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Discussion Starter #1
Last summer I built a 13' 3" Batson Rainshadow RX7 Spey Rod. I live in Ohio and primarily fish our tributaries for steelhead. I used Rio's skagit max short head for my switch rod and really loved it so I figured I'd use the same head for my spey rod. The only difference is I got the 525 gr skagit max long head since the spey rod is obviously a bit longer. The one thing I failed to factor into my choice was the speed of the rod. My switch rod is a very fast action rod and the spey rod is the complete opposite. It casts okay, but does not load and shoot the heavier skagit line near as well as my switch rod. Part of it could be my casting stroke, as I am still relatively new to spey casting. To me it feels like with it being a very slow action rod it would do better with a lighter head. Maybe I'm wrong and the real issue is me. I'm just am looking for a line/head that would be better matched with this rod, but still allow me to cast bigger streamers that we use here in the great lakes for steelhead. Any thoughts or suggestions?
 

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I have had the 13' 7 wt Rainshadow in the original grey and in the newer burgundy. Had 'em at the same time, in fact. I throw the 480 Compact Skagit and 450 Steelhead Scandi on the burgundy one (still have it). I liked a 510 Compact Skagit on the grey one (the 480 was OK on it, too). It was a bit slower and more full flexing.

Both those heads are 24 ft long. I think yours is 27 ft. You are certainly in the ballpark with the 525 gr.

I'm willing to bet that the issue is the timing of the longer rod. Slow down and let it happen.
 

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Those blanks are designed for skagit casting so they're kind of slow, whereas the 6 and 7 weights (I have a 6 wt) were designed more for scandi casting so they're a bit faster. I saw somewhere that the grain window on the 8 wt is 510 to 560 grains and those windows have been pretty accurate on the rainshadow speys I've cast. I have cast that rod and I seem to remember it was lined with a 510 grain skagit and I thought it cast well, but could have easily handled a little more.
 

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I have Rainshaddow 6wt 12'6 burgandy blank. This is probably a bit faster than your rod. I built this rod when I just started spey casting. I used a Skagit Max 425 grain head and had difficulties with it as I had been using a faster rod previous to this. My stroke was much too fast for the slower rod so I put it away and only recently tried it again.

I had been looking for a rod and line for Summer fishing so I tried a 390 grain Nextcast 35 Winter Authority on my Rainshaddow and have to say this combination is brilliant! My casting skills have improved significantly since trying this rod last. I would say the most important improvement has been to slow down and feel the rod loading. If you slow your stroke and let the rod do the work you will be amazed at how effortlessly you can shoot line.

The Skagit should work well on your Rainshaddow... Slow down :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the tips everyone. I ran into someone that said a scandi line might be a better fit for it since it's slower, but I think you all are right. The line is probably fine and I just need to slow down. The 27ft head + a 10 ft. tip makes me think the length is just fine too.
 
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