By Zach Lazzari
I’m all for a nice 5-weight that handles everything from small streamers to tiny dry flies for trout. On many trout rivers and lakes, a good 5-weight will get the job done and 6-weight will handle the bigger chores. I do however really love a stout 7-weight for big flies, heavy sink tips and aggressive streamer fishing. It’s not too much rod to enjoy those 18-20 inch fish and it has the power to crank on the bigger ones. If you’re prospecting for big fish, give this setup a try.
ReaperX 9-Foot, 7-Weight Fly Rod
I started fishing the ReaperX 9-foot, 7-weight setup for Golden Dorado in Northern Argentina and since first stringing it up, the rod has sat on my dash, rigged with a streamer and ready to roll. It’s gone through four different sink tip lines, all destroyed by rocks and heavy use and I expect it will burn through many more. It’s also landed a variety of species, surviving some brutal environments, abusive behavior and serious travel. If a shelter existed for battered fly rods, my ReaperX would be seeking asylum.
The lightweight nature of the rod is a major reason it’s become such a common tool in my arsenal. Slinging heavy lines and big flies all day is tiring. But the fast action, comfortable grip and light design acts as an energy saver. I keep my casts simple, loading the rod in 2-3 false casts with a double haul to carry the distance of the running line. I can keep on fishing for hours, prying deep lakes and heavy river currents using this awesome rod setup.
Matching a Fly Line
You can fish streamers, nymphs and dry flies effectively using a floating line with the 7-weight and any other weight class rod offered in the ReaperX lineup. My 7-weight is primarily used with a sink tip line however. Every sink tip style line is a little bit different but the weight rating systems are fairly consistent across the board. Modern streamer lines come with an attached running line, with a smooth transition. You can also build your own, but the packaged lines are great.
I like a 15-foot sink tip for most applications. You can go longer but keep in mind that you must cast the majority of that line before letting it fly. For trout fishing, the 15-footer is ideal and when you really need to go deep, simply waiting an extra couple of seconds before starting the retrieve is all that’s necessary.
Some sink tip models come packaged to match a specific rod weight. This makes life easy and you can simply choose the 7-weight line. Otherwise, I shoot for 185 grains to match a 7-weight rod. You can go a bit heavier but 185 grains is a sweet spot for me.
Targeting Big Trout with the ReaperX
A heavy sink tip is a very specific way to fish and it’s not always the best method. When you want to target big trout in heavy water or run deep in lakes, this is your ticket. Fishing shallow ledges and riffles presents an issue however. You can still fish the shallow stuff but the retrieve is always fast to prevent snagging. Really focus on the sink tip setup when you want to drop flies way down deep off a lake shelf or when you are prying deep tailouts and cutting through river currents to get down quickly.
For me, I grab my 7-weight ReaperX with a sink tip when I want to throw big articulated flies in rivers or when I’m really testing the deep waters in lake systems. It’s been a big producer and has picked up more fish than most of my other trout rods combined.