Spaz's Excellent DT adventure - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 68 (permalink) Old 04-10-2015, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
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Talking Spaz's Excellent DT adventure

A recent thread about DT's got me thinking, and wondering. I started to wonder exactly what rods might like my DT8F, which ones would work better, exactly what can I get away with here? It's not impossible till I can prove it's impossible, right? So I went to work at it for a few hours this morning.

Some weather was on the way in, but I scored a window of decent conditions this morning and only a puffy, light upstream breeze was there to disturb my snake rolls. Not enough to go to doubles or cach singles, but enough to be careful. I was thinking ahead and was wearing some backup waders and a jacket I couldn't give a flip about. I know first aid. Let the hooks fly!

I used a Rio Mainstream DT8F, 82 ft/620 gr, a 12' leader terminating in 10# and a perfection loop at the tippet for convenience of swapping the rods back and forth. Into this loop went a sort of red and orange size 2 Winter's Hopey sort of fly. Sparse, kind of heavy, a good fly to greaseline in late spring. Which is what DTs are really good at.

First rod up, my Meiser 13'6" Turbo S. I felt the grain range and regressed action would be ideal. Besides, I just like fondling it.

Second, my 15' 8/9 Deer Creek. I've found that rod very capable of handling lines below the listed grain window of 650-850, so I figured what the heck.

Third, I decided to be absurd. I tried my 10/11 Stinger Alta. Why? 'cuz I'm SpeySpaz, that's why! I have no idea why I try these things.

Fourth, my Death Star. I know, I know. Had to do it, man. The grains could be right and everything else was wrong, this choice screams impending doom and shame.

Fifth, my Echo SR 4106. WHAT!! a DT8F with a 10'6" 4wt switch rod?
Yes.

Sixth, the rod I usually use this line on- my 12'6" 5/6 Deer Creek. Sort of as a control for the experiment. When I need my form tuned up I go there, and this rod/line combo is like Gypsy, the Acid Queen. She will put your head right.

How did it go? Wait for the next post, I'm going to make a cup of coffee.

In the meantime, any speculation about results are welcome!

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Last edited by SpeySpaz; 04-10-2015 at 05:33 PM. Reason: line specs
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post #2 of 68 (permalink) Old 04-10-2015, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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Post #2: how did it go?

Hint: gear guys both upstream of me and downstream were elbowing their partners, pointing, and speaking in low tones. Yes, it was bad at times

The 13'6" for 7wt Turbo S just didn't give me love. I got some casts out with it, but the limit of not-ugly casts seemed to be about 70 feet. I had the backing knot in my hands a couple times, but the rod was asking for either more weight or more competence from me. Probably both.

The 8/9 Deer Creek seemed like the length was acceptable to it, but simply couldn't get a good sense of flex in the forward stroke. Nice slow lifts and long long motion helped, but the rod simply wasn't giving back. Too hard to stay in touch with the line. I did get a couple of casts out with the full line out of the tip on the lift, but it was a little hellish.

The 10/11 Stinger Alta ignored me. She simply ignored me. I would have thought, as a tippy scandi rod, that I could have at least engaged the top third of the rod but I couldn't time it at all. I usually use a 45 ft/650 gr head on this rod, so the grains were only a bit light but the length was killing me. Simply could not load the rod. My bad, I'm sure.

The 7126 Death Star was a huge surprise! Cast way better than I thought it would, and a longish A>B up top with a poppy bottom hand actually produced a couple Deltas with about 65-75 foot of line out of the tip. (I have sharpie marks at 40 and 60 foot on this line for reference). I wouldn't go so far as to say I'd fish with it, but that was really fun to try.

*Right about then, the wind began to build a bit and a colored up steelhead of about 10 lb began jumping clear of the water upstream of me. I fought off the impulse to throw all the rods in the truck and get after it, and lined up the switch. By now I'm thinking, what level of hell will I visit now?*

NONE, as it turns out. The 4 wt switch was hilarious with this line. Absolutely great. It was loaded up -but not to the corks- with about 60 ft of line out of the tiptop. I just let that little rod work, and work she did. I was shooting line till there was only about 5ft of line still on the spool. Not bad, and mystifying. This is not supposed to happen. I don't know, I'm just a dummy standing in the river, maybe you can figure it out. Oh, I didn't cast it the way I would with its customary line on it (Beulah Elixir, 245 gr and short), but I was witnessing los cojones grandes for sure. By now, the gear guys are convinced I'm nuts, standing in the water chuckling and saying "I don't believe this".

....and back to home base, the "control" rod. 12'6" 5/6 Deer Creek. Grateful to arrive, because the wind's coming up pretty good now. I'm casting clean 60-70 footers in the still pauses between the gusts, backing knot in my hand after the shoot. Smooth as butter, reasonably respectable loop and layout, fishing the soft current like a champ. I strung this rod up, put all the rods and tubes back in my truck, and actually gave it some fishing time looking for a bite but no fish today, couple trout took a swipe at it but that's all.

Next post will be conclusions and lessons learned.

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post #3 of 68 (permalink) Old 04-10-2015, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Post #3: My thoughts and insights

* Was this a valid test to perform? After all, I was haphazard with my choice of rods and only gave each rod about 15 minutes before switching to another, but I worked through a range of casting techniques with each, putting in corrections and trying to get more line out on each lift. For me, it was an adequate trial to determine rod/line compatibility, but certainly not a substitute for working through the line thoroughly.
However, I suspect that if I was standing only shin deep instead of thigh deep I might have gotten better results, or stood in a current rather than frog water for cast testing. Most of my pickups were from a semicircular, far from downstream hangdown. The swing at this spot petered out prior to a straight dangle so I had to pull out some tricks on the lift.

* I think the action of the rod rules in casting DTs. My favorite rods for DTs are progressive taper, moderate-fast flex rods with a load on, and they should have a little snap to them without being broomsticky. Of the rods I used today I enjoyed my little 5/6 the most, the Switch second, and the Death Star a distant third. All three of these rods cast about the same amount of the DT, though the 5/6 shot more line than the others. There was more than one surprise there!
However, I can see how the adage of using a full SH DT in whatever your DH rod's weight class is, could be true, or at least was in an era of fuller-flexing, somewhat slower rods. The mass of the rod itself would assist the cast, the flex would bring timing down from "very difficult" to "not too bad", and the slower pace would really help in an accurate anchor placement.
I had a 9140 Brownie I wanted to try today, but the reel seat was too long to accept my reel with the DT on it, so I guess I'll save that for my Excellent DT Adventure, the Sequel.

Questions:
Do many of us have some experience with this?
Do many of us regularly use DTs in their fishing, and for what application?
Do you view the DT as a modern fishing tool or more of a disciplined training aid?


Thanks for reading this far. All comments are appreciated.

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post #4 of 68 (permalink) Old 04-10-2015, 11:37 PM
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Fun read and probably a fun day on the water too. I learned TH casting using an 8 wt DT on my old 6126 sage brownie years ago before graduating to mid length, skagit, and scandi head lines. It cast pretty decently, but not as nicely or as effortly as the newer line designs though. I still dig it out and try it whenever I am testing out a new rod that I think might handle it. I have 4 rods in the 5 to 7 wt range stretching from 11 to 12.5 feet that all like the line to varying degrees, you just need to pull in or let out more line to find the sweet spot on each rod.

This weekend I am trying out a new 11 ft 3/4 I just built and am trying several lines on it, but unfortunately I think that old 8 wt DT is too much for that little switcher. Maybe if I had a DT in 6 weight....

"Perhaps fishing is, for me, only an excuse to be near rivers." - Roderick Haig-Brown
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post #5 of 68 (permalink) Old 04-11-2015, 12:02 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Peteo, I thought I was all alone in the forest there for a minute!

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post #6 of 68 (permalink) Old 04-11-2015, 02:18 AM
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Wish I had picked up one of those CND dt when they where around, was fun to play with

Tight lines! B K Paige
"Occupy Skagit"
Wishin I was fishin the Sauk!!!
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post #7 of 68 (permalink) Old 04-11-2015, 08:58 AM
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I have a DT 10 wt. What would be a good grain window rod to try it on?

You can catch a lot of fish, and you can keep a lot of fish. But you can't do both very long. Jim Timmins
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post #8 of 68 (permalink) Old 04-11-2015, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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Lots of variables to consider, that's a tough question.
Do you have a slower, fuller-flex 7/8 or 8/9? For me, anyway, that's where I'd start. Some guys who are used to DTs might have different ideas.

Since you can adjust casting weight by adjusting the length you put outside the rod tip, you could try it on a lighter rod but using the full length of the DT might not be possible.

All DTs are not created equal. I've seen DTs as short as 60ish feet in lighter, SH lines and as long as 120 ft in longer salmon DTs, with widely variable total weights as a result. They all have pretty short tapers at each end and relatively fine tips, with variable lengths of level body in the middle. Pricier ones can be more like back-to back WFs in profile. Most will be close to AFTMA standards for weight in the first 30ft.

For purposes of play and training I guess it doesn't matter a lot, and I've seen 8wt DTs as cheap as 12$- so, happily, it's kind of hard to go wrong. But since I'm Spaz, I'll be like, "hold my beer. I have to try this."

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post #9 of 68 (permalink) Old 04-11-2015, 03:01 PM
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Silk DT8 on my old greenheart (12'6"). Still suck at it, but I'll force the square peg through the round hole one of these days.

Remember, with DTs, there is no grain window of sorts. It's about line length. Either you get too much line out and the rod can't handle it, or you get too much line out and the caster can't handle it (mostly this for me).

For me, the glass is neither half-empty nor half-full, but rather twice as big as it needs to be.
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post #10 of 68 (permalink) Old 04-11-2015, 04:41 PM
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Cool stuff SpeySpaz! Thanks for sharing.
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post #11 of 68 (permalink) Old 04-11-2015, 07:49 PM
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SpeySpaz says

Lots of variables to consider, that's a tough question.
Do you have a slower, fuller-flex 7/8 or 8/9? For me, anyway, that's where I'd start. Some guys who are used to DTs might have different ideas.

I have a CND Expert in an 8/9, and a Scott 14' 9 wt that might serve as test rigs. Will have to give it a try when there is less ice, and more water. Thanks.

You can catch a lot of fish, and you can keep a lot of fish. But you can't do both very long. Jim Timmins
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post #12 of 68 (permalink) Old 04-12-2015, 11:17 PM
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DT's can be everything...

but always good menders. Good thread Mr. Spaz!
You can use a 10/11 DT on a 7/8 spey and call it a skagit, because it is. Lots of weight out the rod tip at 30' and the capacity to throw heavy tips if looped in at the front end of the belly. Another option would be a DT 8 on a 7/8 spey with 50 or 70 feet out the tip (rod dependent) for floating or near surface presentations and little or no stripping. DT's are useful for all sorts of things but the best is they mend like nothing else. Mending and line control are how you get deep and mending and line control are how you control a surface presentation. DT's are way better lines than most think. Shooting and stripping are not the best things about spey casting.
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post #13 of 68 (permalink) Old 04-12-2015, 11:33 PM Thread Starter
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In my little experiment, the line itself proved to be the greatest limitation (second only to the caster)...

There's just a point that it reached where, no matter the rod it was on, the line wouldn't fly. In other words, the loop didn't have enough energy for a sweet cast.
On this DT8, it proved to be at just about 75 feet, which not so coincidentally was the beginning of the back taper. This was true for even the little 4wt switch, and the big 8/9 too. So I learned that about DTs, had never thought about it before.
On most water, that's a perfect distance for greased lining, dead drifting drys, and skating too. Not too many lines will stack mend at 75 ft.

I've often considered just giving a whole year to DTs, but I'm such a casting/line whore that I wouldn't stick it out. I'm going to keep my eyes open for an old 7/8 IMX though.

I'm with you Rolf, I love scandi but I hate stripping. Even stripping 50 ft with a mid feels like a chore.

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post #14 of 68 (permalink) Old 04-15-2015, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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DT adventure, PART DEUX

It was a clear and cool morning today, not too crowded, and nary a breeze to give me an excuse for a bad cast. Occasional puffs downstream, perfect for snake-rolling.

The line today, same as before. Rio Mainstream DT8F, 12' leader to 10# tippet, same perfection loop setup for quick fly changes. Same fly as last time, too.

Some gear guys were "aerial poaching" at the deadline, and no amount of polite callouts from the boats were stopping them. Eventually enforcement showed up and they relented.

First rod up today, 9140 Brownie. I consider it an 8, and it has a nice relaxed action. I thought it would do well.

Next, a 14' for 7 Meiser S. It seems to like lighter lines, and it's easy to get into the top end of it, since it's a scandi action.

Third, my 12'6" 4/5/6 Meiser Highlander Classic. I knew it would be on the light side, but I wanted to see how the Highlander feel would go with this line. The 5/6 Deer Creek (which I love with this line) is a somewhat stiffer rod than this one.

Fourth, another wild card. My 7119 tcx switcher. I figured it might do even better than the 4wt switch I tried last time!

So, I ignored the flossers at the deadline and began.

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post #15 of 68 (permalink) Old 04-15-2015, 07:06 PM Thread Starter
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how did it go?

The 9140 Brownie was pretty nice. It cast the whole line, eventually, but the line felt a bit light for the rod and it was just too much work.

The 14' S rod was better. Its softer tip helped me engage the blank but it, too was underloaded for comfortable fishing. I did pop a couple underhands with it with about 60' of line out, and it was lasering.

The 12'6" 4/5/6 was overloaded but had a really sweet and full feeling. The forward stroke bent it into the corks with about 65' of line out, and I bet it would have been the best rod of them all had it been a 5/6/7.

The 7119 switch was a disappointment. I thought it had a chance to be a dark horse in this, but it disappointed with the line all the way out. Was pretty great at 65', though. I could shoot till the backing knot was in my hand.

No takes, no hookups.

Next, takeaways and thoughts going forward.

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