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Thread: if one rod was it for smokies fishing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Gadsden, Alabama
    Posts
    1,033

    Default if one rod was it for smokies fishing

    After doing a list of rods I own (15-17) i got out on the lawn and strung many of them up to cast. As I cast them I remembered why I thought I needed each one of them. But I had to ask myself if I could only have one rod to fish the smokies with which one would it be. A rod that had to do every type of technique that I might use, what would my choice be. my choices were a 8'6" winston 5 wt, a 9' sage rpl+ 4wt, a 7'7" 3 wt scott g2, a 9' 5 wt sage zaxis, a 7'9' cane rod, my 8' 4wt diamondglass rod, the 5 wt tfo professional or the sage 8'6" 3wt zxl.

    My final decission was the 9 ft 5wt sage zaxis. The reasons were; it is soft enough for dry fly fishing, long enough for high sticking, enough back bone for heavy double rig nymphing in winter, good for streamer fishing deep holes and 4 piece for easy back packing.

    Out of your collection, if you could only have one for the rest of time for fishing these mountains, what would it be?
    Romans 10:9-10 KJV

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    145

    Default

    Tenkara, 11 or 12 ft or maybe the 13 1/2 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Gadsden, Alabama
    Posts
    1,033

    Default

    very interesting. you are the first I have met that is using the tenkara rods. what would be your reasoning besides length for high sticking easy drifts? I got a friend interested in this type of fishing.
    Romans 10:9-10 KJV

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Great Smoky Mountains
    Posts
    731

    Default

    I am not sure if Tenkara would be my one rod choice, but on a personal level I started using one primarily in the park this winter. The first one I rigged was literally a black widow crappie rod rigged with a monfiliment line attachment (called a lillian) on the end with a mono line and regular leader. I called this Hillbilly Tenkara, to see if I wanted to invest in a regular setup. After trying the mono set up I changed to a furled leader I had a guy on ebay ($15) that sells the line make for me in a 10ft length on my 10 ft rod with 3-4 ft of tippet. It was a big improvement in casting once I adjusted to the new casting style, I think due to more weight than mono. I than ordered a Tenkara 12ft rod, I had the same guy make me a 12ft furled leader and I use about 3ft of tippet on average sometimes more. Furled leaders come with a tippet ring which I use on my regular rods all the time (for me instead of chopping the high dollar leaders we use, with the tippet ring, the ring stays on the leader and you just replace the tippet, no surgeons knot in the middle of the water, just tie a improved clinch on the fly and at the tippet end, attach to ring and your off, cheaper than leader replacement and easier for me in the water to tie.
    I have used on a regular basis in the Metcalf area and Middle and have adopted to the style, it is diffrent and has a learning curve. Tenkara was designed centuries ago for mountain streams which fits the Smokies perfectly, as you mentioned along with high sticking the drifts, for me it also allows me to get over a distant fast current and drop it right behind a rock or tail area or any area and just simply lift when it starts to drift too fast. I find I cast less and leave more leader off the water and just the tippet where it needs to be, it also helps eliminate a lot of whipping the water to death and scaring the fish more than I usually do. Because the tip is so small the spring action of the rod does the work when landing the fish and even a very small bow in the Smokies makes for fun, there is no reel so a mix of using the net and handlining will bring it to you. Traditionally they use just a variation of six flys (yes I have learned presentation is everything and has greatly improved my skills with my regular fly rods) but I use the same drys and wets I have always used. Is it for everyone probably not, but for just plain fun and stripping fishing down to basics and broadening your skills and variety it works for me.
    "It starts with a raindrop, don't let it end with a teardrop!"

    "Nothing straightens out my mind like a twisting mountain stream!"

    Follow the Great Smoky Mountain Trout Unlimited website:

    http://greatsmokymountain.tu.org/

    FACEBOOK: http://m.facebook.com/GreatSmokyMountainTU/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    North East Alabama
    Posts
    170

    Default

    8ft 4wt TFO pro 4 piece. When I first started fishing the Smokies the best all around rod was thought to be a 8ft 4wt. I have tried others but as a personal preference have seen no reason to change.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    339

    Default

    You are spot on...
    IMO there really is no one perfect rod for the mountains but a good 8' 4wt or 5wt is about a close to it as you can get with only having one stick.

    My personal preference is for my 8'9" TFO finesse 4wt. It is the go-to rod for me and it can cover 90% of the fishing that I do in the Smokies. The other 10% I will grab the 7'9" version. A very effective two rod, one reel combo, for anyone looking for a nice mountain set up. Also works just as well in 5wt configuration...


    Tight Lines,

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    145

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bigsur View Post
    I am not sure if Tenkara would be my one rod choice, but on a personal level I started using one primarily in the park this winter. The first one I rigged was literally a black widow crappie rod rigged with a monfiliment line attachment (called a lillian) on the end with a mono line and regular leader. I called this Hillbilly Tenkara, to see if I wanted to invest in a regular setup. After trying the mono set up I changed to a furled leader I had a guy on ebay ($15) that sells the line make for me in a 10ft length on my 10 ft rod with 3-4 ft of tippet. It was a big improvement in casting once I adjusted to the new casting style, I think due to more weight than mono. I than ordered a Tenkara 12ft rod, I had the same guy make me a 12ft furled leader and I use about 3ft of tippet on average sometimes more. Furled leaders come with a tippet ring which I use on my regular rods all the time (for me instead of chopping the high dollar leaders we use, with the tippet ring, the ring stays on the leader and you just replace the tippet, no surgeons knot in the middle of the water, just tie a improved clinch on the fly and at the tippet end, attach to ring and your off, cheaper than leader replacement and easier for me in the water to tie.
    I have used on a regular basis in the Metcalf area and Middle and have adopted to the style, it is diffrent and has a learning curve. Tenkara was designed centuries ago for mountain streams which fits the Smokies perfectly, as you mentioned along with high sticking the drifts, for me it also allows me to get over a distant fast current and drop it right behind a rock or tail area or any area and just simply lift when it starts to drift too fast. I find I cast less and leave more leader off the water and just the tippet where it needs to be, it also helps eliminate a lot of whipping the water to death and scaring the fish more than I usually do. Because the tip is so small the spring action of the rod does the work when landing the fish and even a very small bow in the Smokies makes for fun, there is no reel so a mix of using the net and handlining will bring it to you. Traditionally they use just a variation of six flys (yes I have learned presentation is everything and has greatly improved my skills with my regular fly rods) but I use the same drys and wets I have always used. Is it for everyone probably not, but for just plain fun and stripping fishing down to basics and broadening your skills and variety it works for me.
    That about sums it up.
    One of the biggest advantages is the ability to get across all of the different currents. One other thing is the ability to actually work the fly, whether a day or wet.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Gadsden, Alabama
    Posts
    1,033

    Default

    very interesting. I will think more about these rods now that you have introduced me to the benefits of this product. Thanks for sharing your experiences with them.
    Romans 10:9-10 KJV

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Chattanooga
    Posts
    22

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    Curious on what you see as the difference between the 12' official rod and the black widow? I had previously made the connection that they look like a black widow with a cork grip.

    As for the black widow, misspent a few evenings several years back catching 5 to 10 lb catfish on one at a neighborhood pond. Probably landed 20 or so (most likely the same 4 or 5 fish over and over). The whole thing started with the kids catching bluegills - about the third time a catfish demolished a bluegill I had on the black widow I figured out I was fishing for the wrong species.

    Came away with two impressions - amazement at catching that large a catfish on a fancy cane pole and the second being that it would truly suck to be a small bluegill in a pond with 5 to 10 lb catfish.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    145

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dwardmba View Post
    Curious on what you see as the difference between the 12' official rod and the black widow? I had previously made the connection that they look like a black widow with a cork grip.

    As for the black widow, misspent a few evenings several years back catching 5 to 10 lb catfish on one at a neighborhood pond. Probably landed 20 or so (most likely the same 4 or 5 fish over and over). The whole thing started with the kids catching bluegills - about the third time a catfish demolished a bluegill I had on the black widow I figured out I was fishing for the wrong species.

    Came away with two impressions - amazement at catching that large a catfish on a fancy cane pole and the second being that it would truly suck to be a small bluegill in a pond with 5 to 10 lb catfish.
    I don't know what a Black Widow is but a Tenkara rod weighs about 2 ounce's

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