View Full Version : Rod Opinions

01-30-2008, 05:05 PM
Guys (and gals)
Thinking on getting a rod for my son's birthday for an upcoming trip to Yellowstone later in the summer.

The two I'm considering are
Sage Launch 9' 4wt 4 piece
TFO Finnesse 8'9" 4wt 4 piece.

Has anyone cast or fished with both and can compare/contrast?

Other opinions welcome too.


01-30-2008, 05:31 PM
You may want to look into something a little bigger then a 4wt. I would at least use a 5wt or a 6wt. It can get rather windy in Montana during the day and it can be kind of a pain throwing flies with a 4wt.

01-30-2008, 10:00 PM
Agree with the above post that suggest 5 or 6wt rod. If heavy streamers are to be used, a 7wt is not out of the question for the larger rivers.

If you plan to fly, 4 piece rod are great because you can hand carry them on the airplane and insure they get there and are not broken.

Great place to visit and fish.

01-31-2008, 06:34 PM
Do think you will appreciate the versatility of a 5wt. I have had a Sage DSL 8ft 5wt since 1991. Probably an early forerunner of the Launch. Still one of my favorite rods. If you can only own one rod an 8ft will cover tailwaters and mtn streams with some limitations. Getting hard to find 8footers. The 5wt gives you enough heft to throw weighted nymphs and buggers. I know TFO is gaining in popularity. I like Sage rods for a casting style like mine that plateaued a few years ago. I would also consider the St. Croix Legend if you think he is serious. Sweet rods. Save the lighter and heavier rods after 10,000 casts with a good all around rod.

01-31-2008, 08:28 PM
Yes, my son is very serious. I should have given a little more info. He will be 13 in April. He currently has a Cabelal 7'6" 4wt stoway (5 piece) that's pretty soft action and it's overlined with a 5wt line. When he concentrates, he's deadly with it.

I have a nice little 7'6" Sage SLT 3wt, and a 9' Scott G2 5wt and a Redington RS3 7wt.

My boy does pretty well with my Scott G2. He hasn't cast the Sage much and I just got the Redington for Christmas so he hasn't cast it at all.

I do know he seems to do well with the medium to slower action rods.

For his birthday, I wanted to get a really nice rod for him. Something that he will be able to own and fish for a lot of years to come.

My budget won't allow for a $600 rod at this time. I'd like to keep it around $300 or a less but still be a good rod.

Yes, he's a very serious fisherman and worth the investment.

The last time we were on the little river, he outfished me 10 to 4. Little punk :biggrin:


01-31-2008, 10:11 PM
I haven't had the chance to cast the TFO Finesse series, but I have spent some time playing around with the TFO Signature ($99) and Professional ($139) series rods. Both rods cast well, but the Signature series rods are all two piece models. Also, rod tubes are not included with either model, which might not be practical for traveling. But, they are priced very well, so you could buy a rod tube separately. TFO also has an excellent warranty on most of their rods.

You might want to consider the Winston Vapor series. Those rods are four piece models, and they come with an aluminum tube. I think they go for about $299. That's not bad, and the cosmetics are better than the TFO rods, in my opinion.

02-01-2008, 01:22 AM
I tend to agree with others about a heavier wt. rod espeically for the yellowstone area. The last time I fished in the area, I was pretty much hitting the Madison and the wind dictated that I pretty much used a 5 or 6 wt. Some days it was the 6wt. only. If he tends to cast the slower action rods, you might want to take a serious look at the St. Criox Avid series. I currently have an 8'6' 5wt. that is an absolute joy to fish with. I find myself amazed at its performance for the price. Very smooth and will handle fish nicely. Good quality and lifetime warranty. Pretty good looking rod to boot. Priced around $220 if I remember correctly. As others have stated, TFO is another great options for the money. That 8'9' 5wt. Finesse is a sweet rod.
Good luck and let us know how it goes.


02-01-2008, 08:03 AM
I agree with the other's on a heavier rod, the 5 is probably the best overall, you can over or under line it, that's something to think about.
The Vapor series from Winston is around $300, it fit's the medium action, TFO Pro or Finnesse as already mentioned, the new Cortland Brook series falls in there as well for around $200, it is really worth a look into, the Orvis Clearwater in a mid would be worth looking at as well.
Hopefully, you can taake him & let him shake a few, that always removes a lot of doubt.


02-01-2008, 12:05 PM
Thanks all. I talked with him last night and he's sold on the 5wt idea. The reel is a surprise. I have one coming from LRO (the Orvis Battenkill Mid Arbor witht he free Orvis line 5wt). When I give him the rod (which he already knows about), I'm going to give him a beat up old reel I have. Then surprise him with the shiny new reel a few minutes later. (hey, I'm a dad and if I can't be a little mean what good is having a kid?).

This is not the first time I've heard St. Croix Avid rods. They seem to have an excellent reputation and the fact they are US made does mean something to me. Not that I have anything against Asian imports, in fact Asia is a very important market for my employer. However, given a choice, I'll try to buy US made products first.

I will have to check them out. I also see LRO sells the St. Croix Avid line which is a definate plus too.


02-02-2008, 12:52 AM
I'm glad to hear your son is sold on the 5wt. I think 6 wt is better for that area, but if you show up on some place like the Madison with a 4wt, and it gets windy, you should just go home because you have a useless rod in your hands.

I love TFO Pro series. They are just so well priced for what you get. Even though he likes slow rods, I think youth is the time to introduce him to fast ones. TFO Pros are medium-fast. He'll pick up the new (and in my controversial opinion, better) action of a faster rod so much, well, faster at that age. If you get him that 5wt, 9' rod (SKU: 915797 at LRO), he will be able to fish for just about anything, just about anywhere.

Just throwing my 2 cents on the pile!

02-02-2008, 11:31 AM
Jeff, even though I mention the avid series in the St. Croix line-up. Don't forget to look at the legend ultra series as well. This is a real sleeper of a rod in my opinion. If I was going to get the five wt. in a nine footer, that is probably the way I would go. Even though it is listed as a fast action rod. IMHO it is more of a medium-fast rod as compared to some to the other fast rods out there. It about $100 dollars more than the avid which keeps it in your price range. I have an old magazine article that was written several yrs ago campairing many 9ft. 5wts. in overall performance as far as casting is concerned. The Legend ultra finished with a ranking of third behind the loomis glx and sage xp. Not bad company to be in considering its half the price. Your son will love the reel you have chosen. My dad picked one up for me at christmas and I've already taken it out for a test drive and was lucky enough to get a nice fish to pull on the drag. Very smooth, good choice.


02-02-2008, 04:49 PM
I agree with stickbait. The St. Croix Legend is worth the extra $100. I would describe its casting as smooth with a medium fast action. A friend has one and it is a nice rod under the radar. LRO can fix you up.

02-03-2008, 12:03 PM
If it was me buying the rod for out west i would get either a Sage Launch in a 9' 6wt or a St Croix Legend Ultra in a 9' 6wt. I might also consider a TFO TiCR in a 9' 6wt. Just make sure you bring a back up rod just in case something happens.

02-04-2008, 11:58 AM
Thanks again for all the suggestions and help.

We haven't decided on the rod yet and hope to get him to try a few. We may be coming to GSMP in May and would try some at LRO then. There's also a fly fishing show hosted by a local FF club here in Cincinnati next month. Typically a few shops are set up there and maybe he can cast a couple there.

While the rod is going to be used in the Yellowstone area this summer, most of our fishing is Eastern. Our home water is Brookville Tailwaters which is by no means a large river. We also fish a few local smallmouth / panfish streams and make it about 3-4 times per year to the Smokies.

This rod is going to be used at Yellowstone, it would not be a wise investment to buy one for a single trip (according to my loving wife).

Yes, we're taking a number of rods there. I have a spare 5 wt to take, I also have a 9' 7wt Redington RS3 to take for really windy days. These are in addition to the 9'5wt Scott that I have and our small stream rods.

The 7'6" 3wt and the 7'6" 4wt will most likely stay at home as I doubt if there will be a lot of places to use a short 3wt. (are they?).

Thanks again. Believe it or not, you guys are helping more than you know.


02-06-2008, 12:01 PM
depends, do you figure to float/fish the Yellowstone or Madison or are plans to fish in the park? I used the 7' for a 4wt Superfine in the park and never felt under gunned. Floating the Yellowstone I used my B2x 8'6" for a 5wt weight and got along just fine and it was very windy even for the Yellowstone our guide said. If I was fishing the Madison and the Yellowstone regularly I would want a fast 9' for a 6 or 7 weight but being from back east seems like a major investment to get used once a year either out west or in the Keys. But, the more I think about it....

appalachian angler
02-06-2008, 01:07 PM
I would find a Sage SLT 9' 5wt. Since they have been discontinued, you can find them ranging from $300 to 350 for a 2 piece and $350-400 for the 4pc. Why not stretch alittle to get him a premium keepsake, and a rod that will perform well out west and on southeastern tailwaters. An 8'6" rod will even function well on big water but not be "overkill" in length on most mountain streams. The launch is an excellent rod for the money and American made. I personally, would go the extra mile for him and get the SLT...a very handsome rod he could be Proud of...while there are still a few around to be bought! Of course, you could really impress him with a new ZXL and go for broke!


02-06-2008, 04:13 PM
I would find a Sage SLT 9' 5wt. Since they have been discontinued, you can find them ranging from $300 to 350 for a 2 piece and $350-400 for the 4pc. Why not stretch alittle to get him a premium keepsake, and a rod that will perform well out west and on southeastern tailwaters. An 8'6" rod will even function well on big water but not be "overkill" in length on most mountain streams. The launch is an excellent rod for the money and American made. I personally, would go the extra mile for him and get the SLT...a very handsome rod he could be Proud of...while there are still a few around to be bought! Of course, you could really impress him with a new ZXL and go for broke!


I've looked at a couple of the SLT rods. I own one in 7'6" 3wt and it is a sweetheart. If I can find one at a reasonable price between now and spring, I may just jump on it.


02-08-2008, 10:24 AM
The Clearwater 2-pc 5 wt is a slow rod, I have one. I believe the 4-pc is fater. The TFO Professional Series is a nice rod - I got the 3wt for my nephew. He will love the Mid-Arbor reel, I have one for Steelhead fishing and that drag is the bomb.

02-08-2008, 11:44 AM
You can't go wrong with a TFO. They're great rods - smooth action - and you can't beat an unconditional lifetime warranty. I broke mine through my own negligence and sent it off and they sent me a brand new rod! The price - which is pretty cheap - is worth the warranty alone. Once you buy it, you have it for life.

02-08-2008, 04:58 PM
TFO Pro....Have two, want at least 3 more. Wish they were a smidge faster, but they are so smooth now I might hate them afterward. The warranty kicks! Accidents happen, but it would take a lot of accidents before you spent as much deductable as you spent up front.

I think I need a Matched set starting with the odd's 3,5,7 then working thru the evens:biggrin:

02-09-2008, 07:54 AM
I think I need a Matched set starting with the odd's 3,5,7 then working thru the evens:biggrin:

I like that thought process, my wife frowns upon it, she has one rod & thinks that's all she needs:eek:
If i could get her to fish mountain streams, i'd have another excuse to buy a small stream rod, she'd rather hike & explore while i fish the lil water. If i catch a fish & she's within earshot, i get the strangest looks cause it fit's in my hand, she just don't get it:confused:


02-09-2008, 10:00 PM
Speaking of wives not understanding FlyFishing Logic...help me come up witha good argument for this....

Have the 3wt PRO...and want a 5wt PRO...the problem exists with the fact that SHE bought the 5wt Orvis "Freaky Flyer" for me, and I cannot think of a way to convince her I need another 5wt...not only am I risking the whole cash flow issue, but now it may come down to "hurting her" feelings that I want another rod besides the Orvis she bought me.:redface: As if her thoughtful and rather NICE gift of the Orvis rod was not good enough.

Talk about a minefield...your thoughts????

02-09-2008, 11:08 PM
ugh, sell it, tell her you left it on top of the car & went looking for it, you were mugged & they took it, a bear got it, pour some water on you before you get to the driveway & tell her you took a spill, fortunately the reel fell off & you saved it, walk in with the rod you want & oh no, that guy from Mars that i met must have grabbed my rod by mistake, i'll never be able to locate him.
ugh, i got nothing, good luck:rolleyes:


02-10-2008, 01:56 AM
Do I detect a bit of distaste over the Frequent Flyer Mr.Grumpy?:eek:

I kinda like it...Strung with a 5wt it's quick, but thanks to Mr. Romer's uplining advice (1/2 wt up) I think it performs admirably...little splashy with midges on short leaders, but it'll turn over 12' fairly well...

Besides, the price was right (less than $100 New!), and it's the thought that counts. It's a lot better than the Daiwa Algonquin it replaced.... of course the Daiwa ended up in a few more pieces than it was designed for after a bout with her little two door convertable...snap crackle pop...she felt so guilty that she went out and bought one that was sure to fit in it:biggrin: Heck...it'll just about fit in the glove compartment.

02-10-2008, 08:09 AM
Do I detect a bit of distaste over the Frequent Flyer Mr.Grumpy?:eek:


I thought we were trying to get a new rod, being the wife would never, ever , never buy me one, occasionally, i have to sell one to get what i want:frown:
I bought her about 10 rods a few years ago, neat, highend rods, she didn't like any of them, i kept on buying them though hoping one would suit her, they didn't, so i kept them:biggrin:
One day, i ran across a deal on a sweet 2 piece 6 weight blank to build out & throw some streamers with, while we were floating down the riier one day(rods maiden voyage), she asked if she could try it:eek: once i saw the loop, i knew i would never get to fish that rod:cool: that was the rod to complete my arsenal of other rods she didn't like, she let's me fish it occasionally when we're out, i'd never try to sneak it out though:redface:



02-11-2008, 12:25 PM
Just count your blessings that you don't play guitar also. If you do play guitar, you know where I'm coming from.

If you think the looks from the wife are "piercing" when you come home with a new fly rod, try sneaking a new guitar case into the house.:smile:

I could have bought 2 Helios rods and had enough left over for a nice TFO and some new line for each of the rods with the last guitar I bought. Unfortunately :biggrin: :biggrin: for me, it wasn't the first high end guitar I bought, but I pretty much was sure it was going to be the last. That was 2 years ago and she hasn't forgotten yet.

So, fly rods are inexpensive by comparison. Go ahead, buy the fly rod. Tell her you will always cherish the one she got for you (which you will) and how special it will always be to you (which it will) and then get one you really want. Just take the Orvis out a few times a year and let her know how much you appreciate her getting if for you and what a nice thing it was. In other words, tell her the truth that you love her and appreciate her.


Paula Begley
02-11-2008, 06:56 PM
Wise words, Jeff...wise words.

You want a job? ;)


02-12-2008, 12:20 AM
In the words of American Express....
Don't leave home without it...the Rod or the card.

That's what's so nice about the Freaky Flyer....at 18" it's ALWAYS with me.
Course at 2"X3" the card is too! Never know when I'll have to make a delicate and stealthy presentation over a sales counter to by a new rod:biggrin: