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Last year I posted that I was looking for a smaller fast actioned rod for smaller steelhead and smallmouth fishing. I wanted one rod to cover both needs, but I have since purchased three rods to cover those two needs?!?! Here's what I found...

The Loop 12'4" black line really likes the Vision Ace VAC89F shooting head with Rio 12' Powerflex leaders and Rio Slickshooter. Slickshooter rocks. The Powerflex leaders fish and cast great -- much better than the Airflo 10' polyleaders. The heaviest one really gets down pretty good for being just a "leader". The whole thing is a real slick setup for smaller steelhead. Completely effortless. The rod doesn't overpower an average steelhead either. I have also experimented successfully with cutting back a 13wt tarpon taper and looping on Rio 15' sink tips. It can cast big intruders OK in this configuration, but its probably not the rod's strong suit.

The Loomis 12'6" 8/9 (from canada - not the new stingers) likes the Vision Ace VAC910F with the same 12' leaders. However, this rod gets to be a bit big for "smaller steelhead". Its a real powerhouse though. Unfortunately when it comes to rods like that, I already have a couple. The rod casts super tight loops with very high line speeds. I'll probably end up selling it though, since its a bit bigger than what I was seeking.

Finally, the Cabelas 11'3" 6wt "Spey" rod is really cool for smallmouth and would work well for medium/large trout, dollies, etc. I've tried several lines on it and have so far settled on the 9wt Rio Clauser line. It casts well with underhand style so long as the flies are small. And it is still able to deliver fully dressed 2/0 half&halfs to about 65' if I use a more Skagity cast. The nice thing about the setup is it handles Airflo 10' polyleaders with no problem. The line is already looped for them. The rod is so light that even a 14" smallie bends it really good. And its still short and light enough that it can be cast one handed when necessary. (like when trying to work under brush) The clauser line's weight forward design makes it easier to "shake" the line back out to make another speycast -- sometimes necessary when casting and stripping back in. The rod can also be used overhead with two hands. I haven't tried it much with poppers yet, but it seems to work OK for that too.

I started experimenting with 2handers for smallies last year when I was having soreness in my casting hand caused by single hand casting. So far this Cabelas rod is just the ticket.
 

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My favorite has to be the T&T1107 or the Loomis 13ft4in 5/6. Both rods fish very well with the WC7/8/9 with the tip removed. When the wind isn't kickin' the Loomis throws a WC5/6 cut for tips pretty good also. I travel al bit for my job, and one thing I can always count on wherever I am, is that if the city has some water flowing through it, it probably has some smallies waiting for a wooly bugger.

I had to add some glory shots of my 1107 w/ some fish.

Battle Creek MI


White River MI
 

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Smallies

I am planning on fishing for smallies with a two-hander this summer as well. I have the Winston 11er so that is what I will use. I mostly fish a mediumed sized trib and use trout streamers, i.e. - woolly buggers, black dace, etc. in sizes 8 - 10. Nothing fancy, but it is fun.

David Dornblaser
 

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Peter, may I ask what sort of rod that is? I saw the pic in one of your other posts not so long ago and wondered then as well.
 

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Wow,
someone else in the US using British (Japanese?) rods. Seems like Daiwa are making a name for themselves again while more and more people this side of the pond are looking at US made rods. Perhaps the world is just getting smaller? - I've just bought a Loomis Stinger off ebay, which even if I get hammered on import duty (fairly likely going off past experiences!) will work out far cheaper than buying it from a tackle shop here. :D
 

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Hmmmmmm?

That's odd... on my Euro trip I had many Lochmor owners wishing they hadn't tried any of the Stingers that we had on display.
 

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..........have to agree with Peter on the Loop Blue 7116, it's great for smallmouth and small steelhead. It'll cast 580 grains, with just about any size fly the fish would want, at just about any distance you need to fish.
 

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............Peter, I still think about my "Grand Slam" on the Muskegan a year ago on Easter Sunday. 28 degrees, snow and wind, a walleye, a carp, and a rainbow. I was beginning to wonder if a sturgeon was going to be next!
 

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Walleye

Peter,

If we still hook up and fish the White before next years clave be prepared to hit some 'eyes. I had a day out there just over a year ago that I literally couldn't keep them off a yellow wooly bugger. I must have landed 30-40 fish that day, a few females in the 12lb range. These fish were bright silver w/ green backs, very different from the Lake Huron walleye I grew up with. It got a bit annoying after a while as they were out of season. I am catch and release everything about 99.99% of the time, mostly because I just don't care to clean fish, walleye are the exception, I could hear the oil sizzling in the pan the whole time.
 
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