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Don_Morey

Who makes the best American Fly Rod & Reel?

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Wow your looking to spend some $, I really like the tfo and the albright stuff the albright gpx reel is pretty sweet

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It depends on how much money you want to spend and what fish you want to pursue. St. Croix make some good rods. I have access to all the major brands of blanks (moderators- delete the inappropriate text if this is not acceptable). Send me a PM and I'll be glad to give you a quote. I've been flinging fur and feathers off and on for about 45 years. Can send you some pictures of some rods I have built. For carp, I would suggest a medium fast or fast 9 ft. about 6/7 weight, although you will be using flies more in line with the size of trout flies, 5 or 6 wt. being the case. If you are just learning, lean more toward a medium to medium fast action. Fly line itself is as strong as steel cable. What breaks is the tippet or leader when hauling in a fish. You want a reel with a good adjustable drag (again, cost dictates the reel) and lots of backing. I've heard it recommended to have as much as 200 yards of backing; this from saltwater and salmon anglers. Hope this helps.

John Torchick

www.hiwasseecustomrods.com (under construction)

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If we are talking about rod and reel combinations mainly for Cyprinus Carpio Flyslurpius, then I prefer the St. Croix Legend Elite Saltwater #8 and the Sage 4580. This is a good combo for Big Carp on the fly, with plenty of power where needed; it's also nicely balanced for a day's hard fluff-flinging.

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I would take a look at an Abel reel if that is in the budget. One that will accomodate 8to 10 wt line and 150 yds or so of backing. The versatility is great, stripers if you come to the east coast, large mouth bass, pike , and of course carp. Nice also for an exotic trip somewhere for bonefish. The construction , drag , durability and finish are definitely top of the line. Another aspect to a purchase of a high end reel is that you will not become wanting of something more in a short while and respending more money. Conversely, if you decide to take up golf in a few years I am sure that if the reel has been kept in nice shape, you can recover 75% of its cost by reselling it on ebay or the likes of. For a rod, go to a local shop and have them match up to the reel, cast a few and consider the warranty, most are of good quality and the advantage of one brand over another can be debated for ten fishing seasons!

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Guest SWMO

Scott, and for reels I think you can over do it. I've got some expensive reels and some not so expensive. In a fly reel it all comes down to drag and drag, with a decent balancing weight a distance second. You can get a decent disk drag reel for a little over a hundred dollars and that's all you need, especially with the speed carp run at. I like the Orvis, but there are others, just find something that you like the looks of and has a verified good drag, then spend your money on rod and line.

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Confusing, isn't it! :) It all boils down to what you want and have to spend. I have a close friend that has caught enough trout to fill a short train. He fished a Wal-Mart $20 special for years. His latest rod is a $50 kit from somewhere. Any rod will last a lifetime or more if you take care of it and don't step on it, close it in the car door or trunk lid. I have a South Bend fiberglass rod that is about 47 years old. I have a bamboo rod that is about 45 years old; I restored it as all the varnish was coming off. I still fish both of them for old times sake. Go to quality fly shops and look. Test cast rods. Look at reels and take the spool off and look at the drag mechanism. Then go to Wal-Mart and get the $50 rod. I guarantee you the fish won't ask what kind of rod you have or what it cost. JMHO. Did I tell you that I'm cheap?

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Guest phonebush

Don,

You ask the most difficult question in angling. Wha is the "best"?

But, in fairness you did then limit it (best) to two manufacturers.

I ask this morning at coffee. The concensus was you had them in the right order for carp. Sage rods (the new salt water rod in about an #8 wt (forgot to ask for a "best" length)). For a reel - choosing between the two you offered, the choice was Able (but they have a cork drag system(?).

I cannot elaborate since I am not a flyfisherman of any count.

The "group opinion" was your spending too much money with either/or - or both. In these price ranges the choice was "custom made" rod with a "rod maker" recommendation for a reel (depending on price).

Phone

OTOH I'm kinda like Skeet3t. You sure you can't gerry-rig a cheap UglyStik crappie rod or pole.?

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Sage?

Abel?

You certainly can't go wrong with a Sage rod or Abel reel... but that's a lot of $$$.

Check out the new Sage reels much lighter than Abel and excellent performance.

TFO (Temple Fork Outfitters) offer some stellar rods for about less than 1/2 the price of a Sage and they are endorsed by Lefty Kreh (and yes he used to work with Sage).

I'd personally save the $$ and buy a couple extra spools and lines (check out the latest Airflo Ridge lines).

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To add to phone's last comment, there is a technique in Japan called Tenkara which uses a long rod, line, fly and no reel. Do a search on "tenkara" and see what it is all about. I plan on trying it this summer with a 10 ft. rod I have.

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Guest phonebush

skeet,

I didn't search but isn't this the one where the line is in a bucket. The really good fishermen then inspect the other guys bucket to see if the line is laying in perfect figure 8's. If you are any good at all your line ends up in perfect figure 8's one on top of the other in the bucket. HA ha. I saw it once.

Phone

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In my opinion, there are simply very few rods that cast as well as a sage. For lighter weights, the Winston rods are sage's equals, but for carp weights (7 or 8) it is really tough to beat sage. They charge for them, but make a fine, fine flyrod. I fish a 7 wt VT2, and it is a sweet rod.

That said, my favorite rod to cast is far and away my Saltwater Echo 2. I made the huge mistake of buying the Echo in a 6 wt, which makes it slightly undergunned for the vast majority of my carp fishing, but anytime I can get by with the lighter rod, I break out the Echo. Made by Tim Rajeff in Vancouver, WA...easily one of the most enjoyable rods I've ever cast. They are not as well known at the TFO series, but if you cast them side by side there is flat out no comparison. My next rod (which I need like a hole in the head) will be an Echo 2 in an 8 wt, and when I buy that, i know my sage will end up gathering dust. The price point for the Echo's is great too, and they come with two tips, each for different casting styles. It sounds gimicky, but the change from his distance to his accuracy tip has an impact on how the rod casts.

One thing about rods though...they really do have to match your personal casting style. I wouldn't buy a fly rod online unless you have cast it first.

As for reels...JP nailed it. Lamson. For years i was of the opinion that a reel held line, so i bought cheap pfluegers, etc and the carp would burn right through them. I use a Lamson radius now and love it. If you want a good large arbor, you can't go wrong with lamson.

I have to comment on Albright rods. I bought one, and really enjoyed the way it cast and felt in my hand. The only problem was the walls are simply too thin. I broke that albright 3 times carp fishing (at $60 a pop to repair it through their warranty department). After paying the $60 twice, it now sits in its case, broken and unused.

Edited by john montana

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Few Lamson guys on here- but as my Carp tackle doubles up for Bonefish I wouldnt touch them.Very poor in the salt and for some reason they change thier range every year.Last I heard they were having reels made in Eastern Europe but that may have moved to China.

Tibor, Bauer and Abel are the best built US reels IMHO, I like Bauer for lighter stuff and Tibors for heavy stuff.

Cheers Colin

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Abel is owned by the same company that owns Thomas and Thomas rods, they are in some financial trouble right now and anyone considering buying one should be aware of that. If you really want one at half price they are available here while supplies last: http://www.mrfc.com/MadisonRiverShopping/S...px?CategoryID=4

I like Lamson as well. There are some great products out there. I like that you are asking about American companies, but remember that not all American companies make all of their rods in America and especially the lower priced rods. Albright might be an American distributor but those sticks were not made here. One more on Albright, I bought a 9 wt rod and reel from them last year. The reel came with a damaged reel seat. I had to explain to them that if they didn't stand behind their brand new product that I would post on several fly fishing boards about their warranty or lack thereof. I don't like going there to get the service that I deserved as a customer. I probably won't buy from them again. If you don't buy their minimum order their shipping costs are way out of line as well.

I, like many fly fisherman have many different outfits, but I tend to fish the most with my St Croix Legend Elites in 7 or 8 wt for carp. These are made here in the US. The Sage rods are very nice too and the upper Winston sticks and Scott rods are great. We are very fortunate to live where there are many different quality options available to us.

I always like to make a note about this time in an equipment thread about getting some casting lessons. If you spend $800 on a stick and $400 on a reel and don't know how to use them properly you would do better to spend less on the hardware and the rest on casting lessons. Your time on the water is going to be so much better and for years to come. Don't take the casting lessons at the end of the season. Get it early on. Find an instructor here: http://www.fedflyfishers.org/Default.aspx?tabid=4465

If you know what type of rod action you prefer life is easier buying a new rod, if you are new at this, you might consider taking the casting lessons before you buy an outfit and try out different rods. Fast action rods aren't for everyone but they are popular these days. Your timing has to be more "spot on" as the Britts like to say but there are performance benefits also there. If you like the slow down and relax while fishing a slower action rod might actually fit your personality better. The stroke isn't so demanding and you let the rod load and unload with a larger window for errors. I'm sure that many of us could talk a long time about these things and I am getting long winded in this posts.

Buying an American rod is a good thing, make sure it's really made here and not just the company is based here. Get some lessons and try something before you buy it. Remember one last important point. This isn't your last rod, this is just your next rod.

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Go to www.rodbuildingforum.com and see what hobby and pro builders use for blanks. Many blanks are available by manufacturers as finished rods. Register and ask questions, they are most helpful.

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Guest Lee Baermann

The biggest thing you need to do with a rod is cast it before you buy it. I have Orvis, Cabelas, G-Loomis, TFO and ECHO rods, over 28 I know of off the top of my head and I have another G-Loomis on the way to try for them. I really love the ECHO Saltwater 2's for floating lines and the IONs for sinking lines, actually prefer the ION over the TFO TiCr which was my favorite until I got the IONs. As soon as I can get Tim to make a 6wt 9' ION, which would rock the surf fishing world, the ECHO 2 6wt is my go to surf rod. FYI, I have 8 6wts right now. LOL

You can get great rods for $100.00 but those are 2 piece. A good 4 piece will run you $150.00 so that's not bad at all.

I have 11 Lamson reels, from the Konic to the Vanquish and I have never had one failure and these reels are used in my casting classes, my clients use them in the surf when I guide, I use them in the surf and in Baja. I also own a few Abels, Super 8 and 12 and the Lamsons have a smoother drag, no surging and I have compared them. One day I fished an Airflo 300grn Depthfinder on the Super 8 and a TFO TiCr 8wt, that night I put the 300grn on a Litespeed 3.5, fished the same area and caught the same size fish. There was no surge in the drag, the reel is lighter so there is less fatigue (important in 100 degree heat and 6 hours of casting) and has virtually no maintenance, unlike an Abel. Just so you don't think the Abel's I have were not maintained, Steve Abel had it serviced while I chatted with him before I left for that trip. I live 5 miles from the shop.

My first LS 3.5 and a 16lb dog snapper, this is right after they came out and I still use that reel. Notice no tattoos on the legs, sooooo long ago

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Nice snapper on a LS 3.5

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Ladyfish on a LS3

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Triggerfish on a LS3.5

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30lb dorado on a LS4

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Huge spotted cabrilla on a LS4

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Client with a corbina on a LS3

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5lb Large Mouth Bass on a LS 3

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Not one failure of a reel in all these years

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Hi Lee

I guess I was unluckly with my Lamson- looks like youve given yours more testing than I would ever manage !

I take back my coments and will perhaps give them another try, very light reels as you say.

Cheers Colin

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Guest Lee Baermann
Hi Lee

I guess I was unluckly with my Lamson- looks like youve given yours more testing than I would ever manage !

I take back my coments and will perhaps give them another try, very light reels as you say.

Cheers Colin

Colin, was your problem with the bearing? If so a call to their warranty department would get you sent a new one. The only other thing I've seen is that their tolerances are so tight sand can get in the spool channel and make a grinding noise but no damage done.

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OT, but lee how do you get that beard under a buff....its epic.

amazing fish BTW

Edited by LONESTAR

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Colin, was your problem with the bearing? If so a call to their warranty department would get you sent a new one. The only other thing I've seen is that their tolerances are so tight sand can get in the spool channel and make a grinding noise but no damage done.

The bearings in the older model had an issue with rust. A few years back Lamson upgraded the bearings to stainless and I know from a few buddies that had the bad bearings, that their customer service dept. sent them a new replacement bearing free of charge. I've never heard of an issue of drag failure since.

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