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Discussion Starter #1
For the past couple of weeks I have been casting some Trout Speys, and most recently just returned from 5 days of actually fishing one. Here are some conclusions about them that I have arrived at...

But first let me state my position on fishing, in order to keep this thread on track and not have it turn into a discussion about personal beliefs on the definition of flyfishing. I love to fish - all methods - but strongly prefer to flyfish when it meets my personal criterion for producing sufficient personal satisfaction from the fishing experience to be had. In the past 18 years I have chosen to use flyfishing 98.5% of the time because of my insatiable preference for fishing moving water over any other venue. The rhythmic casting of flyfishing, its mechanically simpler equipment and slower, more relaxed pace of angling, the feeling of the "bite" and "fight" on a flyrod, the more personal involvement of the method... are all reasons which steer me towards selecting it over other fishing methods when on river or stream. I do not flyfish to fulfill nostalgic cravings for "tradition". I flyfish for fun. My personal definition for it is this: Flyfishing is a method of fishing that uses the WEIGHT OF A FLYLINE TO CAST A FLY. And, a fly is a lure TIED from mostly natural materials - or synthetic materials manufactured to imitate or replace natural materials - and DESIGNED/INTENDED TO BE CAST ON A FLYROD. Also, I have no prejudices against using weight on a fly - or the line - as long as it does not trump "uses the weight of a flyline to cast". Finally, I attach no moral or ethical significance to how weight is accomplished - whether it is tungsten particles in the line coating, copper ribbing or lead underwraps on the fly, lead eyes, splitshot, etc. - with the exception that I consider the "traditional" method of tying on oversized hooks to gain depth as being the truly "barbaric" method of weighting, as larger hooks are more injurious to the fish we pursue. Now, on to the main subject.

The class of rods being discussed here are the 11 1/2' to 12 1/2' Trout Speys, 5/6 line weight designations. My first thought at "wiggling" some of these last year was "nice toys for calm days, relatively limited in capability". After test casting some with manufactured lines my opinion remained the same. Then I built a Skagit head... presto, different ball game. But, test casting is not the "real world" - time to fish. The river - in a word big - scratch that, huge... well over 150 yards on average. Trout hangouts - the "edges", where the current "rolled" along boulder strewn highbanks, or seams deflected off of rock-armored points, places that on a smaller river are at your feet, but on this river were of a magnitude to be considered "runs". Backcasting room was often limited, required casting distances ranged from 15' to over 70'. Flies ran from around size 4 and 2 nymphs and wets, up to 2 1/2" marabous. Floating lines, long 10' to 14' leaders. Fish caught were rainbows from 12" to a bit over 18".

Here is what I found out. Trout Speys are not "toys" - they are very effective and extremely enjoyable fishing tools. But, keep in mind here that I am talking about with Skagit heads. Casting 70'+ was quite effortless, even into 15 mph winds (we experienced all directions). I was even able to cast with a splitshot (a number 7 "gear shot", considerably larger than standard "fly shot") on a 10' to 12' leader and size 2 stonefly, over 70'. Mending was considerably more effective than with a standard 9' to 9 1/2' single handed flyrod, and of course the Trout Speys can cast in situations that a single hander couldn't even begin to. This class of rod handles 12" to 18" trout with about the same power as a fast 6 weight single hander, perhaps a little more (its been a looong time since I have used a single for fishing, I hope my memory isn't too far off). I found them to be quite fun with this class of fish.

Some added thoughts... I think that Trout Speys of this class are going to be unbeatable if one wishes to swing soft hackles or streamers. Line control, ability to fish at distance along highbanks, capability to combat moderate winds - all huge advantages over trouting with singlehanders. The ability to cast splitshot on long leaders is unbelievable. One can easily fish a wetfly on a long leader through shallow riffles, and then upon reaching deeper waters simply pinch on a shot to gain more depth. Easy, hassle free and effective variable depth coverage. Nymphing at distance (with or without indicators) is something that one of these rods will absolutely kick %*$#! at, I'm sure. Skating dries over distant lies is another option that these rods could fulfill. Did I say ability to beat moderate winds? Yeah, well let me say it again!. I'm talking about winds that start to elevate the brim of your baseball cap! Toys? Boy was I ever wrong!

Because these rods use a lighter and shorter head than the "standard" 13 1/2' to 15' Steelhead Speys, it may be possible to build a very effective Skagit head with very little line splicing (maybe only two "step downs" towards the front). I will confirm this within the next week, and if it works out, will post the "formula" in the near future.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Ooooooops!

I just realized that part of my post contains statements that are going to have rod manufacturers hunting me down with bundles of fractured and splintered graphite rod sections bundled into clubs with which to flail me with! Do not cast splitshot on your DH'ers unless you are darned precise and consistent with your casting technique! If you break your rod because you hit it with a shot then be honest enough to fess up and offer to pay for the repair.
 

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RA

I can hardly wait for the line formula. I have a new Meiser 11'7" for 5/6 that needs that line.

Also do you have a "formula" for its bigger brother 13'6" for 7/8 (FES) I have been using a WC 10/11/12 with tip two removed, but believe that there is something better out there.
 

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Breaking new ground

R.A. has been building and testing new lines for the light 2 handed rods. I am happy to hear you got some real fishing in. These new lines will add a new dimension for the 2 handed rod community. R.A. above post is the result of many hours of trials. Jerry
 

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RA

It is great that you are willing to share your hard won knowledge with the rest of us. Are there some general principles of Skagit line design that you would be willing to share with us? I understand that the head length is to be 3 to 3.5 times the length of the rod. What do you do for tapers at the front and back? Can you use a dry tip? If so, what type of taper do you use?

We neophyte line builders appreciate your wisdom.

Now that you have us drooling in anticipation, some general design principles could help those interested enter the testing program.
 

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Bravo to River Addict

I will print out this part of your comments, laminate it and carry it to shove, you know where, when the whining traditionalists start whining.

These so called traditionalists are the Devil's Advocates devil: placed on earth to try and make us feel guilty when we fly fish.

Here is the best statement to counter these Traditional Devil's Advocates devil: , that I have ever seen:

"I do not flyfish to fulfill nostalgic cravings for "tradition".

I flyfish for fun. My personal definition for it is this: Flyfishing is a method of fishing that uses the WEIGHT OF A FLYLINE TO CAST A FLY.

A fly is a lure TIED from mostly natural materials - or synthetic materials manufactured to imitate or replace natural materials - and DESIGNED/INTENDED TO BE CAST ON A FLYROD. Also, I have no prejudices against using weight on a fly - or the line - as long as it does not trump "uses the weight of a flyline to cast".

Finally, I attach no moral or ethical significance to how weight is accomplished - whether it is tungsten particles in the line coating, copper ribbing or lead underwraps on the fly, lead eyes, splitshot, etc. I consider the "traditional" method of tying on oversized hooks to gain depth as being the truly "barbaric" method of weighting, as larger hooks are more injurious to the fish we pursue. :
 

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Re RA's reasons that he fly fishes.

RA's comments/rant of why he fly fishes will be a classic for me.

I'm headed to Sacramento to try to catch shad on my new Sage 6126 tomorrow. Give me a call if you want to go.

My son Chris actually stopped fishing yesterday after about 4 hours. He wore himself out the night before and yesterday. There were some hours, he caught 10 to 15 per hour.

He said yesterday was the best he has seen in years. The water level is/was great and the shad were agressive all day. He had shad running into him, right in front of him and behind him. He was using his 9140 to get into a seam. He hooked a few right in front, beside him and behind him. He said thank goodness for the Loop LA reels.
 

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A few days ago the first few streamer grabs of the season swinging with a two hander made me wonder why I fish any other way. Casting a two hander is more fun (here's that word again) then a single hander for me, even though I suck at it, and the first few seconds of a decent brown trying to kill my giant articulated rubber leged bunnysomething monstrosity are just too darn cool. Now I just need a rod that will let the fish show his stuff after the initial heroics and still cast these flies. I guess RA has come up with the answer. When the buget allows...... Meanwhile, I'll be swinging............
 

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Dr. Swing

How do you fish with streamers with your two handed rod?

What lines do you use, tips and casting techniques?

I'm really interested.

Last year, I had some big browns on Putah Creek and the Yuba take a fly and play bull dog with the currents and overwhelm my 7136 and Meiser's 5/6.

Besides Shad fishing, I bought my new Sage 6126 to try and handle those bull dog browns. So I;m very interested in how you use two handed rods for the big browns.
 

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Overwhelmed?

Grandpa
How big are those browns. I have one of Meiser's 11' 7" for 5/6 and they handle Rogue fish to 12 # without stressing the fish according to Bob.

Ed Ward was fishing the sandy at the Sandy Clave with the green 7136 and catching some good steelhead.
 

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t_richerzhagen re: How big are those browns.

How big are those browns?? :confused:

I don't know. The ones in Putah Creek appear to be 6+ pounds. The problem is with the high water flows. They turn sideways and then horse their way down stream. Then they wrap the tippit around a root, a rock or something. There is nothing that I can do with them re control with my brown 7136 or Bob's 106 5 weight switch rod.

My new 6126 performed really well today shad fishing. I will post about that tomorrow. I used my Mid Spey 7/8 with the tip compensator and the type 6 and type 8 sinking tips.
 

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Trout Speys

I really need to get my hands on a true light weight two hander. I currently use a loop 11'3 7wt for this. But it doesnt have a true spey handle on it. The lower butt section is more like a fighting butt than a spey rod handle.

As for fishing with it. I love to swing streamers for trout and smallies on the larger rivers. There is nothing like a big fish crushing a streamer swung on a larger river. Also tends to find some of the bigger fish in the system as opposed to other methods. I have managed to land browns in the 10+lb category but it takes some doing. When they decide to use the current in their favor it can be hard to stop them. The nice thing though is that when swinging streamers you can usually use a heavier tippet and put the stones to them without worrying about breaking them off.

My next project is to target carp with my spey rod. That is something I have done on accident while looking for other fish but what a blast! Nothing like targeting carp in the summer months in rivers or on the flats in the GL area. Its amazing what these fish will take when they are feeding in the shallows! But that is a whole different thread!:devil:
 

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ChromeFever

Yesterday, I hooked and landed 12 nice sized Shad on the American River, 3 very large males (just under 2') and one very large Sacramento Sucker Fish (streamlined carp) with my new Sage 6126.

With in a couple minutes I had all the fish under control and headed for the shore or on the shore to unhook and release them. The Sacramento Sucker took about 4 minutes. A good fly fisher across the river from me with a 7 weight single handed rod was taking 2-4 times as long to land his fish.

The lower handle on the 6126 is more than adequate for me, and I wear XL gloves. I use Simon's and Bob Meiser's technique of casting where I only hold the very bottom of the grip and pull it up into my gut/chest at the end of my cast.

I cast my MS 7/8 with the tip compensator with either the type 6 or type 8 sinking tip for over 6 hours. I replaced tip 2 and 1 with the compensator and sinking tip. All day I was casting the full head just outside of my reel. I'm sure that I could have easily shot a rod length of line, except it wasn't necessary to get into the slot. I got the basic distance that I get with my Sage 7141 with about 1/4 of the physical effort.


My legs were more tired at the end of the day than my shoulders and arms.

I'm very impressed with my first day of fishing with the Sage 6126. It will probably become my late spring, summer and early fall rod for medium to large rivers. Shad fishing and landing Shad to me is an ultimate test of a rod. It got an A+ from this old man for its results yesterday.:cool:
 

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Re: Dr. Swing

Grampa Spey said:
How do you fish with streamers with your two handed rod?

What lines do you use, tips and casting techniques?


Grampa,

The past couple of times out I have been swinging streamers on my Steelhead Specialist with the interchangable tip scandiavian head. This is WAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY toooo much rod for the job, but I just got it this winter and I am trying to fine tune the lines. Normally I swing with my 7-136 and it works pretty well with a windcutter. In the fall (when the fishing is actually good, as the lake runs come in) I just use a floater and weighted bugs. I need to build up some sort of Skagit head for the rod, but so far i have gotten by with just the windchucker. I also spend a lot of time swinging soft hackles for the Lake Runs in the fall and a floater is great for that. By this fall I will build a head that can cast the low to mid density tips needed for streamers where I fish and turn over bigger flies with greater ease. If I can manage, I'll get a 5 weight two hander for the soft hackles, use the 7 for streamers and only bust out the cannon when it is blowing 20+. But we will see, the cannon is dang fun to cast!

One thing with lines, for where I fish for trout, any head longer than than an extended shooting head (windcutter, delta, SA shorthead) is silly, as the belly will still be on the reel with a longer belly line. I also sometimes like to strip line near the end of the swing to speed the fly up, in case someone is giving chase. With a shooting head, I can use a strip retieve very similar to how I fish streamers with a single hander.

As far as casting techniques:D ? You make me laugh Grampa! My casting sucks! I huck it the heck out there, anyway it will go! In seriousness, I tend to use the Poke casts a lot with the big flies. The biggest runs where I swing are only about 60 feet wide, so a lot of time I am angling longer casts down river pretty steeply.

I normally just mend once or twice, really I don't care if it bellies a little, and let the fly sweep through the pool. If I can toss a reach in to help the tip sink a little more before it comes under tension, I normally will. Basically, I don't do anything a lot different than I do swinging for steelhead.

A lot more fish bump and peck at the fly than grab it with intent, but that is the nature of the beast this time of year. Sometimes switching up flies will get fish back, just like steelhead.

This is a way of fishing I have only used for about 3 years and most of that only for the fall runs, so I still have a lot to learn and experiment with. I have played around a lot with different styles of flies, looking for something that hooks a greater percentage of the bumpy fish, but I can't say anything conclusive as to what I think is the best. Well, I guess I can say to leave the 6x long stuff at home. Tandem hook rigs I love, but I can't use them everyplace. I've played around with some tubes, but haven't fished them enough to see a difference.

Well, that's enough of this rant.
 

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Trout Speys

RA -

How big of a fly can you toss with your skagit lines and a sinking tip on some of these trout spey rods you are using. I currently like to toss some large sculpin and muddler patterns for trout and smallies. I also have a few of these that I like to use that are tied on aluminum tubes up to 2". Wondering if you think this is possible on a 5/6/7wt trout spey and a skagit line? Or is this wishful thinking on my behalf? Obviously when chasing some of the huge browns that run in from the Great Lakes in fall I will have to go to a larger setup. But in the summer when chasing the average size fish around here it would be fun to match the rod to the fish even though I still throw some pretty large streamer patterns?
 

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As soon as RA posts a design...

...for a trout spey Skagit head I plan to make one and throw the largest streamers, stoneflies and hoppers I can get my hands on, using my CND Expert 6/7. I'll let you know how it goes. C'mon Ed, we're waiting (and thank you so much, truly, for sharing. It is greatly apreciated).
 

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Chrome fever: streamer size?

Based more on what I've read than experience, the advantage you'll gain with a Skagit style line is a relatively bigger belly section nearer to the tip and fly. By going to a shorter belly, you can compress the grain weight into a smaller area, and turn over sink tips very effectively. Based on the numbers in posts above and my experience so far, a short head at 420-480 grains (including sink-tip) should turn over most anything you've got. Once you get into the oversize streamers, I do think design is a factor---8" of bunny strip fly will be hard to turn over with the taper of most factory sink tips, for instance. I've got the same rod on order from Bob Meiser as some of the guys above (used to be 11'7", now 11'6" 5/6/7), and have a demo now (here in West Michigan). I'm using fewer grains than mentioned above. If you're interested in casting this rod, we could meet somewhere on the water.

Carl
 
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