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I am interested in acquiring my first spey rod. I have average SH skills and been casting 3 years. Unfortunately I am moving from the PNW to Wisconsin but, would like to become a competent 2H caster.

I would like to purchase a 6-7 wt. in 12'-6" to 13'-6" rod. I am considering Sage One, Beulah Onyx, GLoomis NRX, and Winston B III TH. Reel wise I will probably go with a Lamson ARX or Hatch 7+.

I would like some input in regards to which set-up is most conducive to a beginner learning to be competent.

Thanks for any input.
 

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I started on and Echo TR 7130. I still love that stick. You can't go wrong with the price or warranty. Keep an eye on the classifieds. Good starter sticks pop up all the time at great deals.

Brayden
 

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You should get some feed back on the type of waters you are going to fish and the type of fish you will target. You also did not state a budget as your can spend $250-1500 for a new rod, less for used. There are several very nice 2 handed rods. The two most important things that you help you is a line properly matched to your rod and a few sessions with a good instructor.

Rods - Moderate priced
TFO Deer Creek are very nice either 13' 7/8 or 12' 6" 5/6
ECHO Tr or DH 13' 7wt and they make a 6.5 in the DH II as well as a 7
Gary Anderson has some nice rods that are affordable
Redington
Sage VXP - they make a 12' 9" 6wt that is a 6.5 to lite 7wt and gets outstanding reviews. They also have a 13' 3" 7wt. These are on the faster side than some. These rods are being closed out and you can find some good deals in them.
Beulah Platinum 13'2" 7wt

Higher End
There are the factory rods but there are some great custom builders -
Burkheimer
Meiser
Gary Anderson
 

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Thanks for the input

I am hoping to do some Great Lakes steelhead fishing in WI or MI. If i become competent I would love to travel back to PNW and do a vacation on the Dechutes or other rivers. In future I would also be very interested in small mouth fishing with a light weight spey rod. Learing to fish trout or small mouth with an appropriate switch rod would be a goal as well.

As far as budget. I have spent years guiding waterfowl and upland hunting, as well been exposed to some good sporting clays. Good guns mount better, balance better, point better and shoot better. I also have 30 years using conventional tackle, good rods usually fish better than their cheaper competitors. I am not afraid to start off with a high end production rod. As I stated I am considering Beulah Onyx ($750) to GLoomis NRX ($1100).

What I am looking for in advice is: What length and weight are ideal to learn to cast, reasonable expense is not a concern. One should not begin to wing shoot with a 410 or a 10 ga. One should not begin to conventionally fish with an ultra light or a flipping stick.

Just looking for a very good learning rod that I would be happy with in the long run.

Thanks all.
 

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Longer rods are a little less critical on timing so in my opinion are a little easier for beginners, keep your line ratio 2.5 to 3 times the rod length to start and you will have fishable cast very quickly. Not sure what's easier to learn airborne or waterborne cast since waterborne is all I use but learning on a skagit was pretty fast. I consider a 12'6" or 13' rod throwing around a 500 grain head to be a all around easy to learn rod.
 

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I'm in WI. Fish both steelies and smallies with a 2H rod.

My recommendation for steelhead would be either the Sage One or Winston BIII 12'6" 6/7 wgt. IMO both rods fish more like 7 wgts. Both would be suitable rods on the Deschutes also. (I don't know anything about the Beulah although I'm intrigued by it. I'm not a fan of GLoomis.)

And for smallies an Echo SR 3 or 4 wgt. I have the Echo SR 3 wgt and fish it all summer for smallies although there are some rivers where the smallies get so much larger that you may want a 5 wt switch.

I found that casting the switch rod improved my casting with the longer rod. But, it may be easier to start on the longer rod.

Where in WI will you be? N, S, E or W? If you'll be within 50 miles of Green Bay we could meet up and you could cast some of my rods if you like just to get a feel for what you might want.
 

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Given your location, you should talked to the folks at Great Lakes Fly Shop. They know the local waters and carry all the rods you might like. I think they fish switch rods a lot as the rivers aren't large. A 11'9" 7 wt. switch would cover you there and out West. I use my TCX switch as much as any of my spey rods, so a Sage Method would be worth a look
 

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I learned on...

A Beulah 13'2" 7 wt. It was easy to cast and forgiving of my lack of timing. I would start out with a 450 gr Scandi Line on an appropriate reel such as a Hardy Marquis #2 or a 3 3/4" Taupo, if you want to go a little more upscale.
 

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I am replying not as an expert, but as a novice who has recently considered the same set of questions. I had a very similar list of rods as finalists.
(1) It is true that in some sporting endeavors there is a certain minimum level of quality that is needed to ensure that one is getting a usable tool. So, an ultra-cheap Walmart starter set of golf clubs may be next to useless, BUT there are clubs made for beginners, and beginners need not use Pro-V1 balls. My understanding of the situation with Spey rods is that all of the rods you mentioned will function perfectly well as a first rod---with no loss in performance. I have heard experts say the TFO, or Echo, or even the very reasonably priced Redington Prospector are great fishing tools---what you get (or should get) with more expensive rods is better cork, cosmetics, finish, guides. So, you probably can't go wrong with those at the lower end of the price window.
(2) Some rods are more forgiving for beginners---like a Meiser Highlander or Anderson Explorer so you might keep your eye out for that.
(3) I was told that at least a 7wt (400 gwt or more) and at least 13' long would make feeling the load and timing easier. (I partially ignored this point. I initially wanted a light troutspey rod, maybe an 11' 4wt, BUT I bumped up to a 12'6" 6wt in light of this advice. The 7wt seemed too much for any use on home waters).
(4) One is frequently told that getting the right line on the rod is CRUCIAL. This turned out to be the deciding factor for me. I could get an excellent rod (Anderson Explorer), reportedly beginner friendly, smooth, and versatile, AND included in the price was a line matched to the rod by the maker. I liked the idea that this uncertainty (line matching) was taken out of play. ( I was also avised to get the grain weight towards the high end of the window for load awareness).
 

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BURKHEIMER BURKHEIMER BURKHEIMER. Any weight, any length BURKIE!

I found a 12'6"-13' stick easiest at first if using shooting heads... Did I mention Burkies should be first on your list? No I take that back, that's the whole list of you ask me
Have fun!
-josh
 

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What I am looking for in advice is: What length and weight are ideal to learn to cast, reasonable expense is not a concern.
In your first post, seemed like you'd already narrowed it down pretty far :

I would like to purchase a 6-7 wt. in 12'-6" to 13'-6" rod
Trying to objectively narrow the choices within these parameters is splitting hairs in my opinion. Way more important is action and other intangibles, like, do you like the way the rod looks? Face it, if you like the way a fine gun mounts and points, I don't see you fishing an ugly rod. Don't get a really stiff rod. Don't overlook the Beulah platinum, very fine rod despite its lower price point. And friendly. I'd get that -- or a Highlander.

Now you do really have to decide on length, but I think within the parameters you've set this is purely opinion and personal preference. I favor somewhat longer heads, so, I'd say, 13'6", more leverage, distance, and control. Folks who favor shorter shooting heads will say go shorter. Both valid perspectives, what is important is to understand the reason for the preferences.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Again thanks for all of the input.

I have picked up some Echo3 SH hand rods and they are a very nice rod for the money. What I have seen of Beulah Platinum can be said as well. Both should be entertained. I did look at the Burkheimer site and was impressed. They with out a doubt will be a consideration.

The advice about head weights and rod lengths is very appreciated. As well the need to find a good casting instructor. I will not live in WI until next April and am going to be in southern GA Dec.1 until April 10. A good spey casting instructor will probably not be available there. I will have the ability to practice on water most every day all winter, but no instruction????

GusC, I am going to live in Montello, WI, about 100 miles from you. I will PM you, I would love to meet and do some casting. Was hunting over sold old Herters Burlaps last week in eastern UP, I miss them too. Very cool decoys but, no ducks.

Thanks.
 

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When I started about 10 years ago, I had the good fortune to be pointed to Bob Meiser. After a great, extended conversation, I settled on 12'6 6/7, which was great to learn with, and despite my now having a flotilla of great rods, it is still my favorite.

Bob's rods all come with a perfectly matched line, which puts them in about the same price category of many of the others you're considering.

I do think the 12'6 to 13 range in a 67 is ideal for learning.

Good luck. You'll have a fistful of rods before you know it.
 

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There is only so much in a name and $ don't tell the whole story

I'm relatively new to the 2H game, but believe me in 45 years of fly fishing I've owned a lot of rods by a lot of rod makers. To say the all XYZ rods are the best is, in my experience unrealistic. And to say that it has to be an ABC rod even more so. I'm trying to remember all the different rods/makers I've had over the years and I'll admit a couple of makers have been over-represented, but I've had good/great rods from several different makers and from several different price brackets.

When I got started in the 2H game I tried to buy my first rod without knowing anything about casting. I got what I thought would be a very nice rod and I could never get the line out anywhere close to where I wanted to be. Then rod #2 came along and it was a lot longer than #1 and the casting got easier. Then I took a lesson and things really started looking up.

Point is this, take the lessons first, use rods supplied by the shop giving the lessons, then figure out what you can fish for most in the area you are in, then go back to a shop, or many shops, and try out rods that appeal to you.

I bought based on what I read here, and interestingly enough I just bought another rod just like the second one I bought, because after quite a bit of flailing around I realized how good a rod it was.
 

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I have a plethora of spey rods. From StCroix and Sage, to TFO and Echo.......Funny thing is, the first rod I grab, seems to be the least expensive. The ECHO TR. I cant say enough about this rod. Price point being the least! Powerful yet forgiving. Its kinda ugly unless you are into the army-green thing but its awesome. I have a very good friend that is a Loop rep, and under his breath, he says you cant go wrong with that rod.
 

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I am interested in acquiring my first spey rod. I have average SH skills and been casting 3 years. Unfortunately I am moving from the PNW to Wisconsin but, would like to become a competent 2H caster.

I would like to purchase a 6-7 wt. in 12'-6" to 13'-6" rod. I am considering Sage One, Beulah Onyx, GLoomis NRX, and Winston B III TH. Reel wise I will probably go with a Lamson ARX or Hatch 7+.

I would like some input in regards to which set-up is most conducive to a beginner learning to be competent.

Thanks for any input.
I think you are on the right track by looking at shorter rods for the GL region. From what Ive seen this far,n the GL region a 10-12.5 is a good length throughout on the GL region. I suggest that a short-belly multi-tip speyline and small flies (as opposed to a skagit-head) would be more conducive to learning. Put off for the time being the heavy tips, large weighted flies and the compact shooting heads required to cast them.
 

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I am by no means an expert, so I won't even try to get into extolling the various qualities of this rod vs another rod. I will emphasize what a few others have already stated in various ways that there are some really quality performing rods all across the price and brand name spectrum. I have had the pleasure to wiggle, and even cast a fair number of rods from bargain price to Burkheimer, and there are some rods that really do shine with a particular line matching and my particular casting "style".

That said, I've not found near the wide range of quality in terms of casting that you will find in the single hand realm; I think that most of the switch and spey rods out there are great casting rods, and the differences are more nuanced and quite subjective. I also found that some of the higher priced rods just didn't really wow me much at all, including a very popular one by Sage (not a knock on Sage at all, as I do love their rods in general). Just as a purely personal example, some of the rods I've really loved: TFO Deer Creek, Redington CPX, Beulah Platinum, Mieser Highlander, Burkheimer, Echo 3, etc etc

All of them (and a few others) were great to cast, some clearly more enjoyable in certain conditions/situations than others. Hard to go too wrong imo ...

Probably more important would be matching the line, and rod size to the conditions an manner you will fish them. Either way, as someone who clearly enjoys quality in performance, look out, you're in for a fun ride :D
JB
 
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