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#11034758 - 08/11/15 08:53 AM Optimum Fly Rod Wt?
Lloyd5 Offline

Registered: 06/02/14
Posts: 318
Loc: Bosque County, Texas
I started off fishing in the Brazos (about 9 miles below Whitney) with a 6wt fly rod. Then I tried a 3wt. Now I fish almost exclusively with a 4wt. I also own a 7wt that I bought for a bass tournament on Lake Fork but given the size of fish I actually caught I could have easily used my 6wt without any problems. I have a few other rods in miscellaneous and sometimes unknown sizes that I occasionally use, just for variety.

One of the reasons I can use my 4wt in the Brazos is that this is clear open water, no brush for a fish to head for to get tangled in. Occasionally some tree or portion of a tree will wash down and provide temporary structure, but it's not often. So I don't have to horse a fish away from brush. I can let the fish run. I use 8lb leader and only sometimes get it broken. When I do get it broken it is generally because I didn't feed enough line out fast enough on a big fish - they sometimes hit really hard and take me by surprise. Almost always a broken leader happens (to me) within the first two or three seconds.

As of Saturday I have caught and handled a 23.5lb fish with my 4wt. What I now realize was a Buffalo. He put up a big heavy fast running hard pulling fight. For this fish I used the drag on my reel. I set the drag as heavy as I thought the leader could stand and held on, turning him now and then and wearing him out little by little.

That's one argument against a light rod - by the time you wear a big fish out he may be past the point of survival. And that could be true, but every fish I've caught and released looked good and healthy upon leaving my area - including the Buffalo. So I'm not quite convinced by that argument. Call me a cynic, but I've heard a lot of theories in my life that were not true, so I pay attention to what I see more than what I hear - and what I see are fish that look good on leaving.

On the other hand is the argument that I catch a hell of a lot of bluegills for every other fish I catch. A 4wt makes a bluegill a good fight, the bigger bluegills put up a great fight. So there's statistics on the side of the light weight rod. I enjoy those bluegill catches - on a heavy rod I don't. I increase the pleasure in my fishing a great deal this way.

After the Buffalo I have a lot of confidence in the 4wt being able to handle what I get on a hook. Where I fish that is. In other waters I'd start over and think it through from scratch. I kind of doubt that I'll ever fish anyplace that the 7wt won't handle though - even for light salt water fishing it should work if I put on a heavy enough leader. Or so I (maybe naively) think right now.

All of this to say that from my wide reading on this topic I think a lot of fly fishermen are way over-gunned for the fish they catch the most. Which isn't a really bad thing, and might even be a good thing if you personally don't want to wear a big fish out - but it sure takes a lot of the fun out of it for me.

So for now and for the foreseeable future I'll be hanging out there in the Brazos about 9 miles below the Whitney dam with my 4wt and 8lb leader. And using the drag on bigger fish.
Texas State Editor: FishExplorer

Warm Water Fly Fishing Nut

#11034776 - 08/11/15 09:02 AM Re: Optimum Fly Rod Wt? [Re: Lloyd5]
rrhyne56 Offline

Registered: 02/16/01
Posts: 13179
Loc: McKinney TX USA
This is an excellent subject. In my opinion, the rod weight bears more on how fat and fluffy a fly you want to toss. A big old hair bug is a tough toss on a four weight. The other point would be, as mentioned, hossing power. Bass in weeds or big, big fish.
"have fun with this stuff"
in memory of Big Dale
RRhyne56, Flyfishing warden

#11034860 - 08/11/15 09:39 AM Re: Optimum Fly Rod Wt? [Re: Lloyd5]
Lloyd5 Offline

Registered: 06/02/14
Posts: 318
Loc: Bosque County, Texas
Absolutely correct - the size of the fly you're hoisting, the distance your sending it, and the number of hours you're doing that can play a large part in rod size selection. Chunking great big flys on a small rod all day long would wear your arm out. I didn't mention that because it doesn't enter into my own personal calculations. I toss small stuff for the most part, a number 6 clouser being about as big as I generally get.
Texas State Editor: FishExplorer

Warm Water Fly Fishing Nut

#11036626 - 08/11/15 10:18 PM Re: Optimum Fly Rod Wt? [Re: Lloyd5]
Linecaster Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 02/23/06
Posts: 1032
Loc: Richardson TX
I agree with you, light weight rods are much more fun and fish can be landed quicker than most would think. I personally mostly fish a 2 & 3 weight and have landed pretty big bass for those rod sizes, did not totally wear the fish out either. Blue Gill are the best on a light rod love them.

In the beginning God created. Gen. 1:1
All things were made by him and without him was not anything made. John 1:3

#11036645 - 08/11/15 10:28 PM Re: Optimum Fly Rod Wt? [Re: Lloyd5]
robert hunter Online   content
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 06/14/10
Posts: 3327
If any of you are familiar with the magnum size trout I caught last fall in the Ozarks those fish would not hit streamers last year so they were all on my 7'6" three weight. At night I also use seven or 8 pound Tippit and had no issues bringing the fish in quickly and releasing them unharmed. Turning your rod to the side at a 45° angle or more instead of straight up-and-down puts way more pressure on fish than most people think it will really turn them in a hurry and get them in. The only way I would have a problem with a person bringing big fish in on a three or four weight would be if they were using 7X am targeting big fish on purpose especially in this heat I can also completely understand hooking a big fish on 7X that was not targeted. Good thread.

#11036711 - 08/11/15 11:11 PM Re: Optimum Fly Rod Wt? [Re: robert hunter]
Dtheg Offline

Registered: 05/28/14
Posts: 198
Loc: Wylie, Tx
I use a 4wt that I built most of the time. I have caught some decent size fish on it and quickly. I carry extra leader that I can put on if only bigger fish are biting. The last pic I posted the rod was an 8wt I built over the winter, way too much rod for everyday. The 3wt does feel at times that I am just torturing the fish. All that said to answer your question I use a 4wt and 6wt 90% of time. It is crazy how fast u can end up with several rods that over lap. For me 4,6,&8 cover most fishing I'll be doing.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”

― Hunter S. Thompson


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