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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Some years ago I wrote a piece about the definition of Skagit casting. In it I presented the advice that anglers new to the Speycasting scene should pick one style of casting and then become THOROUGHLY familiar with it before trying other alternative styles of Speycasting, because of the subtle yet key differences in methodology between the different casting methods. One of the responses generated by my commentary stated in effect that I had no business telling anyone to restrict their casting repertoire to just one style. This response was in fact the result of total misconstruance on the intent of my statement, but it still has pertinence to circumstances present in the current Speycasting scene.

Loomis recently introduced a series of Speyrods known as "Dredgers", rods specifically tailored to the Skagit casting style. They have now had enough exposure to start generating some industry commentary. Some of the feedback that I have received so far has been that the rods are "soft" or "whippy" "noodle rods". These conclusions are in fact misinterpretations of the rods actions resulting from unfamiliarity with Skagit casting, and/or a lack of understanding in casting fundamentals for shootingheads. Basically what's happening is the attempted application of "longline" casting techniques onto a rod that has been designed expressly for sustained anchor/sustained load casting concepts using shootingheads (Skagit casting). The Dredger rods are in fact of a medium-fast action, and if the rod is loaded up correctly BEFORE the casting stroke (not during), and then that load is CARRIED THROUGH to the casting stroke so that MINIMAL power is required to conduct the casting stroke itself, THEN in fact one can feel that these rods cast off of the tip section of the rod like a medium-fast action rod should. An illustration to keep in mind is that a correctly conducted Skagit cast will require no more effort during the casting stroke than a medium velocity pingpong ball serve! And this seemingly small application of power will result in a cast having line speeds that are not so easily duplicated by other casting styles. These rods have been designed to create a load during the "sweep" of the casting process and then sustain it through to the casting stroke, thus obviating the need to "power through" the casting stroke - driving into, or punching the rod during the casting stroke is in essence adding power to an already fully- loaded rod which will obviously completely overload the whole process. This is one of those "little subtleties" that differentiates one casting style from another, exactly one of the points that I was inferring in my Skagit casting article - a seemingly small action that has huge consequences.
 

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Ed-
Would you mind giving a basic formula for the line that you are using with the 13'9" 8/8 GLX?

I was out today with Kerry and we were trying to nail down the right line for that rod. I did have issues with the 13'9" (or is it 8") and was having a hard time maintaining any sort of loop control, especially when trying to throw a Snap-T BUT when I switched up to a reverse Double Spey, I was able to tighten my loop up and generate much more line speed (and then I did really like the rod).

I also fished the 14' GLX for most of the day and found a 9/10/11 WC to be a damn good match (even Kerry commented on well of a match that line on that rod was) but again, I had no loop control when throwing a Snap-T but was able to tighten my loop up and generate an insane amount of line speed when I was throwing Reverse Double Speys.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Line weight

Sorry Ryan,

I haven't really taken the time yet to dial that rod. I've been "hooked" on the 13' 4" 7/8 because it is perfect for the size of fish that one is most likely to encounter here at this time of year (5 to 8 pounds), and it is light enough to provide good sport with dollies. I probably won't really shake down the 8/9 until February when the bigger nates begin to show. A good starting point for that rod would probably be around 600 grains. By the way, the 7/8 absolutely sizzles with 555 to 560 grains!

You need to learn the Perry Poke. The Snap T/Circle/ C Spey just don't generate the power/speed of either the Perry Poke or Doublespey.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Rod actions...

Peter,
Yes, Skagit casting can be done with fast rods. It can be done very well with just about any action of rod if that rod is lined properly. I spent a period of years fishing nothing but fast rods, mostly in pursuit of "maximum distance". But, over time I became aware of several attributes about fast rods that didn't seem to mesh well with my steelheading:

1 - they (as you have stated already) require spot-on timing to cast well
2 - the load "window" is very narrow, meaning that if you have a line designed to cast maximum distance on the rod then "feel" and accuracy on shorter casts sucks.
3 - the flex profile on fast rods does not offer very good shock absorption characteristics when fighting fish, particularly when the fight is in close.

About point #1 - When I go fishing I like to be relaxed about it. Fast rods meant that I ALWAYS had to concentrate on my casting timing, not something that I always wish to do. Even then, with constant casting concentration, I still had an inordinate number of "bad casting days" because I am NOT one of those people with the gift of good timing.

About point #2 - Steelheading in the Puget Sound area during the winter often means turbid/cold water conditions, which results in our fish often taking up resting stations in quite slow/shallow lies. In my experience, 90% of all FLY-CATCHABLE steelhead at these times are within around 75' of a position that you can wade to. Fast rods, without fail, "induced" me to cast far because they didn't "feel" right until a certain amount of line was outside the guides. This trait more often than not meant that I was casting beyond where the majority of fish were holding. Even though I KNEW this, I still experienced too many instances where people following me through a run took steelhead behind me by fishing to where they thought the fish should be, instead of "booming" casts way out into the river!

About point #3 - My hooked to land ratio took a nosedive when I started using fast rods. The "unforgiving" flex pattern tended to "bounce" flies out of fish, especially when they were doing heavy headshaking at close quarters.

Winter steelhead are hard to come by on the fly. Each fish hooked is the result of many, many hours of effort. I have had to "re-educate" myself to the fact that I fish to have fun - not to set distance casting records - and when I am lucky enough to hook-up with a steelhead I like having the highest chance possible for landing that fish. It's not that I am "counting" my fish, but rather that I really enjoy looking at steelhead because they are such beautiful animals and so individualistic in "character" and appearance.
 

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Riveraddict,

I have a question for you based on this conversation. You talked about the medium action rods not requiring as perfect timing as the faster action rods. Do you think that this sort of action is in general a better rod for the novice caster that doesn't have his timing down as well as someone with more experience ? On the same note, do you think the Dredger / Kispiox are an easier rod to learn on than the Greased Line / Deveron ?

The other question I have is concerning the Dredger series. We have heard a lot about sink tips with these rods. How do they fare if you are throwing a floater in the appropriate grain range? I'm not thinking a long belly but rather a WC or short head line without a sink tip.

Thanks
Gillie

I do have one more peice to my series of questions. Is there a significant difference in the action between the Dredger GLX and the Kispiox ?

Thanks
 

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Sounds like the rods might come close to some of the great single handed classics that are such a joy to not only cast but fish!! You don't want to cast them like a fast action rod - it takes a smoother, longer stroke to keep them loaded but not overloaded. I sure agree about the fishing and fighting abilities of a slower action rod - fast action rods have their place but it seems that the market has gone crazy with designing parking lot rods that can cast a mile.

ED - you made a point up above that I am not sure I totally understand regarding the perry poke/DS generating more line speed than the snap T. I can see this with the Perry Poke as you now have a cast lined up where you want it to go so all you do is a switch cast - easiest to generate line speed. But at the end of the snap T part or the initial upstream lift of the DS you are essentially in the same position - for both of these casts the swing into the D loop is essentially the same? The only difference is that the line is on the upriver side in the snap t and on the downriver side on the DS when you begin the D loop.

Regarding the perry poke - the other day I was playing around a bit and it seems that at the end of the Snap T or DS with the rod low you would then go into a D and dump the line then complete a switch cast for a typical perry poke. It seems that you could almost bypass going into the initial D loop where you dump the cast and just dump the line by a backhand or reverse flip of the rod by first raising the rod tip a bit them doing a reverse flip into the river from the off shoulder side then compelte the switch cast saving a couple of steps?
 

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Peter - no question it is a great idea to be able to effectively cast both fast and slower action rods and understand the characteristics of both, but day in day out if I have my choice I much prefer medium action or maybe even medium fast action rods to fast action rods for the pleasure of casting and fishing
 

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Riveraddict said:
Sorry Ryan,

I haven't really taken the time yet to dial that rod. I've been "hooked" on the 13' 4" 7/8 because it is perfect for the size of fish that one is most likely to encounter here at this time of year (5 to 8 pounds), and it is light enough to provide good sport with dollies. I probably won't really shake down the 8/9 until February when the bigger nates begin to show. A good starting point for that rod would probably be around 600 grains. By the way, the 7/8 absolutely sizzles with 555 to 560 grains!

You need to learn the Perry Poke. The Snap T/Circle/ C Spey just don't generate the power/speed of either the Perry Poke or Doublespey.
Thanks for the heads up!! :) If I run across 'ya on the river, I'll have to ask for some pointers on the Perry Poke.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
...

Rick,

It would take a book for me to explain in writing why the Snap T/Circle/C Spey does not achieve the power/speed of the Doublespey or Perry Poke. Even then I doubt that I could make a 100% clear translation. One thing that might get the point across: on the "sweep" portion of the casting process for the Snap T/Circle/C Spey the rod tip travels more or less directly back over the points along where the line has been "set" onto the surface of the river. This "configuration" does not result in the best use of surface tension to load the rod.

The reverse flip eliminating the "half back D" is useful at times under close quarter casting, but in open venue casting the reverse flip does not lay the line out in the most efficient manner for producing surface tension to load the rod, same as above.

Gillie,

The Kispiox/Dredger are designed for Skagit type casting. The Deveron/Grease Liners are meant for Traditional/Longline styles of casting - basically two very different approaches of casting. Medium action rods are more forgiving of timing, BUT they do demand correct technique. Fast rods require spot-on timing, but you can throw a lot of muscle into these rods to fudge for lack of technique. This is one of the reasons so many novice casters are hot to trot for faster actioned rods.
 

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Ed,

"Medium action rods are more forgiving of timing, BUT they do demand correct technique."

So which is it? Correct technique is correct technique. The timing between the various rod actions isn't a whole world apart.

"Fast rods require spot-on timing, but you can throw a lot of muscle into these rods to fudge for lack of technique."

Fast actioned rods have plenty of leeway built into them. It's just a different type of feeling in the rod. Fudging for technique? Isn't that the same thing as saying you blew the timing on the medium rod but the forgiving action allows you to fudge for your mistakes???

"This is one of the reasons so many novice casters are hot to trot for faster actioned rods."

In the whole scheme of things, is there really something wrong with that? I mean, are there any laws preventing people from choosing which rod they want??? :saevilw:

From my perspective, I have ZERO problem with the timing of fast actioned rods. Not pseudo fast rods like CND Specialists or Sage Euros (Nothing wrong with the rods, but they are what they are.). It takes no muscle to cast fast rods. At least no more muscle than a medium rod requires. In fact, as I continue to grow with them, finesse is the first word that comes to mind to describe these rods. Finesse to the point that they now require noticeably less effort than the same medium/slow rods I learned with and defended to a fault. In hind sight I wish I would have switched to them in the mid 90's.

William
 

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Skagit Rods

I believe that a big concern with certain types of rods is how they "feel" when loaded during the casting stroke. I dont like the way the fast action rods such as the T&T and GLX rods "feel" or the lack of feeling when casting. On that same note I dont like the whimpy overloaded feeling of some of the slow action rods such as the Sage traditional rods. This is not to say that one is better than any other but that I simply dont like the way the feel. Also ones tempo should have a lot to do with the type of rod that you use. If you have a quicker/faster stroke you probably dont want a slow action rod. I firmly believe that technique is extremely important and that a person should not try to mask improper technique with a certain type of rod? Not to say that a lot of people cant benenfit from a forgiving rod but one should not give up on proper technique by doing this.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
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William,

With a medium action rod you can be a bit off on timing, but as long as you make the correct movements (technique) the rod will still throw a very good cast. If you screw up on technique, then the resulting cast is usually a complete pile of garbage. With fast rods if your timing is off the resulting cast is usually a pile of garbage, but let's say that your elbows fly away from your body during the sweep (technique error) - a halfway decent cast can still be salvaged from the mistake by applying more power during the casting stroke.
This same move applied to a medium or even slow action rod tends to overload and "collapse" the tips of these rods resulting in "no cast".

Nothing wrong with beginners using fast rods. But, they are not the cure all for all casting ills as seems to be the general advice being pushed nowadays. Because of what I stated just above, superficially it seems so to those less experienced in Speycasting because they can in fact make decent casts very quickly with these rods by overcompensating with power. But, in most cases that I am seeing today, the end result is that the learning of actual technique seems to then become retarded or even to a standstill. I think that this is certainly understandable considering how the "instant gratification" outlook is so ingrained into our culture, and if one is satisfied with that then fine. But, for those that may become interested in learning actual technique, there is no "instant expertise" - it takes time and effort - and I am "argueing" in order to illustrate some of these points. If I weren't in fact countering the fast rod "sell", it would be very easy for novice Speycasters reading the Speypages to conclude that the ONLY rod to have is a fast one.
 

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Loomis rods

Hi Ed


I'm not going to get into fast rods slow rods or so on. But being this post is about the Loomis Dredger series of spey rods. Then my question is? Being that you have some time in on the 13'4" 7-8 GLX. Do you have any time in with the 13'4" 7-8 Kispiox. And if so. How much of a grain difference between the two rods when it comes to the heads you are using.
And have you veried much in head length between the two rods.

Thanks Jim
 

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Ed - thanks for the input - if you are at the Sandy maybe I can hit you up and follow up on this discussion.

I think ChromeFever hit it for me and it is certainly a personal choice for everyone but I usually don't care for the feel of very fast rods - I have over 20 single handed rods and a few two handers and only one rod (a salt water rod) would I classify as fast. Quite a few are medium fast. I can certainly change my timing and my technique, and both have to change to cast the different action rods, but just don't get the pleasure from a fast action rod. And more importantly as they are fishing rods as much as casting rods, I don't like fighting fish on fast action rods as much as on slower rods. Of course my biggest passion is spring creeks so that is where I have come to love the slower action rods
 

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Discussion Starter #15
...

Fast rods, medium rods, slow rods, all have justification for use. No one rod or rod action can "do it all", and it is up to each individual to balance their fishing needs with their preferred "personal feel" for casting in order to "match up" with a rod action. I am, in fact, not trying to "trash" fast rods or anyone that uses them, just trying to offer a little "balance" to this discussion, much like a "point - counterpoint" situation.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
...

The difference between the Dredger GLX and Kispiox is in line speed. The GLX is a higher mod graphite. Both rods have the same action, but the GLX will "recover" faster which imparts more velocity to the cast. I fished the 13'4" Kispiox for a day a couple weeks ago on the Sandy. It is a great rod, lot's o' fun to fish. The GLX just has that extra "whang" to it.

The 13'4" GLX is a great light summer steelheading rod. It is perfect for Grande Ronde, Deschutes, North Fork Stilly types of fishing. It is also a fun "light action" rod for the more experienced steelheader to use on the Puget Sound hatchery winter fish (usually running in that 5 to 8 pound range). On rivers like the Sky and Skagit where gradually sloping river contours allow the fishing of early winter hatchery steelhead on light sinktips, and where encounters with Dollies in the 14" to 20" range are common, this rod has the capacity to punch a 10' T-14 tip out over 80', and yet provide great sport on the smaller sized fish. I landed 6 Dollies on it yesterday throwing the aforementioned tip with a two inch long weighted marabou fly. The rod was a joy to cast and the Dollies put on a very good show, the largest at 20" bending the rod down about 3/4's of the way. The line speed on these rods is beyond impressive, they absolutely sizzle! One thing to keep in mind, Dredger rods are much lighter in action for their line ratings than almost any other rods out there that I have experienced. This 13'4" 7/8 is lighter-actioned than either the Sage 7136 or Fly Logic 13' 7. I am casting 555 to 560 grains on this rod (Skagit style), as opposed to 590 for the Sage and Logic. Because of this I'm sure that there might be some overlining happening out there with these rods. Especially considering that the "new Spey line standards" are being adopted and changes are happening with Spey lines now. I don't know if the lines we threw on the "test" sessions last June were of the new weight ratings or not.

Gillie,
Skagit casting absolutely rips with a floating line!

James,
Both the GLX and Kispiox took the same line.
 

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Ed,
"With a medium action rod you can be a bit off on timing, but as long as you make the correct movements (technique) the rod will still throw a very good cast."

"With fast rods if your timing is off the resulting cast is usually a pile of garbage"

If you pull out 'very good' and replace it with 'a cast' I will agree. Bad timing is bad timing. But that depends on the definition of 'a bit off on timing' with medium rods and fast rods 'your timing is off'. If your timing is the same 'a bit off' with either rod you are going to get a cast. How good or how bad depends on how far off the timing is. Medium rods don't get a magic break from physics.

"But, they are not the cure all for all casting ills as seems to be the general advice being pushed nowadays."

I don't work in shops, or guide. Just cast and fish. So excuse me if I am out of the loop a bit. Who is giving this advice? That fast actioned rods will solve all your casting ills. Rod manufacturers and their BS marketing hype? Or the parking lot cast where the shop pushes the high dollar item? Or the fishing guide working for said shop? Those are all problems with the 'business'. But this website? I think this website is as diverse a collection of opinions as exists.

"But, in most cases that I am seeing today, the end result is that the learning of actual technique seems to then become retarded or even to a standstill."

What is 'most cases'? Observing the many casters out there, there are only about 1% of them that can actually cast very well (and I am not saying I am one of them). The rest are in varying degrees of skill level. And more common than it should be, as in most walks of life, there is a disconnect between how an individual's brain and mouth see's their casting and what their body actually produces. Fast rods are not the culprit.

"I think that this is certainly understandable considering how the "instant gratification" outlook is so ingrained into our culture, and if one is satisfied with that then fine. But, for those that may become interested in learning actual technique, there is no "instant expertise" - it takes time and effort - and I am "argueing" in order to illustrate some of these points."

Again fast rods are being blamed. Why? Turning this around, I could argue that we should only allow beginners to learn on traditional DT's and not be allowed to fish until they take the time to learn how to cast them. Not just fishing casts, but be nearly perfect. We could then move them onto GrandSpeys and XLT's. Once the techniques are properly learned we would then issue them a license to do as they please and cast Skagit lines, windcutters, delta's, Scan shooting heads. You know, the lines that are really there for instant gratification producing fishing casts in a few hours??? With just about any style of rod. (Please understand my sarcasm in those statements and not take them as face value.)

William
 

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Riveraddict,
Follow up question on the graphite difference between the GLX and the Kispiox. If the GLX allows you to generate greater line speeds and recovers more quickly does this translate into greater ability to shoot line ?

Gillie
 

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William -
Not speaking for Ed but based on my personal experience, fast action rods are much more forgiving that medium or slow action rods and much easier to get good casts out of and rod manufacturers seem to have really gone overbaord in making fast action rods likely aimed at those beginners as they will get better results quicker even if their technique and timing is not all it should be. This is not the fault of fast action rods and I don't think Ed said that - he just said someone who has success with a fast action rod may not be totally aware that he has bad technique as it is not as evident with a fast action rod. I am mainly speaking to single handed rods as that is my expertise - I have been teaching flyfishing classes for over 15 years and the majority of beginning students do much better faster with a fast action rod. Poor technique really shows up in the slower rods. That is not to say that a beginner will get all there is out of a fast action rod but it is much more difficult to throw a smooth non tailing loop with a slow rod than a fast rod.
 
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