6 wt for steelhead

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by wanative, May 30, 2013.

  1. KerryS

    KerryS Ignored Member

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    I have used a 6 weight single on the Ronde fishing dries and had no problems landing steelhead with it. Now Ronde steelhead isn't like summer steel from a Salish or pen river but a 6 single worked just fine. Again I think a lot of it has to do with who is handling the rod.
     
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  2. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

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    We digress, but...

    I guess I should clarify, I heard that rule of 3 weights in regards to sizing lines. That I know has worked out, more or less for me. I run a 5wt scandi short on my 10'6 8wt single, and it's a dream. But I also run a 4wt scandi short on my 10'6 6wt and I like it a ton as well.
     
  3. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

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    Also changes a lot if it is a rocketship fast rod or a wobbletron noodle stick. Both could greatly affect fish fighting capabilities. I have a 8wt St. Croix (a retired rod) that would bend to the cork with 25" fall steelie. But, it landed them just fine. My newer ION (same weight, and a full 2 feet longer) usually feels like a bit of overkill with the same size of fish.
     
  4. Evan Burck

    Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

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    You should. It's good clean fun.
     
  5. Evan Burck

    Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

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    The power comes from the butt section. the rest of the rod will be much more noodly... but the butt section of a six spey will have the power of about a 9wt single.
     
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  6. Jim Darden

    Jim Darden Active Member

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    I think you don't understand the problem. If you can cast the flies you want to use with the line weight you have, you are OK. The lighter weight rod will land the fish if you use the butt of the rod to fight the fish, not the tip. I've caught a lot of steelhead on 6-1/2 to 7-1/2 ft, light rods and they work fine as long as you can present the fly, and that depends more on the line weight. Review a few old tapes of Lee Wulff landing big atlantic salmon on his favorite 7-1/2 ft rod and you will feel better. The reason we use an 8wt rod for bass is the size of the fly, not the fight!
     
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  7. wanative

    wanative Member

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    I like to cast my 6 wt. on the smaller rivers I fish and don't use super heavy flies so for me that part is more fun plus less tiring for my old tendinitis ridden aching elbows and shoulders.;) I've landed salmon and steelhead on my old Fenwick glass 9wt from the 1870's...oops! I meant 1970's.
    I appreciate the feedback from everyone and now have to be patient for the rain to stop.:mad:
    You can tell it's getting close to summer in Washington because the rain
    is getting warmer.:D
    Cheers,
    Fred
     
  8. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    I agree with Jim -
    It is more about the fly you want to fish, the water to be covered, and the line needed to make the presentation you desire. Remember in steelhead fly fishing it often is the case that less than 5% of your time will be fighting the fish and the rest of the time you are just "fishing". A strong consideration should be which rod/lines is the best "tool" for the "fishing" you will be doing.

    With some experience handling larger fish a 6 weight single handed rod is more than an adequate tool for landing any steelhead you are likely to encounter with little risk to the steelhead. With appropriate leader strength, a willingness to use the full "power" of the rod and the experience to take the fight to the fish an angler can land a typical steelhead surprisingly quickly and safely. Heck if I had a dollar for every steelhead I have landed on a 5 weight single handed rod I could afford to get into the two-handed game.

    If you are uncomfortable handling larger fish on a 6 weight or want to develop more experience dealing with larger fish on such equipment I suggest that this August and September chasing pinks and later coho is the prefect opportunity to gain some of that experience.

    curt
     
  9. Steve Saville

    Steve Saville Active Member

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    There is a way that you can compare a single and a two handed rod. It's not exact but check the grain weight of an 8 wt. single handed line and then the grain weight window of a 6 wt. spey rod. Example, though not exact, is that I have a 6 wt. TCX switch rod. It has a grain window of right at 400 grains, give or take a few. An 8 wt. single handed line runs about the same. That's two weights higher. Go to the Rio Spey line recommendation chart and just about all rods have a recommended 2 wt. higher Outbound recommendation. That's just one line but it shows the difference between a single handed rod and a two handed rod. Generally a Spey rod is about two weights higher than a single hand rod's listed weight. Rule of thumb only; not true of all. Some are higher, some lower.
     
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  10. Steve Saville

    Steve Saville Active Member

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    Which actually brings me to another point. You can catch a large fish on a light rod. That's very true. I have caught steelhead on a 4 wt. rod but it was by accident. I was fishing for trout with a size 14 fly but it just happened. It was a thrill, of course, but you have to think seriously about the fish on the other end of your line. Is it worth killing, if only by accident, a wild steelhead just so you can have the thrill of a smaller rod? You can't tell if a fish is wild when you hook it. If you use a 6 wt. rod when you have an 8, you may be endangering the fish. The intial hook-up is the thrill, not the dead tired fish when you get it in. If it's a hatchery fish and you plan on keeping it, chances are it's so full of lactic acid from its fight that it would be horrible to eat. If it's a wild fish, it may not survive and isn't this group of people committed strongly to the preservation of wild fish. I, personally, would feel horrible if I killed a wild fish merely for the sake of a fun fight that I could just as easily have had with a heavier rod, albeit a shorter fight. Think about the fish and the resource.
     
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  11. Evan Burck

    Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

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    Reminds me of pink season two years ago right by your beach. Saw a guy hook a pink and fight it for (literally) 30 minutes or more. I had the time to hook and release 4 fish while he was fighting that one. He got it in, drug it up on the rocks, then took it back down to the water to release it (of course the fish ended up belly up in about 2mins). I confronted him (from my boat) and asked what his deal was. Said he liked fishing a 5wt with light tippet to get more thrill out of it...

    Only thing he's getting out of that is being a bona fide dumbass. (this does not reflect my feelings towards any posters in this thread. unless you tire fish out and release them like this guy)
     
  12. Steve Saville

    Steve Saville Active Member

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    Evan, you know I see it every summer whether it's a pink or a silver. Guys fight them until they have no chance of survival merely for the thrill. I wonder how they sleep at night? But, I'm looking forward to the upcoming season with my 8 wt. rod. It's not as tiring as a 6 or 7 wt., especially after numerous hook-ups and I like my fish fresh and clean so they smoke up nicer. Hope to see you down here a few times.
     
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  13. Shad

    Shad Active Member

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    Everything's variable, but in my experience, the answer to your question about handling fish between 6 and 10 pounds is "Yes" for 6 pounds; "No" for 10. When I first started fishing steelhead, my only rod was a 9 foot 6-wt. I landed my first summer run on the Kalama (about 9#) using that rod, but the outcome was very much in question for most of the fight. Granted, that was a Kalama summer run, so we're talking about an especially bad ass steelhead, but now that I have an 8-wt., I don't use that 6-wt. for much steelhead fishing anymore.

    I do fish a 6-wt. Spey for summer fish. I've only hooked one on it for more than about 5 seconds. That was about a 12-lb. chromer on the Cowlitz, and between the lightish rod and the determined flow of the Cowlitz, I got my ass squarely handed to me.

    I suppose this post doesn't answer your question very well. Sorry. But I can tell you, without hesitation, that a 6-wt. rod is NOT sufficient for an 18-lb. Chinook. That story ended with me landing the fish, but later discovering, while breaking the rod down, that there were hairline fractures all around the butt section ferrule. That was warranty claim #2 on that rod, if memory serves....

    Personally, I'd go with a 7 or 8 for summers. Unless it's late August or September, you'll probably want to keep the ability to tie on a sink tip from time to time, and an 8-wt. affords you that ability much more so than a 6-wt. Besides that, they'll occasionally kick your butt with the 8-wt., too. Those summer runs can be downright ornery.
     
  14. Shad

    Shad Active Member

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    Duplicate post. Oops.
     
  15. fredaevans

    fredaevans Active Member

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    See if you can get your hands on a Gary Anderson (ACR) 5wt. A brilliant rod.
     
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