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Thread: What do you look for in a west coast steelhead blank?

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    What do you look for in a west coast steelhead blank?

    I’m primarily a flyfisher, and have built and sold countless singlehand and spey rods. I’ve recently become interested in centerpinning, and am interested in building some CP rods for west coast steelhead. While there are endless choices of fly rod blanks to choose from, I’m surprised at the lack of true CP blank choices available. I’ve also noticed a big difference between preferences for east coast and west coast rods: east coasters seem to like longer (12’-14’) rods, in the 6-12 lb range, while west coast steelheaders seem to prefer 10’6” – 11’ rods, in the 10-20 lb line range. I’m not sure why the difference. Many blank choices seem (to me) to be adapted from mooching/casting/fly rod blanks.
    I’m hoping that west coast steelheaders will weigh in and describe their optimum steelhead rod…Do you want fast/slow action…line weight range…length…whatever other consideration you might have, regardless of brand name. I'll be interested in any advice you can give.

  2. #2
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    My thoughts, and just my opinion and observations: shorter length since a majority of the fishing is done out west from drift boat. Hard to manage netting fish with longer rods in a drift boat going down rapids.12 foot seems to be the longest that guys out there like...Action I think will be somewhat of a debate. The trend I have noticed is guys liking the softer action out there (Spey conversions and whatnot) like to run braid, and guys that like faster actions tend to run mono.... granted I’ve only headed west the past two years now, so my observations are limited, that’s just what I have seen.... as for me, I want a line and rod combination that will drive the hook home solid, and still give the leader protection from either massive head shakes and acrobatics, or the fumble when feathering the reel. Now what that perfect combination is, I am not sure! I seem to get more of what I personally feel secure with using mono and a rod with a full backbone, and faster action. I am very curious to hear how the “upper left” locals weigh in!

  3. #3
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    I use a 12 or 13 ft rod. 6-10 lb mostly with braid. I also have been using an 11ft 10-30 lb rod for big coastal fall chinook that is a lot of fun!

  4. #4
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    It's easy to keep in direct contact with bigger rigs, heavier floats and weights with an 11-12' rod. You don't need that extra few feet for added line control when your running 25gram setups. I use 15 footers but they're reserved for wider rivers when running smaller setups and lighter leads.

    Depending on the max size of the fish you'll be targeting anything from a standard great lakes 6-10lb rod to a powerful 10-20lb rated rod might be appropriate.

    Josh
    Last edited by Josh Roelofsen; 11-14-2017 at 09:27 PM.

  5. #5
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    A friend has done a full CP rebuild on a 10' 6" Shimano Convergence rod, originally a mooching rod, rated for 10-17 lb. It has moderate flex (not too stiff) with a strong butt. He seems quite happy with it, targeting steelhead in medium-sized rivers. Any thoughts on these rods?

  6. #6
    Professional BS'r CTobias's Avatar
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    For salmon blanks I like a shorter rod with more arse behind it.

    I still use a 13' rod for Steelhead.

  7. #7
    corvus ossifragus
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    Quote Originally Posted by CTobias View Post
    For salmon blanks I like a shorter rod with more arse behind it.
    I'm having a 9119 Sage Method built into a Springer rod for PNW coastal rivers. I used my Sage X 7120 conversion last year and landed some big ones but more arse in the rod would have been better on the hook sets. I already have a 3113M but the damn 2-piece rods don't do so well in my Jeep.

    I have a 13' Sage Mod conversion that I like from the bank but prefer the 10'6"-12' rods from the boat. Love the feel of the classic Sages but overall prefer the convenience of 4-piece rods for the mandatory 3-4hr drive to fish the coast.

    Tried floating mono and it was OK but went back to braid - heavy braid works well for hooksets and not losing floats on the inevitable snags in the fast currents we fish. Tip wrap is a PITA with a long rod in the boat though.

    06.11.17.01 by Thomas Mitchell, on Flickr
    Last edited by fishcrow; 11-21-2017 at 06:00 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Herkileez View Post
    A friend has done a full CP rebuild on a 10' 6" Shimano Convergence rod, originally a mooching rod, rated for 10-17 lb. It has moderate flex (not too stiff) with a strong butt. He seems quite happy with it, targeting steelhead in medium-sized rivers. Any thoughts on these rods?

    what do you mean by CP rebuild? i was looking at those mooching rods and was wondering if that could work? ive also thought about using my 8136 redington chromer. i recently just picked up a 13'4 sst.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxlumpy View Post
    what do you mean by CP rebuild? i was looking at those mooching rods and was wondering if that could work? ive also thought about using my 8136 redington chromer. i recently just picked up a 13'4 sst.
    The Convergence 10'6" mooching rod only had , I think, 9 guides, so he tore it down, refinished the blank , installed 11 hi-frame guides, and put on fancy cork and reel seat. It actually works quite well as a west coast steelhead rod. A lot of work, but it's what we love to do anyway. I'm sure the mooching rod would work as is...but we like to tinker.
    I just started playing with a 10'6" SST, and quite like it.
    BTW: One local river here averages 50' wide. A buddy uses a 9' Fenwick HMX w/ a pin reel, and lands a ton of cutties and steelhead with it.

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