On the Fly: Tools of the trade | AspenTimes.com

On the Fly: Tools of the trade

Knowing what rod and reel to use on your next fishing excursion is no different than knowing what golf club to use on your next approach shot.
Shannon Outing/Special to The Aspen Times

Fishing, golf and other sports are contrasted and compared quite often. Not one golf club can do it all — unless you’re Happy Gilmore, of course — and this concept applies to rods for fly-fishing, as well.

One wouldn’t use a driver for putting, nor use a salt water 9-weight rod for short and precise creek casts. Fly rods are built in different weights, actions and lengths for multiple applications, saltwater and fresh, and for targeting different species, more specifically.

Fly rods are crafted from an ultralight 000 weight all the way up to a 16 weight. The higher numbers are relative to the stiffness, strength and ideal application of the rod. Your 000- to 3-weight rods are excellent for all freshwater high country and creek fishing, especially taking on a small body of water loaded with eager brook trout. From there, 4- to 6-weight rods are the bread and butter when it comes to fly-fishing in the Rockies.

A 4-weight is a perfect “pan rod” and is great for delicate presentation with dry flies, as well as protecting light tippet on our favorite local river. Many claim if you were to have just one trout rod, a middle-of-the-road 5 weight would be it. There are times on larger water, like the lower Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers, where you need just a little more; that’s where the 6 weight and heavier come to play.

From there, we start getting into rods that are designed for targeting bigger fish, casting larger flies and kicking their ass. A 7 weight can be a very versatile rod, from hucking heavy streamers locally for trout, wrestling a 20-pound carp out of a secret backwater stash or throwing poppers for bass. When we start getting into the salty side of things, we’re talking 8 weights and larger! Bonefish, redfish permit, snook and tarpon will all require stronger and stiffer rods, plus different lines and beefier reels. To say the least, one rod for the serious angler is just not enough. It takes a bag full of clubs, a quiver full of arrows, or however you cleverly explain it to your significant other!

This column is provided by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374.

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