What rod wt for what species?

Docked WagesDocked Wages Posts: 2,911 Admin
I am still a novice fly fisherman and steadily becoming an addict. I picked up an 8wt about three years ago and a size 9 reel. I put little effort into becoming adequate until recently. My vision was to catch large saltwater fish equal to spin or jig tackle. I failed miserably during this cobia season on fly, but did ok in the bahamas with bonefish and in Canada with Northern and Walleye.

I want to target small trout in the river, jacks or oversized reds at the inlet and work my way up to tarpon on the beach. In reference to another post here, what advantage is a rod smaller than 8wt? Does my one set up for all tackle seem to ridiculous? (silly question if I look at my saltwater inventory)

What size rods work for what species?

Currently I have one reel with floating line but found that to be a destraction in Canada, had to add pinch wts to get it to sink. That hurt my hook up ratio I believe. When do you use Sinking line? Any general tips would be appreciated and thanks in advance for any discussion or advice.
Mark P. Wilson
Marine Surveyor, SAMS-SA, ABYC
Wilson Yacht Survey, Inc
Old Bahama Bay (Owner / Board of Directors) 



Replies

  • thinfisherthinfisher Posts: 326 Officer
    DW - Your 8 wt. is a good overall all-around saltwater rod and over lining it with a 9 wt. line might help improve casting as it helps load the rod quicker. Since you already have the 9 wt. reel you wont lose backing capacity. Ideally it will be fine for most snook, reds, medium size jacks and probably even small cobia. For trout in the river depending on where your fishing a 5wt. would probably be best all-around. For large cobia/jacks a 10 wt. and for tarpon an 11 wt. will do. Use sinking line when fish are down deep or an intermediate sinking tip (read specs on line sink rates) and choose line based on whats appropriate for depth/conditions. Also keep in mind that there is a difference between tropical lines designed for FL's climate and those designed for cold climates. Casting with the wrong line for the climate will greatly affect performance so also choose line according to climate conditions. Just my .02
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  • MUSKEGON MANMUSKEGON MAN Posts: 51 Deckhand
    General rule, Larger flies require a heavier rod (9-12wt). Smaller flies are used with lighter rods (2-6 wt). There are exceptions, ie. I use a 6 wt to fish #2 flies for seatrout. Floating lines are good all 'round lines, but you will find that intermediate and sink-tips lines have their place. Intermediates are great for fishing the surf, they get just below the surface and are less affected by the waves. Like the rest of us, you'll end up with way too many rods,reels, and lines. Keep the economy moving......
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,475 Captain
    You'll get lots and lots of advice about what size rod for a given size of fish... but there's another (maybe just as important) thing to consider in rod weights and that is the size of the fly and it's hook size... I figure that a fly rod and line have the same relationship to the fly (or hook) that a hammer does to a nail. You wouldn't want to drive a big nail with a small hammer and a really big hammer doesn't work very well with a small nail.... Now to bring it down to basics.... If you're only going to be using flies no bigger than a #1, a 6wt or 7wt rod is just fine (provided the wind isn't blowing hard or the casting distances too great...), for hooks up to a 2/0 an 8 or 9wt rod works just fine. For hook sizes above a 2/0 you're going to need a 10wt or above. Considering fish sizes with all of this.... I'd use a 6 to 8wt for fish up to about 30lbs, a 9wt for fish up to about 40lbs (and have done so many, many times), a 10wt for fish up to almost 80lbs, and the heavier rods for the big boys. Although most all fly lines are actually 30lb breaking strength (the core), the rod size will have a lot to do about how much pressure you can put on a fish.... and how much actual "lifting" power you'll have if a big fish works deep on you...

    Although I stayed with hook sizes you can be certain they directly relate to the actual size of the fly you're casting. Bigger, bulkier flies (and the larger, heavier hooks they come with) need heavier rods to cast properly (and that's just in ideal conditions - you rarely find perfect conditions when you're actually fishing...). My usual advice to anyone starting out or branching out is to carefully think about what you want to do with a fly rod (that your current rod doesn't do very well...) and go in that direction - but always skip a line size to get the widest coverage. If you have an 8wt and want to chase bigger fish, the next rod should be a 10wt... If you have a 9wt and want something smaller pick up a 7wt... One very real benefit from a smaller rod is that lighter lines land softer than bigger lines when you're fishing really shallow where fish are spooky.... Of course those same lighter rods are just miserable to fish with when the wind is howling and all the fish seem to be upwind....

    Isn't fly fishing fun?
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • thinfisherthinfisher Posts: 326 Officer
    :Agree Great advice from Bob LeMay on the hook/fly size and relationships to rod choice; BTW - Bob I really enjoyed your article in FFSW on tarpon.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC] Family, Friends and the Outdoors - Obama = PRICELESS
  • Gary S. ColecchioGary S. Colecchio Posts: 24,922 AG
    lemaymiami wrote: »
    ...there's another (maybe just as important) thing to consider in rod weights and that is the size of the fly and it's hook size... I figure that a fly rod and line have the same relationship to the fly (or hook) that a hammer does to a nail. You wouldn't want to drive a big nail with a small hammer and a really big hammer doesn't work very well with a small nail.... Now to bring it down to basics.... If you're only going to be using flies no bigger than a #1, a 6wt or 7wt rod is just fine (provided the wind isn't blowing hard or the casting distances too great...), for hooks up to a 2/0 an 8 or 9wt rod works just fine. For hook sizes above a 2/0 you're going to need a 10wt or above. Considering fish sizes with all of this.... I'd use a 6 to 8wt for fish up to about 30lbs, a 9wt for fish up to about 40lbs (and have done so many, many times), a 10wt for fish up to almost 80lbs, and the heavier rods for the big boys.

    This is all you need to know.
    "If I can't win, I won't play." - Doris Colecchio.

    "Well Gary, the easiest way to look tall is to stand in a room full of short people." - Curtis Bostick

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  • mtd885mtd885 Posts: 1,159 Officer
    Bob nailed it ...LOL
    This past week a lot of us went to 9 wts throwing 1/0 flies for the "big girls" to get that softer presentation with variable winds and spooky educated tarpon. Along the beach in a strong current I want to use the big sticks so I can maximize the pressure I put on the fish. If wave action is affecting my line I'll go to an intermediate to get beneath those pesky waves. Like many other things in life, set and setting, need to be accounted for.
    PS: Shooting heads are an inexpensive method of having several sink rates available to you with minimal effort to change lines if you are on a tight budget. Using a loop to loop setup, it only takes a couple of minutes to change the shooting head.
  • idlerickidlerick Littleton, Colorado & Sarasota, FlaPosts: 232 Deckhand
    You got some good advice on rods vs fly and fish weights. As to lines:
    You've seen what a hassle adding weights to the leader can be to casting. I like drifting the 3-8 ft grass flats, and use sink tips almost exclusively. The floaters I save for the really shallow water and on- or near-surface flies. The rods I use most often (for trout, reds, spanish, ladies, jacks, blues, etc) are 6 thru 8 wts and I use lines from a Type I sink tip (Slow, 1-2 ips sink rate) to Type 6 (XXFast, 6-8 ips) for each. I feel the ST's make it easier to feel strikes, control, pick up, and cast than the full sink lines. Some will claim they "hinge", but that was 80's technology. My general rule of thumb is a Type I for the 2-3 ft shallows, a Type III for 4-7 ft depths and a Type 6 or 7 for the 10-ft channels in winter. You can also get Depth Charge type lines for really getting down.
    As someone above correctly pointed out, the warm waters of Fla really make two types of lines necessary: A tropical type for warmer weather and standard (or coldwater) type for winter. The former will coil and snarl and feel like barbed wire in winter while the latter will wilt and get sticky in summer.
    So decide how deep you need to fish and at what time of year and look for lines that fit your needs. Rio, SA, Cortland, and Airflo all make great lines.
    :)
  • ghostghost Posts: 40 Deckhand
    I found a lot of information and answers to questions by reading a lot of fly fishing books in addition to asking questions. Here's a good all-around list of books that will help! I guess I've bought a dozen or more..... General Fly Fishing Books
    I read Florida Fly Fishing :cool:
  • Docked WagesDocked Wages Posts: 2,911 Admin
    Thanks everyone for the advice so far. I had a family emergency that kept me offline for the past week and this is my first opportunity to reply to the suggestions.

    From reading this post I think that I will strip the floating line off my 9wt reel and replace it with sinking line to target the larger saltwater species.

    I will look to acquire a 6-7wt rod and spool that with floating line. With this set up what lb test backing should I use and can it be simple braid (ie crystal 10lb perhaps) ? My larger 9 wt reel has 20lb dacron I believe.

    Thanks again for the replies.
    Mark P. Wilson
    Marine Surveyor, SAMS-SA, ABYC
    Wilson Yacht Survey, Inc
    Old Bahama Bay (Owner / Board of Directors) 



  • ghostghost Posts: 40 Deckhand
    Don't use 10# backing. If it breaks you lose your line! Stick with 20# and you'll be okay. I'd go with sinking TIP line instead of sinking, too. I use a clear tip and it's great.
    I read Florida Fly Fishing :cool:
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