View Full Version : Question about rods

09-01-2009, 03:05 PM
Hello all! I am a warm water fly fisherman from Fort Lauderdale. Mostly saltwater for me, but fish for peacocks and largemouths at a lake next to my work for about 20 to 30 minutes a day before work. Anyway I have a trip up your guys way on october 10-17. Staying 4 days on Alarka creek in Bryson NC, and 3 days on the little river right by LRO. I only have a 7wt and an 8wt rod so I will be buying a new setup before I go. I was looking at a 5wt, so I could still use it back home, but am afraid it will be too heavy for the streams. What do you guys think.

09-01-2009, 04:08 PM
I have a 5wt and have no problem with it in the smokies even caught a few fish here and there. The reason I settled on a 5wt initially is so I could mountain fish and still have versatility enough to fish on bigger rivers like the clinch. I have since bought a 4wt but used the 5wt this weekend still.

Carolina Boy
09-01-2009, 05:03 PM
Man I fish my 4 weight on tailwaters and love it in the smokies? On the tailwaters i justmake a point in playing the fish quickly and not wearing em out, but the 5 is just a bit much for the park IMO? That said if you wanna use it for ponds then the 5 might be good, course bream on the 4 are fun? **** get both!

Jim Casada
09-01-2009, 05:12 PM
downtownfish--You have raised a subject which can start an argument most any time. I personally think a 5-weight is just fine and I've used one a great deal over the years in the Park. On those rare occasions when you hook a really good fish the additional backbone is welcome, and the same holds true in the relatively rare situations where you need longer casts (mostly on the larger Park streams like Little River and lower Luftee) or the situation demands a sold roll cast. There's another argument for a higher weight rod as opposed to the 0s, 1s, 2s, and 3s, and that is, if you are going to release fish, you can bring them to hand quicker and avoid stressing them as much. A 1-weight with a 12-inch fish can almost kill it, especially in situations where water temperatures are on the high side.
In the final analysis, it's pretty much a matter of personal preference. I'm a bit of what some consider a heretic when it comes to rods, although that's more in terms of my thoughts on length than on weights. As you'll see in the chapter on rods in my new book, I have a strong preference for long (9 foot or longer) rods even in tight quarters. Longer reach, longer roll casts, easier to mend, longer bow-and-arrow casts, easier to use dappling or dancing a fly, etc. Now, I'm sure that will draw a howl of protest from advocates of fairy wand 0-weights six feet in length, but such variance in preferences is part of what makes this sport a delight. Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

09-01-2009, 07:30 PM
A 4wt is preferable, but a 5 will work just fine. I'm a howler. I like the shorter rods around 7ft in the mountains. I've read most of Jim's book and it is great. He has a ton of wisdom in it, and I suggest you get a copy before your trip. For the life of me though I just do not see how such an intelligent person can be so wrong about rod lengths in the mountains. Just joking. Long and short rods have there advantages. It's more about the caster than the rod. Have a good trip.

David Knapp
09-01-2009, 07:40 PM
Definitely go with the 5 weight...

09-01-2009, 08:02 PM
I got tired of catching rhododendron, and switched to a short rod in the park.
Then I quickly realized a short fly rod does not react like a long fly rod. Use your short fly rod for a tomato stake.

09-01-2009, 08:10 PM
if you fancy catching a good fish,i mean a wild trout 15+inches long.take a 4 or 5 wt rod,8+feet long,3x or 4x leader,spray the bears and don't step on any snakes

Carolina Boy
09-01-2009, 08:11 PM
Anything less than 9 feet, IMO is a waste of money! gotta have that reach, without a doubt! And to Mr Casada "0 weight fairy wands!" That may be the funniest thing I have read in a while sir! Thank you.

09-01-2009, 08:44 PM
Size doesn't matter right? I fish a 7'9" 3 wt in the park almost exclusively. Then again, the average size of the fish that I am pulling out are about 6 inches. I have yet to catch anything over about 9 inches but haven't been plunking streamers after heavy rains either. I find the shorter rod easier to handle under cover and haven't found many places on Middle, Road, or West prong that I can't reach with it. I fish either a 5x or 6x tippet and haven't broke a fish off yet. I can bring most of the fish to hand in a under 30 seconds. All depends on where, what, and how you like to fish I suppose.

09-01-2009, 10:53 PM
I have fished in the Mountains of Idaho, Arizona, California, Colorado, North and South Carolina and Tennesse, not to mention some spring creeks in Pensylvania and some streams in Maryland, and a 5 weight is always a good choice for an all around rod. I have fish both an 8 1/2 and 9' rod, and prefer the 8 1/2 but either is a good choice. The other rod that I have used with great success is a 7'9" far and fine 5 wt and have not had a problem landing even some 24+ inch trout. Find a nice 5 wt that matches a casting style you are comfurtable with (i.e. if you are using and like a fast action rod on your bigger rods then get one in 5 wt.). I prefer the feel of a mid-action rod. I think that the 5wt is a better all around rod that will cover most situations. If you are going to do a lot of fishing in the park on a regular basis you can look at a 4 wt. Whatever you end up with good luck and I hope you have a great trip.

09-01-2009, 11:30 PM
Like everyone else, I've got an suggestion also. If you like to high stick nymphs or dapple dry flies then get a long 9ft rod. If you enjoy casting, try a short 6-7ft progressive action 2-3 wt rod. They are a blast to fish. If your worried about over stressing a 12" trout, then your probably fishing too light of a tippet.
When you get home to Florida, take the ultralight out for some bluegill and Cichlid action.
Lots of misrepresentation about the use of " small" rods but there are plenty of accomplished anglers, and authors that use them.
Bill Byrd being one that comes to mind....


09-02-2009, 09:06 AM
Well, this is just too irresistible not to pitch in my two cents...

If you want versatility for here and at home, IMHO you'd be fine with a 4 or 5 weight. I agree with Jim on the length. You gotta pay attention to your surroundings BIG TIME in the Park or you'll waste your entire day getting your gear untangled from the millions of rhododendron that line and hang over every stream in the park. That is the case no matter what length rod you choose. I think the longer rod is a big advantage in the Park because you get a lot more reach... I often fish for hours and hardly false cast at all, and when you are just flipping your line upstream, that extra foot or so gives you a lot more options. I'd bet almost all of the fish that I've caught in the park have been within 20 feet of where I was standing. You really aren't going to be doing MUCH long casting up in the park. For me, the extra rod length is all about reach.

If you want to be able to chunk a heavier streamer or something when you get home, you'd probably be happier with the 5 wt.

Another important question is what reel are you thinking about picking up to go with your new rod? ;)

09-02-2009, 10:37 AM
I knew this would be a topic with a thousand different answers, but I thought I would ask anyway. I am using fast action rods right now. I cast a sage fli 8wt for this bigger stuff in saltwater which is a fast action rod with an alutecnos reel, and a TFO signiture series with a Scienticic anglers system 2 LA for my beater lake setup. I believe the TFO is also considered a fast action rod, but not nearly what the sage is. I am also used to making long cast almost every time, I rarely make short cast, with the exception of a bedding fish by the shore. So I really think a 5wt would be ideal, so I can deliver long cast when I use the rod in florida.
These fish will all be catch and release, if I do catch one.

I really don't know how much fishing I will be doing in the park. I feel like I will be fishing in the morning on the rivers behind the cabins I am staying in, then going to do the hikes, and the touristy stuff through the afternoon. Alarka creek seems kinda tight like a mountain stream, but the little river in town looks very wide open, and would be ideal paired with a long casting rod. It will be a 9ft rod since I am used to casting a 9ft and a 9ft 6in rod. Thanks for your help everyone, and I will look into getting the book to get an idea of what I am in for. I have only done one other stream trip, which was in Cody Wyoming when I was 11 so about 14 years ago, so I honestly know nothing about cold water fishing. I am trying to do as much research as I can before the trip.

09-02-2009, 11:36 AM
Sounds like you'll be all set when you get here... I really would try to fish up in the park at least one morning if I were you. You really owe it to yourself since you'll be so close. You won't regret it if you get up and out the door before dawn one day and fish something close by.

Jim Casada
09-02-2009, 12:25 PM
downtownfish--One final thought, after you've losed a torrent of conflicting opinions which are totally typical of the fly-fishing world (and if anyone disagrees with me on what follows they better be ready to present me some "been there, done that" credentials). While Alarka Creek is a great place to stay, don't expect to catch any fish in it. The stockers will long since be gone. The only real exception to that would be to drive to the end of the road, where the stream is tiny, and there are specks there. As an added bonus, a half-mile walk up a manway on the left will put you at the foot of Alarka Creek Falls, a truly spectacular and for some reason, given its ease of access, almost unknown waterfall. You can see a plunge which approaches 200 feet and you are only seeing about half the total drop, as the waterfall/cascade makes a 90-degree turn in mid-plunge. Up above the waterfall is the area known as Big Laurel, a mountain bog with all sorts of unusual plants. The stream here, which is really little more than a branch, is absolutely full of tiny specs. I don't recommend fishing here but the waterfall is well worth the effort of a moderate walk.
As for fishing, Noland Creek, Deep Creek, and the whole Luftee complex are within a half hour or a bit more of where you will be staying. Jim Casada

09-02-2009, 04:30 PM
I talked to a local guide and he told me the same thing about not having much luck on Alarka creek. I am staying towards the end of the river by where it dumps into lake fontana so I assume my chances are even slimmer. As bad as it sounds I don't mind being skunked I am kind of used to it. I did read about the waterfall when I was planning the trip, and already have planned to see it, but thank you very much for the insight.
While I have low expectations for Alarka Creek, what will the little river give me?

Jim Casada
09-02-2009, 04:59 PM
downtownfish--If you fish in Alarka this time of year, pretty much anywhere below the Nantahala National Forest boundary, you are virtually sure to be skunked (at least on trout). As for the river, it has lots of smallmouth, panfish, and non-game fish in it but is far too warm to hold trout. It is also big enough that wade fishing is pretty problematic in most places. I would almost implore you to go to one of the nearby Park streams, but by all means do visit the waterfall. Jim Casada

09-02-2009, 10:21 PM
Have they got you totally confused ??

09-02-2009, 10:22 PM
downtownfish--If you fish in Alarka this time of year, pretty much anywhere below the Nantahala National Forest boundary, you are virtually sure to be skunked (at least on trout). As for the river, it has lots of smallmouth, panfish, and non-game fish in it but is far too warm to hold trout. It is also big enough that wade fishing is pretty problematic in most places. I would almost implore you to go to one of the nearby Park streams, but by all means do visit the waterfall. Jim Casada
Wow. This just threw a monkey wrench into my plans. I guess I should have done a lot more research.

09-02-2009, 10:32 PM
Have they got you totally confused ??
I am so confused right now you have no idea. I thought Bryson city and Alrka creek are at the very northern most part of the Nantahala forest. ?????? I am buying a book tomorrow. I thought this was going to be easy. ha

Jim Casada
09-03-2009, 07:43 AM
downtownfish--The Nantahala National Forest is a sprawling half million acres ranging over portions of many counties, and if you thought the portions lying in Swain County were the northernmost you do need to take a peek at a map. The headwaters of Alarka Creek are in it, as are portions of many other area streams. Also, I should have said more when you questioned about fishing in the river. There are actually three rivers in the immediate area--Tuckasegee, Little Tennessee, and Nantahala. The latter, as a tailwater in its lower reaches, has fine trout fishing as well as a non-stop canoe and kayak hatch during the day. The other two are warm water streams and Alarka Creek empties into Fontana Lake rather than a river. Your post seemed to hint that you thought it entered a river. You will be just a few miles from all three rivers and, if you are staying on lower Alarka, quite close to Fontana Lake. Jim Casada

09-03-2009, 09:13 AM
Don't sweat it, Downtown. You're doing all the research you need right here. Be sure to go by Little River Outfitters and say hi to some of the nicest folks around!

09-03-2009, 10:23 AM
OK. When I refer to the little river in my post I am NOT talking about the little tennessee river, but the little river on the tennessee side of the park. The one that flows through the park past tremont campground and through townsend. I fell like you guys think I am speaking of the little tennessee river not the little river on the tennessee side. Am I right or did you guys know what I meant. I think this because everywhere I read says I can catch trout. Sorry to be so ignorent but I am not familiar with the area what so ever.

Also looking at the map again it still seems to me that bryson is on the north end of Nantahala national forest. When I look at the map I see smokey mountain park north of bryson, Pisgah forest to the east. Then above SMNP I see Cherokee national forest, then jefferson national forest and so on. Where am I going wrong here. I am looking at google maps if that helps any.

Younger Tom
09-03-2009, 11:31 AM
OK. When I refer to the little river in my post I am NOT talking about the little tennessee river, but the little river on the tennessee side of the park. The one that flows through the park past tremont campground and through townsend.

If you're staying on Alarka, why would you drive all the way over to the Little River? It has it's own unique appeal and all, but you'll spend a good portion of your day in the car driving pass plenty of other great trout streams just to get there. Getting to some of the excellent trout streams in the park that Mr. Casada won't really take you much longer than driving all the way up to the end of Alarka. (Though if you want to experience some unique fishing, give Alarka a shot. Just be prepared to bow & arrow cast and be excited by fish that might go the length of your hand. Maybe.)

09-03-2009, 11:39 AM
I am staying in Alarka the first four nights of my trip. Then I am driving to the Tennessee side to stay 3 nights on the little river. Sorry I should have been more specific in my first post. So the second half I am staying on the little river IN Tennessee very close to the little river outfitters shop.

Jim Casada
09-03-2009, 11:40 AM
downtownfish--We've now reachd a point where you are about to get me confused. If you are staying on Alarka Creek, why in the world are you thinking about the Little River? On a good traffic day, with no bear jams and no elk jams, you've got the better part of two hours of driving (one way) to get to it. Meanwhile you've got all the streams I previously mentioned a whole lot closer (on the N. C. side of the Park).
As for the national forests, whatever you are looking at has you jumping all over the place. Jefferson NF is in Virginia! The Cherokee NF has two sections, north and south of the Tennessee side of the Park. The Nantahala NF embraces portions of a number of counties in southwestern NC (Graham, Clay, Macon, Swain, Cherokee, and Jackson) while the Pisgah is in the central and northern part of the mountains in N. C. I'll try to put it as simply as I can. If you are staying on Alarka focus your fishing efforts on one of these nearby Park streams--Deep Creek, Noland Creek, Oconaluftee River, Bradley Fork, Beech Flats Prong, or Straight Fork. You can drive to all of them. If you want to catch specs (they'll be small) go to the headwaters of Alarka, and expect tight, tight casting conditions. Or (shameless hype here) buy my book and get details on any and all Park streams. I've got it and LRO has it. Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

09-03-2009, 11:50 AM
Ok it looks like from your first and last posts that you have some resevations locked in. Take Jims advice on his last post. Shameless or not, get his book! I ordered moine from LRO and got it the next day. This book will answer all your questions and comes with a neat fold out map showing pricipal places in the park. Have a good trip.

09-03-2009, 11:51 AM
Jim maybe I slipped my last post in while you were typing your reply 4 days will be in Alarka in NC, then I am driving to the Tennessee side to stay in townsend.

Jim Casada
09-03-2009, 12:54 PM
downtownfish--Yep, posts probably crossed out there in the ether somewhere. You are set to see a bit of both sides of the Park and sample some great streams, though your problem will be so much water, so little time. Jim Casada

09-04-2009, 07:57 AM
Downtown-Mr.Casada is correct that the NANT is a rubber-hatch,but only below the powerhouse.Past the 'put-in' and accross the bridge for several miles is some excellent fishing!It's delayed harvest,stocked with alot of holdovers.I use orange ashers and EHC.Rubber Hatch area is good early before they turn on the water.NC state record Brown caught there.WATCH the water.Don't know what time precisely it gets turned on.Mayhaps Mr.Casada has that info.Also,yuo're going to be there about a week before the peak of the colors and it will be gorgeous!

09-04-2009, 11:50 AM
Just ordered the book, so I should get it Monday or so!!! I have a lot of reading ahead of me.
SWAMPUS I have read alot of conflicting dates about peak color, so I decided to go in the begining so in worst case high elevations should look good. I hope.