Winter keiryu fishing

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Tyler W
Winter keiryu fishing

I made a tactical error. I have a keiryu pole arriving on Monday. I really should have waited until spring to buy a pole almost 18' long. But what is done is done. Obviously I need to find something to catch with it. It can't just lean it in a corner all winter.

Unfortunately, my first thought was winter stream trout. I've never tried winter trout fishing. Once I learned stream trout were usually smaller than redhorse I lost interest. But, keiryu poles are made for precision drift fishing. And  it is winter... 


I am hoping you can help me out.

First, does anyone have any non-trout suggestions for winter stream fishing with an 18' cane pole?

Any suggestions for rigging and fishing keiryu rods? 

Lastly, any suggestions for fishing winter stream trout?


For those not familiar with keiryu poles, this is the one I got (size 54).


RoughFish's picture
If you use a small piece of

If you use a small piece of worm or minnow you can target black bass and temperate bass, walleye, sauger, pretty much anything with the worms. I drift fish worm bits with mine exclusively and you catch almost anything it drifts in front of. Most times I do this with size 16 fly hooks with very small split shot if necessary. This hammers the trout.

Just yesterday I caught a beautiful winter bowfin doing this technique but with a spinning rod.

Tyler W

I forgot to mention I am based in Fridley, MN. Larger rivers in our area are finally getting ice cover. If I could find walleyes without ice over them, I am sure I could catch them with a good drift.

Do you ever catch nymphs from the stream to use as bait? I've collected plenty of aquatic insects in my life, but I've never used them as bait. Not sure how small, or what style hook, I would want to do that. 

I was also wondering if anyone uses a strike indicator with this technique? Or is it simply unnecessary?

RoughFish's picture
Using the bugs in the stream

Using the bugs in the stream works amazingly well, just use appropriate size hook for the particular bug. I often use small insects I find on the bottom of rocks for darters and it’s the best bait for them. People use helgrammites and other insects for trout with success.

I don’t use an indicator often, I just watch the connection of the casting line and tippet for strike indication. When I do use an indicator it’s the foam pinch on type.

Outdoors4life's picture
You could try fishing the

You could try fishing the discharge on the St croix. 
Open year round and with a 40 foot reach you could get some fish there. I have used a 12 footer there before and caught some fish. Plan on using bait. If you bring a fly that mimics the vegitation on the rocks you might catch a shad. They are fiesty too.


It is all perspective!

Acer Home Inspections

Tyler W

I've never caught a shad on hook and line. That would be an excellent test for my new rod. I just need to dig out my vice and find an algae fly pattern. 

okcaveman's picture
I just recieved my own 5.3 m

I just recieved my own 5.3 m keiryu rod in the mail last week! Mines a 5.3m diawa kiyose. I've used a tenkara rod for several years to present small bait to micros and hogsuckers, as well as smaller drum and smallmouth buffalo. I'm hoping to up my game to some bigger redhorse this spring. I've been dying to get out but it's been cold and rain all week here. To pass the time I made myself a quick and dirty wooden bait box to wear around my neck. Will come in awfully handy for the wading and microfishing I do 

Like you, I plan to chase trout, albeit mine wi likely be stockers sadly, for the next month or so, or until om able to find some suckers.

I've made myself a couple lines following a Facebook post TonyS made as a rough template, and I have gotten some keiryu marker from tenkarabum to use as a strike indicator while drifting. I dont see why and brightly colored synthetic yarn wouldnt work equally as good though. 


Leaving semantics of tenkara/keiryu/cane pole fishing out of it, i see a lot of value in fixed line fishing for suckers around where i am, and the investment into a quality fixed line rod will add a lot of enjoyment over the typically stiff and heavy cane poles i used in my youth. Keep us updated on how things progress for you! 

TonyS's picture
Winter fishing
  • Shad is a good idea, I keep meaning to try that.
  • Winter trout, could drift a live minnow through that warmer trout stream a bit south of you that has some larger than normal Browns
  • Otherwise, winter on a fixed line - White Suckers come to mind as likely to be practical right now.  If you have stream where fish don't vacate to bigger and deeper waters in winter many other species could be caught I would wager.
TonyS's picture
Fixed Lines for Bait Fishing

Line Material

In short, mono is the best for this application in my experience.  Fluoro could be fine I suppose but I've not been impressed in it for this use.  Braid would only be used in this situation if I person hates them self to a severe degree


Line diameter

Like other for sensible places the Japanese measure line by diameter and not by marketing hype (B.S.).  Though they do hold on to the archaic measurement of the Gou, typing this here in the USA I can't complain about that.  Your rod is rated for 0.3-1.0 Gou line, which equates to 0.091 mm-0.165mm.  Typically I'll use a tippet of no larger than 1 Japanese line size smaller than the max size, main line will be thicker to prevent break offs at the lilian connection.  In your case that would be a size 0.8 Gou or 0.148mm, 5x fly fishing tippet is probably the best source of that size.  In US spin mono rarely comes (if ever) comes in anything very close to that diameter, typically 2lb is thinner and 3lb is thicker - noticeably so.  With 0.148mm at the weak end, I'd go with 0.20mm or 0.23mm at the lilian connection.


Line Length

For bait fishing with 5-6 meter long rods I keep coming back to rod length minus 2' for the total line length.  Occasionally I'll go longer or shorter that Rod-2', as short as Rod-4' or long as Rod=line.   Longer lines make landing fish solo more difficult, shorter lines with bigger fish lead to straight rodding and broken lines.  Shorter 3-4 meter rods I normally go equal to rod length. 


Line parts:

My go to recently has been a 2 part line  due to being easier to track visually in difficult light, less prone to wind knots and being easier to tie up.  That would be a main out of a thicker, hi-vis line say 4' shorter than the rod and a 2' of tippet for the hook and shot end.   I've also used 3 part lines - with a short heavy hi-vis section at the lilian of maybe 5', a long clear section with markers usually with a line at max rated line for the rod long enough to get the desired total line length, and 2' tippet at one line size smaller than the max rating.  This gives some comfort when you get your line tangled in a tree (which surely doesn't happen to anyone other than me).  Also has better line control since more of the line is thinner. 


Line to Lilian connection:

Slip loop to the lilian, If you look at the link below I do this except that I leave more tag below the stopper knot and then slide the stopper knot to butt up against the overhand knot.  This prevents the overhand knot from rolling and slipping, which it will sometimes do if using thin lines against heavier fish.


Line to Line connections:

Terminate the other end of the main line with a tippet ring, micro swivel or uni-to-uni to the tippet.  I go back and forth frequently on my preferred way to connect lines - I've been mostly leaning in the uni-to-uni direction lately.  I usually lose 3 tippet rings for every 1 get tied on and that's indoors…



For red wigglers (e. Fetida) I'm a fan of #12 Raven specialist hooks but most small hooks are just fine.  For red worms (e. Hortensis) something more in the #8 size is more to my liking.  Maggots are better with #16 or even smaller hooks.  Live nymphs are easier to hook with barbless hooks or super fine wire Japanese hooks.  I most often fish with wigglers (e. Fetida), they are the right size for my preferences and hold up well enough.  Plus I've got thousands of them at home.



I'm usually drifting bait ticking bottom so a bobber gets in the way. I prefer the keiryu markers, 3 or 4 of them set 6"-8" apart with the lowest marker set so it is just above the surface of the water in the deepest I'm expecting to fish.  Bobbers are in the pack in case I need to suspend the bait off bottom but that doesn't happen often for me.


How I personally would set up the same rod to give you a starting point for experimentation: use  about 14' of 0.2mm hi vis mono for the main line, I usually use 4lb solar green Trilene XT but there are plenty of other 4lb hi vis lines the same size that would work just as well. Tippet would be 2' of 5x fly fishing tippet or other line of ~0.15 mm if you can find one.

Tyler W
Too late...

Well, I saw this post shortly after leaving Cabela's. I got a spool of 6lb Spiderwire floro (0.25 mm). I use 12lb Spider Wire floro for leaders. The stiffness seems like an asset on a pole. Not to mention the abraison resistance and the visibility. 

I'll give that a try, probably with a 4lb leader / tippet. 


The rod arrived in the mail today. First impressions are very positive. This rod is like nothing I've handled before. So, long, and so incredibly light! I was confused by discussions of one handed or two casting. I didn't really understand how you could cast a pole. I get swinging the bait, but I would hardly call a pendulum swing a cast. But  this rod is so soft you can actually make a sort of sidearm cast. And, even though the rod is 18' I had no problem doing it one handed.

I went to a deep pool on Rice Creek tonight, but it was frozen. I'll find a place to do some actual fishing soon.

TonyS's picture
Fluoro would be fine, even

Fluoro would be fine, even that diameter will be fine for a mainline (though I prefer thinner).  I mostly prefer mono for a little extra stretch. Tippet though you'll want thinner, anything over 0.165mm is a risk for tip damage and keiryu rods will protect much thinner line against surprisingly large fish. I actually most often swing the bait over hand rather than a pendulum, especially with tiny shot.  But you'll figure out what works for you.  you'll probably find fighting fish of any size requires 2 hands on the rod but most 5m keiryu rods are light enough fish with one hand until a fish forces the other hand. most 6m rods on the otherhand feel awkward casting with 1 hand

Mike B
Mike B's picture
Lots of good advice here. If

Lots of good advice here. If I can offer any, it's carry a small elastic band with you. Being guideless, reel-less, and foam-less, there is no where to rest your hook on a keiryu rod -- at least not on any of the rods I've seen. That makes walking around with, or setting down, an extended rod difficult -- especially in the wind. And trying to hang onto the hook and line or hold it against the rod is a pain in the butt.

But with the elastic, you can fasten the line to the butt of the rod when not casting or drifting. Sure makes life a lot easier when keiryu fishing ... in my opinion.

mike b

Tyler W

Well... I got out to the Kinni. On the advice of a serious trout fanatic I went to the park below the dams right in River Falls. Despite the cold weather I did find rising fish. And, I found a very helpful flyfisherman catching them on a size 20 or 22 emerger pattern (more specifically a dry fly being fished wet as an emerger).


I... I did not catch any. So, I know I was on top of actively feeding trout for at least an hour and I couldn't connect. The guy next to me caught 5 while I watched. 


I am racking my brain trying to figure out what I did wrong. I have a few ideas, but I am not sure if it was one of them, all of them or something else. This is one case where Monday Morning Quarterbacking is appreciated. I can't tolerate being outsmarted by trout... even if they are the most heavily pressured trout in the Midwest. 

First, how I was rigged up. 6lb fouro to a 5X tipped. I was using a single B splitshot, about 6" up from a #17 fine barbless nymph hook. I was using a scud hooked once across the back. 

Possible mistakes:


     1. Strike indicator. I didn't trim the ends from my keiryu yarn indicators. I thought they were left long for visibility. Upon review, it seems they are cut shorter... Did the bright pink yarn hovering over the waters surface (and dipping into it occasionally) spoke the fish off my bait?


     2. Wrong hook. I wanted a fine wire barbless hook. And the hook I found happened to be a long shank nymph hook. Are pressured trout (like in a park on the Kinni) smart enough to see a #17 hook sticking out of a scud? I didn't make any attempt to hide the hook... because it was "small" and black. 


   3. Wrong bait. The scuds I was using are small, but they were not as small as the #20 fly my new friend was using. Are winter trout so sensitive to size they won't eat a live scud, but will eat a #20 fly? 


     4. Missed bites. If the indicator, hook and bait aren't enough to explain my complete failure... then could it be bite detection? I had assumed strike detection would be easy... it wasn't my first fishing trip. The rod is so soft I can barely feel my split shot hit the bottom. Was I not registering strikes because I don't know what to look for? I didn't assume I would feel strikes, but was watching the yarn closely. 


    5. Bad technique. If bite detection is obvious then is the keiryu technique harder to master than I thought? I assumed you held the rod as steady as you could and moved it downstream keeping the live vertical...  


    6. Something else? What am I missing? Honestly, I am not sure if any of the first 5 are enough to explain my complete failure. 


  I will be going back as soon with proper yellow lense sunglasses, smaller hooks, smaller flies, strike indicators, more time, waders, a backpack shocker and a few sticks of dynamite... I WILL NOT LET TROUT MAKE A FOOL OF ME! 


Any suggestions are appreciated. 


P.S. Mike B - Try the Owner Line Winder It can be used as a hook holder with the rod extended, or a line holder with the rod collapsed. I got one with my rod, but I wish I had gotten more to easily store and switch between different lines. 


P.P.S. Tony - Try the RP (Royal Polaris) knot. It has a bunch of names, but is best described as a "reverse albright". It makes a smaller and smoother knot than the uni which can actually slid through spinning rod guides without snagging. 


TonyS's picture
winter on the Kinni.  I grew

winter on the Kinni.  I grew up on those waters so I can speak to it directly since I've fished it with every kind of tackle. 


from experience I'm doubtful of 1 and 2

of course winter in WI is artificial lure only (unless that has changed).  Scud flies are a good option most days but not airways. 

3 is compelling, if they are feeding on emergers they could very well ignore scuds. even with stupid mountain trout in CO I've seen trout ignore scuds in favor of dries and emergers. just depends. 


4 and 5 are very possible but from here it's tough to say. one of these days we should get out and investigate that

Tyler W
Bad news

I swear that I read somewhere that WI allowed live bait in the winter, but it had to be a barbless hook... I was so happy to hear that I didn't double check it. You are correct and I got lucky. Now I have a whole scoop of scuds to do something with...


I never understand the now live bait during the C&R season. It is an unfair prejudice against bait fishermen. I've managled a good number of fish with lures. A single hook is never that hard to remove from a fish. Come on DNR, cut us some slack! These stupid things are hard enough to catch in the winter. Why make it harder? 


I was afraid that 4 and 5 were the most likely, because they are the hardest to improve. I figured out how to catch bigmouth buffalo... I can figure this out too. 


Tony, let me know when you are availble for Keiryu coaching. I'll bring beer. 


kernel j
Maybe the rod?

Y' with an 18' keiryu in cold, clear winter streams might be a bit tough in the realm of stealth presentations.  That's 18' of shiny, reflective finish and you're moving it about quite a bit in close proximity to the fish so spooking quarry isn't out of the question.  Next time, take the flyrod and score a few catches, then try to adapt what you know works (for you) over to the fixed line approach.


Doesn't hurt to find a bit of shade cast on a lower sun to stand in when waving long, shiny sticks, either.  I've taken to no-bait redhorsing in recent years with flytackle and the movement (or lack thereof) above water is only everything on small waters.  If you want to catch 'em on fakes, anyway.


Set up a phone cam or similar and get a 10-15 minute video of yourself actually fishing to see how obnoxious your presence is or isn't.  It can be very revealing and, in my experience, not always flattering.  Movement in the air above is predator-like and sometimes that alone puts off fish.  May not scatterspook because of it, but they'll often get real picky about what and how they'll eat if at all.



TonyS's picture
from my experience it is no

from my experience it is no harder to hide an 18' pole than it is to hide a fly line. maybe even easier, just different tactically.  I will note I don't fish under my rod tip in shallow water,  typically I'm fishing the bait upstream of the rod tip unless I'm fishing fairly deep.  you can flick the bait upstream with even less rod motion than a fly rod when you get it down.   But I stand by opinion that Trout with heads-up can be tough to catch scraping bottom, at least in that area.   Failure to catch fish during hatches was the reason I first took up fly fishing. I think the the described situation fly fishing would have just been the right solution. 


as for getting out, I could be talked into it.  I'm usually on ice until March but I  prefer open water when it is above freezing.  I'm around pretty much every weekend in the near future

Tyler W
Tony, how do you keep your

Tony, how do you keep your bait upstream of the rod tip? Is it as simple as moving the tod slightly faster than the current? I had to read that twice because the first time I was sure you wrote "downstream".

I have (despite all logic) committed to doing this with the keiryu rod. In part, because it is an excellent test of the rod. And also because I can't admit I over paid for a cane pole.

I might have been spooking fish. I should have included that on my list of possible mistakes. I did make sure I wasn't casting my own shadow on the water. And fish rose within 10 ft of me, so at the time I assumed I wasn't spooking them. And that probably made me less careful...

I have a couple ideas to keep me further away from the fish on my next attempt.

1. Tenkara. I purchased a floating tenkara line with the rod. I could try small dries if I find rising fish again.

2. Bastard tenkara. Use the floating tenkara line with weighted nymphs and a strike indicator.

3.Cane pole. I think that is what you get if you use a strike indicator (bobber) with a keiryu rod.

TonyS's picture
I cast the bait upstream of

I cast the bait upstream of rod tip and then move the rod tip typically at the speed of current.  With 18' of rod I typically have 16' of line so getting the bait to land 12' or so upstream of the rod tip is easy with a properly timed flick of the tip. 

In a hatch, I'd go with the floating line and dries.  Outside of that the keiryu style line and nymphs should be effective.  Strike detection on nymphs takes practice, trout are quick to eject a fly but it's not like they are carpsuckers or anything.


Indicator rigs have a time and place but I find any kind of tightlining to be more effective most the time - your mileage may vary.  

andy's picture
I don't think it's a good rig for nymphing

Honestly, Winter trout eject a dead-drifted nymph so quickly that even with a short, fast action rod and decades of experience watching an indicator I am late on some takes.  A big long soft rod seems way too slow for consistent hookups on artificials.  Also, I do think that rod tip waving above their heads will spook them as well.  Just my opinion, and I hope you find some action but I doubt it's a viable way to consistently hook Winter stream trout.


I know that poles like that are very deadly on trout streams when you can sneak up on the bank and dap a live bait right into a small hole or undercut bank.  Easy pickings then, but that's more of a Summer tactic.  

okcaveman's picture
This is a great thread! I'm

This is a great thread! I'm learning a lot reading through it. I still havent gotten out on a stream with my rod (nasty weather and high water), hopefully this coming weekend will bring better conditions.

Good luck on your next trip out!

Tyler W

I got out before the cold weather, but this was the first chance I had to sit down and post pictures. I am still not 100% sure what I did wrong the first time, but I did a few things right the second time. 

I made a number of changes. First was going from the flouro main line to a 5x tippet and a 6x leader. Second, I switched from live bait with a split shot to a #20 weighted nymph. That gave me a direct connection between the hook and the rod tip. Third, I found a little pool of water early in the morning that was full of trout I could watch. Honestly, these fish were not particularly smart. They really loved the #20 brassy. And, that gave me lots of practice on strike detection with the keiryu yarn indicators. 


What I noticed was they didn't (despite the long noodle rod) pull the yarn down, but instead the yarn would make a little "shimmy" motion when they took the nymph. I do think this is a much more sensitive way to detect strikes than a floating strike indicator. If I had landed every fish I hooked I would have had an amazing day. I lost at least three before even I landed my first one (I ended the day with 4 fish in hand). I am sure that was a combination of using a #20 hook and a noodle to set said hook. So many times I would lift rod, see the fish turn and then the hook would pop out. Less often I would actually get to fight the fish before losing it. 


I paid close attention to any reaction of the fish to the rod, and honestly, I couldn't tell. I was able to reach the rod over the pool and watch as trout swam around and hit the brassy. They didn't like it if I made a sudden movement, but the rod itself didn't seem to matter. Later when the midge hatch started I had trout rise under the rod before and after it passed over them. It was a cloudy day which probably made the rod less obvious. Or, it just looks like a tree branch. Or, these trout are small and stupid... 


When trout started rising to midges I briefly tried the smallest strike indicators I could find. I caught one trout doing this, but it was hooked under the jaw. Which, makes me wonder if the strike indicator actually worked, or if I just snagged him. The strike indicator did give me longer drifts than the the tight line method, but I knew I would only see the most aggresive takes. I will keep strike indicators in my bag. I imagine that some times (with aggressive fish) they will make for easy keiryu fishing. 


With trout rising all over, and within easy reach of the keiryu rod, I tied on some heavy (12lb) flouro, 6x tippet and a #20 dry midge. 


In this photo the pole was propped up on some grass, which makes this trout look amazingly small (it was small, but not micro small). The keiryu rod did the trick as a passable tenkara rod. The 18' length allowed me to keep most of the line off the water and get drag free drifts over rocks etc. And, key for winter fishing, I had no guides to freeze up! 


Some lessons learned:

1. I hate trees. This rod will be even more useful wading. 

2. Weighted nymphs are barely heavy enough to flick around with a breeze. 

3. Small hooks and soft rods make for difficult hooksets. This part will take more practice, or I need to start tying my own "keiryu flies" with extra weight and wide gap hooks. 

4. Keiryu fishing is fun. 

TonyS's picture
Congrats on the success! I'm

Congrats on the success! I'm sure you'll continue to find what does and does not work for you


Markers - I always describe it as a hestitation or a "jump" more than being pulled down.  This is second nature to any one who has used hi vis line to detect super light jig bites or anyone who has played around with euro/czech nymphing on a fly rod but would be foreign to most any one else

Sudden movement - same with carpsuckers and many fish in clear water - sudden motion is a killer but pretending to be a heron works well


Trees - super annoying when one is in just the right spot.  But not as concerning as power lines...


Hooksets - I like to make them long and sweeping.  this is easier with bait but is always worth experimenting with flies as well.  Tension is near instant, with tension it becomes harder to eject the hook as the bend increases it sinks the hook to the bend.  Works for me at least.


Keiryu fishing is fun for sure

andy's picture

Glad you caught some trout!  

Tyler W
Drop Shot and Tenkara Line

I got out again with the keiryu rod and tried a few new things. 

The first thing was to place my split shot below my brassy nymph. I simply tied a palomar with a long tag and put the shot on that. It seemed to make bite detection easier. I knew there was no slack between the nymph and the line marker. It had all the normal advantages of a drop shot rig, but miniturized. 


The other thing I tried was some tenkara style fishing. I hadn't found a tenkara line I was totally happy with. I wanted something that floated for making long drifts in long runs. But, it also needed to be heavy enough and stiff enough to cast. What line is stiff and floats? Cheap mono! I inentionally got the cheapest spool of 25lb mono I could find at Cabelas ($4). I would not recomend this line for anything else. The stiffness and memory would make it almost impossible to use on a reel. After I pulled it a couple times to remove the coils I was happy with how it worked as a tenkara line. I had the "tenkara" line as long as the rod, plus a 3'-4' leader. When I focused on casting with a whip snapping motion I could lay out the whole length of line and tippet with a dry midge and brassy dropper. 


Despite the improvements to my rigging, I only landed two fish. The midge hatch wasn't enough to get the trout excited on such a cold and sunny day. And I still struggled with setting a #20 hook. I had several times when a hook slipped and the line and rigging went shooting into the trees and bushes. By the time the fly is retrieved (or retied) the trout in the pool have spooked off and it is back to blind drifting. I am looking forward to summer when I can start fishing with bigger hooks for bigger fish.  Or, I am going to have to take up fly tying so I can make some wide gape brassy nymphs in small sizes. 

TonyS's picture
drop shotting

I had forgotten about drop shot nymphing.  That's one of the better tricks in tight-line nymphing, good to hear you are picking up a few fish.  

David H-E
Keiryu rod recommendations

I have done some tenkara for trout and sunfish, but this year I would like to try catching other native fish on a fixed line rod.  Can y'all recommend keiryu rods that would be good for suckers, redhorse, carp, etc. in southern Minnesota?  I am considering a Daiwa Kiyose 43M.  Is 43cm a good length?  Should I get a longer rod, or a stouter rod like a Nissin Kyogi?

TonyS's picture
Rod for southern MN warm water

I've used the Kiyose and the Kyogi, I mostly fish closer to the MSP metro but fish SE MN plenty.  For your typical sub 5lb fish the Kiyose is a decent rod.  That would cover the suckers and the majority of the redhorse in that area and small Carp.  Large Silvers and Greaters and average sized Carp aren't going to come easy on 5x tippet to a fixed line rod.  If your intent to focus on bigger fish a carp rod like the Kyogi is going to work better.  Length wise I am of the opinion that 4.3m is too short unless you are fishing really tight water.  I'd consider something in the 5m or 6m range to ideal, going with Keiryu or Carp based on the tippet strength / fish size you desire.

Tyler W

Even after sticking my rod and line in trees on every trip, I also recommend the longer rod. The thing is with a fixed line you are never reaching straight out. I.e. if you held a 4.3 meter rod parralel to the ground you would need water about 9ft deep. So, you are almost always holding the rod at a 45 deg angle. Now your 4.3 meter rod is only reaching 2.5 meters and 8ft just isn't very far. 


That being said, if you have a specific creek in mind and you know it is full of trees and you don't wade... get a shorter rod. If you wade or will be fishing all over with it I think the longer rod should pay off. You can choke up on a long rod. You can't stretch a short rod. 


I also think that these rods are like golf clubs. It probably takes a whole bag of them to perfectly match each "shot". I don't really mind collecting rods so I see that as a positive. 

TonyS's picture
Not just reach

With a fixed line rod length also has a major impact on the ability to handle large fish.  The larger the shock absorber the better.  On a big fish you can run out of flex in a 4m pretty quick if the fish has room and is powerfull enough. This goes double in flowing water where the fish has the current to use against you.  In Japan, carp rods may only go to 6m typically but the carp are usually modist sized and usually in ponds.  Salmon are targetted in flowing water and the rods are usually 8-10m. 

David H-E
Rod length for large fish

So for large fish (5-10lb or larger), does this mean it would be best to have a 6M rod? 

TonyS - for your big fish, would you use the Kyogi 18 (17.6' rod) or Kyogi 21 (20.7' rod)?

TonyS's picture
Longest you can get away with...

The 18 and the 21 are both perfectly capable of handling 10lb+ fish.  However I'd go 21 over the 18 as a preference.