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Worrgamesguy
07-01-2008, 10:51 PM
First of all, I know all of this stuff is garbage to you, but it's all I can afford. I'm 17 and a newbie to fly fishing, try not to hassle me too much :redface: Okay, so I've been fishing with a 15+ year old Shakespeare Alpha this entire time and my dad bought a Cortland 5-6 WT 9' rod with a Martin reel, cost him $40 total. I casted with his a few times and it seemed a lot better than mine, but I liked the "oldness" of my rod. Should I get another setup like his since it is so cheap? Or should I replace my fly line (at least 10 years old) and that will hopefully fix it? And our fly line kept sinking, what can be done to stop it from sinking? Other than that, I'm pretty much okay with what we've been doing. I caught another little bluegill this trip, he took a #8 or #10 size fly and he was about 2-3".

-Trey

danp413
07-02-2008, 12:32 AM
Trey,

My first set up was not all that great either. I did not have all that much money to spend, so I went cheap. I think it was a 5 WT Cortland 4 piece. My current rod I fish with (TFO Professional Series 5 WT), was bought after I broke my first rod. It is a far better rod, but it only cost about $70 more. If you can save your money up, look at the TFO rods, they start around $90 and have a lifetime warranty. You really should cast a rod before you buy it, to make sure you like how it feels.

You can go up or down one weight from what your rod is listed. I fish a 6 WT line on a 5 WT rod. I did this at first because it helps me feel the rod load up, but now I'm used to it.

If your line has a lot of cracks in it, than you need to replace it. Bend the line to check for smaller cracks.

ccmmcc
07-02-2008, 09:31 AM
If you do have to buy a new fly line, consider a DT (double taper) fly line because when one end is worn out, you just turn the fly line around and it's like a new line. I would second the opinion of TFO Fly Rods. Excellent rods for relatively little money.

Worrgamesguy
07-02-2008, 10:35 AM
The rods I was looking at were $18 alone, and the reel made up the rest of the $40. That's why I was asking if I should just overhaul my ancient Alpha or get a new setup and let the Alpha be a reserve. I'm going to be at Bass Pro today so I'll check out what they have and what brands I've seen mentioned.

jeffnles1
07-02-2008, 11:42 AM
Trey -
First, welcome to the message board. I think you'll find the folks here quite agreeable and easy to get along with.

As for "garbage" if you're using it and catching fish, it's not garbage. To me, and I feel comfortable speaking for most of the rest of the folks here, the only garbage equipment is equipment you do not use.

Yes, there are those here who own quite expensive gear, but we're old (by your standards, I'm sure 48 is old) and have been doing this for a long time. I don't talk with many fly fishers who spend $700 for their first rod and I know a LOT who will never spend that kind of money on a rod.

As for your question, if the rod works for you and you're comfortable with it, I would say get some new line. It's amazing how much better a new line will feel.

The double taper (DT) line, as has been mentioned may be less expensive for you in the long run because when one end wears out, flip it around and use the other end.

I'm also glad you shared your age with us. There is very little that warms the hearts of an old coot like me than to see a young man getting into fishing and especially fly fishing.

I would suggest you call Little River Outfitters and ask them about lines for your rod and in your price range. Unlike calling some of the big box stores, EVERY person at LRO knows his/her stuff and will get you set up with the stuff you need, and not the stuff they want to sell you.

By the way, some of those older fibreglass rods like yours are making a huge comeback and there are a lot of guys who fish with them.

I have one of the older less expensive fibreglass fly rods (different brand than yours but essentially the same rod) and it casts great and has brought a bunch of bass and bluegill to the shore.

Good luck with you quest and with your fishing.

Jeff

Worrgamesguy
07-02-2008, 06:37 PM
Thanks for your reply Jeff. I guess what I'm trying to say is I don't know what are quality characteristics to look for in rods/reels/line and other items.

How do I know when the fly line is worn out?

What are things to look for when choosing a rod- I know weight, and length, but what else?

What should the reel do? I know what to look for in spin reels, like ball bearing assist spinning and not getting and bird's nests. But what is special about the triple digit dollar reels compared to the double digits?

DT line... How do I tell when it is worn out and when it is time to switch?

As I said, I've been trout fishing all my life but never fly fishing. I want to be a "jack of all traits," if you will. I used to work at a local restaurant until I dislocated my knee cap about 3 months ago. Before that, I worked at Dairy Queen. But now, I'm jobless and it kills me not being able to put money into my interests. My main thing is paintball, and I've got well over $3k into all my gear.

And I definitely plan on putting in an order from LRO, I love supporting local shops. I just gotta get my ducks in a row and figure out my budget. I got 5 or 6 new flies today from Bass Pro- 1 black zebra midge #18, 2 cream zebra midges #18 or #20 I forget, and 3 blue wing olive? I think that's the name, size #16.

nvr2L8
07-02-2008, 10:04 PM
Wgg,

I started out fly fishing just over a year ago and I was totally clueless regarding equipment. At LRO, they walked me through the things that I needed and tailored my purchaes to the money I had to spend. I had some of the same questions regarding age of fly line and such and they answered all my questions patiently. For the most part, your reel is going to be something to hold your line when it's not out on the water so don't sweat that part.

As Jeff said, you'll find that there are ways to get into fly fishing without spending a fortune (not nearly as much as you have spent on paint ball). Walter Babb (our instructor for beginning fly fishing and a 50+ year fly fisher) told us a story about fishing with his dad when he was a teenager. His dad had a nice new rig and Walter had an old hand-me-down rig and his dad wore him out all morning. At lunch, Walter complained to his dad that he was not catching as many fish because he had that ugly old rig. His dad switched gear with him after lunch and still wore him out. Lesson from Walter - it's more how you fish than what you have to fish with. Learn the basics with what you have and grow from there - you'll never regret it.

jeffnles1
07-02-2008, 11:34 PM
WGG,
RE: how to tell when line is wore out. Look for cracks in the outter coating, that's a dead give away. Also, if it feels stiff and holds the coils from being wound on the reel is another possible indication that it's getting old. Also, you mentioned yours is sinking. That may be from small cracks in the surface coating allowing water to seep in and weigh the line down.

I would say if you think the line is not casting like it used to and you believe it may be wore out, it probably is. I know it's not a precice answer but you'll find there are not a lot of absolutes in fly fishing.

The one absolute I do know is you'll only catch fish when your fly is on or in the water. (OK, exceptions to that rule when one jumps and grabs the fly in mid air, but those are quite rare indeed...).

In choosing a rod, it's best to test drive a few out and see what casts best for you. Also, don't become seduced by the rod that allows you to cast the greatest distance. It may be the rod for you, but most of your casts to fish are going to be less than 40' and in the Smokeys most casts are going to be less than 15' and a great many will have about 1' of fly line out the end of the rod.

Long casts are pretty and they impress other fishermen, but you rarely need to make long casts to fish.

What is most important is accuracy. Pick a target to cast to. It could just be a clump of grass out about 30'. The rod that allows you to consistently come the closest to that target is the one for you.

Length is a personal choice. I have 9' rods, and I have 7'6" rods. I like the 8'6" to 9' rods the best for all around casting and accuracy. The short rods have their place but personally, I do not think they are as versitle. Others will disagree, it's all how you cast and what feels good to you.

Line weight is a personal choice. When I got started several folks recommended 5wt as a good all around choice. After a couple years fishing, I have to say that is a good recommendation. It's light enough for trout and has enough backbone for bass and bluegill. It will cast light dry flys and moderate streamers. If you plan to chunk a lot of heavy streamers or big bass bugs, a 7 or 8wt may be a better choice. If you only go after trout in mountain streams, a 3-4wt or lighter may be OK. 5wt seems to fall right in the middle and can do both fairly well.

Physical weight of the rod (how heavy the thing is) is again personal. To a point, lighter is better. If your fishing is a couple hours here and a couple hours there, no big deal. If you're flogging the stick for 8-9 hour marathon fishing days, a heaver rod will wear you out faster.

Like nvr2l8 said, the reel is less important. Go moderate price and you'll be fine. The absolute cheapest ones are just that, the absolute cheapest. The high priced ones are better made, better finish and some are works of art. They won't hold your line any better. Some have better more advanced drags but I'm not sure that is worth the extra, especially for a young man with a limited budget.

I like 4 piece rods because they travel well. Personal choice.

From what I've seen in the fly shops and places like Bass Pro, there are very few really bad rods out there. Some are finished better some have prettier cork grips or exotic wood reel seats, but as far as chunking fly line to fish, they all will work.

Presentation of the fly to the fish is by far the most important factor. That is why accuracy is so critical. If you don't put the fly where the fish will see it, you won't catch fish.

I hope this helps. Your best bet is to go to a fly shop (LRO for example) and talk with one of the folks who work there. If you don't have one in your area and you go to Bass Pro or another box store, talk with the sales person and be sure they know what they're talking about before listening too much to what they say.

For the money, the TFO series of rods are hard to beat if you're looking to get a new rod.

I sure do hope this is helpful to you.

Jeff

Worrgamesguy
07-03-2008, 03:09 PM
Wgg,

I started out fly fishing just over a year ago and I was totally clueless regarding equipment. At LRO, they walked me through the things that I needed and tailored my purchaes to the money I had to spend. I had some of the same questions regarding age of fly line and such and they answered all my questions patiently. For the most part, your reel is going to be something to hold your line when it's not out on the water so don't sweat that part.

As Jeff said, you'll find that there are ways to get into fly fishing without spending a fortune (not nearly as much as you have spent on paint ball). Walter Babb (our instructor for beginning fly fishing and a 50+ year fly fisher) told us a story about fishing with his dad when he was a teenager. His dad had a nice new rig and Walter had an old hand-me-down rig and his dad wore him out all morning. At lunch, Walter complained to his dad that he was not catching as many fish because he had that ugly old rig. His dad switched gear with him after lunch and still wore him out. Lesson from Walter - it's more how you fish than what you have to fish with. Learn the basics with what you have and grow from there - you'll never regret it.

Thanks for the help. I know it doesn't matter what kind of gear you use, but it sure does help to have nice stuff. In paintball, you could go buy a $30 Walmart plastic pump gun and get good with it, but it will limit your playing ability. Can the same be said for fly fishing?

WGG,
RE: how to tell when line is wore out. Look for cracks in the outter coating, that's a dead give away. Also, if it feels stiff and holds the coils from being wound on the reel is another possible indication that it's getting old. Also, you mentioned yours is sinking. That may be from small cracks in the surface coating allowing water to seep in and weigh the line down.

I would say if you think the line is not casting like it used to and you believe it may be wore out, it probably is. I know it's not a precice answer but you'll find there are not a lot of absolutes in fly fishing.

The one absolute I do know is you'll only catch fish when your fly is on or in the water. (OK, exceptions to that rule when one jumps and grabs the fly in mid air, but those are quite rare indeed...).

In choosing a rod, it's best to test drive a few out and see what casts best for you. Also, don't become seduced by the rod that allows you to cast the greatest distance. It may be the rod for you, but most of your casts to fish are going to be less than 40' and in the Smokeys most casts are going to be less than 15' and a great many will have about 1' of fly line out the end of the rod.

Long casts are pretty and they impress other fishermen, but you rarely need to make long casts to fish.

What is most important is accuracy. Pick a target to cast to. It could just be a clump of grass out about 30'. The rod that allows you to consistently come the closest to that target is the one for you.

Length is a personal choice. I have 9' rods, and I have 7'6" rods. I like the 8'6" to 9' rods the best for all around casting and accuracy. The short rods have their place but personally, I do not think they are as versitle. Others will disagree, it's all how you cast and what feels good to you.

Line weight is a personal choice. When I got started several folks recommended 5wt as a good all around choice. After a couple years fishing, I have to say that is a good recommendation. It's light enough for trout and has enough backbone for bass and bluegill. It will cast light dry flys and moderate streamers. If you plan to chunk a lot of heavy streamers or big bass bugs, a 7 or 8wt may be a better choice. If you only go after trout in mountain streams, a 3-4wt or lighter may be OK. 5wt seems to fall right in the middle and can do both fairly well.

Physical weight of the rod (how heavy the thing is) is again personal. To a point, lighter is better. If your fishing is a couple hours here and a couple hours there, no big deal. If you're flogging the stick for 8-9 hour marathon fishing days, a heaver rod will wear you out faster.

Like nvr2l8 said, the reel is less important. Go moderate price and you'll be fine. The absolute cheapest ones are just that, the absolute cheapest. The high priced ones are better made, better finish and some are works of art. They won't hold your line any better. Some have better more advanced drags but I'm not sure that is worth the extra, especially for a young man with a limited budget.

I like 4 piece rods because they travel well. Personal choice.

From what I've seen in the fly shops and places like Bass Pro, there are very few really bad rods out there. Some are finished better some have prettier cork grips or exotic wood reel seats, but as far as chunking fly line to fish, they all will work.

Presentation of the fly to the fish is by far the most important factor. That is why accuracy is so critical. If you don't put the fly where the fish will see it, you won't catch fish.

I hope this helps. Your best bet is to go to a fly shop (LRO for example) and talk with one of the folks who work there. If you don't have one in your area and you go to Bass Pro or another box store, talk with the sales person and be sure they know what they're talking about before listening too much to what they say.

For the money, the TFO series of rods are hard to beat if you're looking to get a new rod.

I sure do hope this is helpful to you.

Jeff

Thanks Jeff, always a help. The thing is- I don't know what line is supposed to feel like when being cast, I randomly picked up my dad's old rod with old line and started whipping it around, and got pretty good I must say. I started watching tutorials and that helped more. But my dad's reel came with brand new fly line, and his was sinking also. Well, I bought a new rod as the old one really wore me out. My new one is a Cortland 8' 5 WT rod and I just put new line on my old reel because I like the trigger retrieve. Maybe if I'm out east later I'll stop by LRO, but I can't see making a trip just to go out there. I will definitely use their online catalog.

jeffnles1
07-03-2008, 11:54 PM
WGG,
It's hard to explain how it should feel. I guess kind of smooth and somewhat limp. Not stiff or rough (unless it's the new sharkskin line which is rough so they say, I've never used that particular line).

If you're buying a new 5wt floating line, the Rio Selective Trout, Scientific Anglers Mastery series, and Orvis Wonderline are all available in double taper and weight forward. I have used all three on various rods and while they're a little pricy compared to some of the bargain basement lines out there, they will last a long time for you and with any of them, you'll know what a fly line is supposed to feel like. You just cannot go wrong with them.

As has been said earlier, the double taper can be "reversed" when the tip wears out. I typically use weight forward line. Mainly because I bought most of my lines before someone told me that the double taper could be reversed. At some point in the future when I need new line, I'll most likely get DT instead of WF.

I would like to try the new sharkskin line but I just have trouble paying that much money.

By the way, I'm glad you're asking a lot of questions. Better to ask questions here before you buy than regret the purchase later.

Either the LRO on line catalogue or their toll free number can be a great resource. They offer free shipping Byron, Paula and the other folks there stand behind the sale and will literally bend over backwards to be sure you're getting something that suits you both budget and fishing style.

I only get to Tennessee 3-4 times a year, but this shop is the one I consider my "local" fly shop. They will treat you the same if you're on the phone, on the internet, or standing by the counter in the shop. There may be other shops that are as good, but I think you'd have to search high and wide to find one better and that will treat you, as a customer, better.

I'm not on staff (even though my wife thinks I am part owner with the amount of money I've spent there) but am just one happy customer who can gladly recommend this shop. For the record, they don't pay me to say this stuff. I just like the way they do business.

I hope this information is helpful to you and I encourage you to keep asking questions until you get the answers you need.

Jeff