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Post 06 May 2022, 09:09 • #1 
Sport
Joined: 06/15/20
Posts: 67
Location: Toledo, Ohio, USA.
I don't have the opportunity to do much backcountry fly fishing involving long hikes. I understand the concept of reducing weight as much as possible by counting every ounce and eliminating when possible. However, one thing that has confused me is the preference for 5-piece or even 6-piece pack rods that can fit inside a backpack.

What's the advantage or necessity for that? Most (all?) backpacks have external straps. Why not strap the rod tube on the outside of the pack and use a standard 4-piece rod? Heck, even a 3-piece rod?

I realize this is not the most important question in the world of flyfishing. But I'm just curious as to what the advantage is to being able to fit a rod inside your backpack.


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Post 06 May 2022, 09:21 • #2 
Sport
Joined: 04/17/15
Posts: 64
Location: Colo/Wyoming
The majority of the fishing I do is backcountry small stream fishing. Usually I hike a short ways to several miles to the place I will fish. The advantage of a shorter rod (I use a four piece rod) is not bumping into limbs as I hike. In my part of the west, there are numerous blow downs which make you detour off trail. Sometimes there will be a new blowdown that wasn’t there on your way in. A two piece rod gets in the way.
My friends that prefer their two piece rods hand carry them for the same reason. I like mine lashed to my pack.


Last edited by J1973s on 06 May 2022, 23:41, edited 1 time in total.

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Post 06 May 2022, 09:36 • #3 
Sport
Joined: 06/15/20
Posts: 67
Location: Toledo, Ohio, USA.
Yeah... I get the advantage of shorter rods in tight situations. But let's say you have a 7 foot rod. What's the advantage of it being a 5-piece pack rod that can fit inside your backpack vs a 3- or 4-piece that you have to strap on the outside of your back back?

I suppose a rod tube strapped on the outside of a backpack could get caught in limbs if your are bushwhacking, but it seems the backpack itself would also get caught.


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Post 06 May 2022, 09:45 • #4 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 06/16/05
Posts: 2323
Location: Georgia
JShenk_615 wrote:
…one thing that has confused me is the preference for 5-piece or even 6-piece pack rods that can fit inside a backpack.

What's the advantage or necessity for that? Most (all?) backpacks have external straps. Why not strap the rod tube on the outside of the pack and use a standard 4-piece rod? Heck, even a 3-piece rod?

To me, the goal has always been to get the rod in or on the pack such that it doesn’t alter the profile of the backpack. Certainly in the Southeast, if the rod tube sticks up above the pack, or - of all things - off to each side, it’s going to catch trees trail side, going under logs over the trail, etc. Fortunately, most packs have a wand pocket on the bottom sides, and a tube put in there can be tucked under the lid, strapped down, and not pose those problems. Packs vary, but 24” (8 ft 4-piece) often will fit that, but if a shorter profile or longer rod is needed, 5-pieces become attractive as well. And there are some places I pack into that a short 3-piece rod works, but again, it’s all the pack profile.

Some on here have mentioned the benefit of packing with a rod hidden inside the pack to avoid telegraphing to all that there’s decent fishing down that trail, and although I’ve ended up with the rod inside a few times, that’s not usually been a goal. I’ve usually figured most just won’t do the work, but maybe I need to revisit that given post-Covid popularity of the outdoors.


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Post 06 May 2022, 10:14 • #5 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 05/22/16
Posts: 1408
Location: SJC
Where I go backpacking and fly fishing in the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada, a three or four piece rod is usually fine. I don't carry rod tubes on my pack -- too heavy. I just get a T12 fluorescent tube protector from [your favorite hardware store here], cut to length, put some electrical tape on the end pieces, and then add a few pieces of bubble wrap. Cheap and light.

You can also buy plastic tubes and end caps for mailing and so forth, but factoring in shipping costs the T12's from local stores are typically cheaper and more convenient.

The lower elevations and coastal streams are a different matter, where you may have to do significant bushwhacking. Usually I only do that in winter or early season. In winter I like to euro-nymph, and for coastal streams I have a four piece 6'6" 2wt that packs down nicely.

I almost always lose an upper end cap when carrying the nymphing rod once or twice each winter while thrashing through brush. I looked into one of the long rod protectors from Tenkara Bum, but he's been out of stock on those for months. Wish I knew where in Japan he ordered them ...


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Post 06 May 2022, 10:44 • #6 
New Member
Joined: 10/20/19
Posts: 24
Location: Black Hills, SD
I usually pack my two piece 7 or 8 foot rods on fishing trips. Certainly understand why a multi piece rod could be beneficial though. Where I’d really like a pack rod is during grouse hunting season. A lot of the places I hunt birds have great little brookie streams and I’ve wished for a rod that would fit in the back pouch of my vest that I could break out when the birds aren’t cooperating.
Paul


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Post 06 May 2022, 11:38 • #7 
Guide
Joined: 07/26/21
Posts: 177
Location: Central Georgia
Upstreeam nailed it, atleast from the southeastern perspective. I dont ever put rods inside my pack, but a rod longer than the pack is tall will be a massive pain in the butt. 5 piece rods can be a lot shorter than 4 piece rods, though 6 is into the territory of diminishing returns in my opinion. A 3 piece 8' rod would be enough of an issue to seriously impede travel a lot of places down here. This is equally true with a day pack or a backpack.


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Post 06 May 2022, 12:40 • #8 
Guide
Joined: 08/19/16
Posts: 255
Location: Brazil
We should also remember that a 4-piece rod is a pack rod and was not considered standard until in recent years. That said, another good reason for a pack rod is that it can fit inside your carry-on for air travel and such.


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Post 06 May 2022, 13:12 • #9 
Guide
Joined: 07/26/21
Posts: 177
Location: Central Georgia
No matter if you are in a car, plane, on foot, or literally crawling on the ground under the rhodo, a rod in shorter sections is easier to deal with. To the extent that its possible, I try to only have rods in 4+sections.


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Post 06 May 2022, 13:49 • #10 
Sport
Joined: 06/15/20
Posts: 67
Location: Toledo, Ohio, USA.
Very insightful. I hadn't considered the secrecy element of not wanting to give away that you are going fishing. If that's not an issue, it makes sense do me that if you strap it to the outside of your pack you just wouldn't want it longer than the pack itself so it doesn't cause extra hang ups.


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Post 06 May 2022, 14:05 • #11 
Guide
Joined: 02/13/16
Posts: 315
Location: US-TX
Totally agree with Upstreeam and BB, esp the strapping stuff onto the outside of my pack. I just don't do it. But my 8' 3wt lake rod is 6pc. Even have a 7pc one, which was kind of annoying for some reason. I've been in the 4+pc camp over twenty years now. I always considered 4pcs a travel rod, but not exactly a pack rod.


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Post 06 May 2022, 16:00 • #12 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 06/23/05
Posts: 4689
Location: US-MT
It's not that I want to keep the fishing secret, I just don't want to get asked, even tho a lot of folks are just being polite. We can talk about the weather, the bears, how's the snow etc.

And for me, a rod is so much safer INSIDE my pack. I dislike ANYTHING strapped to my pack, easier to lose/break. Nothing like getting where yer going and taking off your pack to find something isn't where it was....


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Post 06 May 2022, 16:27 • #13 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 05/19/14
Posts: 3785
Location: USA - Illinois
I feel the same about nets. That's another topic, this is a great conversation, even for an old fart who does not hike for miles and miles.


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Post 06 May 2022, 16:45 • #14 
Guide
Joined: 07/21/21
Posts: 218
Location: Florida
Having travelled a fair bit with my rods I’m concerned first and foremost about getting them on planes for my trout fishing. No trout (freshwater) here in FL so when I get a chance to chase them I’m flying. The 9ft 5wt 6 piece Fenwick World Class and Fenglass 766 actually fit in my suitcase which is great.


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Post 06 May 2022, 19:36 • #15 
Master Guide
Joined: 03/09/15
Posts: 550
Location: Arkansas
I use a pack rod on my bike. Sometimes, I have to ride to spots.


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Post 06 May 2022, 20:38 • #16 
Master Guide
Joined: 01/03/06
Posts: 666
Location: US-VA
In more well traveled areas or state forests, a pack rod that sits inside a pack avoids questions that I enjoy evading: 1) "Catch anything?" On and on... ; and more importantly, "The fishing must good there, right.?" Secrecy can really matter in high traffic areas.


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Post 06 May 2022, 21:33 • #17 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 10/26/12
Posts: 1179
Location: Fairfax, Virginia
It's much easier to go THROUGH tight brush with a 5 or 6 multi-piece rod "in" your pack as it does not snag branches or fallen logs that you are passing / crawling around (or under!) enroute to your fishing destination. I live and fish in an area chocked with rhodendrons and mountain laurel, thus and a rod tube packed "inside" one of my smaller back packs avoids the issue.

Pecos


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Post 07 May 2022, 09:55 • #18 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 06/09/05
Posts: 2383
Location: US-CO
I agree with Magic, I like my 6 pc rods because they fit inside my pack and nobody knows I am fishing back there. Nothing visible would say "fisherman" while I am hiking. Also, you don't need a rod tube to protect the rod if you place it properly inside your pack. Once I did take my favorite 3 pc rod and left it sticking out the top of my pack, a low hanging branch wiped it out of my pack and I had to hike a fair piece back to find it.


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Post 07 May 2022, 10:49 • #19 
Master Guide
Joined: 06/07/12
Posts: 697
Location: US-CA
Like Odonata, much of my fishing is in high mountain areas that are more open (big conifers, rocky soil with less undergrowth, etc.) than remote streams in the east. I have hand-carried 2 piece rods in rod socks many miles. I have also strapped 4-piece rods to my pack.

For me, a long 3 piece rod is the same as a 2 piece rod - sticks way up over the top of a pack, so I just hand carry it. If I were outfitting myself from scratch, I guess I would probably go with more pieces rather than fewer - to enable easy flying, packing, travel, etc.

The biggest concern I have is the utter lack of a suitable supply of 5 or 6 piece rods. I dearly wish someone would step up and do for glass what Hardy did with the Demon Smuggler - build a complete series of 6 piece blanks up to 6wt. I’m sure I will be corrected, but I think the only many-piece glass rods available today are niche lightweight Japanese rods and a single 5 piece Scott rod.

How many of us here would buy a 6 piece, 8 foot, 5wt? I have too many rods, but I would buy one in a heartbeat.


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Post 07 May 2022, 16:07 • #20 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 06/16/05
Posts: 2323
Location: Georgia
Well, since you kind of invited correction, Larry Kenney’s lineup includes a 8’ 5wt 5pc, Chris Barclay offers the Traveling General Practioner, 7’9” 4/5 wt 5piece, and James Greens 5pc Explorer Blanks can be made in 7’9l to 8’3”. Steffen dropped 5piece rods from their regular offerings a while back, but Shane may be willing to entertain special requests, and if he gets enough of them, who knows. And I imagine some other such glass rods and blanks are available.

In terms of a line of 6pc rods in multiple weights, it seems Cabela’s still offers the Stowaway series, if you’re not averse to that material.


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Post 07 May 2022, 16:28 • #21 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 10/09/09
Posts: 2640
Location: US-NM
When going under brush and pinion trees it is very easy to loose a tube.5 and 6 pc. Rods are great especially when they fish as good as a 2 pc. only bad thing is cost.....Aurelio


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Post 07 May 2022, 18:27 • #22 
Master Guide
Joined: 06/07/12
Posts: 697
Location: US-CA
I didn't "kind of" invite corrections, I predicted their inevitability! Thanks much for the list. The line on Kenney, Barclay, and Green is good, especially when you're confronted by the large number of makers out there (Cameron has 115 rod makers listed over at TFM!). Are there any current 6-piece glass makers?


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Post 08 May 2022, 12:14 • #23 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 05/22/16
Posts: 1408
Location: SJC
There are also budget options, like the Maxcatch Uniglass 4wt 7'6" 5 piece, which itself might be a copy of a similar Epic Fastglass pack rod. I like the Maxcatch for use on my mountain bike.


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Post 08 May 2022, 21:38 • #24 
Guide
Joined: 07/26/21
Posts: 177
Location: Central Georgia
Dont forget the 5 section Kabuto, and Bens of Holland makes a 5 section blank. Many old fenwicks too.


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Post 09 May 2022, 11:13 • #25 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 06/23/05
Posts: 4689
Location: US-MT
All my pack rods....heck all my rods......are old classic stuff. Berkley, Lami, Garcia, Gladding/SB, Fenwick are the pack rods I can think of

EDIT I have a CGR, so I do have a "modern" rod


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