Overline my 5wt or step up to a 6wt?

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Mike Munro, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. I will underline a more moderate action rod on occasion if I like the crisper "feel" I get from a lighter line weight. Good example, I have a Beulah Classic 9' 5wt that is great with a triangle taper 4wt. With a full 5wt on it, it just doesn't feel right, too sluggish, which to me, is different than being slower.

    All rods can cast a variety of line weights both above and below fairly well. A good caster can take an 8wt fast action rod, and line it with a 5wt line, and still cast 80'. Not ideal, and takes a good deal of tip control, and accurate timing, but can certainly be done. Think about the difference in total grain weight on any given line, when casting 25' and casting 75'.

    Was at Puget Sound shop today, playing around with a rod I'm likely getting. One great game was trying to cast as tight a loop as possible, while casting as slowly as possible. It's difficult, but gives you a really good sense of loading and sound, absolute tip stoppage. Interesting stuff.


    Nick Clayton and Mark Mercer like this.
  2. I'm not kidding (for a once), but I'm not an expert either. I think the manufacturers have to put a wt on the rod, but that is for a subset of potential situations. Used to be you saw a lot more rods labeled 4/5 wt and so on then you do now. A heavy line will cause more load, more flex, slowing down the rod. Less weight will reduce the load and the flex in the rod, speeding it up. Makes sense to me, but like I said, I'm no expert and I certainly cannot cast all my line out.

  3. But does it sing with a 5 wt. Line?

  4. The TFO? Nope. It doesn't sing with a 6 weight either, the line the rod is labeled as being designed for.

    I have an older St. Croix 6/7 weight that throws a wf 5 line quite nicely.
  5. Powell used to design his graphite rods to cast two and three line weights, but he new good casters would figure out which line would work best for any given situation. Most rods that were designated with two line weights, like a 4/5wt were meant for a 4wt double taper line or a 5wt weight forward line. A double taper line will have more weight at, say 40' out than a weight forward line. Of course the amount of line you have out changes everything.
  6. I'm not arguing the point but merely trying to figure out why someone would overline or underline a rod, especially one with the technology of a Sage. I own numerous and have always found the number on the blank to be accurate. I know lots of people overline a fast action rod because they are not able to cast it successfully. They overline to mush out the rod and slow it down. Bad rod choice, in my opinion. But if that's what one wants to do, have at it. I just believe there is disappointment ahead.
    Porter likes this.

  7. I think most people, including myself (but not very often) over line a rod to be able to load the rod with less line out of the tip, especially faster rods, for either shorter casts or distance. Like a Sage XP, IMO just too fast for the intended line wt, you needed to get 40' of line out to start to really load the rod properly, where as if you over lined one wt it would cast great from the get go. I personally don't care for faster rods but, as you know, they do have their advantages for certain things.

    I don't think I've ever underlined a rod, at least that I can remember, but I guess a very slow rod under certain conditions could preform better being underlined, I've just not ran into that.
  8. Back to the idea of good instruction, FFF is holding classes at Green Lake in April. I took the Beginning Fly Casting class a few years ago, and got rid of many bad habits, learned to cast correctly, and gained distance and accuracy. More info here: http://www.wffc.com/instruction.htm
  9. If you enjoy the cast, and lawn cast fairly often, you might try underlining with a DT (5wt on a 6wt rod). No, it won't cast well short, but you can carry 80 feet of line and its a fun way to work on your loops. Not a fishing recommendation.
    Just 2 scents.
  10. I wish we could just do away with the whole "wt" designation and go with a grain window on all rods like what some two-handed rod manufacturers do, but that's a topic for an entirely new thread...but like everything, it boils down to individual preferences (or differences, for you science nerds).

    IMO, you'd be better off with a 6wt (with a matched line) for those times when the wind kicks up anyway. whether or not you overline or underline totally has to do with the type of fishing you do. For the close-in game, overlining works great so that it takes less line to load the rod, for long-range work, with the majority of today's fast action rods, if you just use the matched line and once you get some casting basics down, it's relatively easy to really sling some line. It might not be a bad idea to take a casting class or two. I've never had one, and I'm sure that even after doing this for over 20 years I could learn a thing or two. You also will want to learn how to haul, regardless of whether your throwing a fast action stick or a slow action one, once you learn how to haul correctly, you'll be able to really sling some line.

    Back to lining, earlier shooting heads have been mentioned. While I love the Outbound (I even love it on my glass rods) for how quick and easy it is to do one backcast and shoot it out there, that method isn't always the most accurate, whereas if you're throwing the correct line, then you're aerializing much more line and if you're overlining, you've got so much grain weight out there that even with fast action rods, they'll turn to mush and your cast will collapse and the advantage of higher line speed that faster action rods give you (well, it's easier with them anyway) is lost.

    also, with overlining/underlining a rod, if you're trying to overline a fast action rod so it'll load with very little line out, just get yourself a glass rod for that type of fishing...you'll thank me later (there's my shameless glass plug).

    Patrick Gould likes this.
  11. I agree with this sentiment. Across a given weight rods are designed very differently, and what feels right to a few guys at Orvis or Sage might not work for everyone. If your style leans toward carrying more line in the air I can see how moving down a 1/2 or full step might be beneficial.
  12. Part of the problem added into the equation is the stated weight of lines vs what they actually are.

    Some lines are already 1/2 to a full weight heavier, and folks don't know it.
  13. munro,
    find a really inexpensive line and practice on the street. streets are easier to find casting room and who cares if you whack up the line. its good practice
    Porter likes this.
  14. I still do that...a little embarrased when a car turns the corner and quickly swerves, or I have a huge fir tree branch 40' down the street and 15' high and I have gotten my line tangled on there a couple of times :rolleyes: . I use to buy those SA2 supreme lines under 20.00. They are actually decent lines and have used them on the beach and other places...but the street will beat them up. I havent seen those lines for some time in the stores. Theres still some 20.00 lines out there to purchase for street/brush practice. ;)
  15. SA Aircel at BiMart for $18.00. They work well, and the fish don't seem to care that it's 20 year old technology.
    Porter likes this.
  16. Well here's my two cents worth....In the olden days we would build a rod and then test it with fly lines of each weight to find the one that best matched the rod (the fly club had floating lines in 3-12 wt). When I started buying finished rods I did the same thing. With few exceptions (mostly Orvis), in over 50 years of testing, a line heavier than what was recommended cast the fly further and loaded the rod faster with fewer false casts. I'm not discounting the benefits of some casting lessons but you should test the lines out for yourself and decide which best does the job. What is printed on the rod is a recommendation to get you started.

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