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I got a Maxwell 13' 8wt back in '91. I still fish it regularly in a few places where it works well for me. The only lines I've used on it are 8wt double tapers modified pretty much as Mike suggested in his 1990 'manual' on speyfishing.

Mike used to suggest that the 'maximum effective distance' of his rods -- the distance at which he felt the line could be well controlled after the cast -- was roughly 5 times the length of the rod. Or about 65' for the 13' 8wt. In my hands, the rod casts well in the 65' to 75' range (line length measured from the reel, and without shooting any line). So Mike's suggested maximum effective distance seems to agree, for me, with the distance that I can readily cast the fly. If I try to extend the cast beyond 80', the end of the line tends to collapse. The relatively open loop I get with this rod limits the cast no matter how I handle the rod. And the rod seems to cast best when I cast it in the style that Mike designed it for, with both hands close to the reel.

Mike's 'manual', and his later book on speyfishing, take some patience to read but contain quite a bit of information that might be useful to you in getting the most from your rod. If you don't have access to his books, I could probably scan and send you some stuff that might help.

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