SEPA Smallies - 5wt or 8wt?

TPrettyman

TPrettyman

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I had a great deal of success last summer fishing with my 5wt around Reading for smallmouth - mainly in the creeks since I don't yet know how (or have the confidence) to fish the bigger rivers for smallmouth.

My fly line is coming up on 2 years old and is beginning to accumulate some nicks in the running end of the line, and honestly it's not floating as well as it used to even after cleaning and dressing.

I own an 8wt rod currently, and with trout season starting to come to a close was wondering if it's worth investing in a new 8wt reel and line, or if I should just replace the 5wt line.

Would love to hear your thoughts and line recommendations. Currently fishing Orvis Pro Trout - open to any brand.
 
wgmiller

wgmiller

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I run an 8WT with various lines (floating, sink tip, etc) on a cassette reel. It’s a bit heavy for smallies, but does toss streamers nicely. That being said, I think most people on here will agree that a 6WT (ish) is the sweet spot for a smallmouth rod. A 5 can be a little light, although as you found out, it can still get the job done. Personally speaking, I’d upgrade the 8WT as it’ll be more akin to bringing a gun to a knife fight. Not to mention, you’ll have a better all-around rod that you could also use for steelhead, etc. I like my 5 for trout fishing, but don’t ever take it out for warm water pursuits.
 
JerryC

JerryC

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The largest smallmouth I've caught on a 5 wgt is 17 inches. It was surprise, since the smallmouth in the creek usually run 8 to 12 inches. It was an interesting fight. Generally, I use a 9' 6 wgt for my bass fishing, smallmouth and largemouth. One advantage I might have is I tie my own flies. I'm able to tailor my flies to the rod, so I have 4 and 5 inch flies I can cast with it. Over the years on my trips to NE Ontario, I've caught a half-dozen 20 inch smallies with it. Maybe this year I'll break the 20 inch mark. I caught the largemouth in my avatar with a 6 wgt. So I prefer a 6 wgt over an 8 wgt. Personally, I think an 8 wgt is overkill for the local smallies.
That said, replace the 5 wgt line, It sounds like you need a new one. You have an 8 wgt, make use of it. Is there something wrong with the reel you have for your 8 wgt? Just remember the only purpose of a fly reel is to hold line. You may only have to replace the line on both reels. I would suggest a weight forward floating line for starters. As far as brands, I used Orvis for many years, but that shop closed. The last couple of years, I've been using Scientific Angler lines. I have no complaints about either brand. A good fly line will run between $60 and $90. I don't you need a bass bug taper line or a warm water specific line.
If you do decide to pick up a new reel, see if you can get a spare spool for it. It will give you an additional line option. Like wgmiller, I have spare spools, rather than cassettes, for my 6 wgt and 8 wgt reels. So when I go out, I have the option of fishing, floating, intermediate or sink tip lines.
 
turkey

turkey

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I didn't read the entire thread but I tend to pick a rod/line weight based on the type of flies I'm trying to use.
 
P

poopdeck

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I use a 6 wt only for small creek SMB. For the river I use an 8 wt. on the river I’m usually using heavier/fluffier flies and it’s windy. If I want I can still toss the smallest of flies as well. I don’t care how big the fish are, it’s the wind that will frustrate you. Lefty recommended an 8 wt for river bass. That’s good enough for me.
 
Swattie87

Swattie87

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Between the two, I’d take the 8 weight for Smallies. IMO heavier rods do lighter stuff better than lighter rods do heavier stuff, if that makes sense. For big river Smallies
(Susquehanna/Delaware/Lower J/etc), where you’re probably gonna be throwing big stuff a 7 or 8wt is probably about right.

For creek Smallies, which average maybe 8-10” and 12” is a big fish, I’m usually not throwing anything bigger than I would for Trout…size 8 or 10 type stuff. (I use a 6 weight for this, but no need to go and buy one. The 8 weight, or even the 5 weight will work fine for this.)
 
J

JeffK

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Depends on the flies IMHO. If I am chucking deer hair bugs or big rabbit strip leeches I like the 8 wt, especially in a big river or on a pond where I may need some distance. Lot of synthetic streamers these days are lighter and can be done with a 5 wt. It's not the fish, its the weight of the bug, the distance and the wind that make the choice.
 
T

teedee

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Like others I pick a rod/line bas on the flies I’m using and the type of structure.
 
TPrettyman

TPrettyman

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Thanks for the advice y'all. Stopped in at TCO picked up an 8 wt, extra spool, and an extra spool for my 5.
 
T

tddeangelo

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Been thinking of starting to fish the Schuylkill for smallies since I live near Hamburg....I have a 5wt and likely will use that rather than buy another rod for just this purpose.

Not to hijack the thread, but any fly suggestions for smallies?
 
TPrettyman

TPrettyman

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Been thinking of starting to fish the Schuylkill for smallies since I live near Hamburg....I have a 5wt and likely will use that rather than buy another rod for just this purpose.

Not to hijack the thread, but any fly suggestions for smallies?
Hijack away brother.

It’s been slow for me lately. I’m fishing murdich minnows on intermediate line and buggers on sinking line.
 
JerryC

JerryC

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Generally, I prefer top water, so poppers, sliders, spiders and crease flies. The sliders, spiders and crease flies can also be fished off of intermediate or sinking lines, a nice bonus. Sub-surface, I've never had much luck woolly buggers, I usually fish bait fish patterns, streamers of my own creation. I had good success last year with this crayfish pattern.
DSCF1130a
Plan to give it more work this year. I'm also adding buck tail and marabou jigs, tied on 1/32 and 1/20 oz jig heads to my sub-surface weapons.
 
T

tddeangelo

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Feels like a lifetime ago, but late 90's time frame I had found a crayfish pattern I tied with foam that worked (and casted) surprisingly well that I used when drifting the Susquehanna with good results.

I haven't fished the Skook in forever, but it's close and has fish!

I figured some muddlers, buggers, crayfish, and other minnow patterns.....with a few poppers for calmer pools where it might work. Thanks all!

I see Allen rods are doing a BOGO on rods, too, so if the OP wants to get a new rod...... :)
 
P

poopdeck

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Smallmouth are not that selective. If poppers and gurglers are not working the key is to get the fly down. anything with zonkers and/or rubber legs and clouser minnows are my choice for under the water.
 

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tddeangelo

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I've caught a ton of them spin fishing on the Susky...we used twisters in what we called "Motor Oil" color....dark olive with some brown/orange tinges swirled in. Probably anything that looks kinda like a small fish or crayfish will get a whack from a hungry smallie...
 
Fish Sticks

Fish Sticks

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I have had some good luck on harvey pushers for smallmouth size 2-6. Cannonly imagine what it might look like, crayfish?Anyone ever fish em with flies at night in streams or can direct me to info on that. Not much written it seems.
 
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