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What would you say is the most versatile rod weight taking all flyrod types into consideration (spey,double overhead,single overhead). I'm thinking 8 weight would cover the buggest variety of fish (in fresh water).
 

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One for All

I would say that if I could only pick one weight class for everything. Salmon, steelhead, spring, summer, winter, fall it would probably be a 9wt.
 

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I've been fly fishing for 46 years and have fished for nearly all freshwater game fish from pike to steelhead in that time, and I have been using a 2-hand rod for the last 13 years. I personally think you must have a different line wt rod for an "all-around rod" for single and 2-hand rods because you are asking the rods to do somewhat different things.

IMO, a 7 wt is the most versitile in a single-hand rod. It is a bit heavy for small tippets and flies; however, if you lengthen the leader to 12' when fishing flies smaller than #16, you can still fish them without popping leaders. A 7 wt also allow you to fish fair-sized flies (you can cast flies of 1/0 or even 2/0 if you must on it) when targeting the larger fish like pike. It has enough backbone to cast wind resistent surface bugs for bass and pike. It has enough butt strength to help in landing fish above 8 or 9 pounds. Finally, you can find all sink rates in tips or shooting heads in a #7.

In similar fashion, the 9 wt is the most versitle in a 2-hand rod. Two- hand rods for lines smaller than a 9 wt don't really have the power to cast large flies 80 ft or so, unless the caster is using a short head line and is a good caster with such a line. A 9wt can cast large flies and small fllies. Yes, it is a bit heavy for flies smaller than #8, and bit light for flies larger than #1 or #2. It has sufficient butt strength to help land large fish and although a bit on the light side for it, can handle chinook of 40#'s or so.

Single-hand rods under 7 wt don't have the power and strength needed to cast large, wind resistent flies and don't have the butt strength to beat the larger fish without fighting the fish to exhaustion. 2-hand rods under 9 wt don't have the power to cast the large flies of #1/0 and larger and don't have the butt strength to beat large fish (those over 25#'s) is a reasonable time.
 
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