Old rods and wet flies

This board is for discussing concerns of fishing bamboo fly rods. Examples would be, lines, actions, classic and modern makers actions and the like.

Moderators: pmcroberts, uniphasian

Post Reply
ThomasB
Sport
Posts: 35
Joined: 10/04/20 18:15

Old rods and wet flies

#1

Post by ThomasB »

First off, I have never used wet flies, although I hope to this year. On reading quite a few posts on this forum and elsewhere on line about wetfly rods, I tend to agree with the attitude of some people who say, fish either dry or wet with whatever rod you have with you at the time, you just have to adapt. With that said, last fall I was given, by my cousin, our grandfathers 1940 Montague 9' Splitswitch. My grandfather also had a 1930's Montague 8 1/2' Flash that my brother had. Along with the rod I got,I also got a bunch of my grandfather flies, which after some inquiries, have determined that a majority of the flies were wet flies from the same period. My main point here and question to all you who know a lot more about Classic Fly Rods than me is, will the Splitswitch, from the time of more wet fly fishing, work better, than the average fly fishing rod, for wet flies? How will they work compared to rods that are made for wet fly fishing? Granted they were not built as a "wet fly rod", but I'm thinking that just because of the age it may work pretty well due to taper, cane etc. I also have a Rapidan 8 1/2' from mid 30's and am wondering how that will work fishing wets, either up stream or down? Although I haven't fished with the Splitswitch it feels like a much stiffer rod than my Rapidan. Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't a more flexible rod suit fishing with wets? My grandfather was obviously of the mind that you can use the Splitswitch or Flash for wet and dry flies. I never knew him to have more than one rod while fishing, which would make sense for him to have the Splitswitch because he also fished quite a bit with shiners and a casting reel, he could adapt the rod to suit his needs. I have to say also that my grandfather was a very good fisherman, he took it serious and caught fish. He also taught us how to fish, he knew what he was doing. Happy New Year.

jimwright
Master Guide
Posts: 854
Joined: 01/03/13 15:52
Location: Baton Rouge, LA.

Re: Old rods and wet flies

#2

Post by jimwright »

I fish "wet flies" a lot, winged wets but more often soft hackles. I was fishing them on "mid-flex" graphite rods before I fished bamboo. When swinging flies down and across, the softer flexing tips of cane rods i.m.o. are an advantage in protecting light tippets from hard strikes. You can certainly fish any rod you like and I have fished many different bamboo rods for wets. That said, I recently had Joe Balestrieri (Red Wing Fly Rods) with my input make a rod for fishing wets/soft hackles. What he came up with is a 7'9" 2/2 "long taper parabolic" 4 wt. I fish mostly small/medium streams and this rod roll casts better than any I've ever had, is able to put out all the line I need and it's soft tip protects even 6x tippet extremely well. As with the rods I previously fished I don't hesitate to use this one for dries, attractors/terrestrials and small streamers either but it really shines with wet and soft hackle flies.

elgato610
Member
Posts: 21
Joined: 01/05/21 13:25

Re: Old rods and wet flies

#3

Post by elgato610 »

How many do you swing at once? I just bought a 5 weight bamboo rod( my first) for wet flies and was looking at getting a 4 weight but was worried it might not have the punch for 3 wets on the leader.

ThomasB
Sport
Posts: 35
Joined: 10/04/20 18:15

Re: Old rods and wet flies

#4

Post by ThomasB »

jimwright, thanks,sounds like a nice rod you have. Hopefully my old Montagues will serve the purpose.

Elgato610, I have never swung a fly, never mind multiple ones. As I said I have never used wet flies but am going to start this year. My Montague Rapidan is a 5wt., I'm not sure yet what the Splitswitch is. Between the two rods I'm sure it won't take long to determine which one works best for wets, at which time it will become my wet fly rod. I'm hoping someone here will have experience using rods similar to mine for wet flies and can let me know what they think.

mtn
Master Guide
Posts: 455
Joined: 02/09/04 19:00

Re: Old rods and wet flies

#5

Post by mtn »

You should not have any trouble at all fishing 3 wets with a 4wt. I can't tell much difference in the delivery between 1, 2 or 3 at a time.

Canewrap
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 2149
Joined: 12/07/03 19:00
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: Old rods and wet flies

#6

Post by Canewrap »

I've swung a lot wets in my time and the key is to be able to mend and get the flies travelling along the bottom without drag, before you let the current start to pull the fly or flies toward the surface. A lot of times the strike will be at the end of the swing, so a tip with enough flex is important to keep a fine tippet from breaking off. Also, a rod that rollcasts well is important so that that you can rollcast back up stream with minimal effort and not dry out the flies. Using more than one fly for this is something that you will have to learn to do, since it is real easy to get a birds nest of tippet when doing this.

joaniebo
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 3913
Joined: 11/07/05 19:00
Location: IL

Re: Old rods and wet flies

#7

Post by joaniebo »

Personally, I have 4 or 5 graphite rods and approx. 20 or bamboo rods and I do not have a single rod that I use for only dry flies or nymphs or wet flies. If I'm fishing a 7 ft bamboo rod ora 9 ft graphite and the fish aren't biting on the flies that I'm fishing, I'll switch to a dry or a nymph or a wet fly and see if they work.

I adapt to using the flies that take a fish and not by changing rods.

Bob

User avatar
redietz
Master Guide
Posts: 824
Joined: 10/26/09 19:00
Location: Central Maryland

Re: Old rods and wet flies

#8

Post by redietz »

elgato610 wrote:
01/11/21 10:22
...was looking at getting a 4 weight but was worried it might not have the punch for 3 wets on the leader.
Wet flies have almost no wind resistance. No need for extra punch; It's easier to turn over three wets than one dry.

I don't think I own a rod that is completely unsuitable for wets, from a 5'2" glass rod to a 12 foot Tenkara rod. (I own about 50 rods). I fish wets almost exclusively, and usually with a 7 1/2 or 8 foot cane rod. That said, my "ideal" wet fly rod would be: 1) longer rather than shorter and 2) "slower" rather than "faster". Longer for better line manipulation on the water, and slower to cushion takes when fishing downstream, to allow a more open loop to avoid tangling droppers, and to keep from drying the flies out while casting. The Splitswitch should work just fine.

ThomasB
Sport
Posts: 35
Joined: 10/04/20 18:15

Re: Old rods and wet flies

#9

Post by ThomasB »

elgato610, I guess that's what I wanted to hear, that the Splitswitch will work fine. I've read a lot about the taper and flex of "wet fly rods" and how they ideally would flex right through to the handle. I was thinking that the Splitswitch butt would be too stiff, because it also serves as the butt of the casting rod set up, and handle is reversed. Sometimes too much information can get one even more confused!! Looking forward to fishing wets as my grandfather did and with his rod.

User avatar
nativebrownie
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 1995
Joined: 12/20/04 19:00

Re: Old rods and wet flies

#10

Post by nativebrownie »

Just enjoy the rods - I fish Montys quite often... Imo, the Splitswitch should be the better quality of the two, but that is all up to you. Be sure and use a line that brings out the action. And, if I remember right, Monty had a 2 Splitswitch models: one convertible to a casting rod and one that was built solely as a fly rod. The solely fly rod was better received...

ThomasB
Sport
Posts: 35
Joined: 10/04/20 18:15

Re: Old rods and wet flies

#11

Post by ThomasB »

nativebrownie,
Thanks. I have not yet determined the wt. of the rod, but I'm guessing it is maybe a 5wt. What would you suggest for a line? I really want to fish with silk, that's what my grandfather had on his Pflueger, but his line was toast and my budget won't get me into new silk. I do have another old silk I'm hoping to restore, we'll see what happens.

User avatar
corlay
Master Guide
Posts: 492
Joined: 12/26/08 19:00

Re: Old rods and wet flies

#12

Post by corlay »

I fish a brace of 3 wet flies a LOT (eastern waters).

I definitely do not like 4wt rods for this purpose - unless Im on smaller waters, fishing a bit shorter rod (<= 7'6"), and only rig 2 flies.

A 4wt will certainly cast 3 flies, but i found i encounter a LOT more tangles and "wind knots" with a 4wt and gave up on that.
5 & 6 wts seem to be the sweet spot for me. I save the 4wts for dries...

Also: 6x leader for fishing wets seems crazy to me. (4x-3x works great, tangles less)

Post Reply

Return to “Fishing Bamboo Fly Rods”