Favorite weights

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This topic contains 36 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Scotty MacFly 1 year, 5 months ago.

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    Scotty MacFly

    I have read posts about favorite brands, makes (as in boo, glass, graphite ), and lengths of fly rods. but not so much in weights.

    I have mentioned before that in the waters I fish most often, the 4wt is king. It’ll handle pretty much any water anywhere in most states I believe. And I’m only thinking of trout fishing, nothing else. I have 4wts in three actions, soft, medium, and med/fast, and they are all great dry fly rods. The slow action one is my favorite, so smooth and when a fish is on, the bend in the rod is just simply a pleasure to feel. But I don’t feel comfortable fishing it on faster water like the Poudre because I’m afraid it’ll snap if I get a brute on and it gets down river on me. So I fish it on smaller waters like the head waters of the Colorado in the RMNP, or the waters in the IPWA. Still fast moving freestone waters, but not like the Poudre. And you can forget waters like the Arkansas. But if I were fishing the chalk streams in England, it would be my choice rod.

    I love 4wt rods. But………3wts are to me the fun rods, and probably because I haven’t fished a 2wt. I have fished with 7’6″ medium action and 7′ slow action 3wts and just have a time of my life. I have been entertaining myself looking at longer 3wts, in the mid 8′ ranges. And to me a 3wt shouldn’t be faster than a medium action. That’s just my opinion, and if anyone has a different opinion, it is welcomed with total respect. But a longer 3wt would be limited to some waters I fish because of the obvious over hanging tree branches. But in the areas that are more open, I think I’d like to try one, but not many rod companies I have found make them, and those who do, some make them in my price range. The Scott G2 is out of the question.

    What is your favorite weight in a rod?



    My favorite? 3 of course! After using a 7′ for a while I just jumped on a 8’9″ Circa (closeout, score!) 3wt.
    I just don’t understand how Sage can rationalize discontinuing this model. They already make, what, 50 models of fast to crazy fast rods and just couldn’t keep making ONE great dry fly rod?!?
    And while I still have a couple 4’s I’d never part with, I see them increasingly as my “windy” rods.



    I keep it simple like everything in my life Scotty. I use med action rods in a 5wt and use nothing but the Peach DT 5wt line and furled leaders.

    I even use the same reel and line for all rods. Which at the moment is just two rods. One for med rivers like the Ark and Frying Pan and a shorter one for creeks. The creek rod is always glass, because I think it has the best action for close casting. The med river rod can be any material, but i’m using the Fisher graphite 8’1″ 5wt rod now. A beautiful sweet casting rod that is as smooth as any glass, cane, or any other graphite rod i’ve owned or tried. It’s a perfect dry fly rod. As is the glass 7′ glass rod I got from you. With the creek rod being glass and the river rod being graphite they both balance perfectly with the same reel/line. You can’t get simpler than that. 😀



    I own more 4’s than any other – from 7′ to 9′, 3 bamboo and 2 graphite. Technically the 8′ bamboo rod is rated for a 5 but I prefer it with a 4.


    Dry Fly Guy

    Here is the short version of my opinion:

    Favorite weight is a 3 weight, and I love the 8′-6″ Winston BIIIx 3 weight as a “long” 3 weight rod.

    And here is the long version with a little more context:

    Once upon a time a young man desired to learn the art (and science) of fly fishing and began researching the subject in depth. He soon learned that the veritable 9′-0″ 5 weight was the defacto “rod to get” and while this young man understood the rationale behind it, he just couldn’t bring himself to purchase that rod. After much soul searching, research, and just being an absolute pain to everyone that could answer any question about fly rods, lines, and flies, he ultimately layed down his hard earned cash for a 7′-9″ Orvis Superfine 3 weight (graphite). And while he has tried every rod weight, length, and action he can get his hands on since that fateful day, he hasn’t strayed far for long, and today the rod by which all others are judged is an 8’6″ Winston BIIIx 3 weight (graphite). Not because it is the best at everything. Simply because it does everything he wants to do with a fly rod using the fly types and sizes he invariably uses. Other rods may have a bit more novelty and “fun factor” built into them, but none of them “perform” better in those “requirements”.

    That being said… His favorite rod to fish is also a 3 weight, but it’s only 6′-3″ in length (Bamboo and based on the PHY Midge) and the “one that got away” (sold it but never should have) was a 6′-6″ four weight rod based on the Dickerson 6611. (bamboo)

    I have tried and tried to recreate that Dickerson rod myself, and one of three things must be at work here.
    One: My memory is over romanticizing the feel of that rod and what it could do.
    Two: My rod making skills simply aren’t up to snuff; or
    Three: A combination of the two reasons above.

    Maybe one day I’ll get it right, and when I do…. I may find that the favorite rod and the “benchmark” rod become one and the same.

    ~ DFG



    I’m in good company. This is a quote from an article on rods for creeks.

    “John Gierach, fly fishing writer and former Fly Rod & Reel Magazine’s Trout Bum of the Year, has his view of small stream rod weights. According to his book, Fly Fishing Small Streams, John believes that the lightest practical fly rod made is a 4wt. He says, if you’re spooking trout with a 4wt, there is almost surely some other answer besides running down to the fly shop and buying a 2wt. A good small stream rod should be light enough to let the fish show off, but heavy enough to handle those same fish, and an extremely light rod often just can’t keep that balance. John also indicated that a 5wt is the rod he feels more comfortable with on small streams.”

    I might also add that the bamboo rods with his name on them are 5wt rods. As are A.K. Best rods too.


    Scotty MacFly

    Nice stuff guys. Creek, I’m glad you got the rod I sent. I went fishing today, and again the wind was challenging, and I’m glad I took my 5wt. I was thinking of this thread all day, and it came to my mind that my favorite weight is the one I’m fishing with at the time. A 3wt would have been worthless in the wind today, and a 4wt not so much better. My 5wt could have been a little better, but it did it’s job.

    DFG, you make a really good point, and one I have heard before, and that’s fun factor vs. performance. I guess it’s all about how one looks at it. Today for me it was performance. I hardly ever use a 5wt, and I thought about selling mine, but it took me three times to save the money for it. Every time I got close to getting it, something unexpected would take it away. Now, after a year and a half of saving, I got it. It’s a great, but it doesn’t do well in a wind that vibrates your fly rod.



    I own four 4-weights as well as four 5-weights….all Winston IM6/WT.
    I really can’t imagine fishing with anything lighter than the pair of 8′ 4-weight Winston-TMF rods I own.
    Inevitably, I always end up throwing a larger fly than a #18 Parachute Adams.
    Or it’s simply windier or the water is heavier than expected.

    If I could only own one rod it would be an 8 1/2′ 5-weight Winston IM6/WT.
    I have three of those…..


    Scotty MacFly

    WOW! Talk about fan loyalty. That’s actually pretty cool in it’s own way. The problem I find today is that not many rod companies make a medium action rod. It seems to be going into the fast action market. I hear the Sage Circa is being discontinued. It’s not a fast rod, and Sage is the last company that needs to design another fast rod. I think fiberglass will have to take the place of medium action graphite rods for me.

    Hang onto those rods m1911.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by  Scotty MacFly.

    Dark Waters

    Of the 11 rods in my possession at the moment, all but one of them will throw a 4wt line well enough to fish a dry fly effectively. So, #4 must be my favorite weight. The one rod is a quick tipped stout 6wt, which if pressed could probably still fish a 4wt, but I wouldn’t want to.

    Many of them will fish as a 3/4, but only 2 are labeled 3wts, and they both handle a 4 with no problem. 2 to 4 of the rods are 4/5’s (one is labeled 4, one 4/5, 2 not labeled at all)

    I like the two line designation, I think it gives you more of an idea of what you are getting yourself into, but it’s not always necessary either.

    My favorite is a 7′ 4wt 2 5/8oz Winston made in 1956 that is a fantastic small stream rod with a Cadno DT3.. So maybe I just contradicted myself? It actually handles any 3 or 4 wt line I have tried on it quite well.

    Second favorite would be a really tough call.



    I don’t think anything is set in stone with us. Next year I could be using a 1wt, or maybe a 7wt to sling huge streamers.



    Scotty MacFly

    I don’t much care for rods that have duo weight rating like a 3/4 or 4/5. To me the rod works best with the heavier line making it the heavier of the two ratings. And to me a 5wt rod shouldn’t be less than 8ft. long. Maybe that’s why I didn’t feel comfortable about the CGR rod. To me it just felt off.


    Dark Waters

    Scotty, to me it’s all just personal preference. With some rods, especially bamboo, i find they adapt well to different lines, where a “modern” graphite rod seems to prefer a single line weight.

    My glass 7’6″ 4/5 is flawless with a 5wt triangle taper that some may consider a 4.5 wt line. It also will cast that Cadno DT3 with only a foot or two of line out of the tip.

    And my longest rods are 7’6″!


    Dark Waters

    “And my longest rods are 7’6″!”

    Okay, I may have fixed that with an 8′ rod for HEH (5wt). Have to get my hands on it now.

    Regardless of what everyone likes or doesn’t like, I hope you enjoy them. That is all that really matters.


    Dark Waters

    I was lucky to have taken a chance on that 8′ 5wt bamboo rod. One tip is down 3″ so sometimes it’s 7’9″, I like both tips, with the short tip being noticeably stronger, and the full length tip being noticeably more delicate. They both seem like the same taper though, not dry/wet tips.

    It is an old rod made in the late 40’s and arrived with the two snake guides on the butt section ripped out of their threads sideways. I taped them on and went fishing last week. Quite a departure from my graphite days when I would only buy new rods and fret over every detail in the finish. There is just something about these old rods that I really enjoy, beyond what great fishing tools they can be.

    I never seemed to like heavier 5wts for trout, or thick grips and yet this has both and kind of reminds me of a stronger version of my favorite 7′ 4wt. I have to admit that I could do all of my trout fishing with these two rods and not need anything else.

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