Rod length & action in spider fishing

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William Anderson
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Re: Rod length & action in spider fishing

Post by William Anderson » Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:19 pm

I don't have a lot to offer beyond what's been said already, but I'll add my personal preferences. I like a longer rod, 9'-10' and I like a medium action. It's actually just right down the middle. There are often times when I'm trying to nymph or present dries, and the 9' 4 wt works in almost every condition. That being said, 90% of my time on the water is fishing wet flies and I almost always fish a point fly and a dropper, so the action of the rod is important for the softer, more open cast required to present this combo well. Not too soft, because the sensitivity has to be there, but not too fast either. My favorite rod for the past 4 seasons has been a Winston B2x 9' 4wt. It's a true sensitive, medium action, something I wish Winston had not abandoned with its offerings in the past several models.

(If anyone has a B2x 9' 6wt leaning the corner gathering dust, hit me up :D )
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Re: Rod length & action in spider fishing

Post by daringduffer » Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:42 pm

I have recently started to use a rod I aquired a couple of years ago for a lot less money than it is worth. It is a Powell Long Reach from Chico, California. It is 9'6'' #5-6 IM6 and it just paints the dt5 406 line to the surface with its bamboo like medium action. I'm not a skilled caster but the length and action makes it easier for me to place the fly where I want it and mending is also a lot easier. The rod is designed by the late Press Powell and built by his 'floor manager' Jim Clarkson who regards it as their best effort in their Light Touch series. I paid $80 and it is soo worth it. (On the lawn it feels like a dog. The seller never tried it fishing).

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Re: Rod length & action in spider fishing

Post by BrkTrt » Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:03 pm

I fish a 5' 3wt fiberglass rod.
It's perfect for where I fish.

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Re: Rod length & action in spider fishing

Post by Greenwell » Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:02 pm

I'm pretty fortunate in that I have the opportunity to try many different rods for many different kinds of fishing. In my opinion, the longer the rod, up to a point, the more efficient it is when fishing Spiders. About a dozen years ago I settled on the 10' 3wt configuration as about ideal for how and where I fish most often. I've probably owned a good half dozen different models in that time and all have worked well. I like the combination of the reach of a 10 footer and the lighter action of a three weight. A 4wt is pretty much as good, but I have great confidence in the 3wt in all aspects. Fishing spiders is seldom a distance game but a well designed 3wt with the proper line will cast just as far, and farther, than I need. I'm fishing lighter tippets than I used to and 3wts usually have a softer tip. Which is something I have come to like in both graphite and cane.
Longer rods, such as the 11 footers I've tried can be cumbersome and don't fish dries as well if the need arises. For many years my go to spider rod was a 9' 4wt and it's still a good choice, especially if you expect to fish dries as much or more than spiders. I've fished Spiders on cane rods as short as 7' but miss the line control of a longer rod. I'm fishing cane much more than I have for a long time but usually with dries and unweighted nymphs. My go to cane rods now are 8' and longer. But if I expect that my day is going to be dedicated to fishing Spiders, I reach for graphite.
(I have had very limited experience with Tenkara, primarily because for the most part I fish larger rivers and want the ability to reach out and also to play a running fish from the reel.)
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Re: Rod length & action in spider fishing

Post by ForumGhillie » Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:11 pm

I don't feel one rod length or presentation fits all stream fishing situations. You mentioned dead drift and swinging flies which to me require different presentation styles. Also, what fly rod a taller person finds most effective may be different than what rod a shorter person prefers. I also find at times wind conditions can be a pain with lighter lines and longer rods. Lastly, the size of the river and how close I can get to the fish... closer is always better. When fishing a calmer tail section of a pool I cannot get as close to the feeding fish as when in a faster riffle or run (trout's window of vision). Different currents can effect my presentation and can be somewhat overcome by using a long rod and shorter casts if possible.

Sometimes I fish a 8 foot 4wt hollowbuilt bamboo rod, more so because I really enjoy casting it. Other times, I use a 9 foot Hardy Zenith (4wt or 5wt) because they give me much better line control. Would I be better off with a 10 foot rod? Is another 12" of rod length that much better? I am not sure because I have never gone longer than 9' 6" graphite rods.
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Re: Rod length & action in spider fishing

Post by Old Hat » Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:07 pm

Great discussions. Over years of wet fly fishing I have come to the conclusion that the rod I enjoy fishing most is the best suited. I have all kinds of length and sizes from 7' - 14' and 2-8wt. Not all for spider fishing mind you. Some are better suited for certain conditions and offer advantages for this or that. As far as length and spiders go it really is more about the water you are fishing than the flies. Where and how are you needing to present your flies based on the water you most likely fish? A longer rod will give you more line control which means more line off the water if you want for upstream casting or more control of the line in mending situations if you are drifting and swinging flies. But as John alluded to, I think there is a point where the longer rod can become cumbersome and overkill. Too soft an action and you loose distance and maybe some "feel", also wind can be a problem if you subject to that. Too fast of a rod and you loose some control and accuracy as well as a gain a lot of issues if you are casting shorter distances with small flies. All these things come into the decision process. But, in the long run, you will fish the rod that you most enjoy fishing. Everyone has a different technique they enjoy fishing and different style of casting. There will be those few rods that just feel right and make your day enjoyable. I have 4 rods for wet fly fishing. None of them are anything special. They are for different water. For smaller water I have an 8'4" Orvis Trident TL in a 3wt. This is a mid flex rod that I absolutely love to fish with and will use it whenever I can. For a little bigger water where I know I will be swinging and mending I have custom 9' 3wt medium action rod. This is a little faster action than my Trident. Which lets me cast a bit further and has some backbone to mend. If I am on medium to larger rivers and I know there is going to be some wind conditions I have an old Powell Advantage in a 9' 5wt. Medium-fast action. This is also a good rod for swinging larger wet flies. I also have a 13-14.5' Ito Tenkara USA rod that I love to play with. Not great for casting but excellent for dropping and working spiders in a lot of situations. I use to swing a lot of wet flies on larger western rivers with big fish potential and had a lot of 5-7wts. Again you can get as specific as you want for all the different conditions wet fly fishing offers. The more you you swing the pendulum to either side whether it is weight or length or action the more you will be limited by the specific conditions. With all that mumbo jumbo I just typed I would say that a 8'-10'', 3-4wt. medium action rod would be a great wet fly rod for most any situation. Move to the upper ends if you are on bigger water and swinging a lot, move to the lower ends if you are on smaller water and fishing a lot of upstream or dead drifting.
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