Every few days, an email comes in on the topic of rod/reel/line setups for chironomid fishing in specific. While it does not have to be overly expensive, having quality equipment goes a very long way in making your experience as enjoyable as possible. Our boats and my personal arsenal are both set up with what I believe are the best tools for the job. Here is a detailed breakdown:
ROD: Scott Flex 966-4
One beautiful thing about chironomid fishing is that your fly spends equal or more time in the water than any other technique. I have heard people say that the rod you use doesn’t matter as you are not casting very frequently, but when you are casting why not give yourself as much advantage as possible?
We have a full fleet of these rods for a reason, they are not a ridiculously fast rod which is a great asset for a) turning over very long leaders, allowing the rod to load into the bottom section without a ton of speed and b) those who have not cast a fly rod before will find this action of rod very forgiving. The extra 6 inches from a standard 9-foot rod creates additional leverage for digging long leaders out of the water.
REEL: Ross Cimmaron II 5/6
There is no way around it, having a quality fleet of reels that can handle fish taking lengthy runs into your backing will save you a lot of headache in the long run. These reels are very low maintenance, they had a mid to large sized arbor that allows quick pickup when fish decide to turn around and run towards the boat.
I am personally a fan of disc-drag reels and the way the adjustable tension allows you to bring fish to hand quickly. The handle and drag knob are both very easy to grab without looking, the startup inertia is almost non-existent and the porting system makes them a very light reel.
LINES: Scientific Anglers Wavelength Titan/Amplitude Anadro & MPX