5 Weight Vs 6 Weight Fly Rod – Which One Should I Choose

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The extreme fame of 5 weight fly rods might hold steady for longer. As it is a versatile size for numerous applications, it has a challenger. The 6 weight! The former is increasing in popularity because of the specialty lines available for it and its wind-cutting power.
The contest is getting stiffer, right?

Each rod weight shines in its field of application. While the 5-weight is considered a great dry fly thrower, not everyone will use it for this as it also excels in streamer and nymph fishing. 6 weights on the other hand have greater capabilities and a wide range of environmental applications. Let’s dive into the details of each.

5 Weight Fly Rods

Best Overall
Orvis Clearwater Fly Rods
Orvis Clearwater Fly Rods
High end
Recon Orvis 5-Weight 9' 4-Piece Fly Rod
Recon Orvis 5-Weight 9′ 4-Piece Fly Rod
Budget Friendly
Redington Classic Trout 9' 5 Weight - 4 Piece Fly Rod
Redington Classic Trout 9′ 5 Weight – 4 Piece Fly Rod

Weight fly fishing rods are very versatile and popular among freshwater anglers. Apart from trout, anglers use them to catch bass, carp, whitefish, and catfish. Yes, catfish! They have become a single quiver option for dry flies.
This doesn’t mean that they can’t throw small streamers and nymphs as well. For nymphing, pair it with two nymphs, an indicator, and a split shot. Here are more into choosing a good 5-weight fly rod:

Action

The broad categorization of rod actions is in three parts-fast, moderate, and slow. Fast action fly rods are rigid than moderate-action. Which is also rigid than slow action rods. As you cast, the rod will bend and store energy. The energy is released as the rod swings back.

Stiffer and higher action rods bend close to their tips and release quickly. Slow actions flex near the hand and take more time to unload.

Power

The amount of pressure needed to flex a rod is its power. More rigid and thicker fast action fly rods have high power hence their powerful casts. More flexible and thinner rods have low power and are good at producing smaller, slower, and controlled casts. These will be ideal for small rivers and streams.

Presentation

Lighter 5 weight fly rods excel in dry fly fishing where you need more accurate and delicate presentations. These offer more feel and when paired with a lighter yet standard size fly line, you will love them. As presentation rods, you will most often make shorter casts ranging from 25 to 45 feet.

Fly Line to Pair with

This rod size is excellent for lighter freshwater adventures. The 5 weight being considered versatile, will handle bigger flies too. There are very few special fly lines for this size. As you advance the weight, these are readily available. So it is a good one to take chances with.

Capabilities

While they can deliver bulky flies, they can be fully relied on. Most often the rod action and line choice will greatly influence this. Moderate-fast rods paired with standard trout lines are more subtle. However, they won’t pack the punch like that of fast-action rods rigged with beefed-up lines and aggressive tapers.

Fighting Butt

Fighting butts are big deals to some anglers. However, very few 5 weight fly rods come with them. Those that come with them can be used for fishing powerful species.

Species versatility

Although the 5 weight doesn’t have so many line options, it still does well for most freshwater applications. It is a good one for trout, bass, carp, whitefish, and catfish.

Price

5 weight rods come in different price points depending on the brand, construction, and aesthetics. Regardless of your budget, you can land a good quality stick. Even if you can go higher in price, be cautious. Don’t wallow in a desire to purchase the most expensive instead of the best one for your fishing needs.

Pros

  • Most popular among freshwater anglers
  • An excellent trout rod
  • Great for dry flies
  • Some have fighting butts for more powerful species
  • Considered the most versatile

Cons

  • Not all of them come with fighting butts

Who is it Ideal for?

Anglers focusing on dry flies should consider 5-weights fly rods but they also cast nymphs and streamers well. Those who target fish in the 10 to 20’’ length bracket will love the rod more.

What makes this Rod stand out?

We can’t stop speaking about its versatility. Its power, flex, and accuracy allow for use in most fly fishing applications. With the right action and fly line, you can switch techniques as much as you want without changing the rod.

6 Weight Fly Rods

Best Overall
Redington Butter Stick Fly Rod (680-3) - 6 Weight,
Redington Butter Stick Fly Rod (680-3) – 6 Weight,
High end
Recon Orvis 6-Weight 9' 4-Piece Fly Rod
Recon Orvis 6-Weight 9′ 4-Piece Fly Rod
Budget Friendly
Maxcatch Extreme Graphite Fly Fishing Rod 4-Piece
Maxcatch Extreme Graphite Fly Fishing Rod 4-Piece

6 weight rods are also sensible in so many fishing circumstances. They can throw larger dries and delicately present the small ones on lighter tippets. These have turned out excellent in fishing various nymphs. If you have medium streamers to use with sinking tips, this rod size makes it easy.

Action

Like the 5-weight rods, rod actions will depend on what the manufacturer wants to achieve. However, 6 weights are still available in fast, medium, and slow actions. The few variations in between the actions differ from one brand to another.

Power

An excellent 6 weight rod has more power to play larger fish as you pull the buddies away from underwater logs, boulders, or underwater cuts. 2X to 4X tippets are ideal for this. A great one should cast between 70 and 80 feet using a mini leech or nymph. It should drag out an angry monster brownie from the weeds.

Presentation

6 weights are great streamer rods as they can drive 10 to 15 feet sinking tip lines with streamers with ease. They might not throw heavy articulated streamers as better as 8 weights but they will surprise you.

These will help you conserve your energy and you feel worn out as you would when using a heavy fly rod. They work well for larger and more wind-resistant dries like stoneflies and hoppers.

Fly Line Specialties

Six weight rods are ideal for both fresh and saltwater applications. There are numerous average lines for these rod weights, you’ll come across many options for specialized fishing lines. You can buy lines tailored for bonefish, bass, redfish, and other customized tapers for bulky flies.

Capabilities

These have the power to deliver weighted flies. For instance, they are excellent for peacock and largemouth bass. As long as the conditions are reasonable, 6 weights won’t let you down.

Fighting Butt

So many manufacturers are designing 6 weight rods with fighting butts and full-wells grips. You can use this size for larger species beyond trout. The fighting butt turns out as an asset as you engage in prolonged battles while you crank that guy from your reel.

Species Versatility

As a great option for fresh and saltwater areas alike, it boasts the versatility of species you can hook. If you love chasing heavier trout, try this size! It does well for lighter-duty fishing for snook, redfish, bonefish, bass, American shad, steelhead, and carp.

Price

So many factors influence the price of 6 weight rods from workmanship, the choice of material, and other features. There are cheaper options that can perform extremely well and be mistaken for high-end rods. Expensive options exist with a punch of class and a unique aesthetic.

Pros

  • For both fresh and saltwater options
  • Mostly for heavier fish
  • A great wind-cutter
  • Great for heavy flies
  • Protects lighter tippets
  • Can throw longer casts well

Cons

  • Presentations aren’t as excellent as they would be in a 5 weight but are quite reasonable.

Who is it for?

6 weights fly rods are ideal for anglers who often cast when it is windy and love to throw big and heavy flies. For your big dry and dropper combos, the 6 weight will do. Also, fishing in heavy currents and targeting big fish will be great with this rod size.

What makes it stand out?

Its wind-cutting power is commendable. Choose this over a lighter rod on windy days. It has greater power to punch casts into stronger headwinds of 15 to 20mph.

5 or 6 Weight Fly Rod Side by Side Comparison Table

The table below briefly compares the two fly rod weights in terms of performance and construction. Aspects like the material, durability, and price will differ from brand to brand and with other considerations in mind.

ASPECT5 WEIGHT RODS6 WEIGHT RODS
ActionFast, moderate, and slow with variations in between.Slow, medium, fast, and other blends of the three categories. 
PowerNot as powerful enough for casting in the windHas more power to fish in strong winds.
PresentationGreat for dry flies but can throw nymphs and streamers too. Great for heavier bigger flies, large dry and dropper combos, a good streamer size too
Line SpecialtyVery few are  available but most anglers use standard linesNumerous for redfish, bonefish, bass, and others for throwing bulky flies
Ideal Application Mostly a freshwater weight for trout and lighter-duty applicationsCasting in the wind and for large fish in both freshwater and saltwater
Fighting ButtVery few have itAvailable on many of 6 weights rods

Final Verdict

When choosing fly rod weights, it is crucial to be open-minded. You might settle on a 5 weight fly rod but trying a 6 weight might lead to increased enjoyment and better success.
If you have been so much on the fence about weight rods or thought you might not need one, it is time to reconsider. It is an excellent wind-cutter, casts well for distance, and has more power among other benefits.
5 weight rods are also great sticks for the freshwater angler who’d like to adventure using different styles and techniques without changing their rod. You can imagine the convenience!

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