Two hands not required – single hand rods for winter steelhead

Category Fishing, Steelhead

With the Alsea and other coastal creeks and rivers on the rise, steelhead will be moving upriver. When these fish get in the upper reaches of our coastal rivers, the need for spey and switch rods goes down and the good ol’ single hand 7/8/9 weight comes out. These are our tool of choice for fishing small, pocket water systems. Here is a breakdown of the rods we use.

Redington Path – 9′ 6″ 8wt $129.95- Fantastic rod for the price, responsive and powerful enough for even the biggest brutes without breaking the bank.

Echo Ion – 10′ 7 or 8wt $189.95- Although this rod is on the heavy side of things, the added length of this rod makes mending and line control a breeze. Add the durability Echo rods are known for and you can’t lose.

Echo 3 9’6″ 8wt $349.99- Echo has made a great effort to provide the money-conscious angler with rods that perform extremely well. This rod is making its name as a great all around steelhead rod. Plenty of backbone with a fast action, yet sensitive enough to feel those lethargic takes.With the Rajeff name behind the rod design, how can you go wrong?

Sage Response 9’6″ 8wt $395-  The beauty of Sage is that they are made in the USA on Bainbridge Island. We feel Sage has hit the nail on the head with this fast-action fishing machine. This is for the angler that doesn’t want to drop big bucks on the ONE or Method, but appreciates the value in buying a rod made stateside.

Sage ONE 9’6″ 8wt $785 – One of the lightest 8wt rods on the market, with enough backbone to turn the 10+ lb. fish, we’re really into this stick. With Sage’s newest blank technology, it tracks well enough to use out on the flats, even with an extra 6″ on it. Not in the budget for all, but a killer big fish rod.

Something we like to do…This is not for everyone, but this is something we have found to make single hand indicator/sink-tip fishing a lot easier – UP your line weight.

Conventional wisdom would tell me that I should put an 8wt salmon/steelhead taper on my 8wt rod and a 7wt line for my 7wt. The problem is, those lines are not the easiest to roll cast tungsten putty and a weighted egg pattern or jig style fly, and I personally hate being challenged by not only the river and weather conditions but also my gear.

The solution is to simply overload your rod by two line weights or more. This gives the line enough mass to carry a heavy rig and TURN IT OVER. It also makes it easier to load your single-hander deeply into the cork on a roll cast. We have even gone as far as to load single handers with regular switch and switch chucker lines 1-2 line weights lighter than your rod – i.e. 6/7 weight switch line on a single hand 8 weight (depending on the rod and casting preference).

Remember, this is not trout fishing, it is steelhead fishing. There is a reason a spinning rods with bobber and jig regularly out fish us… they are in the water and fishing more throughout the day than we are.

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