We’ve all seen the trend whereby the “standard” trout fly rod has migrated downward at least one line weight; at one time a six weight (or even seven) was considered the all-rounder, yet today, it’s maybe the five weight though I’m hearing more non-streamer fishing types pointing towards the 4wt as the “all-rounder.” (I once talked to someone who fished the Rogue’s stonefly hatch with a 3wt.)
From one perspective it’s understandable; tapers have gotten steeper and line speeds have increased, so you don’t need the line mass you once did to throw a hopper.
On the other hand, a reasonably tapered 6wt is one of the easiest-casting, most-useful all-around fly rods you can own. It’s a shame it seems to have largely disappeared.
It’s possible I’m not the only person who feels that way; John Juracek cops to a similar perception on the Blue Ribbon Flies blog:
It’s impossible to pinpoint the time when the five-weight usurped all other lines as the de facto standard for western trout fishing. I only know that it has. I know also that it shouldn’t have. It’s been this way for quite some time. Years and years of rod and line sales at the fly shop confirm it. So, too, do my on-stream observations and discussions with visiting anglers. Tellingly, five-weight lines outsell all others combined.
I told my friend—rather emphatically—that he would do well to consider a six-weight rod instead of a five. That’s because I believe a six-weight rod is a better all-around choice, especially for a beginner. I told him it’s better for casting in the wind. Better for casting two nymphs, split shot, and an indicator. Better for chucking large dry flies like salmonflies and hoppers. Better for blind fishing attractor dries. Better, too, for throwing streamers—of any size. In short, a six-weight line is better suited than a five for every kind of fishing out here, save for some specialized, expert-level situations.
You can read his entire take at the original post, or simply call your favorite rodmaker and order your Superfine/G2/Helix/CIRCA/Glass/Whatever 6wt. Tell them the Underground sent you (expect a 10% penalty if you do).
Any Undergrounders members of the 6wt Fan Club?
See you at the rod rack, Tom Chandler.