Back when I first started fly fishing for trout many years ago, six and seven weight lines were fairly typical. Many anglers liked something a little lighter and went to five weights. If you really wanted something radical, you went to a four weight for a refined approach on difficult trout.
Rods were soon destined to get ever lighter. First came three weights, followed by two weight rods, and finally, the ultimate lightest rod possible was unveiled when Orvis released a one-weight back in the 1980's. Many traditionalists were skeptical. Wasn't this going too far?
Actually, no it wasn't. If you held back your skepticism and tried one of these two or three weight rods, or even the one weight, they proved to be efficient fishing tools. The catch is they had to be used for what they were designed for--short range fishing with light leaders and small flies.
Besides trout, they also proved efficient for catching small panfish such as bluegills, rockbass and shellcrackers.
They increase the challenge of the sport and are less fatiguing to use over the course of a day. They almost feel like a piece of fluff in your hand compared to a regular five or six weight outfit.
My tests when these early rods came out included the G. Loomis IMX two weight, at 1 ¼ ounce, and the Orvis one weight, at one and 3/8 ounce. I've also used various companies' three and four weights.
My conclusion is that the one and two weights are a blast to fish with and fun for an occasional outing, but not a "standard" rod that I'd turn to for everyday fishing. The three and four weights could well become your regular go-to rod if most of your fishing is with size 14 or smaller flies on tight quarter streams with lots of cover along the shore.
Advantages--Their lightness makes them a joy to fish with. Arm fatigue is a thing of the past. The line lands on the water delicately, so their especially good for super clear water and skittish fish. The thin fly lines are more supple and flex better with currents, causing less drag on the leader and fly.
The short casting range they are good at--out to 40 feet or so, forces you to wade more cautiously and sneak in carefully for a low-profile stalking approach and more accurate delivery. Finally, I simply like the beauty and almost magical feeling of casting these refined outfits. Fly fishing becomes a game of rhythm and timing, not brute strength.
Disadvantages--If you want to cast far off across a pool to reach a fish that you can't wade to, these light rods aren't up to the task. You'll have to circle around and try for the fish from the other side.
Casting heavy weighted nymphs or large streamers is difficult with these outfits. Wind also makes it harder to cast with these light lines. A heavier line will cut through the breeze better. Leave them home on windy days or try to cast with the wind at your back. They're also shorter and offer less leverage for landing big fish.
* If you're in need of a new knife for upcoming hunting seasons, I've had a chance to field test two that may be of special interest. They are the S.O.G. Huntspoint Skinning and Huntspoint Boning knives. A long-time supplier of knives for the U.S. Military, S.O.G. designed these knives especially for hunters like you and me. And it shows. They are a pleasure to work with and comfortable in the hands.
Made with a 3.6 inch flat-ground, drop-point blade, the knives feature full-tang construction for strength and large finger choil for a secure grip when preparing game. The skinning blade has a deep center for peeling back a deer's hide. The boning knife is shallower for getting into hard to reach areas.
Both have razor-sharp edges that hold up extremely well. The knives come with two handle options--classic rosewood or glass-reinforced nylon with molded-rubber overlays for a sure grip in wet weather. The rosewood model has a S30V stainless steel blade, the nylon version uses satin-polished AUS-8 stainless steel. Both knives come with leather sheaths and a lanyard hole for easy carrying. Overall length is 8.2 inches, weight 3.7 ounces.
For more information, check out their website at sogknives.com or phone (888)-405-6433.
Award-winning outdoors writer Gerald Almy is a Maurertown resident.