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Discussion Starter #1
I just strung up my 12wt Sage Salt to do some practice casting for Tarpon season. I maybe use this stick for 1 or 2 trips a year. I can cast my Loomis cc glx 10wt with ease. But man this 12wt is a beast. No real feel i would say and just stiff and powerful. I feel like even though my stroke is not as soulful, it blasts 80' of line like nothing, i know it can get the job done, but its not fun to cast for sure. This is the only 12wt i have ever owned so i have no reference.
Are all 12wts like this? Is that why i read 12wts are fish fighting rods and 11wts are more of a casting tarpon rod?

Does a 12wt make a big difference in the fish fight over the 11wt?

The guide i fish with in the glades likes 12wts and 10wts and not too into 11wts... so that is what i bring.

just curious.

thanks
 

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I can only speak to my Cabelas FT 11wt that I built years ago. It's a rocket but after about 30 mins of blind casting, when that's needed, I'm whupped and it is temporarily laid to rest while I do the same:) I think a lot depends on the taper, rod weight and how well the reel balances on the rod. My 0.02. Maybe you 12wt reel is much heavier than your 10 reel? Look up the specs and consider a switch if applicable.
Matt
 

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With the caveat that this is only my opinion the short answer is yes, there are better casting 12s than the (original) salt. Keep up the practice sessions. Regardless of the outfit a 12 is going to be a different animal. I did a mini shootout of every high end 12 my fly shop had on hand and while I ended up with the one that was in fact easiest for me to cast it still takes getting used to after living with mostly 9 weights and under for the rest of the year. 12 weights seem like a compromise between fighting power and castability. The good ones hold both qualities.

I'm apparently in a storytelling mood so I'll share a bit my search for a tarpon rod and how my thinking has evolved. Originally I didn't know a thing about fly tarpon fishing (and you might say I still don't). So I got an affordable rig and started practicing. Eventually I figured this has to be easier than this, and went shopping. Having read andy mill's book I tried the cc pro 1. I was using a rio tarpon line and wow, was that rod an improvement over my inexpensive stick. But, it still felt like there had to be a better choice. So on I went, casting everything I could get my hands on. Eventually I got to the Loomis NRX and Scott Meridian. I must have gone back to the shop 6 or 7 times casting those two back to back, then those against something else, then back to back, and on and on. Finally pulled the trigger on the meridian. Game over right? Not really.

I spent two seasons with the meridian paired with a sa grand slam. My guide said that combo felt like cheating. It works. Last year I decided to try an experiment and lined it up with a cortland guide with the intention of making it easier to cast. 1/2 weight heavy vs the 3/4 heavy grand slam. Then I thought I'd discovered 12 weight casting nirvana! Never one to leave well enough alone I jumped to the cortland tarpon taper, true 12 weight. That's what I'm sticking with.

So, now I have a rod that's got a smooth tip section that transfers nicely into a powerful butt section. The average tarpon fly that I'm seeing certainly doesn't need a 12 weight to throw so an overweight practically 13 weight line shouldn't really be necessary so the true to weight 12 is perfect. And it still feels like a workout when I first get kicking into 12 weight practice mode.

The takeaway here I guess, if there is one, is that finding a rod that speaks to you is possible, and even then it will take dialing it in to make it perfect for you. Even with the perfect rod paired to the perfect line you can not escape the need to practice endlessly. When you do you will be rewarded with the ability to make that tough shot cause you won't be focused on the rod. Just the fish, and where you need to put the fly. Try taking your reel and line to a fly shop and casting a bunch of different rods. Shoot, try them in 11 weights too. You might just find one that speaks your language.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
thanks for the story. I too use the grand slam 12wt on my 12wt salt. Thought being the heavier line would bend the rod a bit more. But maybe the oposite is better as you said and a lighter line lightens up the rig. thanks for the thought.
The only other 12wt i cast was a guides original loomis glx 12wt 2piece. I did not like it at all. very hard to dial in the timing for me.
 

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It's been years since I've casted the salt, and I didn't spend any time with any other line that the rio tarpon on it. I dont know if the true to weight line is a good or bad idea with that rod, but I do know that the "right" line can really help make a rod come alive. It could be the grand slam for that rod. Maybe before trying different rods you might be able to see if your local shop has any selection of demo 12 weight lines you could try on your rod to see if it helps. Otherwise maybe someone who has that rod could recommend a line or two to try.

Ultimately no matter what the practice is key. You might not want to try a whole bunch of different lines and drive yourself crazy looking at taper diagrams and grain weights and all that. If you can nail 80 foot casts you're doing well. How much casting are you doing on a tarpon trip anyway?
 

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With a 12 wt. you can handle any tarpon of any size. With the emphasis of whipping them quick and reducing the fight time, a 12 would be the right choice for me. I used to have a Clutch Theory 12 wt. and it was a dream to cast.
 

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I have an old STS 12wt and I really like the rod, but I need to find that right line. I have a 11wt Flats Pro on it now and its awesome after about 20 Ft. I do tend to run a longer (10-12' and the occasional 14')/more complex leader system I need to figure out before I get out there again.

But like the OP stated after a while (3 or so hours) of casting it wears me out!
 

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Lowcountry Degen
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Instead of practicing for Tarpon casting I've learned thru the years that I'm much better by getting a bowling ball and dropping it on my foot repeatedly .....the pain and frustration is pretty immediate and you can do it in private instead of in front of friends or a guide.
Pro tip right here.

Way, way cheaper too.
 

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Loomis NRX or Asquith 12 wt throw like an 11 but have 12 wt backbone.
Orvis breakios 12 wt throws like an 11 but....
Sage always seem stiffer to me in any weight.
I don't have a long story but thats my .02
 

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Instead of practicing for Tarpon casting I've learned thru the years that I'm much better by getting a bowling ball and dropping it on my foot repeatedly .....the pain and frustration is pretty immediate and you can do it in private instead of in front of friends or a guide.
Sounds pretty close! At least you won't be berated by the guy on the platform all day, or until it's his turn....
 

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I have few old Winsotns Bl5 including 12 weight. Joy to cast in 12! But I ma not sure if it is 12 in today's standard and although it cast standard AFTM weight 12 line (underline to 11 with Chard tapper) I am not sure if it hold/fights as today's 12.
So is it 12??? :) "Soft 12"?
Did anyone landed BIG poon (reasonably fast and safe) on BL5 12 , btw???
 

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Loomis NRX or Asquith 12 wt throw like an 11 but have 12 wt backbone.
Orvis breakios 12 wt throws like an 11 but....
Sage always seem stiffer to me in any weight.
I don't have a long story but thats my .02
I would tend to agree with this. I never truly enjoyed throw SAGE unless it was over-lined (by grain weight or fly line).
 

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my 12wt exocett is butter. actually have my tibor strung with amp tarpon 11wt. just load it and let it go. not all heavyweights are created equal. I personally don't like overly stiff heavy rods. baby needs some bend and FEEL.
 

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@mightyrime - the good news is that once you step back down from the 12 to the 10 it will feel like a 5 wt trout rod. :) What really helps throw a 12 is a perfectly timed aggressive haul. Get the double haul down and add some whoop ass to it. It makes it easier. I can throw a 12 all day without much fatigue. Going to an 11 won't gain you much - for larger fish, the 12 helps get them to boat faster and gives a bit more backbone. The 11 is closer to the 10 than it is to the 12, if that makes sense. Think of a 9 vs a 10. A 9 is closer to an 8 than it is to a 10.
 

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@mightyrime What really helps throw a 12 is a perfectly timed aggressive haul.
YES. This thread made me go out and practice a bit with my 12 and your post had me focused on hauling. Without a doubt the best casts I made were with hauls that were properly executed. Something I noticed was that my haul on the forward cast was weak. Turned out I was hauling at the wrong angle relative to the rod. Proper execution, including timing, is key. Overall I get better results not from raw power but rather proper application.


Instead of practicing for Tarpon casting I've learned thru the years that I'm much better by getting a bowling ball and dropping it on my foot repeatedly .....the pain and frustration is pretty immediate and you can do it in private instead of in front of friends or a guide.
Several cups of coffee beforehand also helps to mimic the jitters of tarpon fever
 

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@mightyrime - the good news is that once you step back down from the 12 to the 10 it will feel like a 5 wt trout rod. :)
I guess you could zip-tie one end of a garden hose to the end of a push broom handle and then throw that around in your back yard for awhile. Maybe that will then cause your 12wt to feel like a 5wt trout rod. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I think it’s just this rod. I am worried about accuracy due to the stiffness. I was practicing targets at 55’ and 75’ and totally not on the money. Without feel it’s a bit of a guess where the line goes. The salt is a weird rod, it seems like it is not bending but omg how it can launch line. I tried for total distance without accuracy. I threw the entire line minus about a foot. I may have gone further but I only had that much backing peeled off....with leader I guess that is about a 115’ cast! Too bad the tarpon game is more about accuracy. Though this rod can pound it through the wind.
I tell ya surfing 3 times a week really keeps the casting muscles in shape.
 
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