The Great Outdoors by James Murray

Column: If gifting a rod, don’t guess, ask questsions first

Great Outdoors by James Murray

By James Murray

Contributor

Every year come December, I start getting asked what would be the “best” fly rod to give as a gift for Christmas.

After explaining that it depends on the size and species of fish an angler will be pursuing, the size and type of flies they will be casting, and the size of the waters they will be fishing? I then ask if the intended recipient prefers to fish lakes or streams, from a boat, from shore, will they be after big fish or small fish? There are a number of questions, I tell them, that first need to be answered.

In general, longer rods are better for larger waters, shorter rods for smaller waters. Rods of the same length can be designed to cast lighter or heavier lines. But not both. A rod with a three-weight designation is designed specifically to cast a three-weight line. Just as an eight-weight rod is for an eight weight line. A three- or four-weight rod is more appropriate for catching smaller fish such as small rainbow or cutthroat trout in small streams, while a six-weight rod would be required to handle larger rainbows in lakes and rivers. And an eight- or nine-weight would be needed for fish such as salmon and steelhead, and so on. There are an endless number of rods designed to cast different line weights on different types of water for different species of fish. The choices are many and varied. That is why it is important to determine, beforehand, what kind of fishing someone will be doing.

Today’s modern graphite rods are lighter, stronger, easier to cast and much more sensitive. Just remember, there is little sport in catching 12- to 14-inch rainbows on an eight-weight. And, you will only be stressing and harming the fish if you end up overplaying a five-pound rainbow on a three-weight rod. The thing is to choose a rod that will allow the angler to play a fish, control it and bring it in as quickly as possible so that it can be released back into the water.

Read more: Giving up the notion of ice fishing

Read more: Column: High-tech tackle takes romance out of fishing

In past years I have always said there is no one rod that will allow you to fish all waters and situations. I have then gone on to extol the virtues of a nine-foot, six weight, with a moderate to fast action. This is adequate for most Interior lakes and streams. It will allow an angler to cast large caddis flies a fair distance in windy conditions, while still allowing them to present small dry flies to cautious fish feeding on the surface.

I tell people that, before spending money, it only makes sense to ask questions – talk to anglers who have fished the waters the recipient of the rod will be fishing – talk to sales people at fly shops. Just as different rods have different casting characteristics, different anglers have different casting strokes and different capabilities. If possible, try a rod out before buying it. Better yet, have the recipient try it out, even though that will take all the surprise out of your gift.

I also say that in the long run, you will discover it is better to invest money in one good rod right from the beginning. Good quality rods come with good warranties. We all make mistakes with our gear. And it can be comforting to know an expensive rod will be replaced by the manufacturer if damaged.

I do have to admit that this past year I spent most of my time casting an eight-and-a-half foot three-weight. I was fishing waters where there were a lot of 10- and 12-inch trout. They were small but feisty. I started casting the three weight and never looked back. I could have fished other waters with bigger fish, but I simply had too much fun catching smaller – and more often than not plentiful – fish on the lighter rod.

The trick is to ask the right questions and get answers before spending your hard earned money on a fly rod as a gift. In the end, if you are satisfied with your purchase, the recipient of your gift will most likely also be just as satisfied – but I sure did have fun fishing with that three weight.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Outdoors

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Salmon Arm Elks Lodge kept up their charitable giving despite COVID-19 restrictions by holding a successful 50/50 draw. (Jim Elliot-Salmon Arm Observer)
Salmon Arm Elks support charitable giving with succesful 50/50 draw

The winner of the draw took home over $4,000.

Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison is comfortable waiting his turn to be vaccinated for COVID-19, as per the B.C. government’s updated vaccination timeline released on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (File photo)
Province’s vaccine timeline a shot of hope for Salmon Arm mayor

Mayor Alan Harrison sees majority of residents taking precautions against COVID-19

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Veteran Henry Kriwokon has his photo taken by the Western as he celebrates his 99th birthday with friends at the Cellar in Downtown Penticton. (Brennan Phillips - Penticton Western News)
Turning 101, Penticton veteran looks back on life

Henry Kriwokon was one of the soldiers in the famous ‘Wait for me, Daddy’ photo

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

Sunnybank in Oliver. (Google Maps)
Sunnybank long-term care in Oliver reports third COVID-19 death

The facility currently has an outbreak with 35 cases attached to it

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Administrative headquarters for the Regional District of Central Okanagan in Kelowna. (File photo)
Tempers fly over a pricey picnic shelter in the North Westside

Lack of detail on $121,000 shelter expenditure further incites self-govenance wishes

Big White Village on Dec. 16. (Big White photo)
11 more COVID-19 cases linked to Big White cluster

Interior Health provided an update on the cluster on Friday

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital surgical unit

Despite 6 South being a surgical unit, RIH said surgeries are continuing at the hospital

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘It’s incredibly upsetting’: Kelowna health care worker demands WestJet ticket refund

Kelowna woman has been waiting almost a year for a refund on her Kelowna to Edmonton flight

After a Vernon resident tried to domesticate a pair of gopher snakes, BC Conservation Service reminded that it is against the law to keep wild animals in one’s possession. (Yuval Levy/Unsplash)
Wild gopher snakes aren’t pets: Vernon conservation officer

After resident kept two gopher snakes in home, conservation reminds it’s illegal to domesticate wildlife

Most Read