JPSmith29

rod/reel for smallmouth

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Hi all. I am still fairly new to fly fishing having started only a year and a half ago and been fly fishing at most 30 times. This has been mainly for trout In the swift river in Ma with a 9ft 5wt. There are a few rivers near me that hold smallmouth and I would really like to try catching them on the fly. Would my current fly rod be able to handle smallmouth ranging anywhere from 1lb up to the rare 3lber? Or should I invest in say a 7wt?
Any input is really appreciated
Thank you all in advance 

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JP, what you have can be fine, but may limit how large or heavy you can go with the flies. That's the primary reason for choosing a specific line/rod weight. And, when I say heavy, that may include wind resistance, such as with poppers, or with weighted flies like Clouser Minnows. 

 

For what you describe of the stream & fish, a 5 weight will work. I've fished for them with 3 wts to 8 wts depending on the waters I've fished. On tiny streams, light rods & smaller size flies, than I might use on a larger stream or river. It's all a compromise to try to get the best fit for a given day, since conditions change.

 

If your rod has plenty of backbone, you might try a 6 or 7 wt line on it to see how it casts. Then you can use some larger or heavier flies without getting another rod. 

 

I added rods to my arsenal over the years as I found the need. I never could afford high end rods, but was always able to find a good rod for what I needed, either new or used. I now have rods from 3 wt to 10 wt and multiples of some weights. I primarily target warmwater & saltwater fish species, but have fished for trout too. 

 

It's a choice which way to go, but what I suggested about trying a different line might be the least costly. You can possibly use some of the flies you've used for trout too. 

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I would agree with the above. Your current 5wt will work but may limit the weight and size flies you can fish for smallies. Say if you want to use some tungsten cone headed leeches a 7wt would work better. I personally use a 7wt for smallmouth fishing.

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I go Maine every year on a smallmouth mission to some well known lakes.  when using a guide, many times they suggest an 8wt, but I always use a 7wt and haven't regretted it.  my vote is 7wt.

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I've been fishing a 10' 5-weight Hardy Marksman II for Housy smallmouth for years. It is currently mated with an 8-weight Sci Anglers Anadro floating line. I'm throwing everything from size 12 wets to Woolly Buggers to Gurglers to bulky deer-hair head streamers to dumbbell-eyed crawfish.  

 

Hope that helps,

 

Steve

 

 

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I vote 7wt. I’d go for a mid-flex rod which allows me to chuck some larger streamers, poppers, etc. This rod will also allow for tight-line and indicator nymphing, which is also very effective for river smallies. The mid-flex rod is not entirely necessary. It a personal preference. It’s a little more versatile  , and easier to cast. And it’s a bit more “beginner friendly”. 

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I use a 6 or 7 depending on the water I’m fishing and the type of fly. The 6 for streamers and 7 for poppers and bulkier flys. A good 5wt can easily handle those 1 pounders.

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I use a 9' 6 wgt for 99% of my smallmouth fishing.   That covers Eastern Pa, Vermont and Northern Ontario.  Also use it for light salt water fishing.   I'll use my 5 wgt sometimes on my local creek where the average smallie is around 10 inches.  I don't use very large flies for smallmouth. Most are 2 to 4 inches in length and after a traumatic experience of being hit in the back of the head with heavy clouser when I started salt water fly fishing,  I shy away from heavily weighted flies.   A 6 wgt will handle fish up to 5 lbs and 5 wgt will handle a 3 lb bass.  So unless you start hunting monster bass with the 5 wgt you should be all right.    

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Thank you all for the input! It has been tremendously helpful and taught me many new things. Coming from regular spinning and bait casting gear the whole weight thing has been somewhat confusing for me as to what it really means but your responses have provided some clarification on this. I think I will get some smallmouth flies and try out the 5wt that I have and see how that goes. Thank you all again

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