View Full Version : Looking for a Rod

01-20-2009, 06:56 PM
So I am currently fishing with a borrowed Sage FLI 8' 4wt. I have had some limited fishing experience but enough to know I love the sport and want a nicer rod. I understand that alot of choosing a rod is casting them and seeing which ones you like best. But to start I want to know what some people here think. I want a rod thats a good all-around rod, big streams/tailwaters, and smaller stuff. I want to stay under $700 for the rod, so fire away. Offer suggestions on make/model/wieght/action, anything you like or dont like about certain rods. I know its cold so take some time to help a brotha out.


01-20-2009, 09:28 PM
Hey Neil, welcome to the board....I would HIGHLY suggest buying a Sage FLi. I've got one and they are simply high quality rods. As a result of Sage discontinuing the FLi series, they are marked down A LOT...The FLi is a fast action rod, so if you are comfortable with stiff, but powerful fly rods, this is it...A general weight and length is an 8'6"/6 weight. You said that you are already using/borrowing an FLi...so you know how they work, and what they're like...Also think about those TCR rods....

01-20-2009, 09:29 PM
Money is not the object? If my guess is correct, the Sage FLi is a fast action rod and more than anything that my be the reason you're not happy with it. Before dropping serious money on a new rod, you should try a few out first. That's really the only way to know. Plus you'd be surprised at how many rods BELOW the FLi price may be more enjoyable to cast. You'll probably want a slower action (less tip flex, more full flexing), based on your dislike for the FLi.

If it were me, I would get an 8'6" 3wt TFO Pro AND a 9'0" 5wt TFO Pro, and an Orvis BBSII reel with two extra spools. I would then purchase good 3wt, 4wt and 5wt lines for each of the spools. This setup would give you tremendously more flexibility than any one setup and you might even have a bit of change left over (but probably not much...).

Until you have been fishing for awhile you might not really notice the difference between a good rod and an expensive one. For the money, TFO Pros are a great value. Save your money and make sure you enjoy it first. Then you can upgrade and add rods as you go. Plus, I have a bad habit of breaking things, so to go off on a backcountry adventure with a Helios rod, would make me more nervous than anything else...


01-20-2009, 09:32 PM
Here's a link to some CLEARANCE and I mean CLEARANCE rods...Madison River Fishing Company (http://www.mrfc.com/MadisonRiverShopping/SearchResult.aspx). Also think about those TCR rods...Retail for a TCR is $740...MRFC is marking them down to $399...

Tarheel, I know you mean well, but remember this is an LRO website and we shouldn't link products for sale from other sites...plus LRO sells some pretty good stuff, as well...

01-21-2009, 09:53 AM
Tarheal I have to totally agree with Pete on this. I know you probably mean the very best but the fine people at LRO put this forum on and do a lot of work for our benefit. Byron and the staff put more money into giving us free information and this board than a clearance sale could ever benefit us. Please in the future reframe from posting another companies sale. Like I said I do not believe you meant any harm but it is just simply a respect thing for LRO.

01-21-2009, 06:52 PM
Well I got 2 good, replies. Anyone else have any insight or replies.

PS guys no worries Im not going to buy from someone other than LRO

01-21-2009, 07:13 PM
:redface::redface::redface:Sorry 'bout that guys:redface::redface::redface: I'm so mad at myself right now:mad:.. I haven't been thinking straight lately...course it could be that I need to get out on the stream...what was I thinking...BUY FROM LRO...you guys are 100% correct...They have done more for us than any other fly shop could compare too!!!! I've never really looked through the whole LRO online catalog...now I did...all I can say is WOW...best prices I've seen for FLi rods...Once again...what was I thinking....I've found my new fly shop of choice...LRO!!!

01-21-2009, 08:11 PM
Tarheal, do not be to rough on yourself. I have done much worse than that to people face to face. We were just trying to make you aware of it and to hellp other people not make the same mistake. You are very knowledgeable and would not hurt anyone purposely, we know that. All is fine just keep putting out all that good info on fishing that you have stored up in your adventures. Man I hope to still know you when you are 50 and had 34 more years of experience.:biggrin:

01-21-2009, 10:06 PM
Hey Lumber Jack

Your post seemed to have incidentally got sidetracked. However, in my very humble opinion personal preference plays a huge part when it comes to choosing a rod. I’m a creature of habit my, first rod ten years ago was a Clearwater 5wt 8’6” full flex 2pc for no good reason other than I just like them, I’ve stuck with Orvis rods. I own more than one rod now, upgraded those rods through the years and in addition have found that mid flex rods are more suitable for me. My point is, I imagine people posting what brand or what particular rod one thought was best (I realize you are not necessarily asking that) could become quite a contentious subject. (Although entertaining : ) I think your going about it the right way. That is to say you know you need to part with a little coin to get some quality which in turn makes the casting experience a whole lot more enjoyable. I might add that finding ONE rod for “big streams, tailwaters and smaller stuff” might by akin to using a putter for 18 holes of golf. So what’s the answer…..get yourself two TLS Power Matrix rods, that might keep you under your 7bones- after all they’re the BEST!! ;)

01-21-2009, 11:26 PM
Your price point opens the door for a LOT of very fine rod choices. I own a few rods that would be considered higher end (Winston Bii-t, Scott G2, Sage SLT) and there is something about them that is really nice.

I like medium action rods and there are a lot of choices in that range. The ones I mentioned above (except for the Sage) are all currently made. I think LRO can get Scott rods too.

The TFO rods are an excellent value in a quality rod. The new St Croix rods are supposed to be really nice too.

The option of getting a 3wt and a 5wt TFO rod with the Orvis Battenkill Barstock (BBS) reel is a very good suggestion. I think you could get both of those rods and a reel for about the price you mentioned and you'd have everything from small stream brookies to tailwaters to bass and bluegill in ponds covered with those rod setups.

If you're in a place where you an get to LRO, have Daniel string a couple up and take them out back on the grass and cast to see what actions you like.

One tip when test driving rods, don't worry too much about how far you can cast. I've found that the rods that cast the farthest are not the best fishing rods. I had a really fast rod that could cast like a rocket but I hated fishing with it.

Most fish you are going to be catching are inside of 50 feet and the vast majority are inside of 30 feet. In the Smokeys, most are within 10 feet of the end of your rod.

Casting distance is far less important than casting accuracy. When you're test driving rods, pick something about 30' away and see how easy it is for you to hit that mark with consistency. The rod that allows you to hit that mark with ease is the one for you.

Just my .02 worth on the subject.


01-21-2009, 11:49 PM
There have been lots of good suggestions on here so far. Since you're in the market for a new rod, I'd make a trip to LRO where you are welcome to test a wide variety of rods. Don't be shy...test as many as you can.

With a budget of $700, you should definitely test some of the more expensive rods, like a Winston LT5 (one of my personal favorites) or a BIIt. These are beautiful rods, and they come with nice tubes. But, like PeteCZ recommended, there are plenty of great casting rods that don't cost a fortune. I also think the TFO Pros are great rods. Plus, they have excellent warranties.

If you want to get a single rod, I would recommend going for a 9' 5wt. This seems to be a good, all-around trout (possibly light bass) rod. My first rod was a 9' 6wt, which is great for big tailwaters, but sometimes feels cumbersome on smaller streams. My second rod was a 8'6" 4wt, which I love. However, it is more difficult to cast streamers and other heavy flies with this rod. For this reason, I think you'll find the 9' 5wt to be a good compromise. In all honesty, you'll probably end up buying several rods before you know it...that's just how it seems to go...

I also agree with Jeffnles. Don't buy a rod just because it can throw a tight loop at 60 ft. I made that mistake, and that rod has been sitting in my closet for over a year.

Hope this helps,

01-22-2009, 08:44 AM
Thanks alll for the good advice. Know that I am taking it all into consideration. I never really thought about buying 2 rods at one time, but does make good sense. THanks

01-22-2009, 03:45 PM
Man if you are like most of us, it will not be long before you have a half dozen or more rods in your collection. Remember we hardly ever buy out of necessity but mainly out of desire.

01-22-2009, 04:02 PM
Maybe it is just the klutz in me, but I too seem to break things, and the thought of using a very high priced rod is offputting. I seem to remember the price heirarchy as Line, rod, reel, best to least quality. Firsy "new" rod, since taking up fly fishing again after a thirty or so year gap, wss Clearwater version of Far and Fine, 2 pc. 5 wt full flex 7'9". Still a go to rod. Won a rod in a weight loss contest, Sage 3wt 9' tip flex 4 pc, and if the conditions are right, is favorite. Ant new rods will likely be Orvis Clearwaters. Skip Watson.

01-23-2009, 12:30 PM
If you have $700 to spend, why not get 3 rods. A 3wt, a 5 or 6wt and an 8wt. You would then be covered for about any situation. This would be doable using the TFO Pro series or the Orvis Cleawater II series. I cannot state the importance of test casting. When I got my 6wt, I tested a $650, a $450, a $300, a $190, and a $150 rod. All of the rods but one were very sweet, but I got the $190, because it "felt" right.

I would also suggest testing the Sage VT2. I think they are up to $435. They have what they call a "progressive" action that changes with the rod weight. If you make your 5-6wt the Sage, then you could go with say a TFO 3wt or 8wt. Personally, I'd go with the lighter weight. Panfish on the 3 are a blast and tossing an 8 all day is a pain. Good luck.

01-23-2009, 02:00 PM
Cast cast and cast some more. Do not even look at the tag till you are holding the right rod for you. Then based on that price, decide if you can afford another rod or not. Then repeat step one again.:cool:

01-23-2009, 07:14 PM
Thats some good advice. Im just going to go to the shop and cast. Then I will decide which or how many I can buy depending on which one fits best. Thanks guys

02-15-2009, 11:55 PM
Well I took the plunge on Saturday. I finally decided on the Winston LT-5 piece in 8'9" 5wt. This rod to me was just incredible in the way it cast. Smooth yet powerfull. Its just awsome. I tested out several including the Sage Z axis, ZXL, and VT2. All were great rods but just didnt feel as nice to me as the Winston. Just to note the Sage VT2 was very suprising. Anyone looking for a great rod in the mid price range should try this one out. Of course I didnt like it as much as my Winston but it was very nice still. Anyway, thanks for all the advice. Now its reel time!! God Bless and understanding woman:biggrin:

03-31-2009, 07:02 AM
it may not be the rod it could be you are casting the wrong line on your rod.if your are having trouble loading go up 1 line size see how that works .

04-27-2009, 11:14 PM
Lumber Jack,
I have only been fishing for a few years, however I feel head long into the hobby and did a heck of a lot of research before I bought my first good rod. I tested multiple brands but for me it was Orvis who took the cake. I picked the Clearwater II 905-4 Mid 7.5. Its a 9' 4 piece 5wt rod and it casts like a gem. It is a very reasonable price so you could get a Orvis Battenkill Bar stock reel to go with it. They compliment each other very well. I use it in the Smokies and it never lets me down. I also have caught a couple 3lb large mouth bass on it as well and it performs great.

Micah Sawyer

04-28-2009, 03:34 PM
Sort of in the same boat and budget and stepping up to my first "nice" rod. After testing the Scott G2 felt like I had died and gone to fly fishing heaven!!!


James Buice
05-30-2009, 02:39 PM
Mmm, Scott G2. Like butta.

Which one ya got Tom?


05-30-2009, 04:36 PM
Jefnless 1 has you on the right track. In picking a rod I think you should first consider where you will be fishing. In the mountains, I would go with a shorter rod in a 4 weight. Bigger streams I would go with an 8 ft 5 weight. ( I do not like rods over 81/2 ft, but that is just me. Accuracy over distance every time, and there is a difference in how accurate a rod casts. If it had to do it all, I would go with the 8ft 5 weight. I've got an older Thomas and Thomas 8 ft 5 weight that has fished all over Tennesse and out west. I may fish other rods, but it is always in the rod case where ever I go. You may also wish to consider which type of line you like. A weight forward line may feel totally different than a double taper on the same rod.

06-05-2009, 04:34 PM
I don't know why the Superfines never get much mention but IMHO the Orvis Superfine Trout Bum 7' 4wt 4pc Full 5.5 is the perfect rod for the the park. Get yourself a CFO (korean are every bit as good as the old english ones, if not better) spool it up with the Orvis T3 Superfine line and you will be a very happy fellow for many years to come.