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Lateral view of a Female Hexagenia limbata (Ephemeridae) (Hex) Mayfly Dun from the Namekagon River in Wisconsin
Hex Mayflies
Hexagenia limbata

The famous nocturnal Hex hatch of the Midwest (and a few other lucky locations) stirs to the surface mythically large brown trout that only touch streamers for the rest of the year.

Dorsal view of a Glossosoma (Glossosomatidae) (Little Brown Short-horned Sedge) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
I caught this tiny larva without a case, but it seems to key pretty clearly to to Glossosomatidae. From there, the lack of sclerites on the mesonotum points to either Glossosoma or Anagapetus. Although it's difficult to see in a 2D image from the microscope, it's pretty clear in the live 3D view that the pronotum is only excised about 1/3 of its length to accommodate the forecoxa, not 2/3, which points to Glossosoma at Couplet 5 of the Key to Genera of Glossosomatidae Larvae.
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

FisherOfMen's profile picture

Posts: 115
FisherOfMen on Jan 7, 2012January 7th, 2012, 3:07 pm EST
I might have the chance to learn how to build a fly rod at a class and actually build a custom rod for about $85 - $100 dollars, the cost of the kit. The value of the rod is supposed to be around the $150-$200 range. I plan on just putting a cheap reel on it for now, as my budget is tight. On the other hand, I can purchase a rod/reel setup for $50 or so to hold me through this year until I graduate and ship out to Ft. Benning, at which point my fly fishing will be done for the year :( I guess the real question is, is it worth it right now to spend the extra and make the better rod, or just get a beater rod for this year?

I probably already know the answer, as the custom rod will last longer and serve better, as well as be a novelty item because it's custom and I'll be building it myself. Or are rod kits not as good as they are cracked up to be? Any advice would be helpful. Either way I need to replace my current setup eventually. It's a baseball bat 6/7# I got for $25 bucks, plastic reel and everything. I'm pretty sure the fly line is too light for the rod, maybe a 4# or 5#, too.

Any advice would be great, especially any experience with kit fly rods.
"Nothing makes a fish bigger than almost being caught." -Author Unknown

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. -Edmund Burke
GldstrmSam's profile picture
Fairbanks, Alaska

Posts: 212
GldstrmSam on Jan 7, 2012January 7th, 2012, 4:35 pm EST
It depends on if you ever plan to pick up fly fishing again after this year. The beater rod should last you this year and probably longer. The thing with the both of the rods are that you will be forfeiting higher quality ( good flex with sturdy build and other things) you also will not get much money if you ever want to sell one of them.

Another thing with that rod/reel is it is most likely a kit product(reel, rod, tackle) so you will have to make sure it is the right size for the fish you are wanting to specialize in catching and the flies that you want to use. 1 wight for very small light flies and 2 weight for slightly larger heavier flies and so on. If it is a kit you will have to make sure that it comes with the line that you want.
Choosing line can sometimes really get confusing so your best bet would be to tell us what kind of fishing you are interested in(nymph, dry, wet), or ask a knowledgeable employee at your local sporting goods store.

Good luck,

There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm. ~Patrick F. McManus
Posts: 61
Doublespey on Jan 10, 2012January 10th, 2012, 2:33 pm EST
I take a different approach than the cost of the rod, and the rod maker. There are a lot of decent rods on the market today that don't cost that much, and some have good guarantees. My deal is the ACTION of the rod. I could have a $300 dollar blank from a top rod maker, and it could be stiff, and a fast action rod, or maybe it is slow, and way too much flex for the rod I want. Many of my all around rods are med/fast action rods. Some are quite cheap, and I like them, like to fish with them. They can throw a lot of line with a tight loop if I want, and also have enough flex to cushion a lighter tippet..and a light tippet to me is 5x. I also have some very expensive rods, but will pick up a lesser expensive one, and fish it with as much confidence because of the action of the rod.
Strmanglr's profile picture
Posts: 156
Strmanglr on Jan 11, 2012January 11th, 2012, 7:31 am EST
I've built several rods. My experience has been if it is a complete kit, more than likely it is not a great rod or even a decent rod. Part of the fun of building rods is that you get to customize what you make to what you like. Kits obviously don't offer that. When I made my spinning rod for example I did a green blank, black and gold thread and a reel seat with gold. I put my initial in the thread wrap over the grip. I picked out the guides and custom sized the cork handle. It was a 5ft one piece, american tackle blank that is a light not ultra-light action. It cost me about $95.00. Way more than I would have spent on a rod. There are some incredible parts that can make the rod yours and make it extremely expensive. I found fly guides that were iridescent that ran about 15-20 bucks a piece. . . reel seats that were $30-50. I figure when I build my next fly pole it will run me about $300. You wanna know the real sucky thing about building your own rod? You put all that time into it and money and if it breaks you s.o.l.. Some companies will replace the blank, but all the time and money in everything else is a loss. I broke my 5ft spinning rod. I would say if you have the money and time build the rod. My suggestion would be to build a cheap one first. Your first one isn't going to be your best effort of course, if it's your first one. But it'll get your feet wet and you can find out if you like it. It's a fun hobby, and if you get good at it you can do custom rod building and sell them. Those are pricey rods to sell imo.

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