Observation and Question - Spey Pages
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-07-2005, 12:45 AM Thread Starter
Jack Cook
 
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Observation and Question

As a fulll time guide and instructor I have the opportunity to observe a lot of Spey folk of different casting abilities day after day. I also have a lot of cool and unusal gear so I am always bringing along bamboo or an underhand rod or one of Harry's long line beauties. Usually what I bring is a far cry from what the folks I am observing are used to casting. An interesting trend is developing. The more experienced casters who are certainly capable of tossing beautiful loops on the favourite rods seem to have a much harder time adapting to different rod actions and line choices than newer folk. The newbies are not throwing the same lovely loops with their gear as the experienced folks but they have a much easier time replicating their casting abilities on the strange gear than many of the experienced casters. Also experienced folks are quick to want to change lines to make the unusual rod feel more like their favourite rod than to seek out the inner beauty of the unusal piece. This is not to say that an unusal rod cannot be cast with a variety of lines and a variety of casting styles and still produce results. It is easy to get in the business of replicating cast after cast rather than making each and every cast.

Still reading...... Here is the question.
When you try out or break in a new rod do you have a preconcieved notion of how it should cast and try to make it so or do you seek out the energy of the rod and try to line it in a way to maximize the abilities you discover along the way?

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-07-2005, 01:25 AM
 
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I for one am not a caster. I believe that the purpose of a rod is to fish with and as such I want to grab a rod off the shelf take a matching line off the shelf and put them together and cast. I think if a rod is a 9wt I should be able to grab any 9 wt line on the market and it should cast it well. To me cutting lines and making lines specifically for a certain rod is downtime. if i can't fish it out of the box i'm not interested..

My point being that if you have to do a bunch of messing around with lines or can't cast it because of your normal stroke the rod probably isn't worth the effort. The stroke doesn't change that much between rod actions...

Last edited by roballen2; 06-07-2005 at 02:56 AM.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-07-2005, 01:35 AM
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I have benchmark rods that I compare everything else to. If the "new stick of the week" does not have the same sweet feeling I can usually tell pretty quick.

Kevin
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-07-2005, 01:49 AM
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So newbie casters can cast big floppy open loops with any rod they pick up but a good caster can cast great loops and distance on his chosen rod and line but maybe not on a foreign rod action.

Seems fair enough I guess. I for one like fast rods and practice with only those rod actions. I got tired of trying to adapt my ingrained stroke to slower rod actions and for enjoyment sakes I am soley a fast rod guy. Plus I think they outperform slow rods Can I cast slower stuff...yeah but it takes me a longer time to tune into the rod and it never feels quite right. I am not by any means a great caster but I know what I like and if the rod is not what I like I feel there is no hidden beauty to find. Sounds like most of the experienced guys you are seeing out there maybe just finally know what they like

That being said the guys I respect the most in the casting game can pick up any and everything and cast well with the rig. Maybe not as great as there preferred setup but pretty damn close.

-sean
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-07-2005, 03:11 AM
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This is good

Few people spend more time filming and observing Speycasters than my clan does ( We love every minute of it) and there no greater challenge than breaking a preconceived notion

Many caster pick up a line and cast it and hope it is right.
Or they want a rod that feels just like what they have imagined or what they have been told it will feel like.
There is no substitute for experience when it comes to working with any fly rod let alone a Speyrod.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-07-2005, 04:05 AM
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I think all but the greatest of casters will need a little time to adapt to a rod that has a different feel than the stick(s) they're used to. If you get to be pretty good with a couple of pretty good rods you own, a lot of that would be because you spent a good deal of time with your own rods and fell into a groove. Try to use that groove on a very different rod/line combo, well, give yourself time to feel it out. I think a better measure of a caster would be to wonder after a half hour or so why he has not been able to find the groove with a certain rod. I think most competent casters will be able to set up the D and stop the rod on the forward stroke to create a nice enough loop given a little time.

Kevin's comment on benchmark rods is very true. The great rods will set a standard of what you think a great cast should feel like.

Scratchit caster extraordinaire
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-07-2005, 12:35 PM
 
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This is right up my alley, I am relatively new to spey, picked it up because it's a wonderful way to cover the water, and more of it...last November, I picked up a burkie 7133, loaded it with a wc 7/8/9 and went on my way.
Fished it beautifully the first two days of fishing, tight long loops. Then comes winter fishing, smaller waters, not "uncorking it"... Last wknd was out chasing some summers, and it was like I never cast before, could not get it going on!!!! I lost my MOJO!!! It was just strange how I picked it up and was into it's secrets right away, and then lost them!?!?!?!? Or maybe it was the end of the summer season, and it didnt matter what rod, I had my Stroke??? I hope that just practice will get it back, I am positive in that regard...Great question posed Jack...

Rick
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-07-2005, 01:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speyman
When you try out or break in a new rod do you have a preconcieved notion of how it should cast and try to make it so or do you seek out the energy of the rod and try to line it in a way to maximize the abilities you discover along the way?
Keeping in mind that I'm one of those newbies who throws big floppy loops.

Whenever I buy any new piece of equipment I need to explore it a bit to see what it can do and how to best use it.

To me, a new rod is like meeting a new woman. Each one is unique and needs to be explored to discover it's erogenous zones. I adapt to it's curves rather than bending it to my own.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-07-2005, 01:37 PM
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To better directly answer your question, yes, I think I have a preconcieved notion of what I think a rod should feel like, but I also will try to find out what it is a rod has that is different from other rods.

I have found that a couple of the Meiser, Burkheimer, Fly Logic and CND rods feel like what I think a good rod should feel like. They are not at all the same, but have properties that lend themselves to certain lines and situations and I find myself using them for specific fishing situations. Other rods I have owned or tried have shown me (I think) what they have, and the feel was not what I enjoy or look for. It usually takes a while and a few different lines to see the light with a rod, so I can see how your observation of basically good casters struggling with a rod and wanting to run different lines through it rings true. When you can identify certain traits in a rod, you try to find those traits when presented with a new stick. The ensuing attempts to do this can be ugly

The idea that poor or novice casters can cast a lot of different set ups with the same degree of poor casting does not reflect on rod or line, but on the casting abillity, IMHO. When I first got into this I could have achieved the same results with a Burkheimer or a broom stick.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-07-2005, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moose
I have found that a couple of the Meiser, Burkheimer, Fly Logic and CND rods feel like what I think a good rod should feel like. They are not at all the same, but have properties that lend themselves to certain lines and situations and I find myself using them for specific fishing situations.
Bingo Moose. Jack himself referring to one of his favorite rods has said "if there is any wind whatsoever, pick up something else". You do get to the point where you are looking for something specific to serve a specific function in a specific circumstance.

It should come as no surprise that a Baja Offroad Rally driver would bring up the rear in a formula one race. It should also come as no surprise that someone who has worked to develop technique with Buck Rogers spey rods would struggle with buggy whip era hardware.

I was just watching the Sandy Clave spey video last night. Looking at all the techniques, where Mr. Murray uses the bottom hand ONLY to steer the rod, where Scott O'donnell basically says don't extend your top arm, where Simon says extend the top arm, and... Well, lets just say to excel with ALL the different rod actions and line combos on the planet, you would probably have to be moderately proficient with ALL the different casting techniques and know when and why the use of each one, or components of each one is appropriate for the combo in your hand.

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-13-2005, 09:50 PM
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Wink Benchmark Spey Rods with intution

Kevin responded: "I have benchmark rods that I compare everything else to. If the "new stick of the week" does not have the same sweet feeling I can usually tell pretty quick."
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I would call that "Reliable and Predictable Benchmark Rod response, when I try/use it." If a new rod doesn't have that Reliable and Predictable Response in a specific situation, with a known line/leader/fly, I really don't want to spend the time trying to adapt to it. At the age of 66, I don't want to waste my time adapting to a rod, when I have rods that work in a specific situation with no hassle.

A new and younger friend came up with a interesting and excellent word to describe the interaction between a good spey rod and the caster. The rod is "Intuitive", you just sense what it can do and can't do in specific situations if a line works or won't work. The bad rod for me is just bad and I never learn what do with it. I either give it to my son or sell it. He can cast anything.

Below is a list of Sage rods owned and no longer owned or borrowed and returned. Some are benchmark rods and others were dogs in my hands:

7136 Great greased line rod with MS 6/7 floating. It is worthless in wind and with tips in deep fast water. Is fun to cast the Skagit 450 with. It is a benchmark rod for grease line fishing.

7141 A workhorse rod that can cast every 7/8 line I own from WC to MS to Grandspeys. It is not a fun rod to cast in fresh water, however, if I screw up, I can learn how to adapt. It is a blast on the surf with one handed lines, and I can't wait to try Rio's new Outbound lines with it. It does a good job with the Skagit 550 and can heave about any sinking tip I or Bob Pauli own. It is not a fun rod to cast with the exception of surf casting. It is a tremendous back up rod. I call it my 7 weight beast on heavy steroids.

9140 I have tried to use my son's Brownie version, and it doesn't work for me.

10151, The rod and I never fit. My son, now has it for surf casting and really likes it. His benchmark Spey rod is the 9140. and he and the 9140 are very adaptive and intuitive.

6126-3. My favorite summer/ fall rod. It does a great job with the MS7/8 with tips until high winds come up. It lets me know really quick in high wind to go to the WC 678 with the upgrade. It does great with floating tips, sinking tips and tips with compensators. The Skagit 450 is a pleasure to cast with the 6126 and will probably replace most WC and MS sinking tip use. A true benchmark rod or me. Like my younger friend, the 6126 is an intuitive rod for me. He loves his new 6126.

TCR 9129-3 I was the high bidder for this great line this spring. It will become my main winter stick with the 7141 as the back up. It does a great job of casting the Jet Stream 65' head 9/10. Bob Pauli and I tried this rod with a Skagit 650, and basically every sinking tip Rio has made and our various T14. It handled every tip and Bob was endangering the flora and fauna on the other side of the river with its tips. The river was very high and fast that day. Yet with the Skagit 650, as noted it handled every tip. It would be a great surf rod, but it is too big for what is in the surf in N Ca.. If my newly torn bicep heals, I will try it in the Ca rivers this summer and fall with the King Salmon. It will probably become a benchmark rod for me.

The last two benchmarks are not Sage nor true spey rods. They are Meiser's two handed switch rods, 10' 6".

5/6 Switch Rod is great for light fly work and nymphing small to medium streams. It will cast any one handed line from 5 to 7 weight. Rio's 6 weight Nymph line is great. How I can't do is a decent spey cast with it with Rio's 5/6 WC Spey line. It is a fun casting and catching fish rod.

7/8 I can't really find a place in rivers and streams for this rod. I will try it this summer for the smaller river Stripers we have in the summer.

9/10 Switch Rod is my standard for fishing for Stripers from a boat in N California with the Rio 350 Grain DC Striper line. It will put a heavy fly out about as far as my son the Cro Mag can with a 9 or 10 wt one handed beast with shooting heads. The two handed grips bring good size stripers into the boat quickly and line them up for an easy grab/release with my Boga Grip. It is my benchmark for the shorter two handed not really spey rods to fish from a boat or a pier.

I'm sure that similiar lists can be made for Loomis, CND, T&T, Winston and other rods which board members rely on, based on their experiences.

Dave
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-13-2005, 11:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peter-s-c
Some people embrace change while others resist it. In our world, the "embracers" want to try different rods, lines and techniques while "resisters" would want new gear etc. to fit their comfort zone.

Then there are those of us who are just slow

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-14-2005, 10:29 AM
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Speyman, below is an interesting comment by Gary W on another thread. His comments in the last paragraph below gets into this intuitive thing that we get from some rods:

"Gary W
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RobinA,

I'm with Stephen on this one - Nearly every ghillie that I have met fishing the Tay use a Bruce and Walker Norway Speycaster. I think that speaks volumes for the range.

"I bought a Daiwa Alltmor S on a recomendation and wish that I had opted for the B&W Norway instead. It seems that you can feel the cast a lot better with the Norway, and get the timing right it will put out a good line."

If you have a rod that doesn't communicate with your or doesn't respond in an appropriate manner, you will probably have problems with that rod.

However, if you and your new or old rod are in sync, Gary W nails it:

"It seems that you can feel the cast a lot better with the Norway, and get the timing right it will put out a good line."

Dave
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