Best Retro Fly Rods of All Time...

ouzelproouzelpro Senior MemberPosts: 5,361 Senior Member
Lists by a few bloggers. The rods are limited to older, out of production models. What determines your favorite rod list? I'll borrow from Mad Men: its how the rod makes you feel. My personal list is:
-the Loomis IMX 9', 5wt.,
-the Powell Light Touch (Chico Era), 9', 4wt. (its a 2 piece, but I'll NEVER sell it),
-the Winston IM6 that I never got around to buying,
-the Sage LL 389 that I always borrowed from a guide friend
-the Redington RS2 9', 5wt. that I broke and Redington replaced with an RS3, never the same.

Here are the lists from other folk:

One more thing: limit your list to rods that you actually fished, more than once. If you diddled a rod on a grass lawn, forget it.

Of course, everyone's opinion is unique, but have fun and don't get your pantyhose in a twist over it.


  • ricinusricinus Senior Member Posts: 6,214 Senior Member
    Sage RPL's. Down the road, Sage Z-axis.

    My new goal in life is to become an Alter Kaker...
  • Tim MurphyTim Murphy Member Posts: 84 Member
    Dear ouzelpro,

    I find it hard to refer to a rod made out of the present material of choice as retro? With that caveat I'll list a couple that I'll never part with.

    Sage 279LL - My first "ultralight" fly rod, nowadays many would consider it a club best suited for nymphing since they want to cast size 22 BWO's 60 feet with their 00 weight and miss the hookup
    Sage 389LL - It's nice, and its versatile.

    Orvis 1wt - Even more perfect than the 279 for small stream work

    South Bend 290 - One for the real retro fishers. It's a handy little 7 1/2 foot 5 weight bamboo. Even the whimpiest limp wristed fly fisherman won't moan about how awfully heavy and unwieldy it is.
    Granger Victory 9050 - a 9' 5 weight bamboo made for bigger water and bigger flies. It'll do everything any graphite rod will do of the same line weight.

    Sceptre 7 1/2 foot - the fiberglass version of the SB 290. It was the only rod I had for 4 years of college when I fly fished way more than anyone could have ever imagined.
    Fenwick 857 - I'm guessing on the model number but it's an earlier 8 1/2 foot 7 weight. Perfect for smaller stream smallmouth and float tubing for green trout and 'gills.

    That's my list.


    Tim Murphy :)
  • FlytyerFlytyer Senior Member Posts: 131 Senior Member
    My favorites are all my Sage SPL's and a few TXL's.
  • IbupropaneIbupropane Junior Member Posts: 27 Junior Member
    I did not see a Orvis Far and Fine on this list or any of those linked to. I'm talking about the unsanded blank model with staggered sections.
    I've owned 2 in my life. I still have one. Its the best rod I've ever fished on skinny water.
    It would be at the top of my retro rod list.
  • magallowaymagalloway Senior Member Posts: 1,030 Senior Member
    I will agree with you about the Loomis IMX; it's a fine rod and one sits in my closet and doesn't get used nearly often enough. The main reason it doesn't is that I broke down a few years ago and bought myself a Winston WT before they disappeared or went ballistic, price-wise. The only Powell I've owned was an absolute stick of a six-weight that got foisted off on me soon after I took up the sport. Yes, it was 'Chico era', but it was still a stick.

  • George KGeorge K Super Moderator Posts: 10,013 Senior Member
    For many years I have built rods and sold them for no profit, just to pay for the hobby.


    Rods that will become part of my estate:

    Orvis "Trout" 8' 6wt - great shad, and small stream smallmouth and steelhead rod.

    Orvis "Far And Fine" 7'9" 5wt *

    Orvis "Ultrafine" 7'9" 2 wt

    - these three Orvis unsanded classics are the proverbial extensions of my casting arm.

    Orvis bamboo "7-3" 7' 3wt - slow and sweet

    Partridge cane "Traditional" 6'6" 4 wt - stiff and powerful, great fun for shad

    Sage LL 7'11" 4wt

    Sage 12'6" 4 pc 7/8 wt Spey rod

    ALL my East Branch rods - 1, 3, 5, 6, and 7 wts

    Diamondback "Classic Trout", 7' 3 wt and 7' 4 wt

    Winston LT 3 and 5 wts * These are cosmetic seconds ("Guide") that I bought for very reasonable prices when I worked P/T in a fly shop

    Fenwick "World Class" 8' 5/6 wt - My go to rod for Lake Erie trib steelheading - a fast but smooth 4 pc version of the Orvis "Trout", an easy-casting rod with enough backbone for 10-15 lb. steelhead

    Rod I really, really really regret not keeping:

    Sage LL 8'9" 3 wt (4 pc)

    * = factory rod, others I built from blanks myself.

    I have other glass, cane and graphite rods, but would sell or trade them should the opportunity arise.
    Keep your stinkin' government hands off my Medicare.
  • steve ssteve s Junior Member Posts: 9 Junior Member
    Ibupropane wrote: »
    I did not see a Orvis Far and Fine on this list or any of those linked to. I'm talking about the unsanded blank model with staggered sections. ... .

    what he said!
  • bakerloobakerloo Banned Posts: 980 Senior Member
    steve s wrote: »
    what he said!

    I fished mine this this past weekend. Here is the result.
    "So what is big is not always the Trout nor the Deer but the chance, the being there. And what is full is not necessarily the creel nor the freezer, but the memory."
    Aldo Leopold
  • swamp yankeeswamp yankee Senior Member Posts: 187 Senior Member
    GARY Loomis IM6
  • JohnnoJohnno Junior Member Posts: 3 Junior Member
    Winston 6 wgt IM6.
    Sage LL 9" 5 wgt 3 pce on the 3rd generation blank
    Sora Aquavit 8"3' 7 pce 5 wgt. The best multi piece 5 wgt that not many have heard of.
  • ouzelproouzelpro Senior Member Posts: 5,361 Senior Member
    Has anyone cast the Butterstick? Does this compare to classic, slow actions?
  • PSUMikePSUMike Posts: 1 Junior Member

    Hi guys. Nice to see a few of you are still around.

    Loomis IMX 8'6" #5
    Powell LT 9' #3/4
    Powell SS 9'6" #7/8
    Sage LL 7'9" #2
    Sage RPL10' #6 3pc
    Fisher GT-40 8' #4 4pc (any, preferably custom built -- their components were awful)

  • joyescapejoyescape Posts: 13 Junior Member

    Look what I found all over the net.

    Do you guys agree with this list?

  • FishtyzFishtyz Posts: 9 Junior Member

    Sage will always be my recommended fly rod

  • upstreamcastupstreamcast Posts: 3 Junior Member

    So many great rods from the past. The Winston IM6 and Powell Light Touch (Chico Era) are wonderful. The Orvis Superfines were (and still are) wonderful. So many & so little time ;)

  • simonmichelsimonmichel Posts: 1 Junior Member

    Dear Tim Murphy, I’ve no doubts you’ve done some research while writing on size, height, weight, and quality about the product Sage 279LL. But, can you tell me a little more about the product Sage 389LL to understand. I would expect more of this in your next write-ups, so I could get help from your information to create the content for the followers and the website Fisherreel.

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