Why Do I Need a Different Rod for Fishing Streamers and Bass?
Years ago, as a younger angler with a subpar skillset (not much has changed), I fished with one rod—a five-weight. Even when I eventually became a high school teacher flush with cash, I still used one and only one stick. I don’t know why, maybe it was my angling equivalent to comfort food, something akin to beer battered fries—but a digress. A fiver is more than peachy when it comes to dry fly fishing, nymphing, and so forth. Even now you’ll find nothing but five weights in my boat when I’m guiding trout. Fine and dandy, right? Not so much.
See, tackle should ideally be matched to conditions and species—you wouldn’t fish a euro rig for Tarpon in the Keys, nor would you use a creek rod while attempting to swing up Alaskan Kings. Picking up on what I’m putting down? You’re smart, I’m not, and so I only found this out after forging a bit of an affinity for pike and bass. Sure, I used wire leaders, big flies, and perhaps enough split shot to sink the USS Maine, and so I thought I had my tackle dialed, but what followed were sloppy, inaccurate casts, a shattered pair of sunglass frames after the aforementioned split shot collided with my temple, not to mention an always bellied line rife with slack which equated to an abysmal catch rate. So, while I had the bug to catch toothy critters, I was bad at it. And while I’m still no Paul Maclean, upgraded tackle purpose-built for warm water fishing was a game changer bumping me from mediocre to less mediocre. Let's break down why this is:
Fly Lines for Streamer and Bass Fishing:
A standard floating "dry fly" line is not the best to throw large, wind resistant flies. Why, you may ask? A floating line is built for dries and light bobber rigs and is not constructed to handle streamers because that’s not its purpose. Enter RIO’s Elite Predator Series: Built with short, heavy heads ranging from 32 to 36 feet in length, these lines allow an angler to turnover big flies with accuracy and ease. While casting is improved due to a dense, compact head with the bulk of the weight centered toward the rear, the Predator Series also features multi-density control, meaning the density of the line tapers in order to eliminate slack and present the fly in a natural fashion. Lastly, a low-stretch, braided core empowers anglers to set the hook with force with a direct and sudden connection into the bony jaw of predatory fish.
Floating vs. Sinking? Well, eventually you might wind up with both but a good rule of thumb around here is we like floating lines for Largemouth, and sinking lines for trout streamers and Smallmouth Bass. The floating body with the 10' "Hover" tip is deadly. If you are just getting started with streamers and/or bass, stick with floating.
The profile or taper, on the RIO Elite Predator Line is made to load up powerful rods for relatively short, thinking NON saltwater situations, accurate casts with jumbo sized flies. Sure you can send this line a country mile if you wanted, but this head really is designed to make fishing casts with big flies easy, efficient, and accurate.
Fly Rods for Streamers and Bass Fishing:
Lastly, and likely obvious to you, dear reader—a heavier rod has the spine to better throw flies bogged down with material and blistering line speed. Examples of such rods would be the G Loomis NRX+ Swim Fly, Sage SONIC, Winston Alpha+, amongst other more affordable options such as the Echo Streamer X and the Bad Ass Glass. A standard to fish streamers, or chuck “meat,” as the kids say, would be to use a seven-weight. This is a proper pairing tackle-wise and will provide the most enjoyable experience when out on the creek or lake. A #6 might be favored if 90% of what you are doing is light trout fishing, but.... if you plan to fish some Largemouth and visit Montana for big meat eating Brown Trout... the #7 should be considered.
If the rod is going to double as a Bonefish rod in the flats, you might consider a full blow fast action salt stick in the #7 weight, and tame it to throw meaty flies short range with the right line like the RIO Predator Line. If the rod is going to be Bass specific, be thinking about a rod with a slightly more benign attitude like a Winston Alpha+ or Sage PAYLOAD. There are plenty of options, but we implore you to get the right rod. Don't try to put a square peg in a round hole. Big flies and regular snags in the reed will destroy your favorite 590-4 trout rod.
Fly Size and Weight is the Reason
It's not the fighting power of the fish that require a heavier more capable rod, it's the fly! In order to deliver a full side of beef, you'll need a big truck. Same with flies. The line has to carry and catapult the fly forward and therefore it must have the weight and rigidity to deliver. To cast a line with a big fat heavy tip... you need a stout rod.
Red's "Go To" Streamer and Bass Outfits:
Go shop the lineup of our favorite setups, sort it be price and you'll be able to narrow it down pretty quick. These are all great options.