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First Rod?

1788 Views 12 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  SPG
Looking to get into the two handed game and looking for advice on my first purchase. I have been looking at purchasing either the Scott L2h 1158/4 or the Sage Method 8119-4. I have been a religious Sage one handed guy in the past but spending $875 on my first rod might be a stretch. I would be fishing salmon/steelhead, swinging and some indicator fishing in small to medium rivers of the west side of the Michigan Great Lakes. Any and all advice is appreciated.
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Unless you are already a proficient spey caster get a longer rod. It will be easier to learn the mechanics.

For a first rod I would recommend a 13' 7 or 8wt. This is the rod I started a friend with. A rod that will throw roughly a 500 gr head +/- 50gr skagit head. Go to the lighter end of this grain window if you be fishing for smaller fish in summer conditions the heavier end of the grain window for bigger fish in winter with tips.

Echo, TFO and others make some excellent rods at a moderate price point.

Learn technique. Both casting and swinging.

I don't like fishing nymphs with DH rods. If I'm going to do that, which I admit I don't do that much anymore, I use a SH rod. It's just a better tool for the job IMHO.
+1 for sage. I fish a 7116-4 ONE switch and it is a machine. Fishes indi gear all day long or, as i prefer, give it a 450gr skagit and it throws 100'+ laser beams w/ dinner plate accuracy. wouldnt trade it for anything. i dont even take out my 13'6" on GL trips anymore
Go and talk with Great Lakes FF Glenn will set you up with the right stuff at a great price.

I was really fortunate that when I got started down this road about 10 years ago, one of the first people to show me a little bit about it said, Give Bob Meiser a call. I did, and even though I've accumulated several more rods since then, the first 12'6 6 wt Highlander Classic is still my favorite.

I'd suggest calling Bob Meiser. He has an uncanny ability to divine your needs, even when you don't know enough about it to know what they are.
that right there is absolute gospel. Wish I would have done that from the start, but glad I did it a month back.
I second calling Mr. Meiser. I, too, am looking for my first rod and decided on a TFO Deer Creek 13' for 7/8. Because Meiser designed this rod I wanted to talk with him about it. He was very gracious and as patient with my questions as he would be if I was buying one of his own rods. I ended up purchasing an SGS skagit line and running line from him, both as a way of "paying him for his time" and because of the rep Steve has for the line he makes.
Interestingly, Bob did not advise that I buy his "zink" sinktips; he also advised against MOW tips, saying that RIO 15' sink tips would do the job at 129 grains, or 9-10 wt tips.
I'm buying a TFO for now due to both funds and that big-fish winter season is creeping up on us. But I'm saving my pennies now to buy a Meiser...you can bet on that!
But don't forget the classifieds here and on other sites. You can find good deals all the time. By the way, Bob advises "newbies" like us go with slower-action rods to start; a Dec Hogan Echo ("Decho") or the TFO properly lined would fit the bill nicely.
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Get Several Opinions

But, don't invest a lot of money in equipment until you find out if you will like the new way of fly-fishing. There is a lot of used equipment which is a good way of getting started. The TR series of rods from Echo are very nice starting rods, especially the 13' 7 wt. The TFO rods are also good, but I find them to be a little harder to cast for a beginner. If you invest a couple hundred dollars on a rod, another 75 to 100 on a reel and $50 on a couple of lines that will match the rod, you won't be out as much if the new way (and it is a new way) doesn't work out for you.
Thanks everyone for your input...looks like a talk with Mr. Meiser is in order!!
Go with an Echo

It's your first Rod first time doing it get yourself an Echo TR or DH2 This way if you decide you want to get something nicer you can use that as a back up. Your rod might take a beating the first couple outings. Just my opinion. I purchased a couple echo rods when I first started and of course I wanted something nicer. Now I have a collection of too many rods but I find myself fishing my 7 wt ECHO TR all the time.
First Rod

So many great rod makers, you really just have to find that one that works for you and within your budget. Reasonably priced - Beulah, TFO, Echo. A bit more money, but worth it - Burkheimer, Sage, Meiser.

You really can't go wrong with these guys. Most times it just comes down to rod "fit".

Good Morning Mike Gooch, I completed your Skagit and ELF runner yesterday, going to hit the PO at 11am this morning. All of my Skagits come with a grain matched Zink tip free of charge, yours is 12 ft of Zink-15, welded loops both ends. I do not want anyone getting my lines and not be ready to cast, only tippet & fly required. Bob and I provide 2 styles of sink tip termination tackle. Fishing shallow to deep you have 3 choices. With a level hi density sink material like my ZINK or RIO T you must vary the length 4 to 12 ft to properly fish different water depths and speed. The other method is having tips all fixed at 12 or 15 ft but with different densities, INT, #3, #6, #8. Bob carries #7, #9, #11, these are weight sizes. Oftem Bob has me cut these RIO 15ft tips back to 12 ft. The mow tips cleverly create 10 ft tips for shallow thru deep presentations with level hi density RIO T, I can do the same with my ZINK. All of the 3 methods catch fish and the best choice the one most comfortable for you. Please call if you have any questions. Steve 541-840-2594
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