Unlocking the Power of a 3 Weight Rod on Smallmouth Bass Using an OPST Commando Head

June 8, 2016

There is much joy to be experienced in fly fishing outside the world of trout and steelhead.  Steve noted in the last post that we're damn fortunate to live in the PNW where we can catch pretty much every freshwater species offered in North America.  Maybe this is what has made us successful in developing relationships all over the country. Or maybe its my jokes.  Who knows.

Anyway, there are many additional skills picked up by by expanding your angling horizons and getting off the trout river and onto some Bass water. A few days ago I hit the river with two of the pros that work for the OPST company and did some product testing, fishing, for Smallmouth Bass on the Lower Yakima River near Richland.  Product testing is our industry term for "fishing for fun".  

Wet wading, a #3 rod, and a feisty Smallmouth!  Nice!

These guys showed me just how much energy a 3 weight rod can deliver, without stressing the rod!  It is absolutely amazing.  No joke, I was blown away.  You can do this with ANY Single Hand Rod!!! Use it on your #5 for trout, or your #8 for Steelhead!  Its a great system, unbelievable casts.  

Here is a pretty typical June smallmouth.  You wouldn't want more than a 5 weight rod for these feisty little buggers anyway.  

Why Use a 3 Weight Rod?

Why is a rainbow pretty? Why is the sky blue?  Why does it feel good when a fish bites?  Don't ask dumb questions.  Its just fun even on smaller bass.  Isn't that what we're here for?  Although I would love to just show you pictures and a rare video of only the 4 pounders, that's simply not reality. Most of the Smallmouth, and even the trout, that we catch are quite small and hardly a challenge on the 6 weight rod that I normally use for this fishery.  Equipped with the right line any quality 3 weight will deliver the cast required for streamer fishing trout or Smallmouth Bass.

Once in a while a lunker like this one will smash our fly, but these are less common and what's better than having your ass kicked by a tough Smallmouth like this anyway?

What is the OPST Commando Line System?

What is it? Its awesome. That's all you need to know.  This line is composed of a very short shooting head combined with a mono running line and a sink tip.

This chart below includes a column for single hand rods.  On the lightest rods use a Polyleader or "RIO Spey Versileader" to be exact.  

  1. Great post. Just picked one of these up for my 6wt glass rod. What length of leader have you tried? There just doesn't seem to be a lot of info beyond the above chart on how to set up the system. Would love to hear the setups (length of rod, poly/verse length, leader length) that you are using for different types of fishing (wets, big buggers etc.) Brent
  2. To much fluff. Not enough tech info. need more about rod, line, tips, terminal tackle, balance. The next time you do a vid. about spey casting with a white line; PLEASE DO NOT USE A SNOW BANK AS A BACK DROP!!!!!!!!!!!! lol
  3. Thanks Joe. I have the Stanislaus river in my backyard....mix of trout lmb smb and stripers....have been looking for a way to fish a lighter rod...going to call you for suggestions....3 wt maybe a little light for 10lb striper in river ????....they are few and far.....this system looks like a good one for small streamers on smaller rivers?