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Discussion Starter #1
I'm thinking about purchasing a spey rod for a salmon-fishing trip I'm taking this spring. However, living in New England, I probably will go salmon or steelhead fishing about once a year at most. So I'm wondering about the versatility of spey rods. Can I use them in saltwater for stripers? How about on flatwater for northern pike? My alternative to a spey is a 9 foot, 9-wgt single-hander, which is definitely a versatile rod, but I like the idea of having a rod that I can use for long casts when back casts aren't possible. The spey is very intriguing for this reason . . .

Two questions;

What would be the most versatile spey rod to purchase given my needs (suggestions on wgt, length, brand would be appreciated)

How hard is it to learn to spey cast? Is it something an experienced single-handed caster can pick up quickly?

Thanks for any suggestions . . .

Rob
 

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just say no to bait
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My knowledge of Atlantic salmon fishing is nonexistent. So I would not presume to answer your first question. On the second point, the learning curve is very steep. My first few times out I had quite poor results. I wondered if I had wasted alot of money? However after a 7 or 8 sessions I was consistantly throwing fishable casts. The best advice I can offer you is . Do your homework on tackle selection. There is tons of good info on this site [archives], which has certainly helped me.
GOOD LUCK N. I.
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Hi Rob -

If this weather ever breaks, I could probably provide some first-hand tutelage since I also live in New England. I would also suggest you attend our Nor'easter Spey Clave in mid-April most likely to be held in New Hampshire on the Pemigewasett in Bristol, a magnificent river for spey casting that has brood stock salmon exceeding 20 pounds for anyone who wants to pursue some fish in addition to the casting lessons.

First question - what salmon river(s) are you planning on visiting? How wide, what sized fish, what lines (floating, sinking, tips, etc). Certainly a two-handed rod can be used for both, but there are things to consider before saying that a rod is actually good for both, acceptable for one, or possibly not good at all.

Gaspe perhaps? Margaree? Labrador?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi Juro

I'm going to be fishing on the Borgie in Scotland. My wife and I went to Scotland last year, mostly as tourists, but of course I brought along a couple of flyrods (an 8 wt and a 5 wt) just in case we had a chance to fish. I did get one day of salmon fishing in on the Borgie last year. The Borgie is fairly narrow and I can easily cast right across it with my 8 wt , 9 ft rod--given room for a backcast. Unfortunately, though, there's a high bank and sheep fence that prevents much of a backcast in a large portion of the river. Everyone else was using two-handers and my guide offered one to me to try, but I was set on catching a salmon on my own rod, so I stuck with roll casting where the bank was high. My wife is going to fish with me this time, so we need to get a second rod (yes! :)) - - - hence the interest in a possible spey rod. Of course, I'll be very lucky to fish in Scotland with any frequency in the future . . . so I want a rod that I can use in more situations closer to home (i.e., here in New England). Ideally, it would be nice to get a rod I could use for stripers, northern pike, and of course salmon in New England rivers or steelhead when we go out west to visit our relatives in Washington and Oregon.

On my single-handed rods, I use full-sinking lines (fast and intermediate sink rates) and floating lines. I'd probably expect to use both floating and sinking (or sink tip) lines on my new rod, too. Versatility is the key for me, since I'd rather save my money to cover the cost of traveling to different places to fish rather than using it to buy a big collection of rods . . .


Is there a web site where I can get more info on the Nor'east Spey Clave? Sounds like something I'd be interested in if I pick up the spey rod.

Thanks
 

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I think you are unlikely to need anything much longer than 13' for the Borgie. A longer rod is a positive disadvantage on such a river, except perhaps in a few places where you may want to 'dibble' a fly over a midstream lie. If you can cover it with your 9' 8wt, a 13' will be more than adequate. You could go down to 12'6", but this may perhaps be less useful elsewhere.

I have a preference for fairly light lines. On a small river like this, a heavy, thick line risks frightening the fish in low water conditions. Unless you are coming very early in the season, when brass tubes might be needed in high, cold water, I'd go for something no heavier than an 8wt.

I notice you're coming in the spring. Even that far north, I think you are unlikely to need anything more than an intermediate line after, say, the beginning of June. Earlier, you might possibly want a sinking line, but I think a multitip line will still give you all the depth you need. This will save money (not on the line, but on the spare reel spools) and suitcase space.

There are a few pictures of the river at riverborgie.co.uk, for anyone interested.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
For Jacob re: Loop rods

Jacob . . . I just looked at the Loop web site . . . what's the difference between all the different lines (grey line, black line, yellow line, etc . . .)? You recommended blackline, but why that over the others?
 

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I wish I'd started spey casting 5 years sooner! At first, I thought the two handed thing was very "European" and not how this kid was going to hit the river. How wrong I was! I started steelheading with a Sage 10' 8 wt. and covered the water learning how to fish the rivers in this fashion for three years. Then I had the opportunity to try a spey rod (after reading, videos, etc.). What a difference! I should have listened...

It has taken me two seasons on the water to feel comfortable in my ability to fish a fly from river right, river left, up stream wind, down stream wind or any combination of the above. I haven't fished a single hander for steelhead in two years and wish I would have learned the art of spey fishing 5 years sooner.
 
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soloflyfisher:

The difference between each of the color series in Loop's lineup is mostly in the action. Between the different modulus graphite and the taper designs, each rod is significantly different. In stiffness, the order goes, IMHO, Green-->Blue-->Grey-->Black-->Yellow from stiffest to least stiff. I hate to use the terms fast to slow because they're not technically accurate in my opinion. The Grey Line uses the fastest graphite and has lightning fast recovery, but its progressive action seems to go farther down the blank than either the Green Line or the Blue Line. I've probably muddied the waters further for you, but that's the best that I can do explaining the difference.
 

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I'd agree with JR wholeheartedly. I've only cast the yellow and blue in two handers, but have two yellows, two blues, one black and one grey in single handers. Don't currently own a Loop two hander (have had a number of them, though.)

Currently aside from the Loops, the only other rod I have is my 8/9wt 10'9" Meiser Switch.

For a "first" rod, given that the other option is a 9' 9wt, I'd go Loop Blue Line 8124 or Blue/Yellow 9132. The yellow is much more fun, in my book, but sounds like your style/needs would fit the Blue taper better.

-G
 

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Junkyard Spey
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Best thing is when you call you talk to the owner/builder and not some automated system.
Hey... I'm not some automated system. I will agree Bob Meiser builds some very sweet rods.
 

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Re: For Jacob re: Loop rods

soloflyfisher said:
Jacob . . . I just looked at the Loop web site . . . what's the difference between all the different lines (grey line, black line, yellow line, etc . . .)? You recommended blackline, but why that over the others?
The Blackline series is Loops budget series. It´s extremly good rood fore the money. The Yellow & Blue are better finish, reelseat and different action. They are made of sam graphit but The blue are faster then the Yellow. The Green and Grey are the fastes and best rods in my viev.
 
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Jacob

While that used to be true, and may in fact still be true in Europe, it is no longer true in the US. The price of the Black Line is only $5.00 less than the Blue Line or Yellow Line in the two spey sizes in which it's available. When they upgraded the price they supposedly also upgraded the finish some and added the same rod tube that the other lines always had. The Black used to come with no tube at all. It's a terrific rod, but it is no longer positioned at an entry level price.
 

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soloflyfisher, fred evans, bob meiser

Give Bob Meiser a call and tell him what type of streams you will be fishing and for what size of fish.

He will direct you to the correct rod. In fact, he might even recommend his FES special, labeled after our own Fred Evans.

For small streams, Bob's 10'6" Two handed switch rods will do a great job. His 7/8 switch rod is an excellent rod.

I have heard nothing but good things re the CND rods. Juro will help you if you want one of their rods.
 

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Beginner's Spey

I started out with a brown Sage 9140-4. I found that it had lots of backbone and that it had a beautiful traditional action with a reasonable length for line control. I also found that it was a very forgiving rod. I used Rio accelerator 9/10 and then switched to a 9/10 mid-spey that I found to work much better with tips.

Now I've also got the green Sage 9150 (really a 10 wt), a Scott 1308, a Sage 7136 "brownie" (my favourite rod), and a Scott 11'9" 6 wt. I find that the 9140 is the most versatile and rather powerful rod I own. I'd recommend it to anyone starting out.
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Rob -

Sorry I got tied up with the hectic show schedule and lost track of this thread. Anyway please see comments below...

soloflyfisher said:
Hi Juro

I'm going to be fishing on the Borgie in Scotland... My wife and I <snip> . . . so I want a rod that I can use in more situations closer to home (i.e., here in New England). Ideally, it would be nice to get a rod I could use for stripers, northern pike, and of course salmon in New England rivers or steelhead when we go out west to visit our relatives in Washington and Oregon.
Very well thought through. Yes I believe there is a good solution although nothing will be 100% for every situation, I would highly recommend a pair of 13ft 8/9wt rods with performance/traditional action.

I like the CND 13' 8/9 Expert for this situation ($325). These rods are among the easiest spey casting tools on the market and perfect for starting out on the right foot for spey casting especially when paired with a mid-length spey floating line or a shorter multi-tip. They are not stiff, so teach the user to feel out the cast properly, yet they are not soft and noodly like some, which never really feel good until the caster finds the little spot on the blank where the rod works well - instead this rod feels good from the tip, middle or deep into the reserve from the butt.

Now a lot of rods are fantastic on the market today from a lot of brands, but this is a rod that really delivers and is in a price range that defies it's quality and performance.

That being said, I recommend you look over all of our sponsors and their awesome products before making an informed decision.

On my single-handed rods, I use full-sinking lines (fast and intermediate sink rates) and floating lines. I'd probably expect to use both floating and sinking (or sink tip) lines on my new rod, too. Versatility is the key for me, since I'd rather save my money to cover the cost of traveling to different places to fish rather than using it to buy a big collection of rods . . .
I fish a Windcutter 7/8/9 line with multi-tips and this rod will deliver a type 8 15ft head up to 100ft with a spey cast, the heaviest tip in the wallet. Yet it will throw a 65ft floating head spey line with grace.

Is there a web site where I can get more info on the Nor'east Spey Clave? Sounds like something I'd be interested in if I pick up the spey rod.

Thanks
We'll keep you posted right here, just keep checking in occasionally.

We'll get you and your wife casting beautifully.... as soon as this damn deep freeze breaks!
 

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Jolly Buddha
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Fisrt Spey Rod

Ive used Sage (fast rods) for years but now I change to CND custom series the easy of casting is amazing.:smokin:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for all the great advice

Just want to thank everyone on this forum for all the great advice. I picked up a copy of Derek Brown's spey casting video a few days ago and can't wait for the water to thaw here in Massachusetts, so I can get out and try spey casting. (If anyone is interested in a good introductory video on spey casting, I'd recommend Brown's . . . a very clear explanation of the techniques and rationale behind them.)

I've pretty much narrowed my decision down to a 14 foot 9 wt or a 13 foot 8 wt, with the 13 ft 8 wt currently the one I'm leaning toward, mostly because I think it may be more versatile for the smaller rivers and smaller fish I encounter most here in New England. If I were out West where there are lots of Steelhead and Salmon, I'd lean more toward the 14 foot 9wt.

Now it's just a matter of looking at the different brands. I had a chance to see the Sage's and TandT's at a recent flyfishing show, but I definitely want to look at the CNDs, Loops, Meisers, etc. before buying. The TandT's, in particular, are impressive rods, I think, but they are expensive. . . . anyone have any thoughts about them? It sounds like CND, etc., may be just as good at a much lower price.
 

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ahhh.... Derek Brown...

I love that video...

My eight year old daughter often goes around the house singing the waltz in her best Scot accent:

"Lift, two, three, Loop, two, three, Fire, two, three, PLOP!"

-G
 
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