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I am wondering when the Spey rod became the Spey rod (you may have solved this a long time ago); specifically, I am looking for early examples of advertisements that picture rods and call them Spey rods rather than salmon rods.

Nice site - I am happy to be a part of it.
 

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JD
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"Spey" rods

You will not likely find anything from the age of greenheart, knickers and such referring to "Spey" rods. It is my understanding (could be wrong here) that the Spey terminology originated on this side of the pond. Over there, where it all started, they are still referred to Salmon rods.
 

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loco alto!
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seems Mike Maxwell called them "true speyrods" on this side of the pond for decades. That isn't going too far back in the bigger scheme of things, since the long rods have been longer. Perhaps by process of elimination it can be pinned back further.
 

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Pullin' Thread
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Kelson. Francis, and Maxwell all make reference to rods made specifically for fishing with the Spey Cast. And these books all date from the latter half of the 1800's. Kelson's book even has some ads in the back of it from tackle makers and sellers (what we would now call retailers) that include ads from rod makers for both salmon rods and rods for Spey Casting.
 

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History of Double -handed rods

Hi Guy's,
The term "spey rod", is a relatively new term, and not to sure if it has history, the term Double-handed , or Salmon rod goes back Hundreds of years, even before Kelson was a boy.
A rod for speycasting is a different subject, some rods were made with a heavier top section which helped in the spey cast.
And a Switch cast was done with a long rod, not a short rod, the materials or the day dictated what rod was best for what casting style.
Hope to post a couple of photo's showing speycasting from the river Spey from 100yrs ago, and even Alexander Grant casting with his hat on back to front while casting.
Gordon.
 

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Pullin' Thread
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Gordon,

Do you have an idea of when the spey cast came about? I ask because I have always thought it must have been sometime in the 1700's since it was mentioned in fishing literature in the mid-1800's; but I have not found a time reference as to when spey casting began in the books I've read.
 

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When is a salmon rod a Spey rod?

In his 1895 book "The Salmon Fly," George M. Kelson devoted a number of pages to his opinions (of which he had an apparently inexhaustable supply) about the proper rod for salmon. He doesn't use the term "Spey rod" consistently, but does at several points. One: "In the ordinary Spey cast, length is a more important factor in a rod than strength. You cannot lift a long line with a short rod; and what a Spey rod lifts it casts."

I believe that in 1895, the term "Spey rod" had not yet become a fixed concept. Salmon anglers were more concerned with a variety of casts to be made with their long rods. Kelson again: "What is the best style of rod for Salmon-fishing? The obvious answer is - that style of rod which is all-round best, which executes best all the several kinds of casting practiced by skilled Anglers - the style that, on the whole, best meets, most powerfully, easily, and pleasantly, all possible exigencies of place, time and circumstance.
"Surely this style of rod is equal in trained hands to make the "Overhand," the "Spey," the "Underhand," the "Flip," or even the "Wind" Cast - each as required. This certainly is the beau ideal of a rod for a skilful Angler whose fishing lies in a great variety of water."

By the way, in the next paragraph he makes an intriguing distinction: "They rather look for certain special qualities in the rod, because their practice is limited to one or perhaps two varieties of casts. One may possibly often have to adopt they Spey cast, and fishing only that river, content himself with a local model which carries a lightish line; whilst another, in an exposed run of catches, has as often to contend against a head-wind and otherwise must use the Wind Cast, which demands a maximum of lifting power in the rod and plenty of butt action, or leave the water unfished." This suggests that, at least by Kelson's interpretation, the original (?) Spey River style of casting may have been something like what we would call greased-line casting, and was not the most heavy-duty style of casting then employed by salmon anglers. (But that's a reach, on thin evidence. I am not a scholar of early salmon angling literature.)
 

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History of the Spey rod

Hey flytyer,
Very hard to find out the date when it became called a speycast as we call it now.
But by the 1850's there was a reference to switch casting with a long rod, in time switch casting became Spey casting, but as now one cast end up becoming another.
Fishing and hunting parties have been coming up to the Highland of Scotland for centuries, and they would have had there man servant(ghillie) on hand at the river for Salmon fishing, as now he would be expected to know the river, flies, and be able to cast a Salmon rod.
Still much the same today.
There was competition casting with Double - Handed rods in the 1880's, and guys doing demo,s, fishing and casting sink tips, even muti-tip lines,underhand casting, and alot more all going on even then, even guy's talking the talk, and hats on back to front while casting
Alexander Grant caught and landed a Salmon of 55lbs on Sept 1887, and had his Fishing shop in Inverness by1890, and people where fishing Double- handed rods long before him, just on that note, not all greenheart rods where big and heavy, his where much thinner at the handle than the cork handles on rods we use now, and it was tapered for your underhand.
I just had a quick look at some of my old books, and photo's of speycasing from the Summer of 1906 on the Spey, will post them on the the site when i get a chance, right now its after midnight not going through all the books tonight, but having had a quick look earlier, i am going to read one again later.
Guy's, i love all the history and some of the books tell great stories of adventure and days fishing at the river, not all about how great a caster they where, even today thats the way it should be, havin fun at the river.:)
 

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Junkyard Spey
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Hey Speyghillie...

I agree with Greg. Great post! I am also looking forward to more.
 

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Pullin' Thread
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Gordon,

Thanks for the info. And I agree wholeheartedly, the fishing and simply being out in God's creation enjoying the natural world and its beauty when fishing is worth far more than how far a person can cast or how many fish he caught in a day/week/month.

Thanks for the info on the greenhearts since the only greenheart salmon rods I've seen or cast were rather thick in the butt, very soft and flexible, and heavy.

I look forward to more info on the history of spey casting and rods suited to it from you.
 
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