If you fish in areas that are known for larger fish than why not use a rod that was made for the task. The term large fish is relative to the water you are fishing. A brookie that tapes out at eight inches is large if you are fishing the hills of Virginia, but if you have the potential to hook in to an eight plus pound fish go with a seven weight. I have had more than a few people say to me that is a big rod for trout. I have to disagree and say that it is one of the most versatile rod weights out there. This is a highly over looked rod weight in the fly fishing industry and I can’t figure out why. Keeping in mind that I live and work in Colorado but travel to both North and South America fishing. Most of my work and fishing is done in Colorado, so not everyone has the same fishing situations that I do but a seven weight rod will do the job for you in most situations. The seven weight rods also comes in handy when I travel to the Salt or on a trip to South America.
When wind is a big factor say Wyoming or Montana, actually about any were in the west, you won’t be bothered by it nearly as much than if you are fishing a fast six. Which is typically what most would call a good rod for trout in the wind. If you ever are throwing big air resistant dry flies like the Chubby Chernobyl, hoppers or Salmon flies a seven weight makes the task much easier. When you find yourself throwing heavy nymphing rigs with a bigger indicator you will not be working as hard with a seven weight and the seven weight is far more enjoy able and more efficient to mend at a distance or in the wind. Big streamers with a sinking line are perfect for the seven. One would think you were throwing size 18 BWO’s with a four weight. From Redfish on the Texas coast to Bonefish in Mexico and Belize a seven weight is the perfect cross over rod for the salt.
The SAGE 790 ONE is one hell of a stick, I prefer a 9’-6’ or a ten footer for most nymphing situations but a nine footer is your best bet for an all-around rod. Even if you fish solely in the freshwater, most folks don’t consider the 790 SALT. This rod has a softer tip than the ONE that I believe makes for a better mending rod and it will be a great choice for your semiannual trip to Mexico for Bonefish. I have many of my clients fishing seven weight ONE’s and SALT rods on the Gunnsion River and the Uncompahgre river in Colorado, from streamers to size 20 Midges they have yet to let me or my clients down.
Next time you are at the rack looking at a new rod for Western fishing, don’t overlook the red headed step child, the seven weight. This is a great chose for big trout, wind, big dry flies, heavy nymph rigs, streamers and a cross over rod for the salt. What is not to love?
Matt McCannel manages and is the head guide at RIGS Fly Shop in Colorado where he guides on the Gunnison and Uncompahgre Rivers and is on the SAGE Pro staff. @mccannel26