Will the 5-weight always rule trout fishing?

It’s a 5-weight world, baby. Did you know that over half of all fly rods sold in America right now are 9-foot 5-weights? That means all the small-stream rods, saltwater rods, pike rods, carp rods, Euro nymph rods, and everything else put together MIGHT add up to the most popular single length and weight fly rod used to catch trout. Granted, a 5-weight is also great for bass and other species, but that figure should grab your attention and also underscore the importance of keeping trout waters clean and accessible. The fly-fishing world definitely spins on an axis of trout.
So why is the 5-weight the undisputed title holder? My friend Jerry Siem, who designs rods for Sage, hit the nail on the head when he explained that the size of a rod an angler uses is less about the size of the fish he or she chases, and more about the size of the flies he or she wants to cast. Nothing really compares to the 5-weight when it comes to throwing either size 18 BWO dry flies or size 10 woolly buggers. 
I personally prefer a 4-weight when I trout fish (although at this time of year, when so much of the fishing revolves around terrestrial flies, I normally fish a 5- or a 6-weight). But that’s because I really like dry fly fishing. 
When TU offers a life membership rod, like this slick Orvis Covert, we might offer an alternative to the 5-weight (in this case an 8-weight for steelhead or saltwater fishing), but it’s pretty darn hard to deviate from the standard.
I wonder if, as technologies advance, in terms of graphites and resins, and casting performance and rod durability, the 4-weight could ever take over, because it gets “beefier”… or maybe the 6 rules, because it gets “lighter.”
For now, I just don’t see the 5-weight ever being supplanted as the world’s No. 1 fly rod. But I’m sure interested in your thoughts…
— Kirk Deeter

Comments

 
said on Friday, August 25th, 2017

I was given an 8' 6" 6 weight four piece and used that exclusively since I was a teen. I bought a 9" 5 weight and it casts better. I use them both. One rigged for dry and one for wet. The 6 weight does a decent job with streamers.

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said on Friday, August 25th, 2017

Having angled for trout since the 1950s and fished the fly for almost that long, I have seen the fashion in fly rods come and go.  (Remember boron or the long "noodle" rods?)  I make, build, repair, and refinish rods, mainly split cane; I generally fish with cane rods, usually under eight feet long.  I own scores of rods, almost all of which fish well with at least two line weight, most with three.  I have found it depends on how you cast: You must match your casting stroke and timing to the rod and line weight you use.  The only 9-ft 5-wt graphite rod I own fishes well with 4-, 5-, or 6-wt line, depending on how I cast; so do my three 9-ft, 5-wt cane rods.

So, with a 4- or 6-wt ever become more common than a 5-wt, and any other rod length overtake a 9-foot rod?  Does it matter?  I prefer a rod barely exceeding my height, partly because I habitually cast sidearm, where length doesn't really matter, and partly because I generally fish for (small) native trout in smaller, less-fished headwaters and streams.  I also use rods capable of casting properly with a 4-, 5-, or 6-wt line.

 

Col J

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said on Friday, August 25th, 2017

Hard to dispute the numbers. In my "quiver" are three primary rods. An 8' glass 3wt, a 9' 5wt graphite, and an 8'6 7wt bamboo. Though through the course of the year, all will see playing time, I call the 5wt from the bullpen a good 75% of the time. It just works on so many levels. 3wt for the Smokies, 7wt bamboo for bass, pike and carp. And let me tell ya, any one of those three on a bamboo rod is a whole new level of fun!

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said on Friday, August 25th, 2017

I've always found the ever so popular 5 wt. a little strange but I guess that's for beginners who only have one rod for everything.  I tend to lean toward the even numbers for my pursuits.  A short 4 for mountain streams, a 6 for rivers & an 8 for streamers & light salt.  Great topic, thanks.

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said on Friday, August 25th, 2017

Lets see, if you beef up a 4wt and lighten up a 6 wt don't each then become a 5wt ? The five is the suv, it does a lot of things just fine but mabye not the best choice for somthing very specfic. I own approx. 35 fly rods total inc. bamboo, glass, and graphite from 0wt to 8wt and 7'6" to 10' in length. It's like golf, ya don't play the game using only 1 club...

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said on Saturday, August 26th, 2017

I personally love my 2wt bamboo for small streams , 4wt bamboo for other streams . Use my 4wt graphite in colder months for those same streams . 

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