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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking at getting the $180 St Croix 8/9 weight rod and reel combo from Gander Mtn. I am going to use it for pike in both lakes and rivers. I have never flyfished before so this is all new to me. Would this be a decent outfit for a beginner? Whats your take on these rod and reel combos? I want something good quality but dont want to spend a fortune. Thanks...
 

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sounds like a good combo, I've fished st croix before, liked the action. I would rethink the weight if I were you though. Six weight is heavy enough for anything you are gonna catch in this state, or any other state for that matter. I dont remember the warranty for st croix, compare it to cortland, they have lifetime unconditional, and I know they have combos for around the same price. either way, good luck- and by deciding to fly fish, your already making the right decision!! ;)
 

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hellfish said:
I would rethink the weight if I were you though. Six weight is heavy enough for anything you are gonna catch in this state, or any other state for that matter. 
I agree that a six will land just about anything in fresh water, up to 15 lbs or so.  But there is something to be said for using a heavier rod to cast big flies.  I wouldn't be comfortable casting flies bigger than a sz2 on my 6wt.  Even a weighted sz2 casts much easier on an 8wt rod.  And if you're going to be fishing flies bigger than 2/0, I would step up to a 9 or 10wt rod.

That St. Croix will be a nice rod but not a particulary "fast" or stiff one.  I think a full-flex 8wt would be a good choice for a beginner casting big flies.

Another thing to consider when casting big flies is your line. I am a believer in the specialty lines that are available. I tried Rio's nymph line this year and will never go back to nymphing with an all-purpose line. Both Rio and SA make pike and bass bug tapers . . . I would invest in one.

have fun,
TP
 

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I gotta disagree with the 6 weight comments. if you're going to use it only for pike, you want to be able to throw BIG flies, and a 6 will not cut it, IMHO. by big, i mean, 8 -12 inch long rabbit strip flies....also, it would be helpful to get a line for throwing those beasts - the bass bug or pike tapers would really help to cast those flies, especially when they get waterlogged...

On the other hand, if you are going to fish for other species too - big trout, wipers, bass, i would recommend a 7 - you can still throw most of the big bugs, but also can use it for the smaller fish without making it boring:)

have fun....brian
 

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I guess I understand peoples opinions on the six weight, but me personally- anything heavier feels like a 2x4. I learned on an eagle claw 10-11 weight, loved it, and learned alot on it, but my next rod was a sage 6 weight- night and day in accuracy, sensitivity and play, I've landed sizable kings on that six as well as puny grayling- love my six as an all around rod- just my opinion.
 

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I'm gonna pile on on this one... I have a 9wt that I formerly used as a striper rod in some TN tailwaters, throwing flies that took half a chicken's worth of feathers, most of them actually saltwater flies. While you can heave the flies and catch pike on the 6 wt, I think it would be a better experience for you on an 8 or 9, just because as a beginner, its going to be much easier to learn cast the big waterlogged streamers that work so well. Also, the fish are much easier to handle on the larger rod. I ues my 9 for pike at the Arsenal and Muskies at Quincy and various other places and have no complaints. Just make sure you learn to duck when you hear a hissing noise, lest you have a big wet piece of fur and feathers clock you in the back of the head. It'll happen, and it still happens to me.
 
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Yea I think that would be a good combo for ya. And I agree, I have hooked into some of this states toothy critters that would have burned a 6wt. Can't expect to catch a 40in musky or pike on a 6wt. And as far as carp goes I don't know if I would trust some of those south platte hogs on a 6wt.
*&^% I have hooked into some carp here in CO that took my 8wt for a ride.
However my 6wt is a great wiper rod. Good for all round but don't think you'd wanna test it on all the species in our state.IMHO.
Just make sure you learn to duck when you hear a hissing noise, lest you have a big wet piece of fur and feathers clock you in the back of the head. It'll happen, and it still happens to me.
Funny, Funny, Funny. But not when I saw stars at Williams fork one windy day, a 1/0 double bunny, with two wraps of lead doesn't feel good hitting the dome piece at 40mph. Still get crap about that from some buddys who were there.
 

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Not to hijack the thread, but I almost went for a swim out of my kayak when a big zonker hit me...and I still think its funny.
 

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Its really hard to buy just one rod for both pike and trout....as everyone stated, a six weight is a good all around rod for most freshwater stuff here in this state, but for pike your 8/9 weight is ideal, if not a neccessity. its a tough choice...ive used an 8 weight for streamer fishing for larger trout in lakes and rivers, but they can be overkill for throwing dries and fishing for smaller fish. its kind of like hunting rabbits with a 30/06...it will work...but well...you know.

to get back to your origional purchase plan of the 8/9 weight St Croix--- depending on your casting style and action preference, that rod should work well for pike regardless of its "action". I really push faster rods for pike, as i believe they have the backbone needed for throwing heavier flies and putting leverage on heavy fish... but it all boils down to your personal preference. casting pike flies and working a big fish off the bottom can be difficult, and a wimpy rod can make it frustrating ive found. by chance do you know what model St Croix you were considering?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks guys for all the input. This rod will only be for pike, so I will for sure get the 8/9 weight.

Rottal, the St Croix rod I was looking at was their Premier series, which is there entry level from what I can tell. The rod is supposed to be med-fast in action and it comes with a large arbor reel with disk drag and line already included. But I think I will do like troutpocket said and get some Rio specialty line for it.

I was also looking at Temple Fork Outfitters entry level Sig Series One, they are priced moderatly as well and looked to be similar to the Premier, with med fast action as well. Anyone ever used these TFO rods?

Man some of those upper level rods look nice and are pricey, I have read both of Barry Reynolds pike on the fly books and the Sage rods he uses are like $600.
 
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I was also looking at Temple Fork Outfitters entry level Sig Series One, they are priced moderatly as well and looked to be similar to the Premier, with med fast action as well. Anyone ever used these TFO rods?
I used a Sig one in WA for 6 months. Loved it. Brought me many big fish. Caught probably a hundred salmon on that rod, big chinook, big coho, and some chum. Also several steelies and even a few dollys. So I am confident in its ability to handle large fish. Casts very well too, especially big rigs. Two eggs weighted heavily casted fine. Bought a pro series when I moved here, so never caught any pike on it. Too bad you weren't looking a few months ago, I sold my series one with a G-loom venture reel on it for 140 bucks. With brand new Sci anglers pike line on there.
 

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Abomb said:
Rottal, the St Croix rod I was looking at was their Premier series, which is there entry level from what I can tell. The rod is supposed to be med-fast in action and it comes with a large arbor reel with disk drag and line already included. But I think I will do like troutpocket said and get some Rio specialty line for it.

Man some of those upper level rods look nice and are pricey, I have read both of Barry Reynolds pike on the fly books and the Sage rods he uses are like $600.
Im not familiar with the Premier Series, ive messed with the older Legend series and the Avid Series a bit...both were faster rods and in an 8/9 weight more than enough for pike. my advice is maybe go to a dealer and cast the rod a bit (if you havnt) and make you decision from there.

My pike rods in the past have been a Gloomis GLX (which i didnt like actually, it was too soft in the tip i thought and didnt handle heavy flies well) and a Scott SAS 9wt. The Scott SAS is no longer being produced, but is one of my favorite "heavier" rods...and it was one of thier mid range rods at just a bit over 200 dollars. i have a couple of heavier Sage rods i use for saltwater, but they would all work for pike. They are pricey, i have to agree...but by no means does it make them better as far as feel and casting ability. It all just depends on what you like and what feels good to you. Your mid priced St Croix rods will work fine.

As far as a reel just about anything will do for pike...a heavy drag really isnt neccisary as pike dont really burn up long runs like other fish might. just make sure it fits your rod well as far as line capacity and balance. take Troutpocket's advice though, get a good line and it will make casting and line handling much easier. You can learn to handle just about any rod, but bad line will make your fishing a not-so-enjoyable experience and its worth spending money on the better stuff. I like the Scientific Anglers Mastery Series stuff, but thats my personal preference...as suggested, RIO makes a good line.
 

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That St. Croix will be a nice rod but not a particulary "fast" or stiff one. I think a full-flex 8wt would be a good choice for a beginner casting big flies.
-TroutPocket

With all due respect, Im going to have to disagree with troutpocket on this one. A tip flex rod is all I could ever think about throwing for pike. I started with a st croix 8 weight midflex and even though it did the job to some extant, it can't compare to my tipflex. When your fishing Elevenmile or Willy's Fork and the wind is blowing 40 miles an hour into your face, nothing will save the day like 9 weight tipflex. The fast action rod, really makes busting a bunny fly which feels more like a wet sock when wet into the wind a lot easier. Sure it won't be as delecate as a mid or full flex rod but when your fishing pike how your fly hits the water makes no differance unless you completely dome a fish with a tungsten head. here's the thing though, most times I will try to slap the water fairly hard when blind casting for pike because the vibration from the fly hitting the water can light up a pikes lateral line from I think up to ten feet away.
 

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Typically the rod will say mid/flex tip/flex or something to that nature on the rod. If not, tip/flex can be reffered to as fast action where as mid/flex is called mid action and full flex's are called slow action. I fish a 9' two piece 9wt tipflex Orvis T3. I overweight it with 10 wt line and the dang thing is an absolute cannon. IT will get you with the price but I cannot say enough about Orvis costumer service and the warranty their rods have. This Rod ran me about 500 but to me its been worth every dollar. As for buying a rod on the inernet, I have never done this and I would never buy a new rod without having cast it first. When you go to a fly shop (atleast a good one) they will let you cast a rod before you buy it and try to find something meets your needs. My last five rods I've bought have all been orvis and maybe they aren't quite sage rods, I have not had one complaint with any of them. IF you live in the denver area and are looking to buy a rod, hit up Orvis Englewood, ask for Tucker Bamford and tell him Theo sent you...I promise he'll take good care of you. Let me know if you need anything else.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks guys for all the advice, topslugger I accidently erased my reply to you but I see that you got it anyway......thanks i e-mailed you back.... let me know if you got it my e-mail has been doing weird stuff lately.
 
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