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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2018 7:53 pm • # 1 
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Joined: 05/02/18
Posts: 8
Location: Michigan
Hello Everyone,

I recently purchased a 7'3" Fenwick IRONFeather IF 734 for my son for a dry fly fishing trip we have scheduled for late July. To the best of my knowledge, this is one of the early IF rods with the desirable blank design. Many of you may regard this as a heavyweight in the fly fishing world as it weighs in at 2.125 oz. I m in need of a reel and line for this and would appreciate some sound recommendations. I have been reading here and elsewhere on the Internet and old versus new does not matter to me with regard to the reel. I want quality and as much durability as I can obtain. A clicker is fine yet, I am somewhat concerned with regard to the noise level these can generate. I am certainly not in the tax bracket to afford a CFO or other premier brands yet, I do not think I am required to reach for a $300 to meet the needs for this rod and reel package. Obviously, backing and WF line should be new as I currently do not have these supplies for this type of fishing.


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 10:31 am • # 2 
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Joined: 01/26/09
Posts: 317
Location: Oklahoma
It has been a while since I've seen an Iron Feather. It is a very stiff and fast action rod, so as regards line, I would look for a WF line that is at least 1/2 weight heavy, or even go up one line weight. There are quite a few decent reels that would not cost too much: in disc drags you could get Maxcatch Avid, Piscifun Sword, or Piscifun Blaze. They are all available through Amazon for less than $100 and I have heard good things about them. My preference is for click and pawl, and among new reels I would consider Orvis Battenkill, LL Bean Pocket Water, or the new Pflueger Medalist. There is also the Redington Zero, but it is rather loud. If you can find one of these reels in good used condition, you should consider: Battenkill, Pflueger Supreme 1834, Redington Drift, Redington CT, and of course there are many others. If your son is new to flyfishing I would definitely put a WF5 line on that rod to maximize learning to cast it.

Larry


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 11:16 am • # 3 
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Joined: 05/02/18
Posts: 8
Location: Michigan
Larry,

Thank you for the informative response. I forgot to convey this is a 4wt rod. I did not realize it was so stiff and this may not be desirable for him to use at this stage. It felt great in my hand. Yes, I need to assemble a system that biases a strong likelihood if success for my son's first experience with fly fishing. If 5wt is best for this purpose then so be it. Our guide has informed us presentation of the dry fly will be rewarded.

I have been looking into some of the magnesium reels such as the J. Austin Forbes. However, I must ask, "Isn't it possible for the reel/backing/line/leader to be too light?" This must be true.

Rick


Edit - Would the 6'3" 2wt CGR be a better starting system for my son because, it features slow action? Not much to argue with regarding this position.

Edit 2 - Additionally, my son is mild on the special needs spectrum. One classification is that he is a sensory kid (sensory integration, sensory processing disorder, etc). This involves the following sensory system inputs: auditory, tactile, proprioceptive, vestibular, and visual sensory inputs. Obviously, most of you need not be concerned with these issues but, my wife and do. Any system I can assemble for him that provides him with greater feel helps all of this sensory development. Most importantly, he is vastly improved now at 12yoa. The challenging years were the primary education years. Public schools do not like these kids. However, the 2wt CGR rod weighs ~0.25-0.30 oz more than the IRONFeather. It seems like the CGR might rule out some of the older magnesium reels based on the suggestions you cited. If I go this far, maybe I should also ask if other rod action (i.e., slow, moderate) would be best for feel and sensing the rod flex, line, etc. My previous background is with my infrequently used Fenwick FF 857 and Pfleuger Medalist (1494?). I just picked up the IRONFeather along with an 8' 4 wt Orvis Access for me. I must get back to fly fishing...it is that important!


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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2018 12:49 am • # 4 
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Joined: 01/26/09
Posts: 317
Location: Oklahoma
Rick,
I would not recommend the Iron Feather for your son. My old friend Kurt bought an Iron Feather 9' 2 weight back in the 90's. Now Kurt is an experienced flyfisher, having started at age 12, and he is now 71. For years he used a WF4 line on that rod. The faster the action, the more precise your timing has to be in order to cast efficiently. I am a physical therapist who retired last August after 43 years of practice, so I am quite familiar with sensorimotor complications. I have also taught several people to flyfish, including a couple of Boy Scout flyfishing merit badges. I feel that a medium action to slightly on the fast side of medium is the easiest action to learn fly casting on. My preference is for glass rods, but there are some good graphite rods to learn on also. In the interest of keeping expenses down, among the graphite rods I would recommend the Redington Classic Trout, the Echo Base, and the Wright & McGill Generation 2 S-Curve. The latter two can be had for under $100. I have used the Redington and the Wright & McGill, and have found both to be very decent rods, although the appearance of the latter rod might be off-putting to some people. In glass rods, some good choices might be the Aventik rods or the Moonlit Shadowcast, both available on Amazon. The CGR is also a good rod, and I have them in 2, 3, and 4/5 weights. For your son, I don't think I would recommend the 2 or 3 weight, but the 4 weight might be a good option. The CGR's are a little slower than I would usually recommend for a beginner. There is another I will mention. The Eagle Claw Featherlight is probably the most inexpensive fly rod out there, but the rods built since 2010 have earned a lot of favor among those who enjoy fishing glass rods. They are available for $25 to $35. Those rods built prior to 2010 had a stiff butt and a floppy tip, which was not a pleasing combination. However, in 2010, Eagle Claw made some major changes in the rod's action, and it is now actually quite decent. It can be a good rod for a kid to learn on, and if broken or lost, not a big loss. I know quite a few people who own some very nice rods, but also keep a Featherlight in their car just in case they get an opportunity to take a fishing break.

The magnesium reels such as the J. Austin Forbes or the Ryobi can be very good choices on a short, light rod, but for most rods of 7' or longer they will be too light, making the rod feel tip heavy. In regards to line, it is often a good idea for a beginner to use a line one line weight heavier than the rod rating so they can better feel the loading of the rod. The line weight recommended on the rod is at best a recommendation, and not always even a good recommendation. I would recommend a weight forward line. One of my favorite lines at this time is the Barrio Small Stream line from Scotland, which is available for about $39. I have had some rods that are very sensitive to lines, and they can be difficult to find a line that works well. However, the Barrio Small Stream line I have found to be good with any rod suitable for that line weight. Mike Barrio designs his line tapers, has them manufactured to his specifications by one of the large line companies in England, and they are available only through his shop, thus cutting out layers of middle men and keeping the price down. Shipping is free worldwide. I have not used it, but I have also heard some good things about KastKing Exergy fly lines, available on Amazon for about $30.

I hope I have not bored you to death with this long exposition. I hope you and your son have a great trip and he enjoys success in his outing.

Larry

P.S. - for some more, and very good information, see "Newbie Gear Guide" on page 2 of this section of the forum. Aaron has some good and specific information offered there.


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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2018 12:34 pm • # 5 
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Joined: 05/02/18
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Location: Michigan
Larry,

Great information. I am glad I decided to include some of our son's status for to comment on in an authoritative manner. The article Aaron wrote was also helpful. I like the Aventik a lot but, availability at this time is difficult at best. Based on this, I am likely to go with the Echo Base and the Waterworks-Lamson Liquid or Remix 3-pack. I would expect these 4.29 oz reels to work well with the 3.4 oz Base-480 Echo. Please let me know if you consider other reel choices better for the Echo. The Piscifun reels seem okay yet, the Lamson seems to be a better choice to make even on a monetary basis.

While the CGR is currently only $69 all are rods available are slow action and this is no better than the IRONFeather (which will go up for sale). I have been searching the used market for several weeks and it has been difficult to find sound yet affordable gear.

Edit - It will be the Echo Base w/Waterworks-Lamson Liquid. A local shop will have everything in about a week. I am pleased with the quality of what I am getting as well as the cost of it. Time for a Belgian Ale!

Rick


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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2018 7:52 pm • # 6 
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Joined: 01/26/09
Posts: 317
Location: Oklahoma
Rick,
I think you made some excellent choices in rod and reel. I hope your son enjoys them. Always a good time for a Belgian ale. I don't know if you have read the 2017 5 weight shoot out from Yellowstone Anglers, but they said they couldn't believe how good a rod the Echo Base is for the price. Also very hard to beat a Lamson.

Larry


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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 9:46 pm • # 7 
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Joined: 05/02/18
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Location: Michigan
Short lived solution... The distributor for Echo in my part of the US did not (an still does not) have the rod so, after being patient for a while I called the fly fishing shop and asked if I could pursue the TFO Pro II 8' 4wt instead. They were happy to make the change for me. I suspect I am in a better place as TFO does seem to have a solid reputation among budget rods but, it also seems they have improved their product in the past few years.

Rick


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2018 10:41 am • # 8 
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Posts: 317
Location: Oklahoma
I think the TFO will do your son just fine. For me, preferring a slower action, I might have given the nod to the Finesse series, but both rods are good. My fishing buddy's son has used a Pro series rod for quite a few years and is quite happy with it.

Larry


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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2018 4:51 pm • # 9 
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Location: Michigan
Hi Larry,

This is not good...I have been considering the Finesse...heavily. You are not helping me control impulses.


Rick


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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2018 10:16 pm • # 10 
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Joined: 01/26/09
Posts: 317
Location: Oklahoma
Just call me Mr. Enabler. :smokin I just think everyone should have a closet full of rods like I do.

Larry


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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2018 9:31 am • # 11 
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Joined: 03/02/11
Posts: 942
Location: Blacksburg, Va
Can’t go wrong with TFO, they may not be the prettiest or lightest rods out there on the market, but there warranty and customer service just can not be beat.


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