Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile


Fly rods

Posted by lhedrick 
Fly rods
January 16, 2014 08:06PM
I know it's not a boat issue but, with out fly rods, who needs a boat anyway.

Looking for recommendations for good fly rods which don't cost 500 bucks. I am in the market for a 6 weight. I have had expensive rods which I have hated as much as cheap ones so price isn't everything. I gave Jeremy a 5 wt Sage because I could never get it to work. He likes it I hate it.

I like the feel of the Softer Winston rods but, not at that price.
Re: Fly rods
January 17, 2014 12:00AM
Sage makes stiff rods at about $600 bucks apiece.

Their "entry level" medium action rods cost about $230. I like them better than the $600 ones.

There is a place in China that wholesales finished, ready to fish graphite rods, of any action, any length, for about $35 a pop. This is wholesale only. You have to buy a bunch of them to get that price. The rods Cabelas sells for $160 are, well. You guessed it. They cost Cabelas $35 each. I exchanged email with them (the Chinese guys) a few times. Thought about trying to sell rods online. Decided I was too disorganized and flaky to make it work.
Re: Fly rods
January 17, 2014 02:02AM
35 dollars, that a profit for sure. There is a Cabelas in Provo now. I have never casted any of their rods.

If I find the right rod I may check out Ebay.

The rod I gave Jeremy was a fast Sage XP rod, my other Sage rod is called a light line, I have a number 3. It's the best rod I ever used. I don't know how many line weights the made. All the big names I have grid in the last few years, Sage, Scott, Reddington, don't have enough flex. I liked the Winstons I have casted but 700 3 ounces of graphite is just too much. 35 bucks sounds better. I might need to get a blank and just do it myself.

No wonder I made some much money on my China funds a few years back. I also understand the newer iPhones are 800 retail and cost apple about 375 to build. Looks like China is taking over the world.
Re: Fly rods
January 17, 2014 11:45AM
My 2 cents. When I was looking for a single hand rod, I was in the market for the the Sage Z axis. Went to the fly shop and the owner said have you ever cast one, I told him no but it had great reviews. So he grabbed a handful of rod and said follow me. We went out back to the casting pond and he said don't look at the rods just cast them. After it was over the best casting rod for me was the TFO. About half the price of the Sage. So the point is every rod is different for each caster. Try several. I'm into two handed casting now so the Spey Claves are great for trying out rods.
Re: Fly rods
January 17, 2014 04:20PM
I had the same experience and selected a #5 TFO after giving my Sage RPL away. A warranty and reasonable price. I have not cast a TFO 6 or 7 yet.

I completely agree, just cast them, pick the one you like and then deal with the price and hopefully it's not 800 bucks.
Re: Fly rods
January 17, 2014 04:53PM
Larry, here a couple of sites that might be helpful. The first ia more about pricing and the second more information on specific rods.



Rick N
Re: Fly rods
January 17, 2014 06:46PM
My brother got me to try fiberglass again last summer. He lives in Texas but fishes New Mexico and Arkansas often. He came to Idaho for his first float fishing trip ever. I took him to the South Fork of the Snake and rowed him through the canyon section.

He has a complete arsenal of fly rods and reels. Bamboo to Graphite and everything in between. He pulled out a 1976 Scott PowR-Ply that he had recently restored and used it for 90% of the fishing that day. I had not cast a fiberglass fly rod in close to 30 years but my eyes were opened by that rod. The rod was slow and smooth and tremendously accurate. I cannot stress how accurate it was and how easy it was to hit the desired target. I now understand why fiberglass is making a comeback and am looking for the right rods for my sons to use next spring.
Re: Fly rods
January 17, 2014 08:56PM

You ain't kidding. I have heard people say fiberglass is more like bamboo than graphite. But that misses the point. All three are different. Fiberglass is what I like the best. It's a lot more durable too--not delicate and brittle like graphite. And it's coming back in style.

I now have three Tom Morgan fiberglass blanks. Two fives (one for my wife) and a seven weight. They're too expensive for me (about $300 per bare blank) but I got them in trade. It's a long story. They sure are nice rods. Plenty powerful and oh so easy to cast. Soft and accurate and they lay down a dead straight line, without wiggles and jiggles.

Tom isn't the only one trying to bring fiberglass back. A few of the mass manufacturers are jumping on that band wagon too. I have an old 9 foot six inch Fenwich Ferrulite 9 weight that was my dad's steelhead rod back in the seventies. That's a hell of good streamer rod. You can bend them almost end for end and they don't break.
Re: Fly rods
January 17, 2014 11:29PM
My brother restores rods as a hobby and side job. He makes decent money at it. At least enough to support his fly fishing trips and personal rod and reel collection. His clients used to be folks who found grand dad's old bamboo rod in the attic and wanted to restore it back to it's original glory. For the past several years the rods have changed to grand dad's old fiberglass rod instead.

He somehow found someone selling late 70's Scott blanks. The story was that Scott had them in a storage shed for decades. I think he said the blank cost him $60. He had it rigged up with an antique Orvis reel and a modern fly line. I had a fine day rowing him down the river in our Dad's wooden boat and watching him catch fish.

Some days are perfect.
Re: Fly rods
January 17, 2014 11:36PM
Thanks for the tip on glass rods. I have never cast a glass rod. I used cane rods up until I moved to carbon 30 years ago. I will have to look into it and find a shop here in UT which has them.

I am amazed at the stuff I see on the river. When it's 95 degrees I'm out in the middle of the river with hiking short or pants and the drift boats keep going by with people in full waders and vests like they are posing for an Orvis or Hyde catalog. They must think I'm a homeless dude fishing for food.

The other crazy item are reals. For the longest time I had 2 reals one an old pfluger which was my father's and a very similar cortland 444 give to me me by my Grandfather. When I moved west I think I left the pfluger back in PA. I gave the cortland away since I couldn't get spools for it. 400 dollars reals are nuts. I must have 10 spools of line from 2 - 7. Who want's to spend 2000 on reals and spools? If I did that I wouldn't be able to afford gas to get to the river. I now use low end newer model pflugers.

Sandy, when we were all up on the Big Horn last April one night Dave didn't put a tent. He just sleep on the ground with a blanket after too many beers. The next morning I heard the people nearby with a monster trailer pointing and saying, "that poor guy doesn't even have a tent or sleeping bag". Might have been true but we had plenty of beer.
Re: Fly rods
January 19, 2014 03:55PM
here's some great prices on fiberglass blanks. $26.95 or so. Might have to build one myself.


Rick N
Re: Fly rods
January 19, 2014 06:18PM

Thanks for the links. I am going to take my 25 year old Sage LL to a shop soon and have them cast it then tell that that's the feel I want' in a 6 weight. I am also going to start looking for shops who have glass rods so I can check them out.
Re: Fly rods
January 20, 2014 05:42PM
Larry, you are most welcome. Here's a couple of links on forums where fiberglass rules. Fiberglass Manifesto has a large list of shops that deal with fiberglass. I have one of my old feberglass rods from 50 years ago, perhaps I'll try fishing that. I have also been interested in the idea of a fiberglass rod.




I have been working with Project Healing Waters (PHW) here in Spokane and we are about to start our rod building sessions. We are going to use blanks from Hook and Hackle as our purchases through them puts money into PHW. I have not yet seen nor touched the rod blanks nor do I know what was chosen. However they do seem to have some good prices. Perhaps after I get back in May I'll build a rod for myself.

Rick N
Re: Fly rods
January 24, 2014 04:00PM
Larry, how goes the fly rod selection process?

Rick N
Re: Fly rods
January 24, 2014 05:15PM
This week I just sent my 7 foot 6 #3 Sage LL back in because of a broken tip. This rod is the smoothest rod I have ever used. When I get it back I am going to take it to WesternRivers, a local shop. I want them to cast it to see how soft it is. Then I will tell them I want the same feel in a #6 9 foot. The key is the soft tip. When I bring the rod forward, the rod bend and it takes very little effort. When the forward cast stops, the tip then softly shoots the line forward. It takes not effort at all and the line floats out, and then droops to the water like a falling leaf. With the #5 Sage RPL I had, the tip would not load. I lined it up all the way to a #7 WF line and I still couldn't make it work. I had to work the rod so hard to load it you could hear the rod cutting through the air. Casting should not be that much work. Short casts from a drift boat when you don't need to reach were almost impossible. Funny thing, I hated that rod so much all I used it for was to chuck woolly buggers on flat water at night. I gave it to my friend Jeremy, he likes it and many others have told me that liked the Sager RPL rods.

When it comes to streamers and fishing fast water even on the opposite bank I have just gone back to spin casting. I know that's not cool and won't get my photo on a magazine cover and that's just fine.

If I am faced with 500 dollar finished rods, that will be the end and I will just build up my own.
Re: Fly rods
February 01, 2014 07:13AM
Larry, Echo has just started shipping their new fiberglass fly rods. You'll like the price, $199. Here's a link to them: http://www.echoflyfishing.com/html/rod_category_details.php?category_id=31&page_id=62&product_type=1

The web site: http://fiberglassflyrodders.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=43924&start=50 has some input from some folks that have cast them.

Cabela's apparently has some fiberglass rods on sale for less than $100, here's the link:

Rick N
Re: Fly rods
February 01, 2014 09:01PM
You hit on an issue,,,,,,,, 800 dollar Sage rods. I think this is nuts. I'v had 2 Sage rods, still have the one. Today they would be up around 600 plus. I started casting 50 years ago with cane rods and managed to make them work. So I'm not the type to ever spend 1700 bucks on a rod/real/line and a few spools. That's just crazy.

After getting rid of my #5 Sage, I now have a #5 TFO which was reasonable and has a warranty. it's not perfect but I like it a lot more then the Sage. Still could be softer at the tip. I cast about 6 rods and that was the best I tried and turned out to be the best price. Second was a Scott and it was over 300 more. I was never happy with the #5 Sage I got 25 yeas ago and paid 350 way back then. In it's defense, I couldn't tell you what I bought it and I will add that most who touched that rod though it was great. I gave it to Jeremy and he likes it.

In my searching I came across the echo blanks. Might give them a try. I still don't have my #3 Sage back yet.
Re: Fly rods
February 14, 2015 07:15AM
I came across this old post and was curious what you came up with, or if you were still in the market?

For single hand rods I exclusively fish glass, and make all my own rods. I see someone posted the fiberglass fly rodders link which is a great website. There are a number of reasons why I love glass but the biggest is you really get to feel fighting the fish, and you have awesome tippet protection when you need light tippet and are catching big fish.

Based on what you were describing in this post I would recommend looking at Steffen Brothers. It is a company in Arizona that rolls their own blanks. Most 3 piece blanks are about $179, but you can get them in as many pieces as you want. If you don't want to build it yourself I think their finished rods are under $400. Steffen is known for awesome glass tapers that have all the benefits of glass but a little more responsive action.

I have built on Steffen bros, James Green and Kabuto blanks; I like them all but I really like my Steffen. It is the 8' 6" 6/7 and is a rocket with heavy lake lines and heavy flies, handles streamers very well, but also does a nice job of presenting a floating line and larger dry flies. I originally built it for a trip I didn't end up taking on the big horn,but I am looking forward to using it this summer for various nymphing and the salmon fly hatch on the Deschutes.
Re: Fly rods
February 14, 2015 06:33PM
I looking around and I did come across the Steffen Brothers rods.

What I was looking for was the feel of my Sage LL #3 in a 6 weight.

For the past 30 years rod builder have gone upside down whacko trying build rods which are 100 percent stiff. I really just don't get the point. The have become so stiff they resist bending at all thus, they don't want to load any energy. To get the tip to load at all we have to work them like we are casting with a 500 pound steel beam. I really don't want to work that hard. But, if you can get them to to bend, when they give it back they will shoot like at faster then the speed of light no matter what Einstein though.

Then one day a fews year back someone said if we build out of glass we can make a really soft rod. While at a local shop I picked up a Reddington glass rod. It's 100 miles in the opposite direction. It's like wet string. It's one extreme or the other. I did cast a soft carbon Scott and it felt nice. Did it feel 500 dollars nice? Not really. This sport is becoming a shopping experience for the billionaire fishermen who buys 100 rods then puts them in his Montana ranch then moves back to California to play golf because he finds he can't cast and his money won't catch a trout which is smarter then an investment banker. The best part is how they all pound the water with 2000 bucks worth of stuff no farther then 100 yards from the closed parking spot. My rule is walk a minimum of 1 hour before thinking about fishing.

Very soon we will have 5 weight carbon rods which will throw a bucket of KFC 100 yards. I have no idea how they will cast a #18 adams 20 feet without the line going 100 miles per hour and slamming the water like an F18 fighter hitting the deck like 5 tons of lead.

This sport is making me think too much. Might get my next rod at Walmart with a real and line for 29 bucks.
Re: Fly rods
February 15, 2015 02:37AM
I have never used the rod you are referencing so I cant compare it..... I do know the Steffen's are typically in the middle, they are a very responsive glass action, but they are faster and more progressive then the limber, noodle like glass rods.

Both Mark Steffen and James Green are great to deal with and would likely be able to compare the rod you referenced to their blanks and might even be able to roll you something specific to suit your fancy.

I agree with you 100% about the fly fishing market, its all super high dollar stuff because people will buy it. It seems like they make new products just to give people a reason to buy something new but really dont come up with anything better. I bought a nice new graphite rod which cast fine but when I caught a fish I couldn't tell if it was a 6 inch or 20 inch trout because the rod wouldn't flex. Not to mention it broke tippet every time a trout ran. I moved to glass for single hand and never looked back (it was the opposite for two hand). I use a James Green 5 weight most of the time and can catch 20+ inch trout on 6X tippet because the glass absorbs so much shock.

I can build myself an awesome glass rod nicer then anything I can buy at the fly shop for about $300 and I get exponentially more enjoyment out of a rod I built. I keep it simple with the reels too. I buy old or NOS Martin click pawl reels on E bay for nothing and they balance my glass very well. Super simple and inexpensive.
Re: Fly rods
February 15, 2015 09:45PM
Good point about over-lining to slow the action down. If you want. Another rod point, now that we're on it. There is a trend to longer and longer rods. Switch rods can be 11-12' feet long. I have a 10' foot 8 weight originally designed as a saltwater Redfish rod. I love it for big streamer fishing, and for tossing extra heavy anything.

However. When it's severely windy, which it so often is in Montana, shorter is better. Just thought I'd mention that. The longer the rod on a windy day the higher up and the more in the worst part of the wind you end up casting.
Re: Fly rods
February 17, 2015 11:00PM
As for lining up.

The SAGE RPL #5 I had would not load unless you pounded the thing. You had to work the rod so hard and fast you could hear the whoosh of the rod cutting through the air. I moved up to a #6, no good, I then moved up to a #7 weight forward, still no good. That's when I gave up and realized that the modern rods just don't have the feel I need.

My #3 Sage LL (now at least 25 years old) works effortlessly. Take the line back, wait, then bring the rod forward and the tip bends and stores energy. Stop the forward motion and the tip flexes forward and shoots the line out nice and soft. Best rod I have ever touched.

I have never used a rod longer then 9 foot. My #3 is 7 6. My current #5 Temple Fork is 8 5 and my Redington #6 is 9.

I am the exception for sure, most people loved the Sage RPL series. Imagine that me not fitting the norm. You never know I might change and start rowing a glass Hyde.

Hey Sandy, no permits for this guy. I bet, I have bet hundreds of dollars by now on launch lotteries and still nothing. Bug landed a Deso again. I won't be paying to play power ball that's for sure.
Re: Fly rods
March 02, 2015 01:57PM
This river permit thing is a racket. I hadn't realized the Feds keep the money. For Smith River permitting in Montana they give you the money back if you don't get a permit.

The North Fork of the Payette has no lotteries? Has anyone ever been crazy enough to run that in a (decked) dory? Illinois River in Oregon. Beartrap Canyon Montana in Spring. Of course that's a short one-nighter. 11 miles. Most people do it in one day. There is some fun water in there. Sun River has some class 5 below the dam. South Fork of the Flathead. Lochsa has no permitting and that's a real ride. Two Medicine River up near Browning has a roller coaster section everybody up hear is afraid of.

There is a fun Missouri River float from Maroney Dam down to Fort Benton. 55 miles. Quite remote. The first four miles is huge rolling class III waves. Then it's flat the rest of the way. Lot's of ragged shale cliffs. Cottonwood bottoms. And every species of fish known to man. Upper six miles has brown and rainbow trout, pike, bass, walleye, sauger (wild walleye), golden eye and ling. Lower river is all pike walleye and carp. And golden eye. The golden eye are small. Like silvery white bluegills. Or shad maybe. You can catch 100 a day on the fly rod. I never tried to eat one. There's an experiment waiting to happen.

There are not many trout because the 4' foot pike eat most of them. But the ones that do survive are big. The gas station/grocery store in Belt Montana has lots of photos of 4 - 6 pound trout. From the Mo. And 4' foot pike.

Two Medicine

https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/1030/ (62 miles of class II and III for "normal flows"). I've heard it's class V at peak high water in June. Which is only 7000 feet because it's small
Re: Fly rods
March 02, 2015 04:16PM
Great topic guys, I love it.

Larry, from your BH story it sounds like you'd fit in well with our crew out there on the 'Horn. I thought I was the only guy who's slept under a subaru bumper in the BH access campground.

I'd be very interested to hear what rod you find to replace your LL. I have a 2 pc 6wt that I was given as a present from my father in law 20 years ago. A friend of his had made the rod (and since has passed away) and last year it splintered near the tip. It was my favorite rod ever for nymphing with heavy rigs. I have watched several on ebay but havent pulled th trigger on one. I'd love to replace it with a newer rod with a similar action.

My boat is often loaded with my buddies thousands of dollars in rods and reels... My rod entire rod quiver being worth as much as one of their rigs. I just cant justifying spending $1500 on a Sage one with a Hatch reel. The funniest part is when the wind blows, a pod of rising fish requires an accurate presention, or hucking big streamers by doubling hauling across the yellowstone..its these same guy who blame thier rods as to why they cant make that cast.. Meanwhile I seem to make it work with my old St croix imperial and Pflueger trion.. And even funnier the next time out they have a new $1500 rod and reel that will surely solve that problem.

I've fished with guy with about 5k in rods and reels and he couldnt lay a dry fly within 5 feet of a target at 10 yards.
Re: Fly rods
April 10, 2015 02:39AM
Hey Larry, you got that #3 LL ?
or did you replace it ?

Did you get a Rod built and if so, what did you end up with?
Sure would like to get you on the river with me so I can try out one of those glass rods - lol

I agree with you about those LL's, there great little rods for sure.
I have a 7' 11" ll 4 WT 2 piece and I love it. I bought it for fishing Jones Hole because its small enough to get through the brush that surrounds the stream and the feel is AWSOME, which is needed when fishing blind.

I built a Sage VXP 590-4 because I couldn't afford to buy one out of the box. I got a good deal on some blanks from my neighbor who owned a fly fishing store and build rods herself. She was a champ in helping me learn how to build it and build it right. It turned out GREAT and so far is the second best rod I ever owned. Like you I couldn't the other rods to load and I was continuously cats ass'n my line, tying knots in my tippet and spending more time untangling the mess than I was fishing. But this #5 WT VXP is just the ticket for the bigger stuff I needed for the Green River.

I am thinking of selling the #4 WT - not a very easy decision to make for sure. That little rod is great for nymphs on the Green, and even in windy weather it still performs pretty good, just can't get as much line out in the wind of course, but it still has pin-point accuracy with every cast.

I sure do enjoy this forum, always have, lots of great discussions and never a dull moment.


Re: Fly rods
April 13, 2015 10:45PM
Not sure who the fly caster is at the beginning and end of this video. But he looks like one hell of a fisherman.

Re: Fly rods
April 17, 2015 02:36AM
I love watching that video, it was so well done. The casting is pretty good too.
Re: Fly rods
April 19, 2015 02:06PM
I tried baiting that hook but it didn't work. Should'a used Smelly Jelly?

The fly caster in the opening and ending scenes in that video................................................is me.
Re: Fly rods
April 22, 2015 10:33PM
Just back from 8 days in Deso. We had a 3 day storm, Day 1 high winds all day, day 2, 12 hours of snow, day 3 rain.

Mike, how have you been? I fished Jones hole a few time. The place it tough. overgrown, mostly a straight flow down to the Green.

I put my rod ideas on hold for a bit. I might get a glass blank and build one. I just got an email from SAGE. They have some new soft trout rods, the CIRCA line. 775 dollars, I have a recommendation for SAGE, eat shit and die. I wouldn't spend 775 for a fly rod if I was a billionaire.
Re: Fly rods
April 23, 2015 04:17AM
They also have "entry level" rods for about $230 dollars or so. It's all hype marketing. Their cheap rods are no different than the expensive ones--if you don't want a stiffy

LL Bean has medium priced rods and so does Cabelas. They retail for about $160 or so. They're made in China. You can buy them wholesale for about $40 per finished rod. That's a hell of a markup. But you have to buy quite a few of them to get that price.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login