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The Arsenal


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In a wonderful essay titled "Unfounded Opinions", author Tom McGuane opines that most anglers could really get by with two rods - a six and an eight weight, both nine feet long. But, he adds, "I know nobody's listening to this excellent advice." He asks, "Is it because I have about twenty five fly rods?" This comes up because I've been asked to talk a little about my own collection. I'm a little hesitant because it makes me look like some kind of nut. I guess I am. Maybe I can defend myself by saying that I'm a little more sane in my life outside fly fishing. So, here's the list:

8'9" 3 weight: This is a mellow, medium to medium-slow rod that I use for small stream and delicate fishing. It's a great dry fly and nymphing rod and it will handle small streamers, but it balks at throwing wind-resistant things like hoppers.

9' 4 weight in a medium-fast action: This is a workhouse trout rod. I've had it for ten years and I'm proud to say that I need to replace the guides because they're worn.

7'6" 5 weigh fibreglas: One of the first rods I ever built, it fell out of favor with me because I thought graphite would make me a caster and because I became convinced that longer rods are better. Now, after fifteen years, I'm beginning to love it again. It's great for fishing wet flies on the swing and is a good small stream rod.

8'6" 5 weight, fast action four piece: A rocket, it'll do anything, but you need to be careful about your casting stroke or the fast action will betray you.

9' 6 weight, 5 piece, medium-fast: A streamer, western and boat rod.

9' 7 weight, medium-fast: When it left the factory a lot of years ago, it was state of the art fast. It's still one heck of a steelhead rod, but I can't seem to find another use for it.

8'9" 8 weight, medium-fast: A real sweet rod that's become my favorite bass rod.

Well, I've fessed up about my obsession. How about the rest of you? What's in your tackle closet and how do you use it?

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Let's see,

7'6" 3wt, first fly rod I built has a medium fast action and it's a lot of fun on Hay Creek. It really doesn't like streamers but it sure is a lot of fun - looks good too.

8'9" 4wt, Dan Craft Sig V blank, medium fast but lot's of reserve if you need to reach out and touch somebody. Has a cool checkerboard grip. This is my main trout fishing rod, handles everthing well demands a little bit more casting skill but rewards it.

9' 8wt. Dan Craft FT blank. I built this for the Brule. When smolt take my fly it just feels like a heavy streamer. Hasn't seen too much action yet but it can cast a country mile. I have a second spool with a shooting line that I can use with mono for chuck 'n duck or I can stick a shooting head on it and go for some distance. I really need to practice with this rod some more - feels good though. I plan on throwing some bass bugs with it on the boat, should be fun

9' 5wt St. Croix Premier. Hey Galyans had it on sale as a combo for $65, good to learn on. Now my son has been practice casting with it.

8' 4/5 wt Hi Princess bamboo. Mid 50's factory cane rod, restored by a local builder. My wife bought it for me for Christmas, haven't had it out yet but it's nice and slow.

6' 10" 1wt. I'm just starting to work on it. Should be fun to throw Trico's with it and have an 8" trout on the line.

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Well I don't think your a nut, and if you are then... So am I. Here's what I have (so far)

9' 3wt Winston WT - nice and slow, great dry fly rod

9' 4wt Sage SLT - my go to rod for trout

8' 4wt Diamondback - nice small stream rod (and my shortest)

8'6" 5wt Sage XP - the other go to rod for streamers & nymphing

9' 6wt Sage DS2 - it fits in the arsenal somewhere...

9' 6wt St. Croix Legend Ultra I use this for really windy days and I'll probably give this one to my wife who loves this rod, and I'm not too fond of it.

9'6" 8wt St. Croix Legend Ultra - pike and steehead (broomstick!)

9'6" 8wt Winston LTX this is my go to steehead rod, man is this thing smooooth!

Been thinking about a 9wt but I'm not convinced I need it, as the 8wts do pretty well tossing big and air resistant flies, but you never know.


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Yeah, I wonder at what point one "needs' a 9 weight. Maybe when one starts fishing real hard for pike and muskie. Even then, it would be more a matter of making it convenient to throw the flies than it would be fighting the fish.

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After reading your posts for these past years, I just now discovered I think I know who you are.


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