View Full Version : What fly rod?

11-28-2007, 09:06 PM
If you could only have one fly rod to fish the smokies with, what length and weight would you have?

11-28-2007, 09:09 PM
8 foot 4 weight


Rog 1
11-28-2007, 09:18 PM
Since I mostly fish the smaller water give me my Orvis One Ounce....6 1/2 ft

11-28-2007, 09:36 PM
6.5' 2wt w/3DT line.

11-28-2007, 10:11 PM
The rod I use 90% of the time in the park - 7.3" 2wt TFO Finesse, with a 3wt DT and a furled leader. Just a joy to cast, and almost any sized fish is fun on it.

David Knapp
11-28-2007, 10:40 PM
9ft 4wt for me...

11-28-2007, 11:54 PM
8 ft 5 wt

11-29-2007, 12:08 AM
8 to 8 1/2 foot 4 weight. It will handle everything from small dries, to double nymph rigs and streamers. For general, all-around use I feel it gives you the most versatility.

11-29-2007, 12:25 AM
12' cane pole, stick bait, and a jug o' shine...well, you could do some serious high stickin' with the cane pole, but 8' 4wt fills the bill for me....

11-29-2007, 08:10 AM
7 1/2 ft. 4 wt.

11-29-2007, 10:13 AM
8' 4 wt. I actually don't even own one, I usually use an 8' 3wt, but I'd say a 4wt is probably an all around better choice if that's going to be your only rod up there.

11-29-2007, 10:36 AM
For 95% of my fishing I use a Scott G series 9' 4wt. If scott made a 10' 4 wt. G series, I would use it. I like a medium action rod since most of the time I am only casting leader and maybe a couple of feet of fly line and I can load my rod easier with a slow or moderate action. The extra rod length allows me to reach more areas with less line on the water. Trying to high stick with a 6 1/2' rod or even an 8' rod is very frustrating for me.

11-29-2007, 11:05 AM
If I could find one, I'd use one that started out like a 3' 2wt on my backcast and then extended to a 12' 6wt as I was shooting line...that way I would stay out of the rhodies and be able to keep all of my line off the water as I was casting two pools above me on a brookie stream;).

Unfortunately, I don't believe that there is a perfect size. Just look at all of the responses to the question. The best thing to do is go to LRO, tell them the kinds of streams that you want to fish and then cast a few different rods. You really need to enjoy the rod you are using and be able to cast it well enough to get to the fish. The size and wt are not as important.

Even in the park there are wide variations in the tackle that would be considered optimum. If you are chasing Brookies on small brushy creeks, with lots of rhododendron, you could go with a really small rod (6' - 7'6") since you are only casting a few feet (inches) of your fly line and you don't want to get hung up in the vegetation. Or you could go with a 12' cane pole and place the flies up in front of you pool or two at a time.

If you are fishing the bigger streams in the park you might want a slightly longer rod (7'6" - 8'6") to help with mending across multiple currents and the vegetation is not as much of an hinderance. If you nymph alot, you might even want a slightly longer rod to get the flies up and down into the current quicker without spooking the fish with too much line in the air.

Above all, get a rod with a very good warranty. If you fish in the park and find yourself fishing in remote areas (or with your brother-in-law) you might end up with a broken rod. Some companies will replace it, no questions asked, others you'll be out of luck. Make sure you don't end up, out-of-luck...

11-29-2007, 11:07 AM

I asked the same question on this board several months ago. I did have one additional specification though. I wanted a rod that would be easily carried into the backcountry. Just as you have, I received some great comments and suggestions. However, I learned that the answer is not a simple one. I think Drew Delashmit, a great guide by the way, had the right idea if you are looking for the most versatile rod. In my case, I really did not plan on fishing with heavy steamers etc. I wanted a rod that would roll cast well in tight places but also allow me to cast well when I could make a cast from the tail to the head of a long pool. I talked to the folks at LRO several times. They were a great help! I finally decided on a TFO 7'9" Finesse 3wt. I love the rod. It is perfect for my needs. However, I would probably have a hard time landing a 20" fish. I would probably have a hard time landing it regardless of the rod I had. Anyway, consider the areas where you will be fishing and the type flies you will be throwing. Good luck!

Elk riverrat
11-29-2007, 11:19 AM
I fished the park for years with a 9'0" #4, 2 pc rod, I've tried a 7'9" #2, seems like ever time I took it I thought I was in Wyoming (wind) couldn't get it on eBay quick enough. It is a personal decision, I never felt handicapped with the 9', even 5 or more miles from the trailhead:) I personally stop at 3 weights.

When I come to the native waters, I think of one thing, wild fish on DRY flies, I live on the Elk River tailwater and get my fill of subsurface stuff at home.

11-29-2007, 12:42 PM
12' cane pole, stick bait, and a jug o' shine.....

When are we going...LOL

11-29-2007, 12:46 PM
9ft 4pc 3wt. Really love it.

11-29-2007, 04:56 PM
I'm by no means or definition an expert. Heck, by most of the experience of the guys here, I'm a newbie for sure.

With that said, there are two rods I use as my go to. One is a 9' 5wt Scott G2. The other is a Sage SLT 7'6" 3wt.

I really like the short rod up in the Smokies. It's just a dream to cast and to use on the streams.

As for big fish, I landed an 18" brown and a 20+" brown on a local tailwater using this rod. These are stocked and not wild fish, but these ones were, I believe, holdovers as they do not stock them that large on this water.

The little rod held up fine and had absolutely no issues landing a couple pretty decent fish. It was a lot of fun.


11-29-2007, 10:13 PM
TFO 7'9" Finesse 3wt over lined with 4wt. 4pc packs easy.

11-30-2007, 12:12 AM
If you like a rod that could double as a tailwater midge rod try to find a Sage LL 8'9" 3wt(VPS light is the same rod without the nicer finish), This is a slower action Sage that can handle a weighted nymph and some wind. Might find one on ebay

11-30-2007, 01:15 PM
I am partial to my TFO Finesse 2-wt that I purchased last year. It is one sweet rod and it casts like a dream with that medium action it has.


11-30-2007, 01:29 PM
It's too cruel to say only pick one because there are so many different types of streams in the smokies.

For the smaller streams i would use my 7 1/2' 2wt. bamboo rod, it casts perfectly into tight spots and makes a 12" fish feel like a trophy. The bend and action of the rod is truely unbelievable.

For the larger streams i would go with a 9' 4wt. (possibly my new helios that's on the way!!!!!!!). Gotta have that longer rod to high stick.


Rog 1
11-30-2007, 02:27 PM
If this about catching fish, the cane pole with a couple of wet flies in the hand of some of the old timers would probably come out on top.....if you have ever had an opportunity to watch this original form of "high sticking" you would be amazed at its effectiveness....would save us all a few dollars in the long run and we all could afford to have many more rods than we probably do now...

11-30-2007, 03:55 PM
8ft 4 weight 4 piece

MM2888, Who made your 7.5 ft. 2wt boo rod?
most are 4,5 and 6 wts

11-30-2007, 09:58 PM
It would be 8' 3wt for me.:smile:

11-30-2007, 09:58 PM
Tell us more about this original 'high stick'

11-30-2007, 11:34 PM
I got mine from a guy who makes them near charlotte, nc. It's a real nice piece and you gotta love the action of the boo. It definitely offers a much different feel than graphite rods.


12-01-2007, 12:27 AM
I had the chance to fish a bamboo rod in Colorado this year before the Fly Tackle Retailer Show. If I were to make the move back to Tennessee and refocus my attention to trout, I would probably get a bamboo. I fished a 7 ft, 3 wt Eden Cane prototype and it was perfect on a small stream that was very similar to those in the park, except for the fact that it was about 11,000 ft above sea level. A beautiful rod that was a true joy to fish.


12-01-2007, 07:50 AM
They really do have a totally different feel than graphite rods, that's for sure. There's something about fishing with one, too, i don't know what it is. It's something that i wish every fly fisherman could experience at least once. I told myself i wouldn't go back to graphite rods and that bamboo was my new thing, but that helios just looked too tempting! I would like a longer bamboo rod for the smokies as my 7 1/2" one is too short to effectively high stick. Maybe one day i'll put my name on the waiting list for one of walter babb's rods, i heard they were very nice.


12-04-2007, 05:52 PM
7' 3wt. 3 piece Diamondglass

12-06-2007, 10:11 AM
Lot's of great choices, i normally take a Scott 703 Fibertouch or a Winston LT 793, there are a few streams where a 9' rod comes in handy, i rarely bring one so i have to disect the stream with the shorter rods.
I agree, there isn't one perfect rod, thank goodness:biggrin:


12-07-2007, 01:56 PM
I have 2 of Babb's bamboo rods---the last one is a "Perfectionist" model 7'6" 4wt---He makes these babies for mountain fishing--The other is a 7'9" 5 wt that comes with 2 tips one for dry flies and the other for nymphs--it casts great---Have used both in Cumberland river---When you show up with a bamboo rod---everyone wants to see and feel--most fisherman would like to own one--and yes it is true there is something about bamboo,that you can't really put your finger on,but adds a little mystique to a days fishing--DavidRedington builds a really nice 6wt 8'(South Fork Rod Co.)--his little 3 wts are nice---I have not seen any 2 wt's but I'll bet they are a lot of fun--The Orvis's,Hardy's,Winston's in bamboo are just too expensive(Glenn Brackett's Winston rods don't count)---Larry at Hight Sierra Rods makes some really nice rods--I have a "Brookie" that casts great.

12-07-2007, 02:01 PM
I have an order in with Walter Babb-for an 8wt that he says is the best bamboo rod yet for tailwaters----