod that will only get a few days use, however I don't want to miss out on a chance of lifetime in terms of fishing. What are your thoughts?

    I was looking through the Cabelas catalogue and see they have a 9ft 10wt 7 piece Stowaway rod. Does anyone have any experience of using such rod .
    I will be looking to get a rod that is forgiving to my some times inconsistent casting. Bad casting habitats are difficult to shift!
    Also does anyone bother with rods that have a fighting handle i.e a cork handle further up the rod.

    Once again thanks for all your posts and you are truly getting me even more excited about my upcoming trip.

    regards
    Richard

  16. #16
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Thumbs up rods/reels

    You can get a set up without spending a fortune. I would not recommend a 7 piece rod for any purpose. Especially not for kings. I have a few of the Orvis 6 piece rods. Not something I would recommend to others. I only use/own 4 piece rods. I would not buy anything else. Period. I started off with some of the cheaper stuff from Cabelas. Big bang for the buck. If you don't want to spend a lot, get what is listed below. It is a safe place to put your money. And it comes with a two year replacement warranty. I have used it with Cabelas. You send them the broke rod, they send you a brand new one. Just that easy. This is as cheap as it gets for usable fly rods/reels. Invest more money in a 6 or 7 wt outfit for the dollies/bows and you would be set for the Kanektok. But don't go without a game plan for catching some kings. I suspect you would regret it. Below are a rod and reel currently on sale in Cabelas "Bargain Cave". Great deals for entry level equipment. You could sell them on Ebay for this after your trip. At these prices, I suspect they will sell out fast. Many models listed are already sold out.

    Here is a 9 ft 4 piece 10 wt rod for $59

    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te...430&hasJS=true


    Here is a 9/10 wt reel for $59 (I own a few of these in 8 wt and they are decent)

    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te...430&hasJS=true
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Default Just to reiterate my point about TFO

    The Cabelas stowaway is also excellent. I have a 3 wt. and my buddie has others. I don't go more than 5 pc.

    I strongly recommend the TFO rods as well if you are looking at the warranty, My next rod will probably be a TFO.
    Bomb proof warranty on some seriously good rods.

    This is right off the front page:

    NO-FAULT WARRANTY
    Our No-Fault Warranty is for the life of the original registered owner. Send your registration
    card with each purchase to activate your warranty. Simply return a damaged rod with $25
    for shipping & handling, and we will repair or replace your rod.

    But I do see your point about brief use. If you go the TFO direction and want a travel rod it will run you $150.

    Don't you guys have Atlantic salmon over there?
    Last edited by River Runnin; 02-08-2008 at 01:36. Reason: rethought
    River Runnin

  18. #18
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Agreed...

    The TFO warranty is as good as anyones and their rods are a bargain compared to others. I had a 7 wt 10 ft I took as a back up for bows on the Goodnews last Sept. I was disappointed with it. I couldn't cast it for sh$#. But that is how it goes. I could have taken a $600 Scott or Sage rod and had the same results. But it has not happened yet. Ha ha. Seriously, they are a good value. The warranty is among the best for sure.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  19. #19
    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Default Rod for the trip

    Just IMO, but this is probably what I would do. Forget even a 10 wt. Go with a 12 wt, Sage Xi2. (Talk to guys who specifically fish kings- not trout fishermen dreaming about catching kings) This is an excellent rod, will handle kings better than most, and you won't be wondering if you should have gotten a nicer rod. Since it is a Sage, and in the saltwater series, there is a demand for them. Up front, the cost is about $650, but when your trip is over, put it on E-Bay and you should get $450-$550 for it. Thats a net cost of $100-200 to use a premier fly rod for 10 days. Oh, and buy it in America so you don't have to pay the import duties on it. If you don't want to bother with the wheeling dealing, and keep the rod u use, Redington has a pretty decent rod around $200.

  20. #20
    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Default Number of sections

    The area I live and work (small fly/tackle shop) has seen a huge increase in the float and fish crowd in the last 5 years. In the same time, our sales of 3 and 5 piece rods has declined dramatically. Why? Cause guys have seen the light. If your rod has an even number of sections, say 2,4, or 6, when you break it down, you can just make one break and have a two piece rod. That allows you to very easily take it down and put it in a two piece tube when you're on the river. Trust me= if your pulling over 15-20 times in a day, and you're the guy putting together all 5 or 7 pieces of his rod at every stop before being ready to fish again, you'll be more than ready to run out and grab a 4 piece. Especially when your buddy keeps yarding out the first fish in the hole cause you're still screwing around with your rod. What we see in the shop even more often is someone tries to get away with leaving the rod together between stops and it breaks on a sweeper as they're trying desperately to row away from the bank and can't manage the rod at the same time.

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