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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello-

I haven't fished in, oh, about 30 years. Until two weeks ago in Florida with my wife's uncle. In short, I and our 4.5 year old son had the time of our lives going after the big sport fish (heh) like redfish, mangrove snappers, pinfish and some sort of saltwater catfish that wasn't big but thrashed about a lot. Why haven't I fished in all these years? Well, other than memories of being quite young and yelled at for being loud, throwing rocks in the water, etc., etc., etc... ;)

Anyway, after much discussion with said uncle (a life-long fisherman), I've decided to take up fly fishing. Of course, I won't be fishing for permit, tarpon and bonefish here in Michigan, but what the heck, I'm not after trophies.

In the pursuit of this hobby, I've spent a lot of time researching options and suggestions. It turns out I know maybe a dozen guys who are fly fisherman. Who knew?! It also turns out that there are at least a dozen opinions on the best rod to start with. I figure that the more differing opinions I can gather, the better off I am, so, without further ado...

I'll be fishing for a fairly balanced mix of trout and smallmouth bass. I've been offered occasional, irregular access to the Au Sable. I've been offered regular, frequent access to the Cedar River in Gladwin county. And, being as I live in Midland county, I've been told that smallies on the Chippewa are fun and plentiful.

So far, most suggestions fall to either an 8.5' 5W or 9' 6W, medium action rod for starters. Would anyone care to opine on the appropriateness of either of those suggestions?

Many thanks!
 

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Welcome to the site. I would say a 9' 6 wt if you are interested in smallmouth, to throw larger flies. A 9' 6 wt is pretty versatile. I did all my steelhead fishing with one last year, and my hookup-to-land ratio was fine. Which brand rod is the tougher question. It really depneds on how much you want to spend. I bought my 6 wt from Gander Mountain last year for $50.00 on sale. It is a Plateau series that was originally $100.00. I bought it for my son for when he is older (he is about the same age as yours), but find myself using often. There are many fine brands available, so I won't even get to it. Have fun shopping, as buying a new fly rod is one of my favorite things to do.
 

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i use a 7 ft 7wt for smallies but im usually fishing small streams...it works for me but with more room id defently like longer and lighter
 

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9' 5 or 6 wt, depending upon the size of the water you will be fishing most often.
 

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yeah, i'd think a 9' 5wt would be good. light enough to throw dries and not be overpowered for smallish trout, but big enough to throw some decent sized streamers for smallies (which are a riot on a 5 wt). also can have some fun with gills (which are a great way to learn/practice).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all the replies. I'm almost done reading through "Fly Fishing: A Trailside Guide" by John Merwin (someone recommended that to me, but I don't think I saw it on the reading list here) and he suggests the 9' 6W as a good starter rod, as well.

As to brands...I've discovered there are plenty of brands for just about every piece of equipment in this hobby. Getting through the marketing hype is part of the fun, but, wow...reminds me of my bicycle hobby where every year brings a slew of new 'must-have' gadgets. Not that I let my realization that I'm being 'sold' stop me from buying stuff I don't really need. :lol:

Thanks again!
 

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im fairly new to the fly fishing hobby as well and i bought a 9' 6wt temple fork outfitters rod and so far i love it and it was pretty affordable at $100.00 but when i got mine jays sporting goods in clare was throwing the reel in for free so that helped.
 

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Two things i thought I'd add:

1. I just got back from the Utica Gander Mountain and they have a bunch of their house brand rods for around $40.

2. This month's issue of Fish & Fly Magazine has a bunch of reviews on fly rods.
 
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