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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: 1,034 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: 10,892 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.
    "...this low-rent Lear raging on his Twitter-heath has proven that the phrase malignant buffoon is not an oxymoron..."

    George Will
  • 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.
  • 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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