View Full Version : Debate this!
Some say lightweight fly rods(1-3 wts) require that larger fish be played too long (resulting in an severe stress to the fish).
I say this is BULL!
Just wanting to stir things up -
I say it depends on the species--b****can handle it fine--trout I think are a different story. I always fish a heavier rod than nec. for one thing---I don't loose as many fish cause I can just jerk them right out of the water.
02-12-99, 10:18 AM
I have only one flyrod, a 4wt. and I love it. I havenever, to y knowledge, stressed out a trout. All my fish swipe their tails and zip off up the creek. Some folks think trout are made of china and will break. I think they are hardier and stronger than we think under normal conditions.In 90 degree temps, in the middle of August- maybe a different story.Is it fun to jerk a fish up out of the water.I enjoy playing them, hoping they'll jump once or twice. I'm there to catch them , not worship them. ( last statement is a general one , not intended to be directed at any one peson. )
Kent I would love to argue with you but like Jeff I fish with a 4 wt and I can't ever remember stressing a fish so much that he couldn't be revived in less than a minute.
Recently, I watched a fisherman play a fish. He essentially stood there and let the fish swim continously in a circle. At first I thought he had a big fish on but it turned out to be a 10 inch stocker. I had just abandoned that small pool 30 minutes before and pulled a stocker out in less than 15 seconds(3x tippet small bugger)and released it unharmed in less than a minute from the time I hooked up to release. A 6x tippet is a different story. I have seen fisherman play fish almost to complete exhaustion when there was no need to. Just my .02 worth.
I think that it depends on the skill of the fisherman more than the weight of the rod. If a fish is played to exaution, whoever caught it probably doesn't know how to fight a fish and should probably go take a class.
This is old wive's tale. I've talked to people all over the country/world about flyfishing, the vast majority of whom will attest to the fact that a 0 to 4 wt rod, handled properly can land any trout in short enough time to properly release them. I fear most of those who take forever to land a fish have delusions of grandeur about fighting a monster. Lee Wulff said many years ago, that a trout is too valuable to be caught just once. (Not an exact quote, sorry)
I'd have to agree with Shawn. It does depend on the fisherman, and that's why we need to tell everyone, who doesn't already know, to play their fish quickly and leave them for another day. In addition, many claim that using a light rod with a slow action actually allows a fisherman to catch a trout more quickly on light tippets because the slow action protects the tippets. I use a 2 and 4 wt. with a very slow action, and I believe this is true. Just my dos pesos.
People fish for many different reasons. I fish for the bite and not the fight. Once I have a fish on, I apply max pressure to get the fish released as soon as possible.
Under normal conditions fish are always on the edge of oxygen starvation anyway. After a fight with an angler, they are really sucking for air, especially if they are pulled out of the water. It's kind of like a person running a 100 yard dash, and than sticking their head underwater at the finish line.
The biggest problem is with larger fish, because they have so much more body volume to replenish with oxygen.
In freshwater, there is really very few fish that can give a prolonged fight. Even with a light rod, if you can keep pressure on the fish, the lactic acid builds up quickly in their muscles from oxygen depletion, and the the fight is over fairly quickly.
Of course, there has to be some reasonability in matching equipment to the fish. There is no way an angler can keep pressure on a 20lb striper on a 4wt rod. I tried taking 15lb+ gar on a 4wt last summer, and there is just no way to stop a determined fish even with braided 20lb tippet. The rod just doesn't have enough backbone. It's the rod that fights the fish and not the line.
I guess I agree with Kent to a point, but I've killed a lot of fish during mismatched and prolonged fights. Once a fish's respiratory sytem goes into oxygen starvation, there is a point of no return that it reaches when it can not revive. There's simply not enough oxygen in the water, and it's body can not move the limited amount of available oxygen quickly enough to vital organs to avoid tissue damage.
02-13-99, 10:25 PM
I once landed a 24" brown trout on an orvis one ounce rod, that's a 6.5 foot 2 weight. The fish just ran a dozen yards upstream to the head of the pool and bulldoged down deep, when I managed to turn him and reel him in he would run again, this was repeated four or five times, the rod was bent double and at first I didn't think I had a chance to land him. Finally I brouth him to net and slipped out the barbless "joe's hopper" and he swam off. The whole fight lasted maybe five to seven minutes. I think the fish had more room to run he could have spooled me. This was the most exciting brown trout that I have ever caught. Fish was not overplayed. Fisherman was so excited that he quite for the day.
I don't usually fish that stream with the 2 wt, mostly save it for tiny headwater streams. Use two 4 wt rods for the bigger fish, a 8.5' GL3 and and Sage 904 RP+.
Also fished the pit river in N. CA for BIG bows with a 4 weight! Plenty of rod for these footballs!
Both Hooker and Woolly Bugger make some good points, using a 4 wt when going for stripers would be stupid. I have never heard of a rod of that what, or less, being insufficient to handle any trout. It would take more of rod if you are going for steelhead or salmon. A responsible, educated fisherman would match his/her equipment to the quarry. To do otherwise would be irresponsible and harmful to the fish. That is the key.
02-14-99, 01:12 PM
Trout are more hardier than one would like to think.I fish with a 4 wt. and never have harmed afish that I no of so why is everyone in such a up roar about all of this . I'm not trying to start something with everybody but hey just fish and have fun . If you hurt one you won't be the first person and sure won't be the last.We all need to worry about the other stuff yhat harm our great pleasure such as # 1 The 2.00 working an hour group that fishes with corn and a beer can on the hooch and we all no what I'm talking about,# 2 when you see someone catch a fish don't get in their float tube with them.# 3 we all need to teach at least 5 youngsters how to fly fish this year. If you don't agree I would like to here from you better yet let me no one way or the other
No one is in a uproar about this discussion. Everyone is respectfully expressing their opinion, which allows others to gain insight into the question.
The Ole Man
02-14-99, 09:19 PM
There is an axiom in flyfishing that has been expressed repeatedly for at least half a century. It is just three words: "Use enough rod". Fly rod weights correspond to spin and casting rod weight designations. 1&2 weights are ultralights, 3&4 wt are lights, 5&6 are mediums, 7&8 are medium heavy 9&10 are heavy ,12 and up are big game. Flyrod choice for a particular fishing trip has the same considerations as if you were going on a spin/cast fishing trip. If you were going b****fishing you would leave the ultralight at home. You would take a med/hvy to heavy depending on the bait weights you were going to use and the fish you expected to encounter. Flyfishing choices have the same considerations. If you take flyfish trips to small streams, med streams, large streams, rivers, open streams, brush arbor streams ; fish dry flies, then nymphs, then lead heads and split shot with weighted flies- then you need a variety of rod weights and actions. The combinations of water, fish size, bait size and weight , and stream structure are so varied that no one rod weight or action will ever be enough to fit the situation. If you are going to cover all the bases in flyfishing then you are going to have to own a full wardrobe of rods. Thats why they make so many weights , lengths and actions. Some factions of the flyfishing community are into trying to take the largest fish they can on the smallest rod possible. This is comparable to going deer hunting with a 22 rifle. Sure , you might kill one -but you are far more likely to maim.
02-15-99, 02:38 PM
Here is an article about playing fish with light weight rods. I must admit that it pains me to see people overplay fish.
Rods, Leaders, and Playing Fish
by John Juracek
Blue Ribbon Fly Shop
West Yellowstone, Montana
Over the last few years light line rods, three and four weights, have become extremely
popular as angling tools. As more fisherman have taken to the stream with these rods, I
have detected, through observation and talking to anglers in the shop, increased
confusion and misunderstanding about the playing of fish with these rods.
To wit, there is a small segment of anglers that contend light rods are unsporting
because their use results in protracted, and harmful, fights with fish. This concept is
based in ignorance, and needs to be put to rest now. It is true that there is much
overplaying of fish these days, but it is no fault of any fly rod. And, with the strength of
modern tippet materials, no blame can be placed there, no matter how light the tippet. If
you or someone you know is having trouble playing or landing fish with light rods, the
problem lies, as they say, not with the car but with the driver.
Consider what it means anytime someone says their rod wasnít strong enough to tire a
fish, remove a fish from strong current, or stop a trout from running downriver. In effect,
what they are saying is that their tippet is stronger than their rod. Think about that and
you will see how silly it is. You can only exert as much pressure on a fish as your tippet
can stand; that is and always will be the weak link in the system (assuming, of course,
that you arenít marlin fishing with a one-weight). There in no two, three, or four-weight
rod made that isnít strong enough to break, for example, 0x tippet. Therefore, under all
situations you would use a light line rod, your tippet is always going to be the weak
link. So if Iím using 5x tippet, it doesnít matter what weight rod I have; I can only put on
as much pressure as the 5x will take. Any two-weight rod can do that just like any five-
weight rod can.
Put another way, take a look at the tip of a twelve-weight rod -- heavy and strong by
anyoneís standards. Then compare the diameter to the butt of any two-weight rod. I
think youíll see a substantial difference in favor of the two-weight. Again, the point is
that your rod, no matter the weight or brand, is strong enough to apply maximum
pressure to any tippet you are likely to use.
The responsibility of the fisherman then, in respect to his quarry, is two-fold. Not only
should he know how to apply maximum pressure, but he should apply maximum
pressure at all times. Todayís tippet materials are strong. They will take an amazing
amount of strain before breaking, and as an angler you should be aware of exactly
what each diameter can take. String your rod, tie tippet to a fixed object, and break it!
Do that a few times and youíll know how much pressure can, and should, be put on a
If you do this simple test, you will note that how you use the rod affects how much
pressure can be put on. For maximum pressure with light line rods you must place the
bend in the strongest part of the rod -- down low in the butt. The tips of some light rods
may not be capable of placing the maximum strain on a given tippet size, but the butts
of all rods are, and that is where the bend must go. To effect maximum pressure, a low
angle of the rod in relation to the fish is preferable, not the straight up, hands-over-the-
head position so often seen onstream. If you have to clear your line from some hazard,
fine, raise your rod, but lower it as soon as possible to effect the maximum pressure.
Make that rod bend in the butt, not the tip. Use low pressure to the side too, donít try
and lift a fish from the river.
Follow these suggestions and I feel that the ten to twenty minute fight for average size
fish will, as it should, forever vanish. I have taken many large brown trout on the lower
Madison (a fast flowing river) on 6x tippet, and I canít think of any that took more than
about three minutes to land. Except when dealing with the most outsize fish, that one in
a thousand specimen, there is no honor, to you or the fish, in proclaiming that "it took
me twenty minutes, but I finally got him in."
Your Juracek article sums it up for me. I think that for almost all fishing the tippet is the weak link in the system. A light weight rod can apply as much pressure as a heavy rod (with any normal tippet size). The key, as the article says, is to fight the fish from the butt of the rod. At Callaway, we often have clients who hook big catfish accidentally when b****fishing. Many are accustomed to conventional tackle and their usual response is to hold the rod high - it often bends almost double (4-5 wgt). As soon as I am able to get them to lower the rod so that it bends in the butt section, they are amazed by the pressure they feel from the fish (and that they are able to apply).
In fact, because the light weight rod has more give in the tip section and will protect the tippet, I think I can apply more pressure to the fish with the light rod.
For me, rod weight is more a function of the fly I'm throwing, rather than the fish I hope to catch. The heavier rod is necessary to throw big, heavy, or air-resistant flies; it is not necessary to fight big fish hard.
02-15-99, 08:27 PM
I'm with flytyfish -if you accidentally hurt or even, "gulp"..... kill a fish, it certianly isn't the end of the world! No one will do everything perfectly, and no one has the right to throw the first stone.
I like these discussions better than " others" ( haha ) I fish my 4 wt. for whatever,with whaever - I may not be able to get a nymph and 3 shot 20 ft., but I can't control it from that distance anyway.
Catcher of a few fish, occasionally.
The Ole Man
02-16-99, 12:13 PM
Well.I'm afraid Mr.Juracek has pulled a fast one on us. His theory of "my leader is a fuse" just won't wash. He has asked us to accept a broad assumtion with no basis in fact. Consider this . A rod will generate a maximum force, beyond which it is maxed out. Further pressure generates no additional force and eventually breaks the rod. His theory is this. Say a 6x leader will break at 3.5 #. Take a number for example. Say a 3 wt rod will generate a max pulling force of 3.5 # and a 5 wt rod will generate a max force of 4.5 #. You apply 3.5 # from the 3 wt and the leader breaks at 3.5#. You apply 4.5 # from the 5 wt and the leader breaks at 3.5#. You can say that the 5 wt had 1 # of reserve power that could not be applied because the leader, by breaking, cut the force off at 3.5# -this is the basis of his theory. Now move up to a 5X leader. Suppose it has a break strength of 5 #. You apply the 3 wts max force of 3.5 # and the leader doesn't break. You apply the 5 wts max force of 4.5 # and the leader doesn't break. You have applied an additional force of 1# with the 5 wt rod. A force that the lighter rod was not capabile of producing. The leader is still the weakest link in the system but it is of sufficient strength to accomodate the higher force from the heavier rod and still not break. This is the death knell for his theory. His theory only works when the strength of the leader is set at an idealized size. This is a one direction theory that only works when the leaders get lighter and lighter. If you turn around and go in the opposite direction , the lighter rod drops out and the heavier rod takes over as the more effective tool. This is just one example of several misconceptions that he promotes in this article. I won't go into the others and end up writing an article myself. Suffice it to say that when someone prefaces their remarks with statements that conventional wisdom is silly and rooted in ignorance, they are loading the cart for a trip to the darkness. Don't be on that cart.
Ole Man -
No disrespect intended to my elder, I assure you. I understand your theory, and admit mine is based on personal experience, not actual measurements. You said "let's pick a number" - doesn't sound like an actual test, either. What is the pulling force of a 3 wt or 5 wt rod? This is the key point. I don't know the answer.
Unquestionably, as leader size increases, the rod does become the weak link. The question is, where is that point? I personally think it is where a leader size is much bigger than what most of us use.
The Ole Man
02-16-99, 04:22 PM
The reason I said lets pick a number is because leaders vary so widely in strength between makers and materials. I just took issue because if one agrees with the statement" I can put as much pressure on a fish with a 3 as I can with a 5, then they would have to agree with one that says " I can put as much on a fish with a 5 as I can with a 7 wt " and right on up the scale. A 5 bends less to put out the same load a 3 does. When a 3 is finished ,a 5 passes it and does some more and a 6 passes that, etc. I just think Juracek is being too hard on his clients and has developed a superior attitude towards them. He wrote this with no mention of a drag . The rod, leader and drag work together to determine how much control you can exert. He is on thin ice about popping 0X leaders with a 3 or 5 wt too. Put a 10 # weight on the floor. String a five and attach the line to the weight. Try to pick it up. It won't do it. You'll be lucky to pick up 3 #. How then can you break a 10 to 15 # leader with a rod that won't pull 10 #. He might snap a knot or jerk snap a slack line but he won't break a fresh 0X with a steady pull at fishing distance. Just wanted to stir the pot a little. Please take no offense. I say all of this in the most gentle manner of spirited debate. If I knew how, I would make a smiley face. Jeff- where are those instructions?
I don't particularly agree with Juracek either, and I'm not talking about Chattahoochee rainbows on a 4wt. I'm sure there is not a trout on the Hooch that can't be taken with a 4wt in a reasonable manner.
The original statement was light weight rods and larger fish which covers a broad area. However, Juracek pushed it into the realm of the ridiculous by running out of rod and resorting to line strength to play a fish. If you run out of rod, you might as well be using a handline because at that point, because you can not put any pressure on the fish.
The key to catching a big fish is to get its head turned and moving in a circle. This can only be done with the rod, and once it happens, it is only a matter of time until the fish tires. If you can't get the head turned, than the fish is going to sulk and move where it wants to until it wraps the line on a snag, the hook pulls out, or it breaks the line with a sudden surge.
Please clarify "big fish" and "light rods".
02-17-99, 12:17 AM
I'll have to come down on the side with Hooker & Ole Man on this. Scientific discussions aside, all I know is I see & fish with a lot of folks that simply don't have the skill to land some of the larger trout we now find in Georgia on 4 wt. & smaller rods. This is not meant to speak ill of anyone; just to point out that most folks don't get to practice near 'nuff on big fish to learn how to land them. With all due respect to Jon J. (& he is a very interesting fisherperson that isn't always fishing on the same planet I'm on), it's irrelevent whether it's the rod, the line, or the angler; MOST ANGLERS DON'T KNOW HOW TO LAND A BIG FISH, REGARDLESS OF THE EQUIPMENT THEY'RE USING. Throwing an under-size rod into the picture just agravates the problem. I might also point out that a stressed fish may very well swim off, only to die within the next 24 hours; I've seen it happen on numerous occasions while guiding on the private trophy streams in north GA. Insight into this conundrum first hit me squarely between the eyes when I got the bright idea to fish Dukes Creek the first year it opened with my 6'6" 3 wt. It didn't take too long to realize I was severely undergunned. I walked back to my vehicle from the picnic pavilion on section 1, got a more appropriate rod, & haven't tried anything that stupid since (at least not where trout are concerned).
PS: I was in Blue Ribbon Flies a few years ago discussing the problems I was having landing some of the larger browns on the Madison River. JJ informed me that any fish in the Madison could be landed on a 5X tippet. Uh huh; I'm sure he probably can.
The Ole Man
02-17-99, 10:43 AM
I want to make a concession here before we lay this to rest. Your're right about needing to know what a rod will pull in #'s. I mentioned how out of whack leader strengths are. An example: if you go to Walmart and buy a Crystal river 3X leader it's rated at 4 pounds. If you get an Orvis super strong , it's 8 1/2 pounds for a 3X. A Mirage leader is more than that. Other brands fall everywhere in between. So it's possible these days for two fishermen to say ,oh I'm using a 3X leader and one of them is more than double in strength than the other. I think the same thing has happened with rods. It's just possible that you could have a 3 WT, reserve power, fast action rod and I could have a slow action, dry fly 5 WT and you might have the more powerful rod. I don't know. But, you could cripple or enhance either one of them depending on what brand of leader you put on them. This has been a great discussion. You need to cut that"myelders" and "respectfully" crap though. I'm only 16 yrs. old -in the head. Problem is my brain keeps making dates that my body can't keep! Smiley-Smiley!!
02-17-99, 11:29 AM
So, if I land a trout on my 4wt. in ,say , under 3 or 4 min. and he swims off zippide-zip, he's gonna make it, right? No one has seen th 5 or 6 BIG fish I was fortunate to land on Smith's in Jan. floating in the creek have they? My favorite method for largemouths involves ( believe it or not) using 6 or even 4lb. test. I catch some 6 & 7 lb. fish on this lght line. The fight usuall lasts no longer then 5 min. at THE MOST, so I've had lots of practice with light line and BIG fish. I've been fishing like this for 10 + yrs. So I guess I agree - it depends more on the fisherman than the equipment.Of, course-I've broken off my share of2lb. fish with the same line. Sometimes it's not the size of the fish, but the fight "in" the fish. Good topic !!!
02-17-99, 11:34 AM
When I said eariler in a post that it didn't matter if you accidentally kill a fish - I was refering to the avg. stocker or a wild fish in a healthy stream. Lord forbid I should ever get to go to Duke's or Nahoochee(sp?) Bend and kill one of Jimmy's trout. Hope no one misunderstood me !
The Ole Man
02-17-99, 12:18 PM
I'm sure Jimmy could order another one. At least I haven't heard of him giving his fish names. I see another famous private place has given some of their large fish names. Some day, someone is going to gill hook one of those fish and he's going to have to be dispatched on the spot. I don't care to become known as the fisherman that killed "Old Alabama".
Thanks guys - not trying to fuss, as you know, just thought it a good topic.
Ol Man -
Why you young whippersnapper! `Fact is I'm getting a few years on myself. Rod strength is an interesting question - I plan on checking this soon (hopefully just short of the breaking point!).
Question did cover a lot of area, and I'm sure there is some place at both point-of-views are accurate. I would have liked to have tried that gar on my Sage, tho. Let's say rigged with 0x (and maybe bite tippet). I gotta think you could put a lotta heat on, and either the tippet would pop or the gar would turn. I landed about a 25 lb carp this fall on my 5 wt and a 3x tippet. Only problem was I started out in a float tube, and though the rod had the rod power to turn him, I had no foundation to fight from & he just towed me around the lake(rod & 3x tippet strong enough to pull me and float tube). I'll have to admit, however, that once I had him close to the tube and coudn't raise him as rod lacked lifting power - this was because of low, confined float-tube position & having to use rod tip, not butt.
Jimmy - Agree 100% with a lot of the problem being "lack of experience on big fish". Most of mine came accidentally, and it's scary how much preesure you can apply with a rod if you use its butt. I wish when I'd first started I'd gone to a catfish lake and hooked a bruiser. After he'd pulled me all over the place a while and I'd gotten bored with how cool it looked with the rod tip bent double, I'd hopefully have realized that by using the stiffer rod butt (generally meaning to point the rod more in the fish's direction), I could really apply some real pressure and control the fish. There's a lot of strength in that thin lil' graphite!
I agree wholeheartedly that no fish should be overplayed. Just like the saying "if you're not hanging up sometime, you're not fishing close enuf to the cover", I think if you're not popping a tippet every now & then, you're not fighting the fish hard enough.
And if your rod breaks, forget I ever said any of this!
I am going to chime in here too..but experience is def the key to not only landing a big fish quickly, but landing any fish in order to keep it alive.
We are all guilty of the following and we all see it on a regular basis...but people are always catching there fish and instead of trying to revive it, they just literally toss it back in. That def does not help the fish....
Neither does the fact when people accidentaly or purposly touch their gills, that spells death usually for a fish....
Also people will squeeze their fish too hard and that too spells death. Especially on a Cutt, they are soft and when you squeeze on too hard it can kill them rather quickly (as I found out the hard way a few years back)
Rod backbone, tippet strentgh and experience are keys, but learning how to properly handle a fish in one aspect usually overlooked/
Since 99.9% of my fishing is done in Georgia, I choose the weight of my rod by the body of water I'm fishing, not the size of the fish.
For small water and spooky trout, I use a light weight. I can get a better presentation and am more precise in casts.
Larger water usually means heavier flies, so I go with a heavier rod.
Since generally speaking, more water means bigger trout, it is misconceived that a heavier weight rod is needed.
I often fish Dukes (Smithgall) with a 2 or a 3 wt.(depending on the section), and feel confident that all fish are released safely.
The Ole Man
02-18-99, 10:31 AM
I don't know what to say. http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/ubbngto/smile.gif Have fun.
I probably should add that I almost soely fish dries. If I'm fishing streamers or heavier nymphs, again I step up the rod size.
I fish a 4 wt and don't have any problems at all. however, i have a friend that recently purchased an 0 wt. what effect could this have on a fish
The Ole Man
02-18-99, 04:33 PM
02-19-99, 12:34 AM
Gotta side with The Ole Man here- might as well try a wet noodle and some sewing thread. However it is still more "sporting" than shooting them with a cannon, no? almost forgot - http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/ubbngto/smile.gif
I still believe that it is not how big it is, it's how you use it. Even fishing with a 2wt. If using 5x tippit, you can still put a good 2-3 lbs of pressure on the fish to really slow him down. I've caught 16lb redfish on 6wt. gear and landed them in plenty of time for them to make a strong get away after release. I read one post that said that sometimes it doesn't matter weather they make a good recovery they can still die. Well how do you tell the difference. It probably would have done the same thing with a heavier rod then. Just remember to release the trout in relatively slow moving water so they can recouperate. I don't know, I've never had to do this for a trout. If you know what you are doing, you can be a lot more flexible on what tackle you take to the stream. The best advise you can get as far as fighting fish on the flyrod will be here this time next week. If you go to the SWF expo, make sure you pay close attention to Stue Apte. He knows about how the rod works and can show you how to put the breaks on a big fish. I learned how mainly from saltwater fishing. I think it was Jimmy that said a lot of people don't get enough practice on bigger fish to really get a feel for what some of the lighter rods can actually do. Maby Trout aren't the greatest thing to practice on but b****are pretty hardy and very plentiful. Saltwater fish are even better. Go out and start battling 10lb bonita on 6wt. tackle and you'll have some fun. Well, the more you practice, the lighter you can go. I'm not saying that the lightest rod should always be used, I'm just saying that played out fish are a result of poor fish fighting technique.
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