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The only spey rod I have ever fished is my Redington Redfly 13' 8/9, and once I got the basics down I could spey cast up to 80' even with tips. Im looking at adding some new rods to my quiver. Now I have read that you cant expect to get premium rod preformance out of a chepo rod. I guess I have some idea what that means because as a kid I fisished with some realy slow noodely fiberglass rods that wouldnt throw very far or very tight loops. I recall that my first graphite fly rod was just incredible. A whole new world of being able to put the fly way out there with a fare degree of acuracy even in the wind. Now since that time the graphite technology has come along way, and I have fished allot of single hand rods mostly Sage, St Croix, old Kenedy Fisher, Fenwick, Scott, and Lamiglass. Some of these are faster than others but in the end its mostly my skill level that puts the fly where I want it and not so much the rod.

I am planning to get the Sage euro 9141-4 or the 10151-4 this summer, but Im also considering getting a St. Croix 15' SCII 10/11 or Lamiglass 15'6" 10/11 blank and building some additional big sticks. Both of these blanks are considered chepo blanks. Can anyone tell me what the performance limitations are if any, as compared to say something that cost twice as much.

Thanks Natrix
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Ed Ward said at the Sandy Clave "I haven't tried many bad rods, just rods that were not matched with the right line". I think he hit it on the head.

You do not have to pay premium price to get premium performance. Many high-performance rods are priced in much more manageable price points than in the past. Nonetheless, one does need to be wary of rods that do not offer great performance at any price point. Are they too heavy? Worksmanship and component quality? Enough reserve power? Do they carry the load through various casting motions smoothly and effortlessly? Do you feel the "love" when you cast them?

A lot of it is in the hands of the beholder. Rods definitely have distinct personalities, as do their operators. Some guys like a full flexing traditional action rod. Others like a faster stiffer blank with a lighter tip. Different strokes, literally.

I would say cast as many as you can and buy the rod that gives you the most pleasure to fish.
 

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Juro, I couldn't agree more.

:D

I've got something to the tune of 11 or 12 spey rods now and each is a very different "animal." The grandspey lines showed me that the match up of line and rod is parimont; hit the combo and you're in spey casting heaven.

Wrong line .... dump. Point being, meet someone/clave/etc. that you can try several different lines with a given rod and you'll hit the "nervana.'' Interesting (to make a gross understatement) the number of demo rods that were lined with the Airflo's at the Sandy 'Clave. You don't see that many guys/gals lined with these rigs; Airflo's obviously on the hunt for market share ... from RIO/SA?

Put on my own reels/lines on a few of these rods and the RIO/SA's were outstanding performers; so I guess it's what 'floats your boat' vis a vis line choice.
fae
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Fred -

The reason I like the Traditionals as well as the others is that it provides a head length that is longer than my other favorite midspey and shorter than the extended belly workout line. The color is nice and subtle as well. It's a great casting and fishing line for greaselining mid to large rivers.

Rajeff advised that you can cut off the first three feet for a more positive turnover if desired, I think I will try that. I have yet to try these lines with sinktips but it would be interesting to see how they fare. I have fished them with sinking leaders and they cast OK although the removal of the first three feet will likely improve that.
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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There are rivers in the PNW where 120' could leave something to be desired in some stretches, believe it or not. But there are many more where 80' is more than adequate to catch fish and others where 60' will put you on top of the game.

But we are also talking about two different big-river games out there - summer run and winter run fishing. Many of the PNW rivers are big glacial rivers with summer runs willing to torpedo a skated dry. During the summer and fall most fish are not hooked on the dangle but over structure that may be on the far bank on broad rivers.

Winter runs are most often hooked on a slow swing or on the dangle - but to fish a slot that is running along the far bank effectively enough to hold the fly in the sweet seam before it gets pulled out it requires distance casting ability. In fact that's how I caught my first native winter fish on a fly many moons ago, in the inside seam of a channel running along the far bank. To your point, I agree that anyone who can make a decent 60-80' cast with a sinktip is armed with the tools (casting perspective) to catch winter steelhead.

Even on the Muskegon, which I had the pleasure to fish while at your Newaygo outing, the best water at Hennings was on the far bank where the fish were rolling throughout the clave. There was no way any of us could fish it effectively from the near bank without an extra 30 feet and even still the mending would have been near impossible. The fish would have to be very aggressive to take a fly whizzing by so quick without placing the whole head past the fast middle and getting a solid mend into it. Of course the right approach would be to fish it from the other bank, but in some situations even a mid-sized river requires some reaching ability.

Now do I have that extra 30 feet? I'll see you on the other bank ;)
 

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Rod Performance.
A spey rod should be able to cast very well any fly line with that line weight designation. They may feel differently with each line but it should cast them all equally well. It's just a matter of finding the line that feels the way you like. If a rod collapses while using a line of that weight then it is a poor spey rod. That is however something I have never experienced. In my opinion what makes a rod high performance is not what the rod will do but with how little effort it will do it. Foregive me for using this self serving example. At the spey clave we brought a new model to show off a 12ft 5 in 7weight that Kerry and I both felt was a very sweet rod. He designed it to throw a 67 windcutter without tips, he was looking for a rof that would really load with just a few feet of line out, something he accomplished. The rod however because it was properly designed was still able to throw 90 feet pretty darn easy. Though it was designed around the windcutter it also cast equally well with the 7/8 delta and the 6/7 XLT. There are many great rods and not all of them are Burkheimers but they all should be able to cast any line within their line weight designation and do it well, From there, choosing a line should be a matter of personal preference.

Casting distance

There are certainly rivers where long distance ability is very much an asset however rarely however is it needed for success. A prime example is the North Umpqua. Though it is not a large river in terms of width it does require some long casting to achieve a good presentation particularly with a skated fly. To get a nice slow swing often casts with a high angle downstream is needed to keep your fly on top in the boiling currents and to hit isolates lies where you fly must be fishing the instant it touches the water and where making a mend to set the fly up will only pull it out of the lie. That to me is the advantage of distance ability..
 

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Another point about long casts to add to what Juro said. Even if you're fishing to the near bank, a long cast (and therefore, a long line) can make a big difference in how slowly the fly moves. Imagine a 90 degree cast straight out to 45 feet, then the swing and the dangle to that beautiful holding water 35 feet below you and 15 feet out. Now imagine fishing to the same holding water with a cast twice as long: you move upstream 45 feet, cast out 90, swing and dangle. B/c of the angle, the fly moves much more slowly when it reaches that holding water.

Distance casting, to be sure, is often overrated. But last fall I was fishing with a novice steelheader. Same water, same fly. He was putting out 35' casts; I followed him with 75' casts, but aimed more downstream, so I was hitting only some of the water that his fly was missing. I got six hookups that morning, and my dear friend, none; we each made three passes through. Hard to know what the difference was, but I suspect fly speed had a lot to do with it. God knows I was praying hard enough for him to get a take.
-Lyell
 

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Snipping the tip off a long belly line.

"Rajeff advised that you can cut off the first three feet for a more positive turnover if desired, I think I will try that. I have yet to try these lines with sinktips but it would be interesting to see how they fare. I have fished them with sinking leaders and they cast OK although the removal of the first three feet will likely improve that."

Repeat stuff here, but I've found that snipping off 2-3 feet off the end of the XLT's does improve the lines turn over performance. Main reason being is we're almost always using a heavy two fly set up and 15-18 foot leaders. Tweeking back the line appears to provide a better transmition of energy to turn over all that leader and fly(s) at the working end.
fae
 
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