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My impression of this board thus far is that there is a very solid, pragmatic knowledge base here. So I'm hoping you can guide me in my selection of my first Spey outfit.

I've fly fished for 40+ years but am just getting started Spey fishing. While I still have the enthusiasm of a young man I may no longer have the legs of one. By that I mean that wading is becoming more difficult though certainly not impossible for me so that no matter how much desire my actual opportunities for Spey fishing might be more limited. Consequently I'm not willing to dash out and spend a bundle on equipment just yet.

Basically, I'll be fishing three rivers in the Midwest for salmon and steelies; the Oconto, the Peshtigo, and the Escanaba.

For normal fly fishing I have a preference for lighter rods so when I look at Spey rods I'm thinking a 6/7 wgt. But most of what I'm reading seems to say to start with a 13/14 foot 8/9 wgt. Please keep in mind that I'm not looking for the best rod to fish with but just a good low cost rod to learn casting with. I have no problems out growing a beginners rod and buying something better latter. Right now I'm considering the following rods:

Cabela’s 13ft 8/9 wgt. $190.00
St. Croix 13 ft 7/8 wgt $250.00
CND Expert 13 ft 8/9 wgt. $295.00

Unless advised otherwise I plan to start with a Rio WindCutter line and a Teton Tioga 12LA.

You input will be greatly appreciated. Also, does Spey fishing have an adopt-a-newbie program? A fishing partner for the above rivers would be much appreciated.

P.S. Tight Lines in DePere, WI puts on a great Spey School.. My thanks to Dave, Steve, & Chris for their instruction and encouragement.
 

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Hi, Gus... Welcome aboard!

As you will find, we all have opinions here. Anyway, you have listed some good, basic beginner rods. (I will get argument on that....) - good starting rods. You may want to check out Redington, as well. But any of the rods will get you started. Pick a rod that feels good to you.

I'm going to be 69 in a couple of months - I know what you mean about easier wading.

When you pick the rod, ask here for line recommendations for the specific rod. That's the best option.

For a reel, pick one that balances the rod comfortably, and preferably one with a good drag.

I use a shorter spey (about 11 1/2 feet), but it fits my purposes here in the northeast. I rely on it for mending a floating line primarily, nymph fishing for steelies and browns. I use a double taper - works beautifully for my needs. But our streams aren't as wide as yours, for the most part, and I understand the need for a longer rod. With the shorter one I can do single-handed overhead casts, as well as roll cast and spey when required. But these are relatively smaller streams.

I think you are smart, not trying to break the bank. Try it and see if you like it, and if so, you can always upgrade, and have some experience behind you, along with personal likes and dislikes. In addition, you will have a spare rod to take along on extended trips, just in case....

One last suggestion (maybe it should have been my first) - before buying ANY spey rod, pick up a good video on spey casting.- Mel Krieger's "Essence of Spey Casting", to name one - there are other good ones, too, all retailing at about $30. It will give you an idea of what the game is all about.

Hope this helps some.

BobK ;)
 

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GusG

I got into Spey Fishing two years ago after I reinjured my old right shoulder. Also, at age 62 then, wading deep water to try and cast had become a thing of the past. I did an unplanned float down the Rogue just before my 60th birthday, and that changed my outlook on agressive wading.

I bought the Sage 7136 and the Wind Cutter 678.

Later I went to the Mid Spey 6/7 to avoid having to shoot lines.

Now, the Mid Speys are my favorite Spey lines.

You should try one of the new CNF rods. I will be buying their 6 weight soon. Their developer recommends the Mid Spey lines.

The largest Orvis Battenkill Large Arbor should make a good reel for CNF's lighter rods. I have one for my 7136 and my Bob Meiser 7/8. It is a great reel. It is bullet proof and has one of the fastest retrieves there is. You can buy that reel, the lower priced CNF rod, a Midspey 6/7floating line and backing for about $ 600 total.

Buy Rio's International Spey Casting video with our Simon on it. Watch him single spey and double spey, forget about mice and the other crap. In a couple of trips after watching Simon's video, you will be making some nice casts with your new rig.

Spey Fishing enables us older fishers to enjoy fly fishing for probably an extra decade. I seldom wade past my knees now, and that makes fishing less tiresome. Besides that it is fun to watch a young bull wear his arms out double hauling and hurling shooting heads while wading to his armpits. Then, when he leaves the river to rest, an old Gramp wades out to his knees and makes 50 to 75' casts with minimual effort with his Spey Rod.
 

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I did an unplanned float down the Rogue just before my 60th birthday, and that change

Good news/bad news. Even though the weathers been yuckie around here it has warmed up enough to kick the river temps. up at least 6 degrees. Add a few days of sunshine and the bottom of the Rogue is like walking on polished glass in many areas of the upper river.

The up to the knees in the Rogue is a good idea ... and another reason, as previously stated, to use a spey rod to reach out and touch something.

fae
 

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fredaevans re Rogue River's slick bottom

It is amazing how slick the rivers/streams in N. California and S. Oregon up to the Deschutes become with a little warmer water.

I now use Simms Aqua tread boots with the spikes, and the aqua tread really helps to tame the rocks.

Then, the spey rods or Bob Meiser's rods enable me to wade out to about knee deep water and reach out past where I could cast during deep wading with a single rod.

Fred, what fish are in the Upper Rogue next week?
 

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GS, it's a "ying-yang" thing on the upper Rogue right ..

now as we're at the tail end of the winter steelhead season (24,000 fish count) and the very beginning of the spring salmon season. Suspect there are a lot of 'downers' in the river at this point and the fishing is 'on-off.'

Saturday morning in some of the most miserable weather I've fished in all season I hooked 3 before I said (Dog was already yelping at me to get her the heck back into a heated car.) twiddle this. Side bar: got home just after 12 pm and it was snowing at my home in Ashland .....

Sunday morning out with Nate Bailey. Perfect weather, could have asked for more perfect conditions .... and neither of us did squat. Hooked a few 'dinks,' and that was it for about 5 hours of fishing. Go figure.
:confused:
 

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Fred

Did they increase the water flows Sunday for the whiter river rats.

Increase flows down here in California are often the kiss of death for good fishing. I have been on the Yuba, American, lower Sac, Putah Creek and the Russian and having a good day with active fish.

Then the damn guys increase the flow. It is not only dangerous for us fishers, it is like an off switch is thrown for the fish. The fish stop biting and go deeper into their holes or get along the sides of the rivers. Then, they are more into a hang in and survive mode that feed and attack flies mode.
 

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Rods

Well I do fish these same rivers quite a bit myself and I would suggest the CND 13' rod. I am not a big fan of the St Croix's however I love there one handed rods. I dont know anyone who has the Cabelas rod and I have never seen one so I cant say much about it? Spey fishing with anything less that a 12"6' rod on the Oconto or the Escanaba is tough! The slightly longer rods work great once you get used to them. Anything shorter than this and you will have to work a little too hard to reach some of the prime "spots" on these rivers. The Peshtigo you can fish with anything. I prefer to swing flies on a 11"3" Loop that I have since you dont need to cast very far on this river. I have also used my 9140 here but It is way overkill in my eyes. I am looking at picking up the 13 7/8 custom CND to fish these very same rivers and a few more in that same area! Juro let me know if/when I am getting those rods and I will see if we can hook up and check them out?. Good Luck and Tight Lines
 

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Help with a beginners outfit

I've been spey fishing for five years. I've tried all sorts of rods, but really love the Sage 9140 - 4. I use a RIO windcutter 9-10-11 without the belly. The 9140 is a very forgiving rod. Single spey, double spey, snake roll, and overhand etc. all work great with this rod and line combo. I've taught a few beginners with this rod, correcting a lot of the bad habits they gained from using less forgiving rods and haven't found a better beginning rod.
 

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Have you thought of a used rod there are several in the classifieds , you can get one of thoes for the same price of a new cheaper "new" rod, but I think your better off with a good used rod, I would suggest a trad style action to start with so you can feel the rod load and unload, then go for a "muscle" rod......Just my 2 cents.....nate
 

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Of the threee rods you mentioned, I would recommend the CND because it is a very nice casting rod, the price is right, and it has some reserve power while bending down into the butt section of the rod. The other two rods you mentioned are also very serviceable rods but keep in mind that the Cabela's 2-handers have really poor cosmetics. Redington also makes a very serviceable 2-hander for $250.00 regardless of length, and they are a bit quicker than the other rods you have mentioned. Redington makes a 12 ft. 7/8 and a 13 ft 8/9 in this lower priced series. I still like the CND over them though. The 13 foot rod is also easier to learn spey casting on than a 12 footer while also being more versitile. Sort of like the difference between an 8 foot single hand rod and a 9 foot single hand rod.

For a line, I recommend a RIO MidSpey or Delta Long-Belly over the Windcutter or Delta Spey. It has a belly of 65 feet, which is only 10 feet longer than the Windcutter, yet, the extra 10 feet makes all the difference in the world when fishing and it also helps you to develop good casting habits because it is a slightly less forgiving line then the Windcutter.
 

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cast,mend,stumble,swear..
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Sally--
hoping you'll see this... recently picked up a sage 9140-4.. happy to finally hear someone else say its a good starting rod.. am new to the sport of spey casting, tho have fly fished for 20 years, steelhead for 4...
question on your line selection... some of the other posts and recommendations i've gotten for the windcutter is to go with the 8/9/10 line (going with tips), as opposed to the 9/10/11 you use. they said, to much weight for the rod. is that why you don't use the belly section? am curious...
going to the sandy spey clave, hoping to get a chance to figure this all out there!
another question--what reel do you use with that outfit? am looking at the Ross BG-6 (a Ross fan, will admit that...). your thoughts?
thanks for you help!!!
mike
 

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Sage 9140

I currently have a Sage 9140 and have been using the W/C 9/10/11 on it with the full line and sinking leaders. I dont think that this line is too havy for the 9140 at all. I like the way that this line loads the rod well into the butt section. In order to use a shooting head line like the W/C and make longer casts, in excess of 90', I really prefer the rod to load deep into the butt section. It just seems more effortless in the casting stroke and the rod/line does all of the work for you! There are a number of people here in the GL region doing the same thing with there 9140's. Just my .02 on this matter but I dont believe that 9/10/11 is too heavy for that rod. Good Luck and Tight Lines
 

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cast,mend,stumble,swear..
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Chromefever---thanks for the information, much appreciated! am going to try and play with some of the different lines there at the spey clave and see what i like best... i think you are the first person that has said to line up in order to get the rod to load. most of the stuff i've been hearing on this forum has been to use a lighter end of the line spectrum. thanks for the info! how's the steelhead seasons treating you over in the great lakes?? have family in the traverse city region, fished the betsie a few time in past years...
thanks again!!
 

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I also fish the Oconto / Peshtigo area frequently and my home water is the Sheboygan. I use a 13' 7/8 St. Croix with an 8/9/10 windcutter 99.9% of the time. I have not tried C/D rods but have heard good things about them. 13 ft rods are a happy medium for our neck of the woods. I also have a 14 footer but it does not get as much use.

About the adopt-a-spey-buddy: Sound like a good idea. Send me a PM sometime.

Barry
 

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Great thread!

The CND Expert 1308 mentioned above loves the Midspey 7/8 but can handle the 8/9. I prefer the feel of the 7/8 especially with the whole head out of the guides. This setup provides a fantastic summer run rod for greaselining that is easy to cast and very affordable.

For sinktip work, it loves all over the Windcutter 7/8/9 with a range of tip lengths and densities, you will know when you hit the limit as with any other rod. Any of Simon's tips out of the pouch will shoot like a rocket, I enjoyed fishing this setup on the Sandy Clave a couple weekends back. It doesn't lack any of the gusto you need for sinktip work.

Most importantly I think it's virtues are from it's design. It was specifically designed for spey casting by an expert spey caster, Nobuo. You can feel it in the rod from the traditional European styling in the butt, handle, winding check, fly holder - yet see the high tech edge in the fuji components and precision spigot ferrules.

I like this rod as a training tool with the midspey 7/8. Just lay back a d-loop and push forward a beautiful loop, so easy to cast.

The rods we shipped to Ty Webb over at G/L flyshop should arrive today. I don't think there is an Expert 1308 in the batch but there I think there is a Custom 1308SP. Both have a traditional spey feel with plenty of reserve power, the Custom is generally a little more powerful (smoothly forceful) and has a beautiful emerald finish.

If you can't get hold of one to try, let me know and I will see what I can do to get one in your hands to try. These rods will be at the October clave in Toronto, but that's a ways off.

Best,
Juro
 
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