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Blank recs/gen advice: 5 wt fly
Posted by: Jake Carey (---)
Date: May 01, 2022 04:32PM

Long time lurker here. I spent entire days on this site back when I was building a bunch of surf rods and I really appreciate all the help people have offered one another. I welcome corrections in my thinking anywhere along the line.

I moved to a western state a few years ago and am a little tired of only spin fishing. Many of the places I've been to just aren't that spin fishable. Looking to start wrapping some fly rods to keep me occupied. I've read a lot on here about some of these blanks but I guess not exactly what I'm looking for. I guess I'm just after ideas and input from people who have handled these blanks. Rating accuracy/true weight are a big factor. I gather that there are some strang dips and humps within manufacturers rating accuracy, often around the 5 and 6 area.

How I fish/what action: I don't know exactly what my stroke is because it's been 15 years since I've fished with some VERY vintage glass flyrods but I know I'll never try to use a slow rod again, not even for tomatoes. I know I like fighting fish with the whole stick from my striper days but I guess I also am a hauler/shooter since I taught myself to do that without even knowing what it was. Touch is a big deal for me too, I learn a lot through the line. My guess is an mod/fast 5wt, something that can flip but load up when necessary. I have NO problem chopping or lengthening a blank to get this, but I don't if that works with fly blanks. 90-102 inches is probably going to be my length, that just feels right to me at the moment in terms of overall weight and balance.

What i'll be fishing: wading in mid sized and small western rivers, plus some reservoir edges. Not a floater or boater, even though rattler country is making that more attractive. Wild 15-18"browns, bows, and cuts are the most common fish I'll be seeing, I catch more of those than I do stocked trout. Dries and streamers most likely. I've caught a few cutthroats that really shocked me. Even at 17" they almost overpowered my spinning outfit, and that's in still waters. I can't imagine what a full sized brown in current would do to my nerves. Should I be looking at a 6 wt?

general preferences: I want some color, preferably brown/red/rust or green, or something funky. Yes it's petty, but I used to get so tired of looking at plain carbon.

What I'm looking at in no special order:
1. Rodgeeks carbon 4. My 2 favorite surf rods were avid/sciv blanks, so I automatically head towards them, and I've really liked the Croix fly rods I've handled in the store. Are they very fast or just a little fast? Are they stinkers? I have a hunch I'd get a 9-footer and cut 6-8 inches off the butt.
2. Pac May Arctos. Not a ton out there, a few reviews on this forum. Sounds like they're heavy maybe, and maybe not very lively. How do people like them?
3. NFC Iconoglass 90" 4 wt. Pretty mixed feeling out there it seems. Some folks think it's a fun rig, some people thought they were broomsticks, majority agree they're overpowered so I'd be after the 4wt probably. Good idea, is it good execution? Some of the complaints I saw were really lame issues, but some just hated how they fish. Is there a consensus?
4.PB Rainforest 2. Still a few of those floating around out there but not a ton of intel I could find. What are they like?

Second tier:

1.Hook and hackle in-house blanks. XI, XE and the ultra-modulus black ones. Great sale on there right now, especially in kit form. Sounds like blank weight and stiffness can jump around, anyone have fun with these guys?
2. MHX. Sounds like they've come a long way since I left the room. I hate the color but people really like these blanks it seems.
3. Just buying a TFO rod at the store. They feel great in my hand, it really stands out, I wish they still sold blanks.

What am I missing?

Anyway, I appreciate anyone who reads this far. It's amazing how much the landscape has changed in the last 6 years while I was out of the game.

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Re: Blank recs/gen advice: 5 wt fly
Posted by: Herb Ladenheim (185.203.218.---)
Date: May 01, 2022 06:52PM

Jake,
You're missing out big time not considering a CTS 5wt or 6wt.
Both are sweet an both can handle a 17i"Brown. My fishing buddy handles a 25-26" Striped Bass in the surf with his CTS #6 Affinity-X.
Herb
CTS Rep

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Re: Blank recs/gen advice: 5 wt fly
Posted by: Phil Erickson (---)
Date: May 01, 2022 08:31PM

First of all, do not cut a fly rod blank! Buy the length you want, they are available. Cutting a fly rod blank vastly changes the action. mostly poorly!

I fish the Iconoglass 7'6' 4wt and absolutely love it. It is not wimpy! MHX fly blanks are very good, especially for their price points. For me, color is the last feature I consider as it does nothing for performance.

You cannot make a mistake with CTS, if you really know what you want, they can make it!

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Re: Blank recs/gen advice: 5 wt fly
Posted by: Jake Carey (---)
Date: May 01, 2022 08:44PM

Herb, thanks for the input. Honestly They haven’t come up in any of my searches except in a few forum posts and I didn’t chase the name down. What can you tell me about them and where are they available? I’d love to hear about it.

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Re: Blank recs/gen advice: 5 wt fly
Posted by: Richard Bowers (---.ptld.qwest.net)
Date: May 01, 2022 08:44PM

I have built numerous Arctos 5-wts, and without fail, they have been very well received, and come in a metallic satin brown. I teach a fly rod building course for a large local fly fishing club and most students go with the Arctos for a couple reasons - reasonable cost and they cast & fish extremely well! The only down-side for your application is that they are a fast action. The best way to get them is to contact Utmost Enterprises, they are in the list of Spoinsors in the column on the left side of this window.

I have also been very impressed with the AT Matrix 5-wt, which is Mod-Fast. It does everything well, and looks good doing it! It is primarily black, with a twill reinforcement in the butt area that adds another decorative element.

As for TFO, you can still get the "Professional Series" blanks through Anglers Workshop, but unfortunately, all they have are the 7 and 9 weights on their website.

Have you looked at NFC? They frequently have sales, and their fly rods are light in the hand and well made. I am currently building both a 5 weight and a 6-weight to use on the Stehekin River in North-Central Washington this September.

Rich

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Re: Blank recs/gen advice: 5 wt fly
Posted by: Jake Carey (---)
Date: May 01, 2022 10:06PM

Phil, thanks for the input. I’ve spent many hundreds of hours fishing blanks I built and I don’t think having color preferences is counterproductive. If something feels more at home in your hands, or if you can see the rod tip in your peripheral vision in dim light or if you just plain love it that can absolutely have an impact on functionality. The length of the grass doesn’t do much about how well it holds the topsoil in place but we keep mowing it anyway! Also changing the action is part of the point of buying a longer one to cut down. Moving the belly of a fast rod in by taking a few inches off is fairly common practice I thought. I know they design intelligently but they also design to change the market preferences to sell more stuff. I doubt that the main reason most rods are far less flexible than they used to be is that stiffer is empirically better.

Ribbing aside I’d like to hear more about the iconoglass. Would you describe it as versatile? Closer to 5 weight? Is the bend progressive? I've just read a lot of mixed things about their action. Any downsides besides an extra half ounce? It probably doesn’t feel like that much in the compact length, right?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/01/2022 10:11PM by Jake Carey.

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Re: Blank recs/gen advice: 5 wt fly
Posted by: Jake Carey (---)
Date: May 01, 2022 10:23PM

Rich, I have looked a bunch at NFC, but have had a hard time figuring out what I'd want from their graphite lineup, mainly because their website is pretty bad. They are having a deep sale right now.

Yeah I saw the TFO on AW. Close but not for this build. It's amazing how much things have changed. When I was building surf rods I couldn't get their blanks, can't remember if it was money or they weren't offering blanks yet. Local shop sold the built rods and they were mind bogglingly nice in the hand but I didn't like the guides. Perfect action. Actually, come to think of it They couldn't even get the blanks yet even though they were a custom shop. Now it looks like they've expanded their lineup but the blanks are gone.

Thanks for all the other input. Do you think the fast action on the arctos could be tempered with overlining in the right application? Say a six or seven weight long double taper for close quarters? Maybe it doesn't handle it well, I imagine it could break up in responsiveness.

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Re: Blank recs/gen advice: 5 wt fly
Posted by: Alex purvis (---.res6.spectrum.com)
Date: May 01, 2022 10:41PM

Jake,

I can’t recommend NFC enough. Not trying to take away from the other brands mentioned however. I’ve built 6 already for myself this past year and am waiting on two more that had to be warrantied. If you’re interested in glass their iconoglass rods are seriously impressive and the price can’t be beat. Those would be good blanks to get your feet wet with nfc.

You are correct, the 4 weight is a canon. I don’t think it is a broomstick either, it is just plain fun to fish.

Alex

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Re: Blank recs/gen advice: 5 wt fly
Posted by: Jake Carey (---)
Date: May 01, 2022 10:59PM

Alex, thanks. That's a good review. I just got done reading all about CTS and I really like what I see but they are too expensive for this build.

I didn't set out being interested in glass but those sure do sound neat if they perform as advertised. With the current sale I literally thought about getting a glass and another one to play with. Probably not, especially since I think I've got another 9' spinner in mind for the big rivers, but it's worth thinking about. Thanks for the intel.

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Re: Blank recs/gen advice: 5 wt fly
Posted by: Jake Carey (---)
Date: May 01, 2022 11:09PM

Alex, do you think the glass 5wt would be massive overkill for medium and small rivers? Maybe the iconoglass is more versatile than I'm hearing but it sounds like they really need to be loaded up.

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Re: Blank recs/gen advice: 5 wt fly
Posted by: Herb Ladenheim (185.203.218.---)
Date: May 01, 2022 11:24PM

Jack,
Unhide your email.
Or - email me at hladen@hotmail.com for pricing on CTS blanks.
Herb
CTS Rep

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Re: Blank recs/gen advice: 5 wt fly
Posted by: Jake Carey (---)
Date: May 01, 2022 11:41PM

Herb, thanks for that.

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Re: Blank recs/gen advice: 5 wt fly
Posted by: Richard Bowers (---.ptld.qwest.net)
Date: May 02, 2022 01:04AM

Jake,

I would not overline the Arctos blank. It is high modulus graphite so the risk would be high. I built a few for a guide shop in Stehekin Washington and the guide (John Wilsey) loves it! He has no problem putting the fly exactly where he wants it with the 5-wt line. He said it takes a little bit to get the hang of the stroke with the
Arctos, but once you got it, Katie bar the door!

Rich

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Re: Blank recs/gen advice: 5 wt fly
Posted by: Alex purvis (---)
Date: May 02, 2022 11:43AM

I don’t think a 5wt would be overkill. Their faf rods are another good option to go with. I built a 6wt and an 8wt. In short, I think you’ll be happy with anything from nfc.

They also have an online catalog that breaks down what each rod is best used for you may find helpful.
[northforkcomposites.com]

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Re: Blank recs/gen advice: 5 wt fly
Posted by: Spencer Phipps (---)
Date: May 02, 2022 12:45PM

IMO something that would be both a dry fly and streamer rod doesn't exist, that doesn't mean it can't be done, just not done well. Schneider's to the left has a Rainshadow RX7 866 2 pc. in a spring grass green, a 864-4, 4 pc. same color, and a 866-4 RX6 in a blue that to my eye has a bit of green to it also. These are easy blanks to live and learn on, frankly I have never had someone not love how these rods perform on the water, especially the 10 ft. versions, harder to store, but I have a bunch of guys that drove the Alcan Highway with these rods and loved how theynfished, Schneider also has also. All are in the hot specials section.

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Re: Blank recs/gen advice: 5 wt fly
Posted by: Jake Carey (---)
Date: May 02, 2022 01:00PM

Alex, I didn’t think to look up the brochure, that was dumb. I appreciate it.

Spencer, that’s helpful information. Never having done either that well, I wasn’t sure if that was the case. I’d looked through schneiders site but didn’t really know what I was looking at, I’ll take another look. Thanks.

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Re: Blank recs/gen advice: 5 wt fly
Posted by: Lance Schreckenbach (---.lightspeed.hstntx.sbcglobal.net)
Date: May 02, 2022 04:05PM

Jake,
I have built on a few of the MHX blanks, I would say they are a lot like the Rainshadow RX ones. They were really surprising on how good they were. My "go to" lately fly rod blanks have been the NFC ones and have never been disappointed. Just pick out the action and size you want, they are pretty reasonable so you could get two in different sizes or actions depending on what you are using them for. I really don't think you could go wrong with any of the other brands you mentioned or the CTS. Give Herb a call / email and see if he will make you a deal on a CTS.
Good Luck,
Lance

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Re: Blank recs/gen advice: 5 wt fly
Posted by: Phil Ewanicki (---.inf6.spectrum.com)
Date: May 02, 2022 05:29PM

The fish-fighting power of a of fly rod is chiefly determined by the strength of your tippet - or at least it should be. The choice of rod "weight" is influenced by factors such as fishing environment, like "rivulet or river".

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Re: Blank recs/gen advice: 5 wt fly
Posted by: david taylor (---)
Date: May 02, 2022 07:50PM

I suggest you get a 5 or 6 wt 9 foot blank. 4-piece. Many blanks are available and a lot of good recommendations above. You did not indicate price range.

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Re: Blank recs/gen advice: 5 wt fly
Posted by: Jake Carey (---)
Date: May 02, 2022 09:20PM

Thanks David. Yeah, I didn't say price. Probably around a hundred bucks, thought the list might have given it away but obviously not. I'm not cheap but I'm probably going to build a second one right away, just how I roll. Given some of the sales here and there right now I might spring higher. Thanks for the advice and reassurance.

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