I’ve been downsizing in two ways.
First, I used to have five fly rods. I’m now down to two. I was finding that much of my equipment was not being used.
Second, I’m going down on rod heft. I used to fish with a 5-wt. I now fish with 3-wt. most of the time, and for small streams, a 1-wt. I like how light a 1-wt. feels and I really like how versatile the 3-wt. is. My old 5-wt., over time, just felt like overkill for the waters here in New England.
There are other benefits to a lighter rod. One is this: fewer fish are breaking off. Light rods really, really bend and act as shock absorbers when a fish makes a run. So, this lets me fish with 6x tippet. That’s been really helpful for nymphing, as the thin diameter lets the flies sink faster down into the strike zone.
The light rods also make it more fun to cast dry flies. It’s really magical to cast dries with a 1-wt.: the line almost floats down and creates very little disturbance on the surface of the water. It just feels elegant.
For a while, I didn’t want to use lighter fly rods, for fear of overplaying fish. But, I’m not finding that to be case. Applying even pressure on a big fish, with no jerky movements, lets me guide a fish to the shallows. Maybe it’s because I’m a better angler now, or that I’m using fluorocarbon tippet, which is super strong, but I’m comfortable playing and landing any fish.
So, if you’re in the market for a new fly rod, perhaps, consider downsizing. It’s a fun way, for me, to be more connected to the fish. You really feel their every move.