How to Choose Rod Weight

Which fly rod weight is best for you?

Brad Miller discusses which rods you should consider in your arsenal to meet various needs and conditions.

  1. Determine what your fishing species are in order of priority.

  2. If you are largely fishing small stream trout, panfish, almost exclusively, a #5 weight (or possibly less depending on the size of the fish) is the best all around rod weight if you want only one rod. A #5 is extremely versatile and generally powerfull enough should you venture out West and fish bigger rivers and windy conditions.

  3. If you occasionally fish for larger species (in addition to the above), such as bass in the 1-3 pound range, then a #6 (six) weight is the best combo rod for a variety of situations.

  4. If you fish for both small trout/panfish and also fish for large and smallmouth bass, northerns, stripers, bonefish, even small tarpon, steelhead, and coho (silver) salmon and similar, get yourself a good #8 (weight) in addition to the #5. You'll be glad you have two different rods.

  5. If you're lucky (or dumb enough) to pursue giant tarpon, giant trevally (GTs), big peacocks, small sharks and other saltwater nasties, get a #12 and practice your double hauling until you get blisters.Then remortgage your home to afford the exorbitant prices for these kinds of trips.

For fresh and many saltwater applications, having a #5 and an #8 will handle 90% of your fly fishing needs.

For example, I generally fish for panfish and bass. I use a 4 or 5 weight for pans and occasional small stream trout.

For small river smallmouth fishing from a canoe or kayak for example, I use a #6 weight. I like the Maxxon Aurelius or Maxxon Double XX in a #6. Tip: Make sure your #6 has a Full Wells grip with a fighting butt , like the aforementioned.

For almost all big river smallmouth, Alaskan silvers, steelhead, and Mexico's baby tarpon - I use a good #8, like the Maxxon Salish line of premium fly rods at a great price.You'll be surprised what you can do with a quality #8 weight rod against a whole slew of tackle busting finny critters!