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R. Miller

9 foot for beginners

18 posts in this topic

Question. I have dabbled with a few cheap fly rods the last couple years for panfish bass, and would definitely consider myself a novice. I just upgraded and bought a 9 foot 6 weight. I read an article yesterday that suggested and 8 to 8 1/2 foot 6 to 7 weight ideal for beginners. I was just wondering what you thought of that. I'm hoping I'll be okay with my 9 foot 6 weight for trout, pannies, and some bass. I would think that half foot wouldn't make that much of a difference, right?

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I like 9' rods, and I think you'll do just fine with that length for that weight.

That's the short of it. Sounds good to me.

smile.gif

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I started with 9 footers and am still using mostly 9 footers. My next rod...will probably be a 9 footer. The only time a shorter rod is easier is if you are fishing in tight quarters that limit your casting stroke or will interfere with a back/forward cast that is slightly higher. a longer rod has better line control, is easier in wind due to higher line speed, and is easier to roll cast.

you'll be fine

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Yep, I agree. If you are mainly fishing for bass, then I am guessing that you will be fishing wide open areas most of the time. You'll be glad that you chose the 9-footer, especially as your casting skills progress.

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I started with a 9 foot rod and it seemed to work great. I have used a 8' 6" and haven't noticed much difference.

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Thanks for the replies.

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I use 9 footers. The information you read is just an old saw that has been repeated by writers for the past 70 years.

The important thing is to get a rod of good quality, which doesn't necessarily mean expensive. There are plenty such good rods out there today.

I've been fly fishing for quite a long time now, and I find that the rod is not as important anymore because I can adjust my timing to the qualities of the rod to get a good cast. Just about any piece of junk will work for me. Even an old 1940's telescoping steel rod works fine. If you're having problems with casting, don't blame the rod. But get one that is made by a reputable manufacturer known primarily for fly rods, like Cortland. There are several others now, but I've been out of the market for them, so I can't make a good current recommendation.

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I think two cases where the long rod has an advantage is when you're mending your line, and when your tightline nymphing and trying to keep your line out of the water.

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I have to agree with Dead........it is much easier to mend your line with a longer rod. The extra length also helps you get more distance with lighter flies.

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I have to disagree w/ Questor and I would challenge him to get the same quality cast in varying conditions w/ a telescoping steel rod as with one of the new rods. Yes, timing is important and with the proper timing you will be able to cast any rod. but that does not mean you will be able to get good casts just because your timing is correct. the newer stiffer rods will cast much easier and more accurately in wind due to the backbone and the line speeds they generate. they won't lay a cast down like an old bamboo rod w/ a soft action and slow line speed but what good is that if the wind is blowing and knocks your cast off? To get back to the question... in my opinion a longer stiffer rod is better suited to a beginner because of the benefits already discussed. a stiffer rod is easier to time your cast because you can feel the rod load more. I hope this helps you w/ any future rod choices.

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bigfish21:

Believe it or not, I get amazingly good results with junky old rods like that. I really tried to hate them, but ended up respecting them quite a bit. For panfishing my old 9 foot steel rod casts about as well as my 9 foot Sage Light Line 5wt-- if I just look at the two rods as tools, objectively. It's just that the Sage is more fun and, as you say, a bit more versatile. It's also a joy to look at and to hold. It's a rod really designed for all the senses.

I also find a lot of use for my old 6 foot bamboo midge rod. It's supposed to be a piece of junk, but it works better than any other rod I own for tiny stream fishing, where brook trout still live.

One of the great things I find about steel, and also about bamboo is its weight. You really get a sense of the rod loading. In the case of a good bamboo rod, I find the sensation superior to even the best of today's graphite rods. So, consequently, my favorite trout rod is a 7.5 foot bamboo of high quality.

The old advice for a beginner was to get the best rod you could afford. Today, there are plenty of excellent rods at remarkably good prices. If I were starting today, I doubt that I'd get a Sage. There are fine rods for far less now. The really expensive rods, except for some specialized fish fighting rods like the heavy weight G. Loomis rods, are mostly just eye candy today.

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I wasn't challenging your ability to cast a junky rod I was only trying to clarify rod selection for a beginner. From your first posting it may be misunderstood that a person can cast equally well in all conditions with what many would consider a junky rod. The bottom line is that the newer materials are used because they have shown thru testing that they have desirable qualities for a flyrod. That doesn't mean there isn't a place for bamboo rods and any other material.

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Bigfish21:

You're absolutely right. I did drag too much esoterica into the discussion. The original point I was trying to make is that skills can eventually make up for a bad rod.

The irony in fly fishing, and some other things, is that those who need the good equipment most are the least likely to have it. These are the beginners.

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It sounds like the 9 footer will be great, but waht about the 6 wt? I will primarily be using it for trout, sunfish and crappies, but do you think it will work for the occasional largemouth and smallmouth? Down the line in a few years I'd like to get a 9 or 10 wt or something for pike and big bass, but I'm hoping this 9 foot 6 wt will be okay for bass every once in a while. I guess I might have trouble casting larger flies, poppers though? Any advice would be great. Thanks!

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I've caught plenty of smallies on my 6wt. Yeah, an 8 or 9 wt would help in casting those larger flies, but your 6 wt will work just fine. just keep the size of your flies down a little bit, and open up your casting loop and you should be fine. I ususally don't cast anything bigger than a size 6 on my 6wt and sometimes that is pushing it, especially with a big crawfish pattern. Plenty of bass will hit size 10 wooly buggers, in all sorts of colors. I've caught a few largemouth on my panfish poppers as well. You just won't be horsing them in like you would on an 8 wt...

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I used my 6 wt this past summer on a midnight canoe trip up a river in the area grin.gif some of you will know what I am talking about. We caught a ton of smallies on poppers and had no problems landing them. In fact it was more fun (for me) to fight them with the smaller wt. rod. I also landed my first Northern on that float which was a blast. Personnaly if you are only able to have one rod, the 6 wt. would be the one I would want.

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Thanks for the advice DeadHead and Shiner. I've been fishing my whole life but I'm very new to fly fishing and appreciate the tips. I can't wait to get started with my 6 wt!

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I agree with shiner, that a 6wt is indispensable. a 6wt will meet most freshwater angling needs, and is very versatile.

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