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Thread: Kenai rainbow rods

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    Default Kenai rainbow rods

    I just got back from fishing the kenai for a week, and decided i need a rod that can handle large (20+'') trout, after hooking 2 on the same day. The first one i stalked along a cutbank and finally hooked it by drifting a comet right into its mouth, and managed to keep it on for about 4 nanoseconds.
    The second one was after fishing for reds for a couple of hours, I decided that i probably was not going to catch any salmon, so I and got my 3wt out of my backpack to try and catch a 14" trout that would periodically jump downstream (not the best idea I have ever had). I tied on a black Egg Sucking Leech, and proceded to cast towards the fish. I did not hook a 14" trout. Instead, i hooked something that immediately swam into the current, and took off downstream at what seemed like about 60mph. I decided my $180 3wt was more important than a large fish(which i presumed to be a sockeye), and just as i was about snap my line, one of the largest rainbows I have ever seen jumped and spat out my hook. This fish looked to be well north of 20".
    I am pretty certain that if i had the right equipment, i might have been able to land that fish. Which brings up the question "What is the right equipment?". What weight and size rod would be best to use for these trophy fish?
    Any tips are appreciated.

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    Member TYNMON's Avatar
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    Default Rainbow fly rod...

    Quote Originally Posted by ak char View Post
    I just got back from fishing the kenai for a week, and decided i need a rod that can handle large (20+'') trout, after hooking 2 on the same day. The first one i stalked along a cutbank and finally hooked it by drifting a comet right into its mouth, and managed to keep it on for about 4 nanoseconds.
    The second one was after fishing for reds for a couple of hours, I decided that i probably was not going to catch any salmon, so I and got my 3wt out of my backpack to try and catch a 14" trout that would periodically jump downstream (not the best idea I have ever had). I tied on a black Egg Sucking Leech, and proceded to cast towards the fish. I did not hook a 14" trout. Instead, i hooked something that immediately swam into the current, and took off downstream at what seemed like about 60mph. I decided my $180 3wt was more important than a large fish(which i presumed to be a sockeye), and just as i was about snap my line, one of the largest rainbows I have ever seen jumped and spat out my hook. This fish looked to be well north of 20".
    I am pretty certain that if i had the right equipment, i might have been able to land that fish. Which brings up the question "What is the right equipment?". What weight and size rod would be best to use for these trophy fish?
    Any tips are appreciated.
    Depends on the action of the rod... Fast action rods a 6wt is adequate just for rainbows... Given the fact even years there are pleathera of pinks and the occational silver, red, and king while targeting rainbows i suggest a fast action 7 or 8 wt... Preffered length from 9'6"to 11'... The greater length and fast speed allows for fast line pick up and makes tedious mending a dream.

    The fly line you choose is as important as the rod... Make sure you have the right wt line for the rod and go w/ a good quality line like Scientific Anglers Ultra 4 or Mastery series.

    Tippet and leaders.. Save your money and learn to build custom flouro leaders and really you will rarely need less then 0X.

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    Member jakec5253's Avatar
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    Default trout rod

    Quote Originally Posted by TYNMON View Post
    Depends on the action of the rod... Fast action rods a 6wt is adequate just for rainbows... Given the fact even years there are pleathera of pinks and the occational silver, red, and king while targeting rainbows i suggest a fast action 7 or 8 wt... Preffered length from 9'6"to 11'... The greater length and fast speed allows for fast line pick up and makes tedious mending a dream.

    The fly line you choose is as important as the rod... Make sure you have the right wt line for the rod and go w/ a good quality line like Scientific Anglers Ultra 4 or Mastery series.

    Tippet and leaders.. Save your money and learn to build custom flouro leaders and really you will rarely need less then 0X.

    As usual, Tynmon's advice is spot on. For large, fast water for the Kenai, I think the 6wt is a little under gunned. It will definately land fish, but after playing them to exhaustion. An 8wt would allow you to use the same rod for salmon and trout, but is a little overkill for smaller bows, and takes some of the fun out of fighting little bows. For me, a 10ft 7wt is the perfect Kenai trout rod. It has the backbone to get fish in for a quick release, and is light enough to enjoy those 12-16" guys. Some people don't like the 10ft rods, but like mentioned in the previous post, they make mending oh so easy.


    Jake
    All the romance of trout fishing exists in the mind of the angler and is in no way shared by the fish.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by jakec5253 View Post
    As usual, Tynmon's advice is spot on. For large, fast water for the Kenai, I think the 6wt is a little under gunned. It will definately land fish, but after playing them to exhaustion. An 8wt would allow you to use the same rod for salmon and trout, but is a little overkill for smaller bows, and takes some of the fun out of fighting little bows. For me, a 10ft 7wt is the perfect Kenai trout rod. It has the backbone to get fish in for a quick release, and is light enough to enjoy those 12-16" guys. Some people don't like the 10ft rods, but like mentioned in the previous post, they make mending oh so easy.


    Jake
    I'll go one step further. My trips on the Kenai are usually later and involve big, heavy flies for big heavy fish. I've had the best service from 8-weights, and yeah, ten-footers are sure a lot easier to mend with than 9-footers. Specialty rod for Kenai rainbows? Yes and no. It's just useful almost anywhere else an 8-weight is called for.

    Fishing smaller flies I can get away with a 7-weight just fine, but for big fish with big flies on big water, I want a big rod. It's as much about the fishing as about the fish fighting.

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    Default 7wt

    So, a 7wt would probably be the best choice? I can get a 9'6" 7wt on cabelas for pretty cheap, because they are on sale for more than 50% off.

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    6 and 7wt will handle the majority of Kenai 'bows. However, you will encounter fish that will blow the doors off a 6wt and many 7s. Also, the flies, weights, wind, and distances you need to sling them call for an 8wt. I have fished with nearly every rod combo on the K, but I settled on a fast 9'6" 8wt as my standard go to rod more than 20 years ago and never changed. Overkill for smaller 'bows for sure. But I fish the K for the monsters that lurk. It is perfect for 20" and bigger rainbows, dollies, and of course the multitudes of fire truck sockeyes you will hook. Good luck.

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    Member liv2fish87's Avatar
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    Default more about you

    To each his own. Ive seen guys on the kenai rocking 3 wts because that is their rush. For a fairly new individual i would recommend a 6wt. I have a sage fli 7wt i used for the first yr and a half fishing the kenai, i always thought it was way to much. So i bought a loomis 5 wt( loomis excellent warranty for when you break a rod being a moron with a giant fish!) And i love it, Ive even brought reds in on it. Its not the rod of choice for reds but for specifically trout i like a 5 or a 6. You will lose more fish with a 5 but i think it builds skill and I also appreciate the feel i get.

    On the 10 ft rod subject i really cant say. Both my 7 and 5 wts are 9 footers. i cant imagine fishing with a 10 ft rod, I bet it would be spectacular for mending. but that is a little to big of a rod for me to put on my boat i think. Someday i might get a big ass center pin...Course i have to watch drifter and check out the demo.
    Go Fish

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    Default

    I use a 10 ft. 7 wgt. with a sink tip for bigger heavier flies and have a 6 wgt. with floating line for top water and dead drifting. Seems to cover my bases well.

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    Member TYNMON's Avatar
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    Default Almost forgot...

    Quote Originally Posted by ak char View Post
    So, a 7wt would probably be the best choice? I can get a 9'6" 7wt on cabelas for pretty cheap, because they are on sale for more than 50% off.

    I mentioned rod action.... You can have a 6 wt that feels like other brands 8wt's.... The fast action the rod the beefer it is likely to be... For example a Z-axiz 7wt is heavier then most of the 8 wt the guys on this board are talkin about... Additionally, typically the longer 9'6"-11' rods have more backbone. I had a 6wt Thomas and Thomas (TNT) 10' rod that was perfect.... But, in reality when you are catching so many sockeye and pinks a fast action 7-8wt is better...

    So to answer you question I would recomend a 8wt from cabela's... Personally, I would never by a catalog rod of any kind with out being able to inspect the action and esp not a flyrod... My recomendation is go check out Trustworthy Harware in Soldotna and see what kind of deals they have going... They use to have a $50 rod trade in deal on a GLoomis that is really hard to beat... GL2 or GL3 would be perfect.

    All those ppl that you hear are using 3-5wts will not be able to handle fish very well way underkill.... Maybe those ppl that use those light rods just don't catch that many fish, they sure would not be able to cast a indicator system w/ very much weight productivlely.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by TYNMON View Post
    I mentioned rod action.... You can have a 6 wt that feels like other brands 8wt's.... The fast action the rod the beefer it is likely to be... For example a Z-axiz 7wt is heavier then most of the 8 wt the guys on this board are talkin about... Additionally, typically the longer 9'6"-11' rods have more backbone. I had a 6wt Thomas and Thomas (TNT) 10' rod that was perfect.... But, in reality when you are catching so many sockeye and pinks a fast action 7-8wt is better...

    So to answer you question I would recomend a 8wt from cabela's... Personally, I would never by a catalog rod of any kind with out being able to inspect the action and esp not a flyrod... My recomendation is go check out Trustworthy Harware in Soldotna and see what kind of deals they have going... They use to have a $50 rod trade in deal on a GLoomis that is really hard to beat... GL2 or GL3 would be perfect.

    All those ppl that you hear are using 3-5wts will not be able to handle fish very well way underkill.... Maybe those ppl that use those light rods just don't catch that many fish, they sure would not be able to cast a indicator system w/ very much weight productivlely.

    +1

    Avoid 3-5wts. I would start at 7 and believe you will certainly be another step ahead with a 9'6 or 10' rod. You'll agree after you get a feel for it.

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    [QUOTE=TYNMON;522779]I would never by a catalog rod of any kind with out being able to inspect the action and esp not a flyrod... My recomendation is go check out Trustworthy Harware in Soldotna and see what kind of deals they have going... They use to have a $50 rod trade in deal on a GLoomis that is really hard to beat... GL2 or GL3 would be perfect.

    Thats the problem with Juneau - The only place to buy good quality rods and reels is Juneau Fly Fishing Goods, and i cannot afford most of their stuff.

  12. #12

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    I would go with an 7 or 8 wt. I fish the kenai in september/october for trout and its not unusual to catch a couple 25-30'' rainbows each day. I wouldn't be able to do that without my 8 weight. A lot of the time you're fighting the indicator/lead along with the wind. A smaller rod would not handle that, let alone a large fish in the fast current.

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    Quote Originally Posted by griff View Post
    I would go with an 7 or 8 wt. I fish the kenai in september/october for trout and its not unusual to catch a couple 25-30'' rainbows each day. I wouldn't be able to do that without my 8 weight. A lot of the time you're fighting the indicator/lead along with the wind. A smaller rod would not handle that, let alone a large fish in the fast current.
    Amen. Losing a 10-20lb rainbow because too light a rod is used will change your perspective. Just because someone can "just" drag in an 8lb spawning sockeye w/ a 5-6 weight doesn't mean it will happen with a double digit 'bow.

  14. #14

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    Used my 7wt TFO for bows and silvers on Kenai last year. Used it for reds this year. The salmon push the limits and I'm sure a Kenai trophy rainbow could break into many, many pieces if things went wrong.

    I would want at least a 7.

    I guess I can understand the theory behind ultralight setups, but I have a hard time believing that many people land mature Alaska rainbows, much less steroidal-Kenai-monster bows, on 3-5wts.

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    Member liv2fish87's Avatar
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    Tis all about the person holding the stick. I do agree if your anchored up in a boat or on a beach with no room to walk and you hook a monster, yeah you might break your 5 wt. but if your on the float or on a good beach... man that big bow is ALOT of fun. Course im not one of your fine fine kenai red machines that hook into a fish and turn around and just walk up the beach. I like a fight, I fiend for that feel of the fish taxing my rod.

    Course, some are just about pictures which is cool, i have plenty of those.

    and by the way i was landing reds on my 5 weight.... second run, chromers bucko....

    Not to disagree with their recommendation just saying once, you get sick of pictures its just nice to have a challenge once in awhile, and also have the smaller bows feel worth while! Its not like i use a 3 wt but i will get there someday. My buddy uses a 6wt sage and tears up the monter bows with that even WHILE anchored and fighting current.
    Go Fish

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    Quote Originally Posted by liv2fish87 View Post
    Not to disagree with their recommendation just saying once, you get sick of pictures its just nice to have a challenge once in awhile, and also have the smaller bows feel worth while! Its not like i use a 3 wt but i will get there someday. My buddy uses a 6wt sage and tears up the monter bows with that even WHILE anchored and fighting current.
    I know what you're saying. I used to use my 6 wt also. It adds a new dimension to fun I carry it as a backup now just in case I somehow break the 8 wt.

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    Default

    [QUOTE=ak char;522902]
    Quote Originally Posted by TYNMON View Post
    I would never by a catalog rod of any kind with out being able to inspect the action and esp not a flyrod... My recomendation is go check out Trustworthy Harware in Soldotna and see what kind of deals they have going... They use to have a $50 rod trade in deal on a GLoomis that is really hard to beat... GL2 or GL3 would be perfect.

    Thats the problem with Juneau - The only place to buy good quality rods and reels is Juneau Fly Fishing Goods, and i cannot afford most of their stuff.

    Talk to the guys at Juneau Fly Fishing Goods. Tell Mike and Brad what your looking for, and what price range you are looking for. They won't point you in the wrong direction. Heck you can have a decent Reddington rod for $300 or so...A decent Sage even...

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by liv2fish87 View Post
    Tis all about the person holding the stick. I do agree if your anchored up in a boat or on a beach with no room to walk and you hook a monster, yeah you might break your 5 wt. but if your on the float or on a good beach... man that big bow is ALOT of fun. Course im not one of your fine fine kenai red machines that hook into a fish and turn around and just walk up the beach. I like a fight, I fiend for that feel of the fish taxing my rod.

    Course, some are just about pictures which is cool, i have plenty of those.

    and by the way i was landing reds on my 5 weight.... second run, chromers bucko....

    Not to disagree with their recommendation just saying once, you get sick of pictures its just nice to have a challenge once in awhile, and also have the smaller bows feel worth while! Its not like i use a 3 wt but i will get there someday. My buddy uses a 6wt sage and tears up the monter bows with that even WHILE anchored and fighting current.
    Awesome!

    3-5wts in the wind or with a indicator setup will make you wish you had a setup better suited for the less then ideal conditions often encountered on your trip to the kenai.

    If you are working your way down to a 3wt then you've truly taken all of these posts way too personal, and in my opinion (the 3wt) has no place on the Kenai for serious trout fishing. As for pictures and such, well you can believe what you want.

    I know most serious anglers hooking the older bows arent hell bent on photos, but I guarantee they want to get that fish back to the water as fast as possible. Often the duration of the fight + hook removal time will determine wether or not a photo is taken. Barbless hooks increase my chance of getting that photo opp. but still dont guarantee it.

    Last weekend my first trout of the weekend, 28+" or so slipped right back into the water sans pic. Last fish of the weekend of roughly 25+" made the timeframe for a quick shot. I live for the feel of that fish taxing my rod but I go in knowing that it is going to take a extraordinary fish to do so instead of taxing every fish for my own maximum enjoyment.

    I wouldnt be so judgemental. It isnt a competition, although I am focused, determined and acutely tuned we all have room to improve, Good luck.

  19. #19
    Member liv2fish87's Avatar
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    Default Judgemental

    How was i being judgemental? I was stating my opinion and said, "To each his own." Just an standpoint on the matter, im not saying these are facts.By the way i can cast awesome in the wind ( which is always encountered in some portion of the river) with all my extra flex in my 5 wt to fip it through it. While with my 7wt sage im more trying to push through it which doesnt work aswell for "me". I never said i owned or used a 3 wt just said ive seen people doing it and heard them preach about it like its a religion. How about you dont be so judgemental eh? I on the otherhand would think it would put less strain on the fish while on the rod... granite more time is spent catching it, but once again, "I" like that.
    Go Fish

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    Default Lots of choices...

    This is always a debate. Lots of great input before me here. I have read many posts in the last several years here that asked the same thing. Started one myself. Most suggest a 6-7 wt 9.5' (or 10') rod. But many like to use a 5 wt. Some even prefer an 8 wt. Many like a 9' rod. Some opt for the longer rods. I have a 7 wt 10' rod that I hate to cast. I have another one that is much better. You might want to try out a ten footer before deciding. Depending on the action and length, it could effect your timing and in doing so make it very difficult to cast. Many ways to skin a cat. As mentioned earlier here by Liv2Fish, the action of the rod is very, very important. A high quality (often faster action) 6 wt rod has far more power than a cheap 7 or 8 wt. So when you look at 5,6,7, or 8 wt, be sure to give some thought to the action of said rod. As for 9, 9.5, or 10 foot, pros and cons each way. If you don't have a strong opinion on the matter, I suspect you would be just fine with a 9' rod. Also good to give some thought to other uses for this rod. Other places you fish you may not want a 9.5' or 10' rod. Blah, blah, blah,... I am boring myself here. Get a 9.5' 7 wt fast action four piece rod and be done with it
    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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