View Full Version : 3wt ?

02-07-2007, 05:05 PM
I'm looking into purchasing my second (3rd but the 20 dollar wally world special doesn't count) rod and reel and I wanted to get something a little smaller.
I would like something better suited for the tight confines of the Smokies.
Would a 3wt (I'm still new to this so forgive me) road and reel set up be good for there?
Plus I hear its a lot of fun on the more light-weight setups when you land a fish.

Any way, any help would be nice.

Oh and I'm on a budget, but aren't we all when we're married.



02-07-2007, 06:01 PM
I personally would not recommend anything smaller than a 4wt. I use a 5wt simply because its easier for me to cast and handle everything from the brookies to the browns and allows me to cast dries as easy as streamers. It's all up to the individual.

02-07-2007, 06:13 PM

These are the kinds of questions that we all love to talk about but hard to answer. *You are likely to get various responses, and more than likely, none are incorrect. *I personally like a 3wt for the smaller streams of the mountains and do indeed like the feel and fight of a lighter rod(I like to throw alot of dry's). *For some reason ,and with budget in mind, I always point people toward a TFO. *Try out some 3wt,4wt and see which is more appealing to your style. *Maybe even borrow one and go try it out! *3 or 4 piece would be really sweet! *Let us know.

You can't go wrong with a 4 or 5 wt either,especially if you want to use bigger bugs and get deep for bigger fish.


02-07-2007, 06:18 PM
I am with Troutman on this. Lets do a little qualifying though. On Tremont or above a three of four weight will suffice and for the 4-12" trout you catch out of the upper reach creeks alot of fun. The three was about my last purchase though. I fished a 4 for a long time, then went to a five for the Little River (bigger water and bigger heavier bugs fished deep). I even fish a 6 on Little River from time to time.
I have a lot of fun with the 3 wt on smaller creeks and a 12" fish will really put a bend in it. Not sure how much of a budget you're on, I have liked a Lamiglas 3 wt 7-6" fiberglass. Many love the little yellow eagle claws. Might look at the St Croixs or TFO's at Little River.
Very personal thing though, good luck!

02-07-2007, 06:30 PM

Just thought of this. I see you are from Thompson's Station. The MTFF's club will be hosting Steve Moore tonight. Although short notice,if you can make it I will bring my 3 wt and you can sling it around a bit and see what you think. Google MTFF for directions if you can make it..


02-07-2007, 06:36 PM

Thank you so much...but today is my birthday (turning the big 3-0) and the wife has plans for me.
I will have to get out to one of the meetings though...one of the guys at FlySouth invited me last month and I couldn't make it then either, but I'll mark it down for next time. Thanks for the offer...I appreciate that a lot.

Thanks for the help on this though.

Sounds like from what you guys are telling me the 3wt is good for the small stuff, but not an ideal all-around fly rod.
I have a 5wt now and it works great, but like I said, just looking to the future.

02-07-2007, 06:38 PM

I don't claim to be a great fisherman. But, I do like to buy my toys. I own three, 3-weights although, I claim that one of those was purchased for my son. Anyhow, I've got a Temple Fork and a Cabela's Stowaway - 5 piece rod. I really like the Cabelas, which can be bought fairly reasonably in a combo package. I fished the Temple Fork this weekend on the Elk tailwater, where you will usually catch 9 inch stockers. It did well, but lacked a little bit of muscle in the wind.

At any rate, my default rod is a 3-weight, because most of the fish that I catch are in the 9-inch stocker range. With those size fish, a 3-weight is a lot of fun.

Fun factor aside, a four or five weight will be your best all around rod.


02-07-2007, 08:23 PM
I agree with most of you guys. I have a 7' 3wt that is a lot of fun to use in the park, and various small stream in CNF, but for me it is even too small for the Tellico. I use an 8.5' 4 wt for the Tellico and what little tailwater fishing that I do. I also have a 6-piece 5 wt that throws like a broomstick that I will use as a backup or for heavy streamers/nymphs. I am also looking for a new rod and will probably stick with a med-fast action 9' 4 or 5 wt, but haven't figured out which model yet. I'm a big Loomis fan, but not sure I want to try and explain to the wife why I need another high$$ rod for my birthday. She just doesn't understand. I blame her father.


Gerry Romer
02-07-2007, 10:55 PM
If you can make it by LRO, they can definitely get you outfitted. The thing is, it really is a very personal preference project. It's not just the rod. It's the rod, the reel, and the line, and how they can all be tailored to the individual. The folks at LRO are really good at doing this.

Generally speaking, because of the physical restraints of the environment, the smaller mountain streams are easier to fish with a shorter, lighter rod. But the obvious exception to that rule is that longer rods are better for high sticking those same streams.

Best advice? You're working on a budget... do a lot of homework. If you can't make it to LRO, find a good fly shop where you can cast a lot of rods. Mix them up with different reels and different line weights. If you're planning on spending a lot of time on the water (even if you're not planning on it, trust me you will end up spending a lot of time on the water) you'll want a setup that won't wear your arm and shoulder out. You would reallly benefit from the expertise of a pro helping to match your physique to the proper combination.

Both St. Croix and Temple Fork have some very nice budget-priced rods that won't set you back a bundle. And Orvis offers some very good reels at budget prices. *But the one place you don't want to skimp is on the line. Ultimately, the line is the only thing linking you to the fish. Expect to spend some serious money on a quality line that fits the "balance" of your setup.

Good luck!

Gerry *

Green Weenie
02-08-2007, 09:14 AM
I went from a 5wt to a 3wt this winter and I love it!

02-08-2007, 10:45 AM
I agree with Gerry. There is alot of hype about particular brands of fly rods. I own several including some of the higher priced. I bought my son a 5wt TFO Professional at LRO and it is comparable to my more expensive rods. Sage has also brought out the Launch series for about $199. Daniel and the staff can help you tremendously.

02-09-2007, 09:28 AM
I agree with everyone. I use a 3 WT for the park, and it is a blast. You dont want to go any lower. Bigger rods for bigger water. The biggest is a 6wt used for tailwater float trips. The line is key as was previously mentioned. I just bought some triangle taper 4 Wt line for my 3 Wt rod. I have yet to try it anywhere except my basement, where it seams to work great. I get a little better control, a little better feel. For $70.00 I hope I made the right line choice.

02-09-2007, 09:46 AM
I was thinking about buying another rod this spring. (I have a 4wt and a 5wt now) I was gonna get a heavier rod for bigger water and smallmouth. But after reading this post I might get a 3wt or heck even a 2wt to fish smaller streams here. What do you guys think? Maybe I should get both ;)


02-09-2007, 10:25 AM

In my opinion, the rod weight is inversely proportional to the fun factor. Smaller rod = bigger fun.

Before I got my 3 weights, I bought a 2 weight Temple Fork. Tons of fun! I still use it any time I'm bluegill fishing on a local creek. But, it's a 6 foot rod. Combined with the light weight, it's tough to get any distance on a cast if you have an indicator or a big fly tied on. So, I went to an 8 foot 3 weight, and I get the best of both worlds. Good fun factor, and pretty good casting distance.

That said, I've caught a 16 inch rainbow on the 2 weight. ;D ;D ;D Everybody has that handful of special fish that they can remember every detail on catching. And that's one of mine. After that, I seriously thought of buying one of those Orvis 0-weight rods.

I'm still trying to convince my wife that I need to follow the old maxim that you need to own as many rods as the weight: 1 -one weight, 2 - two weights, 3- three weights etc. Good thing I don't saltwater fly fish - 12 -twelve weights could get expensive.


02-09-2007, 02:11 PM
I have also been looking at three weights. I've had a 5-weight for 2 years and have never caught a fish larger than about 7 inches in the Smokies. The 5-weight hauls them in like a winch.

I'd looked at Winston, Scott, Sage, TFO, and St. Croix. My favorite of the bunch was a Sage SLT followed by the St. Croix Avid. Then about a month ago I found a deal I couldn't pass up on a new-old-stock Sage XP 8'. It's a bit fast, but so far (one outing on the Clinch) it's a hoot.

The downer is that my wife has claimed it. So I guess I'm back in the market for ANOTHER 3wt.

02-09-2007, 03:22 PM
If you want a small stream rod to make those average 6-12" fish feel like 20 incher don't count out the Orvis Superfines.
I now fish a 7/11(7'11") 2piece old style Superfine 4wt. It has a slow action, perfect for Dry flies and I can fish small nymphs ( size 8 and down) also.
I don't tailwater fish with it as it can be hard to cast in windy conditions and with bigger fish, it would put more stress on the them with a lighter rod. IMO
When you can't get up to the Mtns., It is great for throwing small poppers to bluegill in those farm ponds and lake coves!

02-09-2007, 05:58 PM
Well, not that there haven't been plenty of good opinions expressed, I hope there's room for one more. For 20 years I fished the Rockies with an old Sage 9'-6wt and a glass Phillipson I built. Then I fished the Smokies for a while with the same rods. The advantage to those rods was that I didn't have to have as much line out with a longer rod. But something grabbed me one day and I bought a TFO 7 1/2'-3wt, and fishing has never been so much fun. It's not a great setup in the wind, but I'm still looking for anything that is. For the inexperienced caster, it's probably a little difficult to feel the rod load on the backcast. Also don't think I would try to overweight it - it doesn't have the backbone for that. But for pure fishing fun on smaller fish, it's hard to beat. Bottom line: they all will work and work well. Get what's fun and understand that, whatever you get now, it's probably not your last rod.

02-10-2007, 10:25 AM
Best comments are on rod and line weight. I have found that a fast
action rod works better with at least a one weight overlining, especially
for throwing two fly dry/dropper or two nymphs with an indicator. Also,
especially important for bass, as while their lips are not as hard as a
woodpeckers, they will spit it out real fast if you try to set the hook with
a trout-like lifting of the rod. My favorite GSMNP rod is a 3 wt full flex, but I
usually resort to a 7'9" mid flex 5wt for Hazel Creek as the water can get
bigger there in places. Watson

02-10-2007, 10:28 AM
I own 4 different outfits of different weights & with the exception of a 6 wt I use on tailwaters, I try to use all of the others at different times on smaller streams. Problem is I always end up coming back to my 3 wt. I think its all psychological, but I seem to have the best results with it. It is only 7'6" so it keeps me out of the trees better but aas someone stated earlier it is nice to have a longer rod to control the line better. Hope this helps.

02-10-2007, 11:48 AM
while were talkin about rods here i have a question. Can u fish a dry fly with a 5wt and present the fly correctly?

02-10-2007, 01:27 PM

Absolutely, *I used a 5wt for many years dry flying and caught a ton of fish! * Now I use a 3wt as much as possible. *Fun! Fun! *

Side Note: What I like to do when dry flying(depending on stream size and wind factor) is use the smallest size tippet and leader (depending on the biggest size fish I expect to encounter) and keep as much fly line off the water as possible. This is but one approach. The more you fish the more you will develop your own style....

Good luck... Mark

02-10-2007, 08:17 PM
2 wts and 3wts are great in the smokies---these wt rods were built for the smokies--these rods are light ,short and for dry flys---they work good--i think the best 2 and 3wt rods are the winston LT.Scott makes fiberglass rods to kill for---the 2wt is 6'6" and the 3wt is 7'.0---These rods cast great---sage makes a light weight rod that is green and blond looking---they offer it in a 000wt- i have cast the 4wt and it is nice---for the money look at the little sage rod---and look real close at the scott fiberglass rods---

02-10-2007, 08:51 PM

Heck yeah you can! If I recall correctly, last winter on the SoHo I presented a 26 BWO to a feeding fish in soft water. I used a TFO 8'6 5 wt. Im proud of that fish.... 8-)


02-11-2007, 12:41 AM

Heck yeah you can! If I recall correctly, last winter on the SoHo I presented a 26 BWO to a feeding fish in soft water. I used a TFO 8'6 5 wt. Im proud of that fish.... 8-)


Wow...that's impressive, and I mean just being able to thread your leader through the eye...last time I was up there, I tried to put on a #20 midge, and couldn't get the 6x tippet through...went to a #18, and had my only hit of the New Year's weekend.

I ordered a line threader/magnifying glass from Orvis...about the only thing I can afford from them ;)
My eyesight isn't that bad, but maybe I've hit the age where the warranty starts to run out.

02-11-2007, 01:06 AM
Hey ijsouth,

That's because he's looking through 16 year old eyes! At 16 I could see two mating caddis at 100 meters! Strange, but I had my eye sight checked a few weeks ago and their 20/15. It seems to be getting better with age? It's my bumbling fingers that cause most of the trouble. Guess I'll have to work on my dexterity...


02-11-2007, 01:13 AM
Wow...20/15 - that's impressive. Mine's not nearly that good...I wear glasses, which probably doesn't help - there's bound to be some distortion. Interesting thing is, I was told the same thing when I got my current pair - my eyesight had improved slightly.

I might go the lasik route sometime...the price keeps dropping. As for size, etc...I'm like you - I try to use the lightest combinations I can get away with. I figure that, at this stage of my fly-fishing career, I need every advantage I can get - I don't need to "shock and awe" the fish.

Now, the situation is entirely different down here...when I go after the redfish in our marshes, I have to go with some fairly stout leaders - those fish can pull like a bezerk freight train.

02-11-2007, 01:16 AM
Hey guy's. I am glad i found somebody on the board. I am coming to the Smoky's next friday is there any chance I could land a fish somewhere in the park? As for the discussion on weights I just got a 3 wt. 6 footer and for small water I love it.

02-11-2007, 01:39 AM

4 letters COLD!! Looks like 39 high 29 low but sunny. Ouch! Water will be o-so-cold but don't let that stop you if you are determined! Maybe try out middle prong or metcalf bottoms. Fish deep. The 3wt is sweet. I fish one myself. Go for it! Let us know how you do...

02-11-2007, 01:47 AM
Would you suggest a nymph pattern?

02-11-2007, 01:53 AM
Give these a try...

Bead Head Pheasant Tail #12, #14, #16, #18
Hares Ear #12, #14, #16
Prince Nymph #12, #14, #16
Tellico Nymph #8, #10, #12, #14
Rubber Legged Copper John #14, #16
Red Copper John #12, #14, #16
Girdle Bug #2, #4
Rubber Leg Copper John #14, #16
Might even throw in a Zebra Midge 20-22

Fish deep and on a dead drift or try short strips. You want to keep it in front of their nose as long as possible..

02-11-2007, 10:37 AM
3wt option: If you build rods or ever wanted to, I would suggest the Forecast 6.5', 2wt, 4pc blank. I just received mine. For $18, you can't go wrong. Overline it w/ 3 or 4DT.

02-11-2007, 04:07 PM
i know 5wt rods are the best overall---BUT---the lighter rods present you with a little more challenge--and they feel weightless in your hands-i bought at 2wt winston LT from LRO--last week---it is awesome,its action is just right for delicate casts,cast it on the farm pond,it casts better than i would have thought--these rods are not for everyone--i just like them---catching fish on them is a blast--will use a 5wt or 6wt for high sticking nymphs---but--the "little" rods are what make fishing in the Smokies memorable and fun---

02-11-2007, 05:26 PM
lauxier, Do you high stick with your 3 wt. Its great from drys but a little to soft for nymphing. Your thoughts