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Old 03-12-2016, 07:51 PM
WarrZone WarrZone is offline
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Small Stream Rod/Reel Question

After spending a good amount of time on the small streams of AZ, I've become fed up with my 9' 5 wt starter rod. It is just a bit too cumbersome in such tight quarters. So I'm looking to upgrade and downsize. Can anyone share their recommendations (length, weight, and even make) for a rod and reel best suited for small stream fishing? I've been thinking of a 7' 3 wt but wanted to get a more experienced anglers opinion before pulling the trigger. Any tips would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 03-12-2016, 10:42 PM
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dp820 dp820 is offline
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This is a really open ended question though it's a good one. It totally depends on what you are looking for and how much you want to spend. With some of the high end rods from major rod makers costing $700+/-, you can quickly be into $1000 worth of rod and reel if you wanted to. I wouldn't recommend that right away unless money is no object to you. There are all sorts of choices for less than that with great value. There are a few guys on this blog that are artists when it comes to rod building that could potentially get with you to have a custom rod made. I have never gone that route but there would be something special about that.

Personally, small stream fishing is what I most enjoy and I have a few rods in my arsenal that I like. One that I really like is the Orvis Superfine Carbon 7'6" 3wt. I like the full flex rod on a small stream that allows some of those small fish to put a good bend in the rod. That one cost me about $550 with a reel using a coupon discount.

With you being fairly new to the sport, my #1 suggestion for you on a shorter rod to fish small streams is the Cabelas Traditional III 7'6" 4wt. They run $99 but Cabelas puts them on sale for $69 4 or 5 times a year. This rod is by no means the greatest or most sensitive rod in the world, but it fishes well above it's price point. It fishes like a $200-$300 rod. It has a medium-fast action that offers some good feel and good backbone. I picked one up as a backup rod about 2 years ago and once I fished it I waited for a sale and went and grabbed another one and have taught 3 of my buddies that wanted to learn to fish small streams.

Good luck and let us know what you settle on. Tight lines.
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Old 03-12-2016, 10:59 PM
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SAT SAT is offline
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^^good suggestions. In general a 2-4wt rod in a 7' 6" or less is what you should go for. Lots of options depending on $ range. I have a relatively cheap TFO Pro
7' 6 3wt that I really like, an Orvis Superfine Touch 6' 1wt(on the pricey side) that I love, and a $25 3/4wt 6' 6" Eagle Claw Featherlight fiberglass rod that is great. Don't think that you have to spend a ton. They are all great and get the job done with pleasure.

One thing you need to keep in mind is the specific Creek you'll be fishing. Some creeks have only smaller fish in general which is where my 6 foot 1wt comes into play. However, other Arizona small streams have not only small fish but also the occasional brute. That's where a 4wt will come in handy but still be versatile.
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Old 03-13-2016, 12:08 AM
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almostlost almostlost is offline
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I think a 7-7'6" 3 wt is a perfect rod like you were thinking. If you get one with a "fuller flex" it will work really well from the smaller fish to the occasional big boy, with only the smallest streams being a bit of an overkill.

I really enjoy fiberglass as I find it has that deeper flex which also allows for close quarter roll casting but can also air out a simi seal leech-perfect for a lot of rim creeks.

Also, don't be afraid to look at some of the smaller builders out there (some on this site) that are making some really great, beautiful and original rods.
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Old 03-13-2016, 01:11 AM
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Newby Newby is offline
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I find the Redington Classic Trout are still a wallet-friendly line of rods that outperform their modest price point. a 7'6" 3wt or 8' 4wt would do nicely depending on your style of fishing and the stream.

Of course there are a million options, and if at all possible cast a bunch of rods before deciding as everyone has their own tastes.
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Old 03-13-2016, 06:47 AM
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Goduster Goduster is offline
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I have several blanks in stock that would fit the application for you that I could build on, ranging from 175.00 to 525.00 for an Epic glass . best yet you get to choose your components.
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Old 03-13-2016, 09:50 AM
kad1979 kad1979 is offline
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I second the Superfine. I fish a 6'6" 3 wt. Although they are a little pricey it is worth noting the Orvis warranty. You will break a rod at some point and piece of mind is worth it for me.
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Old 03-13-2016, 12:47 PM
PaysonLazerLiner PaysonLazerLiner is offline
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As all the above suggestions reflect (and as you already guessed), a smaller, lighter rod is generally more practical for most of our smaller streams. With todays materials a 3wt would be totally practical but I still lean toward a 4wt just because a number of our smaller streams hold some very large fish (I've seen up to 30 inches), both browns and rainbows and even though a good rod hand could do battle with a 18-22 inch fish (much more likely than the 30 incher) the 4wt gives you a little extra that may help keep that monster out of the brush where you'll get snapped off (and then you have to have counselling-which can cost more than the rod).
I would suggest going to Bass Pro or Cabela's or any of the other shops that have a casting pond on site and trying several of these smaller rods. They will all help set you up with as many different combo's is you wish to try. As indicated above, there are numerous good choices that don't require a lot of money to purchase but pay attention to warrantees. I can tell you from experience that if you fish much at all you will manage to snap a tip or close your rod in a car door at some point. Many rods come with many year or even lifetime unconditional warrantees and it's worth extra to get that. Also, don't ignore the suggestion of talking to Gobuster or other rod builders on this sight if you want something more special.
Two other quick points: First-if you go to a store and sample rods on site, don't forget to test the rod with casts other than just a straight overhead cast. Try roll casting and sidearm casting as well. Most fly shops have some quality people that can help you with extra casting strokes if you need it. Secondly, don't spend a lot of money on the reel. I'm sure you've heard fishers state that a reel's main purpose is to simply hold line so I personally see no purpose to spend more on the reel than the rod (there are obviously a few exceptions where a quality reel is really important but I can't think of any that apply to our small streams. The last reel I bought about 9-10 months ago from Bass Pro was a large arbor 3-4wt that cost about $80 as I recall. I like the large arbor because it picks up line much faster and allows for more backing (just in case you actually hook that 30 incher in a big pool).
With all the experienced angler recommendations above, I'm sure you will chose the perfect set up for you. Good luck and tight lines.
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  #9  
Old 03-13-2016, 01:44 PM
jangles jangles is offline
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I have a 6 1/2' 3 wt and a 7' 3 wt . They both work well and you don't need to spend over 75 to get one unless you like wasting money . Cabelas has them .
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Old 03-13-2016, 03:09 PM
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Goduster Goduster is offline
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Never get the quality of rod nor components when you go with a factory rod that is all imported. They do fish well, but cannot be tailored to your exact needs. Just a fishing tool
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