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I've been thinking about some larger rods than most of us typically make, 7' 6" or longer, and six weight and higher.  Just curious, which tapers have you found that really come alive for 7'6" six weight on up? A few immediately jump to mind like the Dickerson 8014, 8014GS, 8015, etc.; and the Young Parabolic 15, 16, etc.  But what bigger rods have really tickled you?  Made you giggle like a little girl?  (Harry Boyd)

    I am . .by all accounts the world's worst caster . . professionals have assessed that . . so . . when I can pick up a fly rods and punch out a line 115'  . . I feel like Tim Allen . . grunt grunt maleness . . that  was the  reaction the first time I cast The Force . . the modified Para 15 that I made for Sam Surre and even Ron Barch who was there test casting it did as well . . . . but . . all faint in comparison to rods that folks such as Bob Milward and the spy cast group of diehard BC'ers that chase the Northwestern fish . . Harry again you need to narrow the window a bit . . what is a . . Large Rod . . what fishing situation do you envision when you speak the words . . I recall a demonstration of spey rods at the Washington show some years ago . . the Scottish gentleman in the kilt that hurled the line some 150' . . just so so easily . . he must not of been into sheep . .  (Wayne Cattanach)

    Since I am fairly new at this craft, I asked Tom Smithwick for a suggestion last year for an 8' 6 wt and he immediately said "Garrison 212E".  I built it (only my 15th rod) and let him cast it this year at CRG and watching him cast my rod made me giggle.  I am nowhere that good with it, but I had a blast practicing on the Willowemoc.  How well it cast for me made me somewhat forget that I was being pretty unsuccessful catching any of the resident fish that were taking only size 20 or so Griffith's gnats on 7X tippet.  (Jim Rowley)

    I have made several large rods that I like.

    1. Hollow built 9' for 9 weight line used for great Lakes salmon fishing.

    2. 8' 9" solid built 9 weight for salmon.

    3. Hollow built 8' for 7 weight line used for steelhead fishing.

    4. Hollow built 10' 6" two piece, two handed 8 weight used for steelhead and salmon fishing.

    All of these rods are great roll casting rods. They bend pretty deep into the butt but not into the cork.  (Jerry Drake)

    I made the 8014GS and finally had the opportunity to fish it hard on the Bighorn in Montana for 4 days this past week. Streamers up to size #2, and what a cannon it is!

    It mends line easily, and this was during 18 degree daytime temperatures with frozen guides most of the time...

    I would like to hear about some bigger rods too.  (Tom Vagell)

      Yeah Tom, I used my interpretation of an 8014G while taking the casting certification exam.  It's a heckuva rod.   (Harry Boyd)

    I don't build big rods, but your parameters would seem to include an 8' #6 rod and I have built them because some people consider that the basic trout rod.  I have built several examples of this rod that was designed by Stan Smartt and was based on a Leonard rod.  Everyone that I make one for seems to like it very much, as do I.  If you could be satisfied with a 6 weight 8 foot rod, give this one a try.

    Just my opinion, but I have a high opinion of my opinion.  (Hal Manas)

    I made a Payne  Canadian Canoe. 8'6" 7 WT.    It a great stream rod.  It will throw some good size flies and it roll casts like a dream.  I use it for steelhead in the lake Erie streams and it handles them with no problem.  I don't like it for bass though tip is a little soft for heavy weeds.  (Rick Barbato)

    giggle like a little girl? Hmmm, better than the 8014.. the Leonard Model 50-6. Lot's of 5 wt. model 50's but not many 6wt versions. I'll have both the 8014 and the Leonard 50-6 at SRG next week. You can try them out. Also the Dickerson 861711, the Payne Canadian Canoe, The Gnome's swelled-butt Para-15,which makes me wonder what Wayne's "The Force" with a swelled butt would be like? Jerry Drake's Hollow built 10' 6" two piece, two handed 8 weight.  (Dennis Higham)

    Now I am making a parabolic 9' line 5 in 2 pieces (a real nightmare with a MHM!) Certainly not larger, but for sure longer. The first and the last!  (Marco Giardina)

      I think it might do well as a 3 piece rod. Take a look at the effects of the ferrules on the stress curve. Also you might find that the peak stress might be ahead (toward the tip of the top ferrule so the deadening effect of the ferrules might not be felt at all.

      Wayne C. has made 3 pc versions of  many of his rods for example his 8' 6 wt. on the Rod DNA database (David Ray's, I think ). The stress peak is between the ferrule and the tip and the weight effect is negligible. He essentially cut the rod into thirds. I like making 3 piece rods on the mill.  (Doug Easton)

    My 12' Payne salmon rod is really great.   I think the 12' length is basically ideal for most North American Atlantic salmon rivers. That Payne has an ideal medium-fast action, and I have been known to cast dry flies with it, using it one-handed, in a pinch.

    I like my 10' Dickerson, with its fast, powerful action, best for one-hand rod fishing, and for little rivers like the Gaspe St. John or the Patapedia. I can't recall the rods details well, as my wife gets to use it, but some years back I actually found an excellent action 9 1/2' Leonard pre-fire salmon rod.  I only looked at it because it had "St. Anne River" written on the label.  When I opened the tube, I found salmon scales on the bag. Unlike most Leonards, this one has a strong, powerful action. I think I'd need to handle several hundred Leonards to find another that good.

    I have an old 9' Payne that has the characteristically  excellent all-around Payne action.  There is also a light 9' recognizably Edwards made rod, with the Vom Hofe name on it, which is usually handsome and which feels very much alive in the hand.

    I also frequently use a pre-fire Model 50 8' Leonard Hunt, which is a good medium action rod, and another exception to the generally characteristic mediocre blandness of Leonard rods. I liked that Hunt model so well, that Hoagy Carmichael was able sell me a real rarity: a 14' Hunt salmon rod that came out of a closet at the Anglers' Club in New York, which was very probably left there by Richard Carley Hunt, who was at one time president of the Club.  Unfortunately I have not been able to get up to Gaspesie for a couple of years, and have had no chance to use that great big Hunt rod yet.  I expect it must take an 8 or 9 wt. line.  (David Zincavage)

    Well I don't usually make anything under 8 feet. I think I've made 3 rods under 8 feet. Of those 8 feet and over for 6 wt and up, I've liked: not necessarily in this order.

    Garrison 212e - 8’

    Dickerson 8014G - 8’ for 7wt - really nice bass and huge bluegill rod.  Made it with a fighting butt.

    Several 8 1/2 footers:

    Dickerson 8615 - 7 wt.

    Two versions of a taper that I found on a Taper List that some ragged on me for making because the maker is still alive and making rods.  The taper I found was for a 5wt though so I have beefed it up. Made them in 6 and 7 wt. variations.

    I find that a heavy 8 1/2 footer gets my shoulder aching after an all day stint from a float tube with a lot of casting on still water.

    I really like the Dickerson 8014G  for that duty now.

    Last winter I decided I wanted a Two Hander for Steelhead duty on the St. Joe so I made a variant of a 12 foot 9wt Spey Rod by a Norwegian maker.  It's a 3 piece rod for 25 and 17 ferrules.   Man, a #17 tip ferrule.  It's solid built and weighs 13 1/2oz. But that's for Two hands remember.  I had some problems making this rod.  I had to alter the butt dimensions as it turns out that the butt was too large to fit in my forms without hitting the dowels and bolts. So I tapered off the butt to fit my forms.  Probably not the best design method but whattya gonna do? I also made the ferrules out of 642 bronze and have had "issues" with the tip ferrule. It took me a while to get used to casting this rod.  The only two hander I'd ever cast before was Jerry Drakes 10 1/2 footer.  With a little help from Jerry I've got it down enough that I can not embarrass myself too bad.  :>) I use a Rio Windcutter 8/9/10 line with it.  Got my first Indiana Steelhead with it a couple of weeks ago.

    Looking forward to getting back up to the St. Joe after I return from SRG.  (Larry Swearingen)

      I wonder what a 6 wt version of the Payne 200L 5wt with the light tip would be like. Everyone who has cast  mine picks it up and starts to  get a little line out and a lot on the next false casts starts to giggle a bit. The find  themselves easily pushing the rod to 70 ft and Rick ( I don't know his last name). who won the first Demarest challenge, took it into the backing.

      Do you guys think that  scaling up the rod to a honest 6 wt would work?  (Doug Easton)

        I forget the model number, but doesn't Payne have a 3-piece 8-foot taper made for a 6-wt.?  Gotta be!  (Steve Yasgur)

          Yes, the 204 is 8'6" 6wt. It has a stress curve similar to the 200L. I think it might be easier to beef up the 200L than reduce the length of the 204 to 8'. I am really an experimenter, a scientist by trade, and try lots of things. I have been lucky sometimes, sometimes not. I just wanted an opinion as to whether a particular experiment might work. I might try Al Baldauski's deflection method to adjust the line wt.

          Also I want an 8 ft rod to fish the small tributaries to lake Ontario for Browns.  (Doug Easton)

      You are only 4 hours from me. If you need an 8', 7wt. rod with a fighting butt for bluegill ..I REALLY want to go fishin' with you!!  (Dennis Higham)

        Back when I was young and fished for non-salmonids, one typically did fish for bluegill, sunfish, or crappies using a bass action rod, which would always be a 9' rod for 7 wt. or heavier.  The heavy rod and line were used to make it possible to throw out large poppers, bass bugs made from deer hair, plugs, and live bait.  Since you most frequently fish for bass and panfish in a lake or pond, actually you do want a longer rod with a bit more reach.

        Small fly rods have their uses, but too many people bought in completely to some fundamental misunderstandings about tackle promoted by the "smaller is better" school of sporting journalists.  It is ironic that, for many years now, the old tackle market has placed greater value on small, short rods than on the larger, heavier rods that originally cost much more, which contain much more material, and which constitute the more serious test of craftsmanship and design.  It is less surprising, I suppose, but still regrettable, that few of today's builders ever even try to compete in the big leagues of rod building. Personally, though I am fond of some little rods, when I think of real rod building quality, I think of that 12' Payne.  It was a lot harder to build that rod than any short rod designed to cast a 3 or 4 wt. line 40 feet.  (David Zincavage)

          I will say that Big Bertha, my 12 footer was a LOT more real work than I imagined it would be. I use a roughing mill and then hand plane to final and a  7/16 inch butt section (full 1/4" strips) is WORK to plane.  Fat strips take longer to heat for node work etc. etc. .  I put a 24" cork grip on it and had to go to Jerry Drakes to use his lathe to turn it.  That's like 3 full regular rod grips. So if you are planning to make a two hander be prepared to spend some time.  (Larry Swearingen)

      My favorite bluegill rod is a 10 1/2''.  (Ralph Moon)


I'm looking for a good taper for a Great Lakes Steelhead taper.  Client would like to have 8-9 1/2' 8 wt, reasonably fast. Since I have little experience with this size rod, I was hoping for some recommendations  from someone who actually fishes for steelhead.  (Scott Grady)

    The Garrison 215  makes a pretty spiffy Steelie rod at 8-1/2', 8 wt, 3-piece, but don't overlook the Dickersons!  (Steve Yasgur)

    My suggestion would be the Paul Young Para 17.  It's an 8'6" 8 wt.  (Scott Bahn)

      Also may I suggest the Payne Canadian Canoe.......forgot that one the first time.  (Scott Bahn)

    While not as glamorous as the other rods listed so far, I used a Heddon Black Beauty for Lake Michigan Trout and Salmon for years.  (Rich Jezioro)


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