Up or Down??? - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-17-2019, 10:41 AM Thread Starter
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Up or Down???

Hi all.
just out of curiosity.
most of my 2 handers are down locking.
what;s the difference?
is it a balance thing or just preference?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-17-2019, 11:29 AM
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I think it’s a matter of preference. Some people like the reel a little more forward, some like it aft a little. I personally do not care as long as the rod has comfortable corks and and the cork length and profile work with my hands.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-17-2019, 12:53 PM
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Probably balance. Difference isn't great, but downlocking allows the use of a slightly lighter reel. Other than that, seems a matter of preference.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-17-2019, 01:47 PM
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I definitely prefer downlocking but an uplocking reel seat would certainly not prevent me from buying/using a rod.


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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 03:07 AM
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What lengths are they?
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 06:50 AM
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I always was choosing rods first for performance. Later the balance comes into play while fishing longer sessions. I don’t like to be forced to change hand position between casting and fishing position. There are some possibilities in preparing reels or in choosing reels to solve this problem.
In general, I prefer downlocking reel seats on the longer/heavier DH rods for both, balance and a lighter feel.

The real problem makers are shorter switch rods with downlocking reel seats. I prefer them with uplocking reel seats. Otherwise it’s difficult to find a pairing with a reel light enough for good balance and big enough for the DH lines needed.

Yes, for me balance matters a lot meanwhile. And the rods/setups with the right balance get the most use. It just has to be right, form and length of cork grip, balance, line pairing, performance ....
If I use a combo with a not optimized balance and change to a comparable combo in performance, but perfectly balanced, it just feels so good...
But there is a lot of individuality in it, physically and in mentality. One gets used to different hand positions, closer or wider, because of individual casting, rod-line pairings and different rod-reel- combos.

Some prefer uplocking reel seats exclusively, because the reel should be away from clothing as far as possible ... and for better reel handling while tied on to a fish.

If you feel right with your combos in all aspects until now, don’t worry too much !
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 10:23 AM
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Some great responses here

I see where JonT is going with his question ... and I'm on board !!

All of my 14ft plus rods are down-locking to help with balancing the "cantilever", even the low line rated rods.
My shorter rods, say 13ft and lower are up-locking ... again a better balance to the "cantilever".

In regards to the above, my reels are not "light weight" models. In fact with every Olson build, I ask William the pre-conceived weight. That will determine what William must do to compensate for my request. We take into account the amount of backing as well. This works for me and my personal taste, where I prefer hold the rod and what I consider "balanced".

Aesthetically, both are pleasing to my eye, but do prefer the down-locking look.
Functionality, both are the same if the rod has been designed properly. Enough lower grip is mandatory if considering a two-handed technique and the reel seat should be in correct placement to allow proper use of the technique.


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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 11:32 AM
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Peter, it’s %100 a balance thing - that is why rod makers do it. I know some people also have opinions on how it “looks”, but balance is the general idea. Longer rods require more torque (from the added weight of the reel) to balance at the same point, and putting the reel a little further back increases the torque. It is just a small tweak of course. The balance point - where on the upper grip you can balance the rod/reel setup like a scale - is the “neutral” point that determines how the rod/reel setup will feel in the hand and the energy you will expend, both casting and swinging, but where you need/want to hold it relative to what you are doing with the rod at that moment is personal thing.

For example I have shorter than average arms so I suspect that has at least something to do with my liking the balance point back further - so downlocking and heavier reels.

What you end up liking personally balance-wise might be mysterious to you - you will just feel it on the right setup - and there are very many folks that find they just don’t care either way, and that is fine as well.

Also because of the way things scale as the wt rating goes up the volume/size of a reel stops being an issue at around a 7 wt spey rod as literally any reel that is not absurdly light for the rod will have enough volume. But as you get heavier from there it actually becomes more and more difficult to find ones heavy enough that are not absurdly large and/or absurdly expensive. In those cases while a down locking seat is often considered mandatory, it is so small an effect that lots of people on here have tried adding additional counterweights of various sorts to a setup.

And as already described above, if you are sensitive to such things, there is the exact opposite problem when you go to the lowest weight rods, and for the same reasons. In the trout spey arena it can sometimes be hard to find a LIGHT enough reel that is not at the same time too small to hold the spey line and enough backing. So uplocking helps a little there.
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Last edited by Botsari; 05-18-2019 at 12:04 PM.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 02:15 PM
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I would add that it is little if anything to do with balance, both up and down locking would be no different if the reel remains in the exact same position on the handle. Reel lower down the handle feels a little different, however with light weight reels on graphite that would be neglegable. The holding hand would need to remain in the same position to feel any difference in two inches of the metal screw thread taking the reel weight to a slightly lower (or upper) position. I know the position of my rod holding hand is always altering position looking for that balance point, where it feels most comfortable.

'Balance' is a stange topic as far as rods are concerned, James Hardy once wrote that a fly rod balances best with no reel on it, which makes little sense unless said rod would be held in the middle.

His uncle L.R Hardy wrote in 1957: 'BALANCE You will, no doubt, have watched an angler when handling a rod in a tackle shop poise it upon his fingers in order to see whether it balances at the correct point. This point of balance, with the reel in position, is usually from 2 to 4 inchesforward of the cork handle, dependent on the type of rod, but it will vary according to the length of the handle, and also to the taper of the rod. A slow taper being tip heavy, and a quick taper lighter at the point. Also the point of balance will alter according to the weight of the reel and with the weight of the line.
Now all this applies only to a rod in it's inactive state. When a rod is in action - literally a fishing rod - many more complications are apparent and the term 'balance' becomes a very different thing, for balance will not only greatly vary with the weight of your line but, most of all, with the length of the cast you are making.
So, when I think of balance I prefer that this term should apply not to the rod alone, but to the whole casting instrument, rod,reel, line, cast and fly. There should be a balance or complimentary relationship between all these components if they are to put up good performance.'

I feel up-locking look and work best for all rods, even spinning and baitcasting rods, for no better reason that while holding them the hand is more comfortable with cork under than metal screw thread. On s/h trout fly rods the reel remains closer to the hand and away from the ground which feels better in that casting stroke, less pendulum swinging. With double handed rods the same, up locking means the screw thread is above and out of the way. Longer rods, of any material, mean more weight out front, I would say that 'the balance' is more desirable while holding rather than casting. A rod feels light in the hand when held at the place on the handle where the rod in front does not need to be held up or lowered down while fishing. As L.R wrote that balance will alter as the rod is fished and line would be outside over the river, rather than on the reel.

This is of particular relevance making bamboo rods which is a heavier material than graphite, yet it's mass does not need a line to load it in casting which creates a very different experience, to the point that I prefer casting a 11' bamboo rod over a graphite all day, any day; I seem to cast just as far and find it no more tiring to use, but the reel weight is more important.

Ironically, 'inexpensive' imported rods (of all types) have threads below the screw reel fitting, 'quality' rods, threads above, for the most part.

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Last edited by MHC; 05-18-2019 at 03:44 PM.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 11:22 PM
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I’m confused.
I’ve always thought up locking meant the threads were below the reel.
Your comment says up locking on a double handed rod means the threads are above the reel and out of the way.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-19-2019, 12:24 AM
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Well fortunately the part about where the balance point (center of mass) is, and where it moves when when you move the reel forward or back a little, is an objective one. While easily observable by anyone, whether or not not the change is significant is in the eye of the beholder. But it is weird to talk a lot about the feel and then minimize the physics which in the end is all there is, and the center of mass is the most fundamental physical element in how a “lever” of any kind, bendable of not, works.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-20-2019, 02:13 PM
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Back when I fished in a hurry and didn't pay attention, my rod ferrules and reel seat would sometimes work their way loose in the surf. A down locking reel seat gave me and extra second or 2i if things loosen up before my reel plops down onto a rock. It would hang there for a few precious seconds.

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-22-2019, 11:26 AM Thread Starter
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thanks folks...
Lots of info...I appreciate your input.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 12:37 AM
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I like the down-locking kind because I find it easier to mount the reel to the rod. With the rod tip pointed up, gravity holds the reel foot in place better while I'm fumbling to get the threaded ring tight. Up-locking reel seats mean I have to push the foot up into the seat, against gravity, and then somehow try to hold it there with one hand while spinning the ring with the other.
I don't know why, but I always have more trouble situating the reel properly and gracefully with the up-locking style. It's never been a problem for me with single-hand trout reels, but heavy spey reels are awkward, especially in the dark and cold.

Or maybe I'm just biased because that's what I learned with. I remember a bunch of years ago, my friend was buying a new rod from Poppy, who was pointing out all the awesome things about this rod, including the down-locking seat, and his list ended with, "...and the reel goes on the right fugging way." I can still hear his voice in my head saying that.
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