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Hooked4life
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Discussion Starter #1
I keep running across this issue with clients who come to me for casting instruction - they were told to buy lines that are way too heavy for their rods, based on the idea that they are beginners. Fortunately, I bring the right lines for their rod to the casting session so that all is not lost.

The theory goes that heavy is better for beginners, but too heavy makes the rod touchier to cast and requires more effort, not less.

The manufacturer's recommendations already tend to be a bit on the heavy side based on the idea that many purchasers are not proficient Spey casters. To add weight on top of that is unnecessary.

We constantly get requests for line recommendations on this forum and many replies suggest really heavy lines, when the recommendation should be to start with whatever the rod designer has suggested.

I've described the issue in more depth here: Sometimes Heavy is Too Heavy | Opinion | Hooked4life Fly Fishing
 

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Up by one weight-class with the entire body beyond the tip until comfy then back off is how it was first put to me. And it worked well enough that I often use 7/8 on an 6/7 rod, sometimes 5/6 depending. Most rods can handle two, maybe three weight classes. Beyond that - i can imagine it would be big hinderance more than anything...
 

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Yeah - I agree. Going shorter will be easiest for most folks starting out: Skagit short for that matter. But once the taper has been determined, what the angler wants to cast, it helps to load-up on grains in order to help feel the load and the timing of the cast. Loading up helps by allowing the caster to slow down during the cast while learning. As stated most line and rod manufacturers have their recommendations - usually mid range for experienced casters and slightly heavy for the beginner. Slightly heavy both within the range of lines ( i.e. 7/8 for a 6/7) and slightly heavy within the window for the rod in grains.
 

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Hooked4life
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Discussion Starter #5
When teaching a newcomer to Spey casting, I'm always using standard length heads (Skagit, Scandi or short head Spey) and the correct line for the rated weight of the rod. Loomis recommends for a PRO-4X 13' 7/8 either a 460 Scandi and 520 Skagit, or a 7/8 short head. So I put on Airflo equivalents, either a 450 or a 510 respectively, or the 7/8 Delta II if they want to go Short Head Spey (rare). Clients have no trouble with feeling the rod load or getting decent casts off, once a couple of simple techniques are mastered.
 

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Undertaker
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Totally not a spey comment, but when fishing a short line (such small stream fishing for trout) I honestly prefer a level line, particularly when nymphing. They simply load the rod better at short distances - and yes, I generally throw a 6 wt level line on my 5 wt trout rod.
 

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65 feet is about where I hit my limit for a 13 footer - That's a GPS 7/8 600 grains on a 6/7 MKS. That rod will go to 650 grains and so an 8/9 Short belly wouldn't be too heavy.
 

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I only have 2 hands
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When it comes to the world renown top end name brands or custom rod makers I can imagine recommendations are spot on most the time. But the cheap rods(the ones most beginners end up with) always seem to be rated a weight or two off........Most the time they need to be over weighted. Sometimes throwing a line wt. lighter makes them work better....one can never tell. Here comes the rant!!! A person in China that spins these things but doesn't know what it's for is not going to do the job an angler working at a high end factory or shop will do. I wish I could afford the top end stuff but unfortunately I just work in my country but can barely afford to live here. I am forced to shop somewhere else. Some would try to say I am at fault for the economy suffering because I can't afford to buy stuff not from China or Korea. Read that previous sentence very closely and help me understand this :confused: This thread is a great advertisement for the rod and line companies mentioned though.:D. Thanks for reading my rant.:rolleyes:
 

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SOOO YES Pete;'Newbie' just purchased a rod, etc ..

Well, the fly shop wanted to get the darned thing out of inventory. You could 'horse' Namu the Whale with the thing. "You will fear no fish with this ...."

"I feel your pain!"

fae
 

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Scandit sublima virtus
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I almost always start a beginner on a 12'6" 5/6 or 7/8 with a scandi head and SA casts, but very quickly introduce T&G once they get a decent forward stroke. If you don't know it's hard, there's no barriers.

I think overlining rods is a mistake. I want newbs to feel what a balanced outfit is like, and the ineffable sweet feeling of their first good casts tends to stick in their brain, establishing a good benchmark for the future.
 

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how bout the same question for touch and go casts ? I assume the light scandi recommendations are best for tng casts, but in most cases seem heavier than I like. is that what others are finding also ?
 

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Hooked4life
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Discussion Starter #12
SpeySpaz;1437938 I think overlining rods is a mistake. I want newbs to feel what a balanced outfit is like said:
Exactly! Once they have felt what a loaded rod feels like and see the line fly out there, they are hooked. They also inevitably comment that they now know what good feels like and can now practice having a standard to judge their progress.
 

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Hooked4life
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Discussion Starter #13
how bout the same question for touch and go casts ? I assume the light scandi recommendations are best for tng casts, but in most cases seem heavier than I like. is that what others are finding also ?
I usually don't teach Snakes and Singles to beginners unless they specifically request them. I usually teach the Circle and the Double with or without sustained anchor depending on the line in use.

Most of the manufacturer's Scandi weight recommendations I see out there are well within the rod's happy range, but toward the heavier end. An experienced Underhand caster will probably want to go lighter. Since beginners can't always develop that Underhand stroke, their more open casting stroke benefits from a slightly heavier head.
 

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Scandit sublima virtus
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how bout the same question for touch and go casts ? I assume the light scandi recommendations are best for tng casts, but in most cases seem heavier than I like. is that what others are finding also ?
It's hard to tune a scandi outfit for a beginner to learn on, because they haven't found their cast yet. But that's splitting hairs, right? So long as the scandi head is in the lower end of the rod's range and they can begin building skills, it's OK by me. If I can make a clean and relaxed Underhand cast with it, I feel like it'll be OK for them.

But I will bring along a ziploc bag with a variety of heads for a newer guy to try. Usually, they don't get wet.

I've moved guys up to 50' short spey heads in two sessions, and one guy was actually casting my 16' rod with a midbelly in his third session. This can go quick if they focus down on fundamentals, have fun, and have supportive coaching that meets their own learning style. Others struggle and that's OK too. I tell them to "love the suck, embrace the suck, we've all been there".:D
 
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This is out of topic but while we're speaking of beginners getting into one style of head -vs- another I don't agree that a scandi head should be light, that a skagit heads should be heavier than that, or that a speyline ought to be of a different weight altogether. Im not sure just how many are beginners, but majority of anglers are being taught the three different standard and majority abide by going even heavier as the length increases.

For those who instruct - you are successful in that you have your folks casting fairly easily. But lets just say one of your dudes continues to struggle ...
I don't instruct so I wonder: Do you allow them to continue struggling because you believe it is incorrect to go heavier even though it will help? Would you go heavier? I have taught a grand total of 3 complete strangers to angling and 1 former conventional gear angler. If I where to get into instructing I would put everyone on short-bellys, tapered leaders, I wouldn't even mention skagit or sink tips and I would be successful at it. I feel it's the right way to learn to speycast.

I also believe in what feels right to me and as it turns out "right to me" is mid-low to mid range if I were to look at the prescribed grains window for each of my rods. When I first got into skagit heads and then into scandi heads they where of the same weight for one rod. I'm back on the extended-bellies and keep a heavy compact head around just in case. For just this one rod (a 6/7) my preferred mid belly is actually lighter than the skagit head. The other line is a 7/8. I don't say anything - simply slip the lines in and out of there and the rod doesn't seem to know the difference.
 

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Hooked4life
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Discussion Starter #16
A good question in there FishOn.

Would I put on a heavier line? No I would not. We don't solve problems with casting mechanics by adding weight. We solve the casting mechanics problem. That's one of the challenges of instruction for we meet all kinds of clients. We have to develop a bag of tools that we can use to help the struggling client to get it right.

About line choices, our opinions as to the 'right' way are irrelevant. We teach the client using the line system appropriate to their fishing and their preferences. If they have none, then I outline the choices, we discuss and let them first try, then they choose. I never work on the basis that I like this line therefore you shall use it, nor "I know best so fish my way."

As far as weight goes, I steer down the middle of the rod's range for that line system then teach proper mechanics so that they can cast it efficiently. Handing clients crutches does them no long term favours.
 

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After all this the examples in the OP look pretty outlandish. Where did they come from???
I haven't used a line chart to choose a line in a long time but those are recommendations by the companies based on what they believe to be a good starting point. The anglers I fish with when I do, shop owners, guides and instructors, most of them cast heavier than I do. One example is an Echo TR # 7. I liked 540 skagit on the rod and the owner likes 600. Watching him cast I wouldn't call it over-lined what so ever.

So - who's willing to draw the line as to what is too heavy? Anyone? What would that do for personal preference? What does this mean for "up-linning by one then backing off"?
 

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Hooked4life
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Discussion Starter #19
Summed up in one word, "effort". I've watched big muscular guys whip around some ridiculous grainage (back off with the double entendres boys and girls). ;)

If we're willing to work, we can handle ridiculously heavy. If we have loads of big muscles, then it ain't so ridiculous. (I'll refrain from commenting about efficiency). I remember a clave many years ago where a strapping young lad from out west came to show us Great Lakes heathens how to manage heavy. He was whipping some serious weight. I tried his rig and damn near needed an EMS team.

Couple good mechanics with a line in the sweet spot of a rod and it really is effortless. The fact that others can manage much more shouldn't be taken as an endorsement.

BTW, that big muscular lad wasn't setting the world on fire when it came to distance. He was just working harder.
 

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Oh-no. None of it intended from here, and I apologies if that how it comes across.

You are not putting anything down that seems out of the field. I agree with most of what you are saying so those numbers seem like they must have been way off and they must have come from somewhere ...

Only saying though that if you, anyone for that matter, say "too much" is too much then maybe a figure would help. Some substance otherwise... and someone could be left out in the blank. What would be considered too heavy a line for a rod?
 
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