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Lightweight rod and reel
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Meir Gottlieb
Lightweight rod and reel for backcountry fly fishing on 12/20/2004 08:33:20 MST Print View

Just wanted to know what setups people are using for backcountry fly fishing. Can you post your rod and reel setups along with cost and weight data if you have it?


Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Ultralight Fly Fishing Setup on 12/20/2004 15:27:12 MST Print View


For most of my backcountry fly fishing in Yellowstone, I use a 3 wt 8.5 ft 5 piece Stowaway Rod (Cabela's) which is in the $100 to $130 range I think, and as far as lightweight 5 pc rods go, it's on par for weight, about 3.5 oz.

I pair this with a Sage reel that was a gift to me, a 3100, which is 2.7 oz, and one of the very lightest machined aluminum reels on the market. The only lighter one I found was one from Hardy at 2.6 oz, but it held a lot less line. is launching a new section in the store here this spring - probably March - and we'll have some really neat goods sourced specifically for the backcountry fly fisher, including a very light rod and reel combo tailored specifically to small stream fishing, and a selection of very nice quality, but not outrageously priced, 5-piece fly rods in the 4-5 weight range.

We're also adding another foam fly box (smaller and lighter than the current one) and some pretty cool "ultralight" accessories as well...stay tuned!

Charles Maguire
(hikelite) - F

Locale: Virginia
ultralight rod & reel on 12/20/2004 15:45:02 MST Print View


Will you have rod/reel set-up's for those of us that fish ultralight but not fly fishing?

Here in the SE/Mid-Atl/NE, fly fishing is difficult if not impssible on many secluded streams due to overhang etc..


Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
ultralight fishing rod and reel on 12/20/2004 17:14:49 MST Print View

Chuck: the stream rods we are carrying are going to be five feet in length - a great length for bushy streams whether you have a fly rod or spinning reel. I've used a spinning reel on my prototype and it works well, the rod has a great action to it to allow you to throw ultralight lures in addition to a fly line. Of course, you'll have to deal with the lack of a handle extension and small guides if you put a spinning reel on it, but I didn't find this a limitation for small stream use at all, and even a spinning reel balances the rod well.

Curt Peterson
(curtpeterson) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
More Fishing Setups on 06/16/2005 12:42:32 MDT Print View

Three questions:

1) What's the lightest spin reels folks are using? I've seen a couple that are around 5 ounces. Anything lighter than that out there?

2) How do folks use dry flies with a spin setup? Probably taboo to even discuss this for fly folks, but I'm curious.

3) Any updates on BPL's fishing gear?



Ron Stoecklein
(rs7trout) - F
dry fly with spin on 06/25/2005 09:28:40 MDT Print View

You can attach a clear bobber two or three feet from the fly--gives you enough weight to cast--make sure you treat the fly with some formula to keep it floating longer.

Joy Menze
(catamountain) - M
Re: More Fishing Setups on 11/16/2005 21:28:26 MST Print View

There is another device that people around the world use to catch fish. And that is the handline. The handline is a form of some sort that manages the line. Your own body functions as the rod and reel. For example there is the coke bottle/soda can handline. (the article recommends 35 lb test line, but much lighter line works well. Here in Arizona, 6 lb would be considered a heavy line for backcountry use)

If you don't want to make your own, one weighing 2.4 oz called Streamlines Tideland is sold. One needs to buy something else to get to the minimum amount for free shipping. (That same site sells Aramid (Kevlar) boot laces.)

The instructions for the Streamlines Tideland recommend twirling the end of the line over your head to build up casting momentum. However it seems to be easier to control the cast if the line is twirled at your side, parallel or up to 30° instead of overhead. At the manufacturer's homepage one can see and read that this is not a mere toy.

I came up with my own design which I made from 1/8" polycarbonate plastic sheet material (free scrap from a plastic sheet good supplier). Polycarbonate will not float but will take a lot of abuse. The edges need to be smoothly rounded over. The plastic frame currently weights 1.1 oz. My design allows me to wrap 2 different types of fishing line. I wrap heavier cordage around the line I am not using to build up a more comfortable handle area (right now that's 550 parachute cord because I have lots of it and it might be useful for other things). The handline, cord, bobber and line weights 2.46 oz. I could make it smaller and lighter - and have been trimming it down over time - but I like it 6" high so each revolution around the device is close to 1'.

I may next make something with an aluminum can or plastic bottle. The interior can store things. Maybe another piece of existing gear can be used.

Tackle/fly storage wallets can be devised from 1/16" craft foam. It's closed cell, dense foam that does not absorb water. It can be found at Wal-Mart and craft stores.

To fly fish without a fly rod check out: No Fly Rod.

I found that a fisherman from my state Game and Fish Department gave me excellent tackle, lure and fly recommendations for the type of fish in backcountry areas. He assured me that kinks that would form in monofilament line wraped around a flat handline would not affect the performance of the device. Although I am trying out braided line now myself to minimize that kinking (and braid can be used as rope in a pinch).

A recommended fly site is BuckABug.

Learn about the mouth size of the fish that inhabit backcountry water and fit tackle and bait to it. In Arizona that means size 16 or 18 hooks and flys. Spinners are 1/12 or 1/16. All tackle is the smallest stuff on the market.

I recently came across some tackle called No-Knot Fast Snaps which makes changing hooks, flys and lures easy. I am getting some to also to use on lanyards to attach small gear items instead of using swivels.

An other option out there is a little thing called the SpeedHook. It's a snare. Not too traditional.

Edited by catamountain on 11/19/2005 18:50:55 MST.

William Wright
Re: Lightweight rod and reel for backcountry fly fishing on 11/18/2005 22:50:50 MST Print View

A 6-ft, 2/3-wgt Winston glass rod with a DT-3-F line on the smallest Marryat reel. A short, light, and sweet-casting outfit. An 8-in brookie feels like an angry steelhead. Can't cast worth a darn in the wind, though.

Justin Alvare
(justinalvare) - F
Re: Re: More Fishing Setups on 03/03/2006 15:48:40 MST Print View

I'm interested in hearing from anyone who has used a handline to catch fish in the backcountry. How does the experience stack up to cast or fly fishing? Would you recommend using heavier test line because a handline doesn't give like a rod nor does it have a clutch like a reel? Did you make your own rig or purchase one such as the Streamlines Tideland? (

Joy Menze
(catamountain) - M
Re: Re: Re: More Fishing Setups on 03/05/2006 18:19:36 MST Print View

You can first try lawn casting at home. Wrap a weighted line around a bottle or pop can. The length of the cast will depending on the weight at the end of the line, wind/wind direction, and skill. The weight of the line depends on the size of the fish in your part of the world. Just like with a rod, you don't manhandle a fish. Just play it out, and slowly pull it in. The flexiblity of your arm replaces the flex of a rod.

I know of one person who keeps a pop can with line wrapped around it under his car seat. Whenever he needed to relieve work-a-day stress, he drives somewhere and went fishing with that set up.

If you have access to State Fish & Game fishing clinics, the person running the clinic is a great source of information for your regional needs.

The rod and reel popularity it also a function of tradition and good marketing. It makes me think of the marketing by De Beers for diamonds.

I designed and work with products I developed.

Edited by catamountain on 03/05/2006 18:21:21 MST.

Jarrett Dorough
Scott rod on 09/19/2006 14:22:48 MDT Print View

I use a Scott F703 3wt with a Ross Colorado 0. Make small fish seem huge.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: More Fishing Setups on 09/22/2006 17:34:06 MDT Print View

I've used a hand line in a sea-kayak. It really changes your perspective on fishing-- you immediately feel the fish. The first time I hooked one, a nearly went over sideways. You do need to develop a technique for paying out line to keep the fish on and not getting excited is a good start! I used a heavy test line and made my own long leaders and wound it on a kite line spool. In a kayak it was easy to let the line collect on the spray skirt. I used a bottom fishing jig and split-tailed rubber lure for a super simple rig.

For trout, I would try some fly line-- comes in small lengths and it is made to be handled a lot and should be fairly tangle resistant (I'd find a way to make a nest of it). I'd use a bobber and eggs or eggs and marshmallows float the eggs up off the bottom and just a little split shot for weight-- provided you can use bait. Spinning lures would be a real workout! Maybe one of those fake frogs or other surface-motion gadget? I wouldn't think you could cast very far with the light stuff you would use for trout and I assume you would be on the shore of a lake. On a stream or river you could be more sneaky and work flies down stream with the current. I would go for floating fly line and some sort of spool there for sure. A spool/winder made of light plastic in a fat dog-bone shape would pack well. You could wrap it around something like a one liter Nalgene too.

evan parsons
(freestyleparsons) - F

Locale: Dowtown LA
link to ultralight "casting handle", very interesting new approach on 02/27/2007 15:51:59 MST Print View

I hope this isn't already posted, but I thought is was a pretty interesting new approach to the light weight fishing pole...


David Goodyear
(dmgoody) - MLife

Locale: mid-west
telescoping rod on 03/25/2007 20:21:25 MDT Print View

I know this sounds like the cheapos you see at wal mart, but check out this website. They have ultralight to saltwater rods, spinning and fly.

I took one to Isle Royale last year and it works great. I cut off the end of the ultralight rod tubes sold here and used velcro-elastic to wrap around the reel, while the cap end protects the rod tips. I found that this way I could leave the lure/fly on the rod, since it was protected by the cap. You can stealth fish with your backpack on and the rod in an exterior pocket - see a good spot - presto you are fishing in 30 seconds.

Give it a try.

Edited by dmgoody on 03/25/2007 20:54:29 MDT.