Confused on grain windows vs line weight - Spey Pages
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-06-2008, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
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Confused on grain windows vs line weight

I was told that the grain window of my 7wt switch rod was 185-350. When asking vendors about the weight of the lines they sell and the weight of them, I was totally confused. Is the grain weight of a fly line the weight of the 1st 30 feet or 40 feet or is it the weight of whatever the mfg states is the length of the head or what. I can't seem to find a good explaination of what or how the standard is applied to different fly lines. I would rather not trial and error which line would be best. I'm just beginning and would like to start off with the right line so when I have problems, I will know it's me and not the equipment. Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-06-2008, 09:26 PM
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Your 7wt switch rod "may" overhead cast ok with a 7wt single hand line but for spey casting you will need something heavier.

I suggest an SA 7wt single hand skagit (360grns over 23') or for something with a little more taper, a Beulah switch rod line in 6/7 (335grns over 28').

Nick @ Oak Orchards fly shop (a site sponsor) should be able to help you. If that fails I'll send you a couple demo lines so you can dial in the line weight that works for "you".

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How you get the line out and fishing is personal preference so as long as it works and is easy no one should care but the caster. MSB
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-07-2008, 07:51 AM
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In the same boat..

I'm a novice like you, and have been struggling to understand this also. Obviously if you can try before you buy its a huge help, but not everyone can.

This may be more info than you want, but there is a discussion of this topic here: http://www.flyfishusa.com/newsletter/041705/ Scroll down to "The Evolution of Fly Line Size Designation".

Basically, I think it says the spey line weight designations are/have been non-standard and vary from maker to maker. So to choose a starter line you have to know the grain window for the rod, and make sure the grains of the line+tip are inside the window. (From what I gather, endless fiddling and fine tuning can ensue after that.) If you troll this board and others you can also compile information on what lines people are using with your particular rod.

For example, I just purchased a Sage Z-axis 8110, and Sage doesn't provide grain windows for its rods. But I've learned that people are happy using any number of spey lines between 425 and 500 grains with that rod, or a WF10F line.

It would be great if one of the pros on this board could confirm the above. Is this process basically what you have to do?
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-07-2008, 01:12 PM
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I'm far from a pro---
but the whole line weight designation issue for DH rods irritates me.
Ask around, search the pages, or contact the manufacturer to get grain range information on the rod. For lines, I simply refuse to buy spey lines that don't have grain weights clearly on the label; it's a disservice to the customer to leave that off the packaging.
For myself, when buying a line, I ignore the line weight rating and find out the grain weight of the HEAD. If I'm buying a DT line, I do my best to find out what the first thirty feet of line REALLY weighs (varies considerably from AFTMA standards sometimes), and what the anticipated working length of the line weighs. Some shops, particularly Poppy at Red Shed (the MJC who just posted on this, hi Poppy! ), are extremely helpful with this.
A helpful rule of thumb in balancing tackle is that the longer the line being cast, the closer it should be to the high end of the grain window. While "your mileage may vary" as they say here in the pages, a useful starting point is to consider short scando heads near the bottom of the grain window, skagit heads (not including tips) slightly higher, then up through short, mid belly and finally longbelly lines which are usually balanced at or near the high end of the rod's grain window. There's widely differing opinions on this, particularly in Skagit world.
I break this rule regularly...but it is a good starting point for discussion.
casting characteristics of the rod and the caster's own technique (or lack thereof) will influence this greatly. If a shared opinion develops in the pages, it's probably been learned through hard experience, and I wouldn't worry about following it.
hope this helps, anybody wants to correct me on this please feel free to jump in.
Bob

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-07-2008, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
For example, I just purchased a Sage Z-axis 8110, and Sage doesn't provide grain windows for its rods.
SteelieStudent,

While Sage doesn't have a grain window marked on the blank, two hander line matching info as complied by Sage rep George Cook is available to all Sage dealers.

If you bought your rod from a Sage dealer and he/she didn't help you get a line matchup that will work for "you" then in my opinion you didn't get good customer service.

Usually it takes a little experimenting to get a great rod/line match as not everyone casts the same way, has the same stature, has the same abilility, or has the same personal perception of what great setup is.

A baby skagit around 400grns or a 9/10/11 WC body with an 8wt floating tip is what Mr. Cook recommends for that Sage 8110-4 Z rod. For overhead an Outbound 8wt should work well. For tips T-14 in 9' to 11'.

One other point that might be helpful in picking the type of line one wants to use on a particular rod when one knows the grain window. A long time spey casting jedi puts it like this: "low end of the grain window for overhead, middle for scandi, high end of the grain window for skagit".

Poppy=Red Shed Spey Rod Pimp
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How you get the line out and fishing is personal preference so as long as it works and is easy no one should care but the caster. MSB
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-07-2008, 01:39 PM
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Grain windows

1. The grain window you gave for a 7 weight switch would indicate that it is using the single hand rod AFTMA flyline standards rating.
2. The AFTMA single hand ratings are based on the weight of the first 30 feet of flyline, in the two handed lines there is a rating but most of us use the weight of the entire head as our guide.

Single hand lines from the different manufacturers conform to the AFTMA standard for the first 30 feet but vary quite a bit if you weigh the entire head. Here is a rough average of what I have found over the last few years.
7 Weight approx 290 grains
8 weight approx 330 grains
9 weight approx 375 grains
10 weight approx 425 grains
11 weight approx 480 grains

In the two handed world more and more rod manufacturers are including a grain window for their rods which gives the caster a good idea what line weight will work well with their rod.

As an example: I have two switch rods both with a 6 weight two handed designation, the grain window for these rods is 300 to 500 grains. For me I use the bottom half of the grain window for lines that I use for single hand overhead casting, 350 to around 450 grains for for lines that I use for spey type touch and go casts and 450 on up for Skagit lines.

For me this gives a very good starting point resulting in less trial and error till I get the correct line.


If you can't try the lines before you buy make sure when asking for line advice that you state the proper name and designation for your rod and the type of fishing that you intend to do. Around here someone will have you rod and already done the leg work for you and are only too willing to share.


Hope this helps

Good luck


Ian
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-07-2008, 03:07 PM
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If you bought your rod from a Sage dealer and he/she didn't help you get a line matchup that will work for "you" then in my opinion you didn't get good customer service.

--> Just so no one gets the wrong idea about Sage dealers/reps.. I bought my rod second-hand.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-07-2008, 03:43 PM
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Spey Lines

The manufactures broke the lines into 5 catagories: Skagit, Scani, Short-belly, mid-belly, and long-belly.

Each catagory has a different weight per head (not weight per first 30 ft like single hand lines).

For example: An 8 wt rod will cast an 8 weight line. An 8 wt line could be one of five catagories, it could be:

550 grain 30' skagit head or 360 grain 40' scandi head or 530 grain 55' short head or 570 grain 65' mid belly or 710 grain 80' long belly

so the "window" would be 360-710 grains.

Note that all of the lines but one are about 9 grains per foot.

Skagit lines are MUCH more heavy.

If you weigh a bunch of lines it that will help you get your arms around it. I think it also helps if we remember all of these lines are designed to be cast like shooting heads. By that I mean your rod should be able to cast the whole head.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-07-2008, 08:23 PM
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and Gwozdz,
really really consider trying to get to a Clave, a shop that has trylines, a friend with a closet full of spooled-up lines, whatever it takes to cast a bunch of different lines with the rod. Even attending a casting clinic or getting a lesson and asking the instructor to let you try some lines out.

This will expose you to many people and their casting styles, allow you to try a bunch of different lines out, and then buy one or two that will suit you well.
In the process your casting will advance in leaps and bounds, and you'll discover your personal quirks. Mine is, I dig line speed way more than mass, so as long as I don't blow anchors I stay as light as I can. Like I said, your mileage may vary. So try a bunch of lines if you can.

of course, you'll still end up with a closet full of lines like the rest of us...just not right away but that's the journey...and it's still cheaper than therapy...
regarde, Bob

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-07-2008, 11:25 PM
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drbfish,

As someone who uses long-belly lines for most of my fishing, I disagree with you on an 8 wt 2-hander being able to cast well any 8 wt spey line whether it be an Skagit, Scandi, short-belly, mid-belly, or long-belly. For most 2-handers, dropping one line size for a long-belly line (just like dropping one line size for a single-hand DT-salmon/steelhead-or distance taper) is necessary to keep from overloading the rod and reducing casting efficiency.

Let me explain:

Provided the 8 wt 2-hander in question is one that has been designed around or close to the grain window of the now 5 year old AAFTA spey line standard, it will cast an 8 wt Skagit (55- gr), Scandi (360 gr), short-belly (530 gr), or mid-belly (570 gr)well [this example uses the grain wts you used in your post to keep it consistent with your post]. This would give the rod a grain window of 360 gr-570 gr (the actual grain window is probably more like 300 gr-600 gr to allow for manufacturing tolerances of the lines).

However, when you go to the long-belly spey line with its 80' belly, its 710 gr weight will overload the rod. And if one uses the very long-belly lines (like the XLT, Nextcast 95', Carron 95', etc.) the grainage will be even higher more like 800-860 grs), which would make the overload even more pronounced. But if you drop a line wt to a 7 wt long-belly line, you will be using a line with a belly weight of right around 600 grs, which puts it in the grain window of the 8 wt 2-hander in question.

I've been convinced for quite a few years that the biggest reason folks gave up on long-belly lines and thought they were too difficult to cast was because they would get a long-belly line with the line designation on the rod and find it very difficult at best to cast. If they would have dropped a line size and thus not overloading the rod, they most likely would have found long-belly lines to be great fishing tools that granted take good technique to cast well, but not beyond the ability of good average casters.

For example: I have a T&T 1611 I've used since I bought it new in 1997. I found it likes lines that weigh under 1000 grs. Therfore, I use an XLT 9 wt or a GrandSpey 9/10 on it (the XLT 9 is 95' and 970 grs; the GS 9/10 is 85' and 900 grs) However, if I put an XLT 10 wt on it, or a GS 10/11 (both of which match the line designation of the rod), it would be overloaded because the XLT 10 is 100' and 1050 grs and the 10/11 GS is 95' and 1100 grs.

This is why some rod makers like Meiser have 3 line wt designations on some of their rods. The lowest ones for long-belly casting; the middle one for more experienced casters of Skagit, Scandi, short-belly, and mid-belly lines; and the highest one for new, less experienced casters or those who like to feel a lot of line load when casting.

Meiser was one of the first if not the first to put the grain windows on his rods, which takes the guess work completely out of it. Provided you have the grain weight info for the line you are contemplating buying for the rod. And in my opinion, just like Ian, this is the best solution. There is nothing like having the grain window of the rod on the rod and the grain weight on the line box because having the grain window of the rod and the grain weight of the line , it becomes very easy for someone to match line to rod by simply staying within the grain window of the rod.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-12-2008, 02:50 PM
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add on to the above-
especially when it comes to balancing skagit tackle. Bob Meiser makes specific grain recommendations for each of his rods; I've found when it comes to skagit If I get the head he recommends, then further tune it with cheaters for my stroke, then once the tip is added the casting properties of the balanced outfit are verrrrry nice. For me, straying even 50 gr from Bob's skagit recommendations results in poorer performance.
He also makes short/mid/long belly grain recommendations and I've found those to be right on as well.

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