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Just kinda running this through my brain lately with the following sideboards. I'm thinking a stick for medium to small rivers with 100' casts about max, mostly 60-80'.

One that will handle a delta (or the short-mid belly of you choosing) with tips as well as a skagit head heavy enough to turn over big, heavy bunny leachest, etc. As the temperature is plummeting I'm really starting to like the idea of not stripping line.

A rod that is long enough to allow for good line control and mending.

Minimal back cast room not a huge concern but something to keep in mind.

In short, a rod that may not be the perfect choice for every scenario on every river but would never be a bad choice. All opinions welcome.
 

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A 13' 7 wt does all this. Light to carry, cast, and fish, and enough umph to play to hand any steelhead that swims here. I've been fishing a 13' 4" CND Solstice for 7 years to the exclusion of everything else. And since CND has become scarce, I picked up a Sage Z-axis 7136 blank last winter and am building it up as my backup.

Sg
 

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Burkheimer 8139-3 is what I use. I can fish it w/ a dry line or skagit equally well. It throws a skagit w/ big stuff quite nicely.
 

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7136 brownie; good till you are done..whatever line turns your crank, durable, stand up company to back any issues, and forgiving. There are nicer, lighter fancier and much more expensive rods out there, but none have the soul of this rod.
 

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I have a Meiser 13' 6/7 MKS and it fits almost all the areas and needs that I've came up against, it's really the only rod I use anymore.
 

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Had to chuckle when I read this.

7136 brownie; good till you are done..whatever line turns your crank, durable, stand up company to back any issues, and forgiving. There are nicer, lighter fancier and much more expensive rods out there, but none have the soul of this rod.
A bit back I purchased a fellows 7136-4 and up pops a PM ... 'Can I have it back?' No kidding. Answer was 'yes' and sold it back for the same as I paid for same. No gouging. Anyway, rod back to fellow in today's Post.

There are hundreds of rods out there, but there's just something ... God What? .. about these rods. History, just flat works, etc. Interesting to look back at Sage's call into getting into a nonexistent market here in the United States. That took 'balls.' :smokin:

First was the 9140-4 (Nailed It!) then the 7136-4 (Nailed it again) and both became classic rods. I'm sure both rods have gone through design modifications of some sort (Pitty that:rolleyes:) but the 'demand' for the 'originals' is amazing. A bit of history in your hands?

Could be, just might be?

Perhaps?

fae

Side note, my original 9140-4 will be posted off to a younger fellow later this week. This rod was #4 off Sage's production line. Yes, it's in immaculate condition, Freddie takes damned good care of his 'toys.'
 

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I have a Meiser 13' 6/7 MKS and it fits almost all the areas and needs that I've came up against, it's really the only rod I use anymore.
Agreed. I sold one of these sticks, but it was an awesome winter skagit rod on Oregon coastal rivers.
 

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Snowbee Torridge 12' 6/7

I love this rod, had my doubts going in but its still an amazing stick. Throws a 6/7 delta, 420 rage and 450 skagit. I know its a bit short for most waters but here on the island it is just fine and get my fly to its destination. Still waiting for the Steel to meet it there though:D
 

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I used a Echo Dec Hogan 7130 for 3 years. Fished it from the Deschutes to the Wilson/Trask in Oregon, and Snohomish to Nooksack Rivers here in Washington. I sold it to a friend, and now have a Sage VXP 7133. Once I get my Speyco Skagit reel from Tim, It will be the "Winter beast".

All in all, a 7wt, 13 footer will do most anything. Just need to find the action that suites you.

But truthfully, on small/medium rivers, I use my Orvis Access 7wt Switch more than anything. A 13-footer, although great for a longer belly line, is just cumbersome in most places I fish.
 

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Just kinda running this through my brain lately with the following sideboards. I'm thinking a stick for medium to small rivers with 100' casts about max, mostly 60-80'.

One that will handle a delta (or the short-mid belly of you choosing) with tips as well as a skagit head heavy enough to turn over big, heavy bunny leachest, etc. As the temperature is plummeting I'm really starting to like the idea of not stripping line.

A rod that is long enough to allow for good line control and mending.

Minimal back cast room not a huge concern but something to keep in mind.

In short, a rod that may not be the perfect choice for every scenario on every river but would never be a bad choice. All opinions welcome.


A 13ish foot rod that will cast a 540- 630 grain head
And will manhandle fish up to 15 lbs.. Get them to the bank in well under 10 minutes
 

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I'm surprised so many people are saying 7 weights. I would push for an 8 weight, simply because winter fish typically average over ten pounds and you want to get them in within ten minutes, like roballen stated.

Length should be suited to the size of the river and/or backcasting room, but is your preference. Usually I'd say if you're making over 80' casts you'e fishing too far... in general. I like a longer rod these days though, for better line control.

All around winter stick... 8136. But, I'd fish a little longer if I had the room.
 

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6/7 vs. 8

There have been a number of statements in this thread and another recent one about needing a heavy rod to land winter fish or conversely, how a 7 or even 6 will do the job fine. My thoughts are that both opinions are likely right.

I belief, and have stated in the other thread, that I believe an 8 is the best tool for the job. My opinion is based on my belief that an 8 not only throws heavier tips easier, but it also allows you to muscle a fish when you need to. I'm not convinced that 10 min is the target for all fish but one's goal should always be to get the fish in and released as soon as possible.

In and of itself, the heavier rod won't muscle a fish in any faster than a 6 but in my experience, most anglers are uncomfortable putting the degree of bend in a light rod that would equal the pressure from a lesser bend from an 8 weight. In the end, tippet and knot strength are the limiting factors but in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing, a 6 will quickly land 95% of the winter fish you are likely to run into. The caveat in my mind though is not everyone is an Ed Ward and capable and willing to stress their equipment to that degree. And for the 5%, that 20#+ native brute, that fish of a lifetime, why chance it?

Couple that with my original point that I find an 8 just more enjoyable for winter tip fishing, I believe the answer is an 8. Now length, that is another issue all together. ;)
 

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Meiser, T&T, and OPST two handers; Scott, Orvis, & Winston SH. Danielsson and Hardy Reels
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Since Perfection isn't attainable...

I think the rod I can fish with most comfortably is the answer. Some days it will be an 8 and other days a 6, even in the winter. Sure, if you make me choose, I'm going to say the 8 simply because I'll err on the side of caution most every time. I have four 2H rods and I'm glad I do. Do I want (read NEED) more? Not likely, but it is fun to dream about some of the legendary sticks available to us.
 

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I have four 2H rods and I'm glad I do. Do I want (read NEED) more? Not likely, but it is fun to dream about some of the legendary sticks available to us.
I have two 8's, and two sixes.

In order to have an informed, well balanced opinion, I obviously need a 7. Or two of them. Well, maybe three.
 

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Good thread ...

The best tool to pursue Winter fish in the PNW will be relative to the river that you'll wish to pursue them.

Two of my back yard rivers in the State of Jefferson are the Klamath and the Cal Smith.

Both host wonderfully strong runs of Winter fish ... But even though they enter the ocean only a few miles apart, they are sourced from VERY different watersheds.

Big Winter fish on the Klamath system will seldom exceed 10 pounds with most being 5 to 8 pounds ... No need for an 8 weight here, a 6/7 is fine.

Just a few miles up the Coast from the Klamath will be the Cal Smith.

The Cal Smith will consistently host 20 pound + Winter fish ... Best to carry an 8/9 weight for this river.

Rod length (as Tip said) can also include a wide diversity ... Even on the same river.

On the lower Cal Smith (for example) a 13'0 to 14'0" rod is a go-to ...

... But higher up in the giant boulder strewn canyon forks of the Cal Smith, a single hand 9'6", or an 11'0" short two hander will be far more logical tools.

The ideal tool is dependent on the overall character of the river one fishes.

Meiz
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Had a little revelation yesterday. A friend loaned be his St Croix Imp. 140910 (really an 8/9) to play with. At the suggestion of Tim Rajeff I cut my old Delta 8/9 at 15' and looped on 12' of Z9. That was the most appropriate tip I had mad up at the time. In short, worked great. When I had my act together it was no problem shooting the whole head and five strips of running line with a nice little tug at the end. Probably could have thrown it quite a bit further if there was a need, the Methow aint that big a river.

That was really the first time I've tried tips on a short/mid belly. The mending capability of a 14' rod is also really nice and it worked with a skagit head as well. Think I'm going to look for a similar rod as the idea of minimal stripping in the winter is really appealing.

Thanks for all the input. This has been very informative.

Tom
 

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Agree, ideal rod will be one you enjoy casting all day. My usual go-to winter rod is a Sage TCX 7119, almost makes chucking a Skagit w/ T11 as much fun as fishing a full floater. Just the ticket for steep brushy coastal runs.
 
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