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I am looking for a 8 to 8.5 ft. 6 wt that will handle heavy, dare I use the N word, and streamers bass poppers etc. I have built a Garrison but I wanted something faster. I plenty of tapers but not sure which ones are faster. Headed to Florida to get out of the cold for a few months and wanted to fix two rods I broke this year and built a fast 6 wt.  (David Ray)

    If you are planning on casting "heavy" streamers and poppers why are you not looking for a 7 wt or an 8 wt?  "Heavy" is pretty relative but in my experience a 6 wt is sort of undergunned for the heavier bass lures.  (Timothy Troester)

    You can't go wrong with a Para 15 taper.  (Don Anderson)

    Nunley's 806, which can be easily stretched to 8.5, if desired, or a relatively unknown PHY taper with heavy tip, quite similar to Nunley's 806 but is already an 8.5. Let me know in which taper you might be interested. (Martin-Darrell)

    I made a Dickerson 8615 from the Howell book.  Tips were too soft, but it cast a lot of line real well.  Now I'm making replacement tips from the taper posted on the Rodmakers taper page.  I think it's going to be just the ticket! You might also look at Bogart's tapers.  I seem to remember casting a thunder stick he built a couple of years ago at Grayrock. (Brian Creek)


A friend asked me to build him an 8'6" 3-piece rod to fill out his collection. Does anyone have a suggestion for a such a taper? I really like Paynes and had settled on a 204, but it's listed as a 5 wt in some places and a 6 wt in others. My friend mentioned that he might try to hunt largemouth bass with it, but specifically said he wanted a six wt. Around here he's more likely to encounter Smallmouth. My feeling is that the Payne is too light for largemouth, and if it's a five, might be borderline for smallies. Is it a six or a five weight?   (Bill Hoy)

    Go with the Granger, some of the 8 1/2 ft rods would take an 11/17 ferrule and some of them would take an 12/18 ferrule. The 12/18 is a true 6 wt (DT). Paynes are a pain! As there are no indications on the rod as to what model the rod is (204L, 204, 204H, 205....) they are OFTEN misidentified. A 204L is a light 5, a 204 is a great 5 wt with almost identical numbers to a Granger 11/17 and a 204H is also a 205 and a good wt. Remember to think ferrule size when you are looking at classic tapers, that is how the guys built them.  (AJ Thramer)


I’m looking to build my friend a bass rod I looked at Garrison’s 221 8’9”, Gillum’s 8672, Nunley 9’ 9 wt, PHY Para 17 8’5” 7 wt, FE Streamer Special 9’ 7 wt, AJ’s 8’ 7 wt and Gould’s 9’ 6 wt.  I’m lost, does anyone have a favorite Bass taper (Big River smallmouth bass rod).  I’ve built a lot of trout rods but bass rods I have not or cast that many.   (Joe Eichenlaub)

    I use Garrison's 221 for king salmon in Michigan. It is one powerful rod.  Take a look at Garrison's 212E. A little more comfortable size. I use mine for Steelhead so I am sure you can do the bass with it.  (Jerry Drake)


I am looking for a good 8' 7 wt rod to build for bass fishing.  I have an 8' 6 wt Dickerson 8014 which is in my opinion a great rod for streamer fishing for trout in the larger tailwaters. I was thinking about building a Dickerson 8015 "guide special" or possibly a Chris Bogart Shenandoah Special "Hexrod"ed to an 8 ft rod.  My casting stroke really suits the "Sir D" or Cattanach tapers at least in the smaller line weights or in graphite - the Sage SLT rods.  Based on the stress curves I thought that the Bogart rod might be a little softer on the tip and easier to cast shorter even with the bigger flies than the Dickerson with a little more punch than the earlier mentioned rods.  I don't see many 7 weight tapers that aren't parabolic listed around on the web.  I am concerned about the weight to some degree, but I will also be fishing (sitting) out of a canoe, kayak, or john boat most of the time for bass, so I need a long enough rod to help keep the backcast in the air.  Your opinions and suggestions are most welcome.  (Doug Peters)

    Try the 8015. It'll handle small to medium salmon, possibly large ones too in the right place.  (Tony Young)

      I'd suggest either the 8014 Guide Special, or the 8015 (NON GS) as really great 7 weight rods.  (Harry Boyd)

    I would recommend the PHY Boat Rod that is posted in the Hexrod archives. Since I posted the taper ages ago, I've sold the rod, and was actually using a 7 wt on it rather than a #6. It's got good line speed and a strong butt with good line lifting power.  (Rob Hoffhines)

      I would second the PHY boat rod taper as listed in the archives.

      I too use a WF 7 on it.  It's light in hand, pretty fast action, and has a whole lot of power in the butt.  I use it for summer steelhead and bass.  (Chris Obuchowski)


I would like some input for a Smallmouth taper. It will be going to a graphite fisher.  (Tony Spezio)

    I would be interested in this as well. There are many good smallmouth streams around me and the trout fishing around here dies during the dog days of summer. I am a few minutes up the road from the Rappahannock river, which is supposed to be a blue ribbon smallmouth stream. A buddy of mine retired from the Marines recently and landed the freshly minted job of River Steward of the Rappahannock and me and him always talked about fly fishing and never got together. I would like to show him what I have been up to since we last saw each other. I know he would get a kick out of it.  (Scott Bearden)

    The 4 piece Sir D I had at SRG was made for smallmouth fishing North Arkansas creeks.  I beefed up the original Sir D taper a little to carry the weight of the extra ferrules (nickel silver truncated ferrules).  The finished rod is noticeably heavier than the 2 piece SDs that were at the gathering.  It would be a relatively fast rod for typical nymph fishing for trout but I think it's going to be perfect for throwing a Dave's Near Nuff crawfish under cover on a small Arkansas stream.  Hopefully the "hinge" will help roll cast those flies, but that's yet to be seen.  Haven't taken it to the creek yet.  (David Bolin)


I want to build a rod that I will only use for bass that will cast hair bugs and poppers

I am thinking of building a Dickerson 8015 or 8615. I am leaning toward the 8015 but if anyone has used either of these rods for big bulky bugs and poppers I would like to know what you think. I am also finding more than one taper for the 8015 and am not sure why.  Did Dickerson change his tapers over the years?

Is the 8015 guides series just a progression of the 8015 or did he make both tapers at the same time.  Which would work better for bass bugs. I also ran across some difference in ferrule sizes.  I thought the 15 in the number was for 15/64th ferrule but some of the taper guides call for a 14.  If you have built this rod what ferrule size did you use?  It seem to me the numbers where the male ferrule station will be cut are a little undersized for a 15. Last but not least if you have any rod suggestions for a rod that can cast the above-mentioned flies I am interested.  (Rick Barbato)

    Not a Dickerson expert by any means, but the difference between the 8014 and 8014 guide (8014G) was best described to me as the guide was developed as a strong rod, fished from a moving boat where you wanted the power to pick up a lot of line and cast again without false casting. No experience specifically with the 8015's but would think the two would fall into a similar use.

    I fish an 8014 clone that most people rate as a 6 wt with a wf7 line and toss bass bugs and streamers without a problem, even some pretty good sized Clousers.  (Pete Van Schaack)

    I have never cast a fly rod which handles big hair bugs well.  The most efficient rig I've seen for the really  big hair bugs -- size 00 hook, six inch long hair frog -- is the new Sage bass bug rod.  But chunking one of those things is far from fly casting.

    I have made both the 8014 GS and 8015 Guide tapers from Jack Howell's book., and think they are really fine rods.  The 8014GS is a seven weight.  The 8015G is an eight.  Neither will handle the giant bass bug described above.  Flies that size usually require 11-12 weight lines.

    But either of the rods above will handle Sneaky Pete sized cork poppers quite well.  Streamers up to 3.5"-4" should be no major problem.

    I can't comment on the variety of tapers, but the Howell's tapers are nice.  Remember that Dickerson drew his own tubing and made his own step-down ferrules.  Most (all?) of his two piece tapers were designed with a significant drop over the ferrule.  That means the butt ferrule station is .010"+ larger than the tip ferrule station.   Without that drop over the ferrule, the rod doesn't perform the same.   It might still make a nice rod, but will not be what Dickerson had in mind.  I used a 14 CSE Step Down on the 8014GS, and a 15 CSE SD on the 8015G.

    And BTW, both these rods respond well to hollow building.  (Harry Boyd)


I  am  contemplating  an 8 ft, 2 piece rod for fishing large (up to #1-1/0) deer hair/balsa bass bugs and for keeping larger fish from getting into the brush and breaking off. I have been looking at tapers in Ray Gould's "Cane Rods" and have found some in line with what I have in mind. Keeping in mind that I do not want to fool with making a hollow built, or one with a graphite core (might as well just go graphite and be done with it IMHO). Has anyone built any of his listed tapers for 8 ft. 7-9 wt. rods, and if so, what are your comments/suggestions?  (Frank Schlicht)

    I have built a Gould taper in the range that you specify, It comes from his "Tips and Tapers" book, page 86, and is listed as his RR170 taper, a two piece, 8 foot , 7 wt.  I built it last year and fished it with a WF8 line. I have not cast bass bugs with it, but had no trouble throwing size 4-6 wooly buggers.  The rod casts like a rocket, and surprisingly throws line well from 15' to 60'.  It is not delicate, and weights a bit over 5 ounces, but balances pretty well. I fished it on the Rio Grande from a drift boat and it had enough shoulders to bring fish to the boat without much discussion. Pretty impressive rod from my perspective. (Ray Wright)


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