Steelhead Fly Fishing Tackle

Steelhead Fly Fishing Tackle, no sales tax - $50 orders ship free in USA.

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It's true that tackle doesn't make the angler, but it can sure effect your performance & attitude.

Rods

Reels
Fly Lines
Leaders
 

Rods

The techniques employed for steelhead can be varied. The way to ensure success with steelhead is to be able to cover a lot of water in a day's fishing. Being able to minimize casting fatigue can be a real factor. The anglers who have the most endurance have an advantage. Good casting skills burn less energy than poor casting skills. A light weight powerful rod that casts smoothly at all ranges is essential.

Single-Hand Rods
Nine foot rods are most popular when fishing steelhead or salmon from a boat. When it comes to single-hand fly rods, nine and one half and ten foot models are most popular when wading for steelhead. That is because the average steelheader wades deeper than does most trout or bonefish anglers.  As an angler wades deeper the window between the rod tip and the water surface narrows.  This leaves less room in which to perform both back casts and forward casts. The longer the rod, the more it elevates the casting plane above the water, which opens the casting window.    Often vegetation on stream banks leaves little room for an aerosolized back cast, so roll casts and spey casts are necessary to be able to place the fly in the proper fishing attitude. Spey casts and roll casts are subject to all the same limiting factors as aerosolized back casts. Deep wading very much limits the margin for error in in forming a D-loop behind you. That is why spey rods tend to be over 12-feet long.  A new classification, called "switch rods" bridge the gap between spey rods and single-hand rods. They may be fished with one or two hands. Switch rods are normally 11-feet long.  Steelheading is a game of long casts while wading in moving water.  A longer rod enables more line control after the cast has been made. Controlling the fly is always of utmost importance.
Your fly rod should balanced with the average sizes and weights of flies you are throwing.  We have found that eight weight rods are most practical for the widest range of conditions.  Seven weight rods are nice for small streams or even larger rivers on calm summer days. A long, light rod is nice for fishing floating lines and small wets or waking flies. Nine weight rods are an advantage on large windy rivers or when runs of larger than average fish are expected. Larger flies are more comfortable to cast with larger equipment.  A nine weight might be a better choice when fishing British Columbia rivers.  On the average, multi-piece travel rods cast as well as their two piece counterparts, and they are easier to transport.

Two-Hand Rods
On our local rivers, which have un-manicured banks, being able to roll cast long distances is a huge advantage.  Two handed fly rods of up to fifteen feet long are the most efficient on rivers where the average cast is over fifty feet. Many local anglers have adopted the change of direction roll casting called spey casting.  The two-handed concept of fly casting is very old.  It is recorded in writings from early bronze-age China and figures prominently in English fly fishing literature from 500 years ago.  It only gained wide spread favor on American Salmon & Steelhead streams beginning about 1980.  Since then it has revolutionized the way large rivers in North America are fished.   Now fly fishing for steelhead is truly practical year round on larger rivers.  Two handed fly rods work well with a wide variety of fly lines.  As a matter of fact, changeable tip fly lines for two-hand rods have changed the sport of fly fishing for steelhead as much as the adoption of the two-hand rods themselves.  "Two-handers" take the labor out of fishing with sinking tip lines.  Sinking tip lines are usually more productive than floating lines in fishing periods with cold water or bright sunlight.
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Reels

When encountering steelhead, the reel becomes much more than a place to store the line. The reel may have to feed and retrieve long yardage's of backing. Precise, smooth, low-inertia drag-systems really pay for themselves. Reels with waterproof drag systems are best. You will probably never use over 5 pounds of drag pressure when playing steelhead.  Three to four pounds of drag pressure is most common.  Smooth operation and being totally reliable are the two most important factors when choosing a reel.  The reel as a component is the greatest factor which determines the difference between victory and defeat when encountering really large fish. 

Steelhead reels should hold a fly line and 150 yd. of  backing. Sealed ball bearings take less maintenance than bronze bushings. Disk drags are proven. Anodizing outlasts any kind of coating. Machined frames are stronger and more durable than castings. The less moving parts the better. The fewest total parts the better. Drags have to work smoothly when wet. Don't hesitate to call for advice: 1 (800) 266-3971
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Fly Lines

Because of the variety of river conditions one may encounter, each angler using a single handed rod should be equipped with a double taper or steelhead taper floating fly line, a ten foot sinking tip fly line, and a T-200 Jim Teeny fly line (or equivalent). Highly visible colors are best for floating fly lines on big water. Neutral color lines are essential for low, clear water. Changeable tip fly lines such as the Rio VersiTip are very popular and eliminate the need of carrying extra reel spools. Anglers using two-handed fly rods might consider carrying a full floating line and a changeable-tip line type system. A changeable tip spey line such as the Rio WindCutter and Skagit are recommended as your primary line.  However, a full floating line that does not have loops is smoother when casting flies that are meant to be fished on or near the surface. For floating line fishing during windless days a longer belly line such as a Rio MidSpey can provide advantages for casters that are tuned to them.
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Leaders

Warning: Many of the new small diameter monofilament tippet materials have not passed the steelhead test   Maxima Chameleon and Maxima Clear are the only tippet materials sold on small spools which are100% reliable in the ten pound test rating. For steelhead fly fishing you need tippet material of at least .011 to turn over steelhead size flies at long range. The material should be hard and abrasion resistant. Most serious steelhead fly anglers tie their own leaders from Maxima. We've got the best prices on Maxima. 
If you don't wish to tie your own, Climax and Rio knotless tapered "Steelhead Leaders" have passed all tests with us on the stream.

Leaders for your floating line should be 9' long for single-hand rods and 10.5' to 15'  for two-hand rods.  We believe that a leader with a tippet diameter of .011 gives the most advantage in the widest variety of angling situations.  If a dropper is to be included, use the tag end of either the 
12 lb. or 15 lb. test sections. Leaders for your sinking tip line or Teeny line should be 4'-6' long. Fresh steelhead are rarely leader shy, but steelhead that have been fished over can become wary. Carry a spool of 8-pound Maxima with you, just in case.  Smaller diameter tippets do allow the fly to move around in some currents more freely than do larger diameter tippets.  

You should carry a complete kit of leader making material as well as tippet material.  A complete kit would include the following sizes of Maxima on 27 yard spools: #40, #30, #25, #20, #15, #12, #10, #8, #6.  Carry (2) spools of #10.  Keep your leader kit organized and away from light and extreme temperature changes.  A squeeze bottle of Loon UV Knot Sense™  is good to have in your leader kit-bag.  Put the bottle inside a closed zip-lock bag.  You might also include a 
UV Mini Lamp™ for cloudy days or inside work.

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