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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-04-2002, 03:31 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: yelostn801Date: 1/3/2002 11:31 PM
I've been looking at buying a new Spey Rod in a 14', 9/10 for the last couple of months and I can frankly say I am more confused now than when I started. I'm currently fishing a Sage 1367, which is great for the smaller to mid size rivers that I fish, but I'd like to have a larger Rod for the Clearwater and Bulkley. I was wondering if there was anyone out there that has done some serious study on Spey Rods before they bought, instead just buying what there buddy has or recomends or what is the most expensive rod out there. I've talked to one individual that was a professional Spey Caster and was quite suprised that one of his favorite rods was a Scott SAS,  which I thought was entry level rod, and this guy can fish with anything  he wants! What I guess I'm trying to say, does a rod that is more expensive ala Winston compare to a rod  that is inexpensive such as a St Croix or a Loop.  Since I've only been  Spey fishing  a short time I've only had the chance to fish two larger rods a Scott Arc 15', whcih I found hard to cast and a Sage 111e 14' 9/10 , whcih I thought casted quite easy and smooth.  So does a 14'  $250.00 St Croix compare with a  $700.00 Sage or a Diawa. I'm interested in hearing from someone that has tried them all  (or a good many of them) and can give  me an honest opinion.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-04-2002, 04:26 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: Peter-s-cDate: 1/4/2002 12:26 AM
Rule #1 - don't pay any attention to the "status" of a rod.  My most expensive spey rod turned out to be POS once I started fishing with it.  OTOH, my favourite spey rod is a cheap four piece 9wt. Daiwa Lochmor X  (about $200.00 USD.)  I'll probably be buying the 15' 6" 11 wt. Daiwa in the next few weeks.  A few years back, I tried a [insert very expensive name here] and it was the worst noodly POS I'd ever casted.  In contrast, my cheap St. Croix was great. 
Moral of the story - don't go by the status of the brand name.  If possible, try them and if not, then get some recommendations.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-04-2002, 08:58 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: Nooksack MacDate: 1/4/2002 4:58 AM
  An excellent question.  Does anyone have the opportunity to try 'em all?  If possible, try a rod that interests you first.  But as a good substitute/supplement, you'll find more intelligent commentary about spey rods in prior entries in this message board than anywhere else. 
   Judging from same, the Sage 9140-4 may well be the most popular spey rod, period.  I tried one briefly at the Sandy Clave last May; it reminded me a lot of the St.Crois 14' 9/10, my first spey rod, an excellent all-around rod (best with a #10 long-belly line) and a fine value.  The rear grip is a bit short and thick for my taste, but that's easily improved with file and sandpaper.  The 14' "9/10" Cabela is a more drastic value at $190.  It's a powerhouse, needing a 10/ll or 11 line.
   There's a lot of difference between price and quality in spey rods.  Some of the reasons:  (1)Is the rod an original design, or was it bought or inherited from a previous manufacturer?  (2)Is it the latest, platinum-impregnated, seventh-son-of-seventh-generation super-graphite, or is it an older-formulation, moderate-modulus graphite (which can make perfectly fine spey rods)?  And most importantly, what market niche is the maker targeting?
   I bought a new Volvo station wagon in 1967 because it had a reputation as a superior economy car, and drove it happily for ten years.  I couldn't afford a new Volvo now, because somewhere along the way, Volvo decided to change its market niche from economy to upscale.  After 35 years, allowing for engineering evolution, are Volvos better cars or are they just more expensive?
   To save 40-50% on any spey rod, buy the blank and build it yourself.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-04-2002, 08:59 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: DanaDate: 1/4/2002 4:59 AM
When asking whether a St Croix compares with a Sage or any other rod, I think the first thing to consider is the criteria you are using to make the comparison. There are so many variables that go into each individual's determination of what makes a good fly rod, Spey or otherwise. Components aside (and in many cases the more expensive rods have more expensive reel seats, guides, etc--I'll return to this below) what most people are concerned about are the casting qualities of a rod, which comes down to stuff like lifting ability and action, among other things, all of which come together in a particular rod to create a distinctive "feel." Line a dozen people up on a river bank with a dozen rods (manufacturers carefully concealed) and you're likely to have a dozen different opinions on which is the "best" rod. The only way to really know which rod is best for you is to cast a bunch and then decide which one feels right--whether that rod costs $300 or $1000, the one that feels right is the best one for you.
I've cast dozens and dozens and dozens of two-handers over the past decade in my capacity as rod review and casting instructor--including most of the ones you mention; I am comfortable casting a wide range of rods with a variety of actions, and each manufacturer and model mentioned in your post would be a good choice, or maybe the worst possible choice, depending on your own preferences. I am often asked "Which is the best rod?" and it is not a question I can answer until I get to know the caster a little. I'll often suggest that a good place to begin is to ask yourself what single-handed rods you like to cast and fish, and then try out two-handers that have similiar actions. For example, if you like a faster rod, then Loop, St Croix 14ft, the Euro Sages, and G Loomis (among others) will all have models that you might like. Each will be a little different as each rod designer has their own idea about how a "fast" rod should feel, but somewhere in the heap will be a few that feel right for you.
Returning to components, as I mentioned the premium rods often have better quality components than the cheaper models. While this is not always the case (I've had excellent budget-priced rods and poorly constructed premium rods) often the cork, reel seat, guides, thread work and finish are of a higher standard and somewhat more durable on premium rods, but this should not deter one from seriously considering less expensive models. Look carefully at the components of any rod you are considering before you buy and ask yourself:
  • does the handle feel solid throughout its length
  • does the butt cap feel solid (it should not flex or feel soft)
  • does the reel seat positively engage the reel foot and resist loosening
  • do the guides feel solid and are they free of obvious defects (grooves, rough spots)?

When you factor in all of these things, as well as other more personal aspects of individual taste (some people like to buy "the best"--most expensive or fashionable--while others look for quality no matter what the cost), and take the time to do a little research of your own, you'll eventually buy the rod that's best for you.




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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-05-2002, 04:25 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: Peter-s-cDate: 1/5/2002 12:25 AM
Dana, I have to ask this question (a rhetorical one of sorts.)  How does one cast a so-called "tip action, traditional action" rod?  My Scott SAS 1308/3, though not a slow, traditional, had a relatively soft tip.  A few other rods I've tried can be charitably described as a broomstick with a soggy noodle at the end.  I can't pick up line with them, I can't spey cast with them, I can't overhead cast with them, I can't get any distance with them; no matter what I try, the tip collapses and I feel like I'm working with a 7' rod.  I have no trouble with conventionally tapered slow rods, but these tip action, slow rods are beyond me.  Obviously plenty of people manage with these rods quite well otherwise, I would assume that Sage, Loomis, et al wouldn't be able to sell the numbers that they do.  I have no intention of going out and buying one as I'm quite happy with the progressive action rods that I own - I just can't figure out how people manage with these rods.
What's the magic formula?
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-05-2002, 07:07 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: fkrowDate: 1/5/2002 3:07 AM
I can give you my personal experience in decision making:   softer flexible traditional spey vs. faster European action rod. 
I purchased Mike Maxwell's book and his video, also Derek Brown and Jim Vincent's first video.
The next step was to take a class on spey casting.
I enrolled in a three day seminar with Simon Gawesworth and Jim Vincent at Hunter's Angling Supply in NH.  Nick Wilder of Hunter's had approximately 30 spey rods and reels as demo equipment available to students.  Many students  brought their own rods and would share them with others.  Simon and Jim did not recommend any brand or action type and let the individual decide for themselves.  Obviously the faster European actions were what performed best with their modern spey casting style.   I test cast 6 or 7 rods and settled on the fast action Sage and T&T rods as my favorites.
My single hand rods are all fast action and my casting style is 100% Lefty Kreh and Ed Jaworowski, naturally I transferred the speed-up-and-stop casting stroke to the spey rods and found them very easy to cast and control.  Simon and Jim are excellent instructors and by the third day I felt confident with any of the spey rods, fast action or slow (we had a Hardy that was very slow and limber).
Some FF did not like to shoot line and preferred the slow strong tip actions. My personal feeling was that shooting line gave me additional options for line mending in the air and more control of the fly drift.  Simon and Jim emphasized rod path and line control, not distance.  I did not find the need to overline the rod as many casters on this board favor.  I liked the Rio Windcutter for shorter casts and the Accelerator for 15 & 16ft rods.  The DT and Wulff triangle taper lines were very difficult to cast.  We also experimented with the underhand cast which I like for the shorter 12ft rods. 
My final decision was the Sage 3pc European action rods fit my style of casting best.  The 8124-3 and 1015-3 were very smooth and easy to cast with several line changes (windcutter and accelerator in different weights).  After returning home I tested a Sage 1016-3 and really like this cannon for larger rivers and heavy flies.  A friend has a older Loomis IMX 15ft rod and that is also very smooth with 10 wt lines.
Fred Krow
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-05-2002, 07:10 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: cootDate: 1/5/2002 3:10 AM
Hi Sc: According to the Scots rodbuilder who builds my spey rods the
traditional grahite rod should approximate as far as possible the action of
a greenheart rod without the weight. I started casting with a greenheart
many years ago and I still remeber the feel.It is perhaps best typified by
feeling that as you form the loop the tip of the rod is pointing forward
while the butt is pointing behind you. It is a full continuous bend of the
rod from tip to butt.
This does not mean that any part of the rod is soft it just means that the
rod is loaded progressively from tip to butt.
Obviously it is impossible to get this action from graphite but some
constructors noteably Talon in their 16 " IM6 blank have come very
close.and some of the Lamiglass rods also do very well. Unfortunately the
Lami`s are 4 piece rods and the extral furrel does nothing for the rod action
This type of rod requires the typical gilly style of cast in which the line
is rolled out rather than the type of cast such as that by Vincent in which
the line is shot through the air and then turns over at the end of the cast.
The shoot type of cast can only be accomplished with a long belly weight
forward line with attached running line .as a result it is almost
impossible to properly mend line on longer casts.
The majority of Amrican Spey caster rods are only capable of making the
shoot cast. To find out which rods are capable of the roll type gilly cast
you need to cast the rod with a long 120'double taper line. If it wont cast
properly with a double taper then it ainnt a spey caster.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-05-2002, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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Originator: Peter-s-cDate: 1/5/2002 2:12 PM
Actually, the issue for me isn't between fast and slow as I own one of each (slow Lamiglas, fast Daiwa) but rather what seems to me to be the inversion of the "real" traditional action producing a slow rod with a stiff bottom third and a very wimpy top third.  It's just my guess, but these rods seem to require an expert hand.
It may be just my imagination that the number is significant but I seem to see quite a few of this type of rod listed on eBay.  People buying on reputation then growing dissatisified?
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-06-2002, 01:07 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: yelostn801Date: 1/5/2002 9:07 PM
The response to my post has been enlightening. It's enabled me to look at the whole  "what rod is the best" in a more personalized manner. Being a throw back from the fiberglass age and fishing more and more with bamboo rods tor trout, I have to say that I am impartial to slower action rods, I guess thats why I like the older graphite blanks such as the ones J Kennnedy Fisher made, which I have in my single handed Steelhead Rods. The IM6 blanks are also to my liking. Thanks Dana for bringing this to my attention. Now that I have whittled the problem down somewhat, I quess my next question is who makes the slower action style rods and what are the model numbers. I also have to say that in my post, it was unfair to compare a Sage, Winston, or Scott to a St. Croix or Loops, in that these upper end priced rods also have the best warrantees.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-06-2002, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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Originator: pentaDate: 1/6/2002 3:42 PM
I've tried a lot of rods and own a "few".Go with what you feel is correct
for yourself.I also own rods that range from slow(including a cane rod) to
fast"euro-action" If I had to choose only one rod my preference would be the
Sage 7136.Something that a lot of folks would say is too light for big
fish.I would also say,in that a "slow" rod SHOULD bend right into the
Good luck choosing your first rod.There'll be many more ;-)
Cheers Brian

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