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Discussion Starter #1
Just something to think about, these are not recommendations just observations. Let's say that Steelhead average 10lb's, let's also say that they are pursued on average with a 7 weight spey rod paired with a 500 grain skagit head.

Also, let's take a trout of 15" and it's weight is on average 1.5lbs. And because Trout Spey is relatively new there is a lot of trial and error going on. So the question is what is a good recommendation for line size.

If we calculate the relationship between a 10 lb Steelhead's weight and a 1.5lb (15") Trout: 10/1.5=6.67. So, the Steelhead weighs 6.67 times more than the trout. If we then take the 500 grain head used to catch the Steelhead and use the same relationship: 500/6.67=75 grains. So if you persue Steelhead with a 500 grain skagit head then the same relationship would be a 75 grain skagit head for trout.

Or to put it another way if you are pursuing 15" trout with a 300 grain skagit head: 300*6.67=2,000 grain skagit head for Steelhead. If you pursue 15" trout with a 300 grain skagit then it would be like pursuing 10lb Steelhead with a 2,000 grain skagit head.

How about a 20" trout? It weighs on average 4lbs. So: 10lb/4lb=2.5. Steelhead weighs 2.5 times more than the trout. So, 500gr/2.5=200gr. So a 200 grain skagit head would be the same relationship.

Again this is just putting things into perspective, it is not meant to judge, offend, etc., etc. It's just something to keep in mind.
 

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There might logically be a correlation between the mass of the flies used to catch a fish relative to the head weight of the line you are using (but we all know in reality there are a lot of big fish that eat really small flies so I doubt that one could even make a reasonable correlation here). The other correlation that might have meaning would be the average weight of the target species relative to the breaking strength of the line used to pursue it. But I don't see any reason for the head weight to correlate directly with the mass of the fish you are pursuing. Just my 2 cents.

Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Joe M.

I believe there is a direct correlation between head weight and the ability of the fish to put up a nice fight.
 

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I look at the head weight as a payload delivery system, not a fish fighting system. Do the flies we use for trout consist, on average, of 6.67 times less mass? I don't think so. 75 grains corresponds almost exactly up AFFTA's recommendation for a 2 wt. single handed line. I don't think many folks would say that is a plausible setup for any wind resistant or mass-y fly.

Also, it sounds like you're assuming a linear relationship between head weight and a fish's ability to fight. I think it is one of the minor variables in a very, very long string of other variables.
 

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What TTL said. It's more about the load carrying capacity of the system. A 75gr head would be something in the vicinity of a 1wt single hand line and not be able to move much of a fly.
 

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If you're casting a size 16 to 24 BWO at 'sipping' 15" trout, then a 75 grain line and 2 to 3 lb tippet may be appropriate....

If you're wishing to fish with a size 8 to 4 streamer @ the same trout, then your line weight would probably have to raise some, and if you want to fish 3-4" "bunnies" you will need to step up even further....

There's always a dilemma when you are trying to target certain fish/size of fish...what if the water holds other species, in other sizes; what if, when you're targeting those 15" trout your offering gets sipped in by a 15 - 20lb+ feisty steelhead, or a 20 to 25lb chum or chinook,..... how's your 2 wt trout setup gonna manage that?
 

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"I believe there is a direct correlation between head weight and the ability of the fish to put up a nice fight."

Probably true for the most part. Personally, I think it's got much to do with the short fat bobberesque nature of Skagit heads. Keep grains the same and go to the decreased diameter of an Intermediate density, stretching the line to around 30' would make pretty big difference in the above context.. of course we might not be able to fish those big Sculpins :(

Tackle choice seems to be driven more by it's capacity to deliver specific payloads. This was really driven home for me after a few seasons of Muskie chasing.
 

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I agree that the line is about delivering the fly and not the fish's ability to fight.

Take the exact same rod and the exact same steelhead, but drop the line weight down to a 420-450 gr. Scandi.

You're line grain to fish's weight ratio has changed now, yet that 10lb. Steelie, has gained nor lost anything in the fight!!

-Bill
 

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I see a couple posts have been torched (deleted) ..lol..

To clarify, I think a heavy head can diminish the power of "a trout of 15 inch", also specified in opening post. A 10lb Chromer.. not so much.
 

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The ROD has far more impact on the ability to "fight" than the line.
That's a given. Take same rod, two different lines. One, a 300 grain 20' Skagit short (figure on additional 60 - 80 grain tip for total weight) the other a 6wt single hand 35' 40+ Intermediate 260 grain.. both lines I've used on my Beulah 4/5 Switch. Which one will impact what a mid sized trout can show for himself more?
 

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I think it makes much more sense to rely on actual experience rather than theoretical ratios to determine what rod/line size to use on trout. The ratio described has little or no relation to reality, in my opinion.

My experience is with rods rated as 3, 4 and 5 wts. for trout of 15-20". The lines I've used have generally been floating scandi heads of 270-330 gr. , though I've also used some Skagit heads in the 320-360 gr. range with T-8 tips or fast sinking polyleaders.
Fish have a much tougher time fighting against the fat Skagit heads and sinking tips than the floating and lighter scandi heads, but if you need to use big or heavy flies you're forced to use a Skagit.

I have the most fun with rods rated as 3 or 4 wt with scandi heads of 300 gr. or less and small or lightly weighted flies. Even smaller trout give a good account of themselves, especially because the leverage against a longer rod magnifies their pull. Of course if you need to put the wood to them, holding the rod low and using the butt gives you lots of power, making the weak link the tippet, not the rod. I've caught Atlantic salmon of 10+ lbs. on a 4 wt. with no issues.

In my opinion the rods rated as 5 wts. are overkill for trout, throwing even scandi heads equivalent in weight to 11 wt single hand lines. The two-hand line rating system doesn't actually go below 6 wt., so different rod makers use varying standards for lighter weight rods. I'd say 300 grs. or under is the sweet spot for trout, regardless of the rod designation.
 

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There is a joke...

about how a mathematician, a physicist and an engineer try to solve the same problem that this thread reminds me of.

While I was trained as a theorist I agree it might be better to use the empirical method in this case.

So just a bit more data, on Thursday I caught an 18" rainbow on a 3wt 10'6" switch using a 240 gr ~22ft head and an about 75gr 10ft sinktip. The rod did not feel underpowered in the least, just the opposite, and while it was only one fish, I now feel like I'd be unworried to fight much bigger fish on that rod.

That said, if a 10 lb Steelhead for some reason grabs my fly I am probably going to cry like a little girl.
 

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I'm not sure if the obvious is overstated in the initial post here. It seems like a bit of a rhetorical question, but surely one cannot argue that a 15" trout would offer a greater fight against a spey rod lined with the grains needed to deliver a decent cast, as opposed to an appropriate single handed rod setup.

I've often wondered about what the benefit is to fishing a spey rod for trout, and the only benefits I can see are the payload which can deliver heavy tips or big bulky flies, a casting system that does not require a double haul, and the ability to use spey casts with a two handed system. Beyond that, if you want to maximize the "fight" in the fish, the fewer grains there is between you and the fish, and less resistance your line gives to the fish, the more you'll feel.

Strange, but that sounds like an argument for using an ultralight spinning rod....:saeek: nearly no grains between you and the fish :p

To each their own, but I cannot bring myself to use a two handed rod or lines heavier than 200 grains for the whole head for trout. I've yet to find a fly that I'd fish for trout that I couldn't cast with my 5wt (single hand). Ok, occasionally I bring out a 6wt, but only if I suspect a few summer runs might be mixed in ;)
 

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Working backwards

I approach this backwards..same as the posts above talking about payload delivery. If I'm going to fish soft hackles and spiders, I can drop to a lighter line. If I'm hucking size 2 streamers with some fur, it takes more grain weight in the line.

But here's where I see a difference. It's grains per foot that determines energy transferred to the leader and fly. With 225 grains over 16', I can turn over a lot more fly than with 225 grains over 32'. Because of that, with big flies I fish skagit style heads. With feathered wet flies and light streamers I can fish a longer taper.
 

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If all flylines were...

... the exact same length, then a calculable relationship between line weight and "fish fight" might be possible. However, in actuality, the subject contains far more factors than just overall line weight and fish size. One of those "other factors" in my experience, is the grains-per-foot weight of a line, which I think has at least as much impact on the "feel" of a fish fight as overall line weight. As regards Skagit lines, I have found that for my personal trout fishing, or other similar fishing where the target species averages less than 16", 300 grains (overall), is the heaviest that I like to use.

As to the "why" of "Speying" for trout... for me the number one reason is it's more fun. A big part of "more fun" for me has been the ability to flyfish through a far wider variety of conditions and circumstances than singlehand overhead casting has ever provided for me.
 

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Just had an...

... "aha" moment. I stated in my previous post that 300 grains - overall line weight - is about the heaviest line I tend to use for my "Spey trouting". 300 grains is also the same weight of line that I use for Skagit casting my 8 weight singlehander that has been converted to doublehanded mode, which an 8 singlehander is also the heaviest rod I would tend to select for fishing trout (when needing to cast "meat"). Coincidence?
 

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OK, as I hoped my previous post indicated, I don't take the question posed by the OP very seriously, but if you are going to do the math, do the scaling correctly. I assume (though I am not sure since you don't explain) you are trying to argue that the pull/strength of the fish somehow relates to the mass - I got that from your second post. I don't think the weight of the required line relates to the strength of the fish much, except as related to the rod required to apply sufficient pressure. But if it did the strength of a fish (or any animal) goes as LENGHT^2 (cross sectional area of muscle, number of muscle contractile fibers) NOT weight of the fish (which goes as L^3) as the OP is suggesting. It probably also has a lot to do with the ability of the fish to use the water as resistance, especially when turning, and that also goes as L^2. Presuming the OP take this line of quantitative reasoning seriously the he should redo the math to reflect that the "pull" from a fish most likely goes as WEIGHT^2/3 not WEIGHT and redo the calculations - if only so we can raise our eyebrows again. LOL

Sry, former physics professor here. Now I feel like the roman soldier in "Life of Brian" correcting the Latin of the guy he caught writing on the wall.
 
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