You probably won't get a lot of responses to your query until the first orders get into the dealers. Nobuo brought just one of the 16'1" Solstices to the Denver Show and needed to take it back for a major spey event in Japan. Therefore, Juro didn't get to tour it around the PNW with the rest of the rods.
I cast it alot at Denver (I liked it). I only used 2 lines on it, a 7/8 XLT and the new 8/9 Grandspey - both long bellies. It was smooth and powerful but didn't have the raw power feel of the 16'7" Thompson Specialist. The idea was to have a long, light rod for big water summer fishing and I think Nobuo has got it.
Are the Grandspeys different? Yes and no. The way Simon explained it to me Rio has brought the Grandspey line designations into accordance with the upcoming spey line ratings. The lines are the same, but their rating has been adjusted. For example an 8/9 line now matches the 8/9 rod designation. It may cause a little confusion at first - but in the long run it will provide an obvious benefit.
Don't know if I want a 100' 7/8 GrandSpey; but one with a 90'-95' belly would be nice. Hopefully, the new 8/9 Grandspey (which I take from Kush's post was called the 7/8 GrandSpey before the new spey line standards) has a belly of 90', and not the 80' belly of the "old" 7/8 GS.
Simon and Jim.
Thanks for changing the GrandSpey designations to the new line standard. This will make matching them to a rod much easier and do away with the confusion that was occuring when those of us you like long belly lines would tell folks to drop a line size to use them.
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