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Junkyard Spey
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Hey Cannon...

First I E-mailed the company for the recommended grains and got no answer,then I phoned and they couldn't answer,so then I compared similar rods and came up with 550 grains.I finally got a hold of a rep.,not before making 3 long distance calls over a week
Your experience is the very thing I'm talking about in regards to the specs for lines or rods and the indifference of some rod/line makers in providing same. You could have most likely saved yourself a lot of grief had you consulted Simon's lines recs on Rio's site. At least it would have narrowed the choices down to a heavy load or a light load. It is the first place I look when confronted with a rod I have not lined before.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Hey MSG,The rod is a Loomis GL3 12'6" 8/9wt. which was only available in Canada and England and is no longer in production.It was not listed on the Rio website,so I was 25 grains out which is not to bad.The line I have is the SA Spey(not the short-belly or the XLT) in 8/9 and wieghs 650 grains.From the research I've done is that for a beginner a heavier line is the way to go.The rod is rated for 575 grains,is 75 grains too much?I'm kinda second guessing that I should start off with a short-belly line(?).I have yet to cast the rod as I plan to take my first lesson with FFF certified caster in the next few weeks(time permitting).I've been holding myself back not to go out and cast the rod as I don't won't to start bad habits as they're hard break.I'm trying to keep it simple and as I read this forum and other info that sometimes I start renting too much space in my brain taking it all in.
 

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Cannon

keep doing the right things. The lessons are a great way to begin. They will also give you a chance to try a number of lines on the rod, as most instructors, not only have a number of rods to use, but too many lines. Your plan will save you a lot of time and frustration.

BTW most rods have a large enough grain window that even more than 25 grains is acceptable. For example the RIO A and B recommendations. A fairly extreme example is the 9/10 mid or the 10/11. The 9/10 weighs 725 grains and the 10/11 875. That is 150 grains difference for the same rod. In practice the individual would probably need to shorten up the 10/11 to get it to work well. Personal preference also plays an inportant part. Early on a slightly heavier load helps one feel what is happening to the rod. It also slows things down, so the casting cycle can be a little easier for the new person to get in touch with. For me, I am finding that I have moved toward the lighter load, as I like the crisper action it provides.

Some can get more out of a rod and line than I can. Brian Styskal can cast an old style 7/8 XLT (876) with my Meiser 15' Highlander to the backing knot. I prefer the 8/9 midspey (640) for fishing. That is a big grain difference.
 

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flytyer, you are correct about the suggestion thing and i think we all agree it's a complicated waltz between the "shop dude" and customer. i know i would wrap that lotus around a telephone pole within the week, but i want one anyway.

Cannon, i wish all my customers had your attitude. ;)

MJC, how did you know about my neighbor?
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Thanx for your help you guys.I know there is a wealth of info on this forum and I have admiration and respect for the "Spey Elders" if you want to say as they have put in the time advancing the Spey Galaxy.I consider myself a pretty good single-handed caster and angler and I'm more than willing to help out others.In my experience most anglers are the same way though there are a few with the "elite attitude" and the omnipotent charcasim.What goes around,comes around is so true.
 

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cannon

Cannon, I think that your rod is designed for scando heads and underhand casting so the ratings are kinda screwed up. I have the 9/10 and I cast a 7/8 delta on it. I love it, maybe I am way underlining it, but to me it seems great. This is a perfect illustration how hard it is for spey casters to get the right line for their rod. I have spent so much money on lines just to have to sell them week later.
 

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Speyngineer
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Hmmm... I am afraid, that the grains alone are meaningless, unless we are talking about shooting heads, which are fairly close lengthwise anyway. Just because of this, the Spey Standard takes into account the length of the head, as well as the weight.

So a line weighing 575 grains at 40 ft is a very different form a line weighing 575 grains at 65 ft. The former is a 10.7 Spey, the latter 8.1. So if I was asked as a rod manufacturer (which I am not), what is the optimum grain figure for a certain rod, I could not give the answer, unless the type of line was known.

So, if and when the road has been chosen, that the Spey Standard gives you a Line number (e.g. Spey #10), that info , and no grain figures, should be printed on the rod, IMHO.

Had the other route been taken, where the actual casting weight of the line had been used, the the rod might have been labelled with the optimum grain window that particular rod likes the most to cast. And that would have been the more accurate way, as now, in theory, any line that meets a certain point in the weight, lenght space, is officially a standard line, however screwed the weight distribution along the head is...

As far as the fly shops are concerned, at least here it is quite useless to ask any questions about any line/rod combo, unless it is about shooting heads, as they dominate the scene completely. So to buy a Speyline, it is always more or less gambling, and only with experience one gets the right answers little by little. And if (when) wrong lines are being purchased, the first person I would blame is in the mirror, not behind the counter :D

I think that the old GS were mislabelled, because the design point was not for the whole head (about 90 ft), but propably something like 65 ft. The new standard should cure this kind of unfortunate mismatch, I hope. At the moment, I think that one big problem is, that some manufacturers follow the new stadard and others dont, and the poor customer may not know who does what... Therefore, the head weight and length info on the line package is of utmost importance... as it can be used to clear this out.
 

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Pullin' Thread
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Lohi,

RIO has been making all of its lines (including the GS) to the spey line standards since last fall. I picked up a new GS 10/11 for myT&T 1611 last November and it ballances the rod very well regardless of whether I'm casting 55' or 120'. And this redesigning of the GS by RIO is a perfect example of how the new spey line standards are going to end the problem of what line to use on a rod in time, just like the AFTMA single-hand standard did.

This is why I agree with you that only the spey line standard number ought to be put on the rod and leave the grain window off. If a person is knowledgeable and understands that a given rod is capable of casting a huge window of grains, and understands that if a rod is capable of tossing between 500 and 900 grains he cannot go out and use a 55' belly that weighs 900 grains without overloading the rod. However, I'm afraid the average casters do not know enough about rod dynamics to understand that they cannot go out and use a 900 grain line with a belly of 55' without severely overloading this rod. Just having the spey line standard number on the rod (like is done with single-hand rods and the AFTMA line number), there will be no confusion as to whether a line will work on the rod or not.

Unfortunately, this is going to take a few years before all the line manufacturers and rod makers are using the spey line standard to label their products. This is no different than what went on in the single-hand world when the AFTMA standards were adopted in the late '50's. It took 10 years before all the line makers and rods makers where labeling their products with the proper AFTMA line number. And it took even longer than that for many of the fly fishers who started before or just after the AFTMA standards came into existence to think in terms of line numbers instead of the old silk line letter designations. I doubt very many who took up fly fishing since 1970 even know what HCH or GBC, etc. mean unless they are into old bamboo) since they are silk line designations.

This is not the case now because the vast majority of people learning to spey cast and purchasing 2-hand rods and lines have experience fishing with and casting single-hand rods and are used to seeing a line number on lines and rods. Therfore, I think it will take less than 10 years to have the spey line standard in use by all line and rod makers. Both the customer and the shops are the beneficiaries of this because just like the AFTMA standard made purchasing rods with matching lines easy, the spey line standard does the same for 2-hand rods.

As far as the rods already in production that have not been designated with the spey line standard number, those with experience using them will work out rather quickly which spey standard line number works best on them and that information will get out very quickly because of the internet and all the fly fishing magazines now available. This is far different than when the AFTMA standards were adopted in the '50's.
 

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In the ice age when the Scottish people cast lines for salmon,this was in the days before the Americans invented Speycasing you understand, we used to use double taper lines, if you had too many grains out you just pulled in some line.

Think about things if the line is too heavy pull in a yard or two then bang it out, if too light increase the line speed to add more mass.

It is not really rocket science.
 

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Malcom
There you go over simplifying things again. We like to tinker around with stuff here in the U.S. Its amazing U.S line manufactures don't see whats going on in the U.K with line design and take a few notes.
 

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For years, many have bemoaned the lack of any credible standards in the spey casting world. There used to be a standard based on a DT 9 weight line, but that concept seems to have been buried in the "forgotten archives". We see so much around us in this segment of fly fishing that literally screams for some credible standard:

-When Simon Gawesworth, among of the greatest instructors (and all around great guys) the casting world has ever seen has to spend umpteen hours of his valuable time compiling a "compatibility chart" for lines and rods,
-When Sage, producers of some of the finest and most respected fly fishing rods the world has ever seen, has three (or four) different "9 weight" spey rods that actually encompass at least three lines weights difference between them,
-When designers at Scott - in keeping with their hard core compulsive nature - want a standard to design rods around (because of course the rod gets blamed if a purchase line doesn't fit it) and they get laughed at,
-When overhead casters looking at "spey rods" to fish off the beach have to overline these rods by 2, 3, or 4 line weights using current AFTMA single hand line standards,
-When Bruce Richards, one of the very best single hand casters nad instructors in the world, and who's line designing genius and openness has revolutionized modern single hand lines gets stonewalled for the past several years by the industry as a whole for wanting a line standard.

It is fascinating to observe that now such a standard exists - announced by Bruce at last years fly tackle retailer show and after countless hours of work by Simon, Bruce, Tim Rajeff, Al Buhr, and others across the line manufacturing industry - that retailers and spey fishermen across the planet would not rejoice. Finally - a standard across the industry for short, medium, and long belly lines. Finally, something rod designers can design around. Finally, a system like single hand rods, where if you buy a 5 weight rod and a 5 weight line, there's a 90% chance they will complement each other well. Of course, there are outliers - some experts prefer to underline their rods' stated weight, not all rod manufacturers make rods that work in the current system (see the CCS discussion on the Sexyloops site for a real in depth and elegant discussion on rod actions and standards), and not everyone can cast well enough to determine whether a given line actually matches a given rod.

Still, the standards are there, and they are a good start. Nobody in the industry honestly believes it is a panacea. Perhaps there will never be a day when a retailer can sell any 9 weight line with any 9 weight rod and have the customer be perfectly happy. But then again, here is where the customer relies on the special expertise only a knowledgable fly shop owner or employee can provide. Here is where the "sweetheart" combinations are discovered, popularized, and sold. Here is where the customer's ability, desired target fish, and individual tastes are matched to the best products for him or her. You won't get it from a big box chain.

SA has made a major effort to make all of their spey lines compliant with the new standard. Personally, I can tell you it's a whole lot of work. On the other hand, the lines I was responsible for (XLT) were pretty close to the standards anyway, so it was mainly a matter of tweaking what already worked... and an opportunity to design some of the single line weights fron scratch (5, 6, 7 weights). Seredipitously, the ARC and LS2 Scott rods all work great with the single line weights for SA lines; I haven't had a chance to cast other manufacturer's prototypes on the Scotts.

I think these standards will be a major improvement for our little corner of the industry. I applaud the hard work of all involved in making it a reality.
 

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Indicators Anonymous
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spey_bubba said:
Here is where the "sweetheart" combinations are discovered, popularized, and sold. Here is where the customer's ability, desired target fish, and individual tastes are matched to the best products for him or her.
Way leads into a point I've been thinking about since not only the very begining of this thread but something that usually crosses my mind whenever these sort of discussions occur. Those looking for the Industry to develop some sort of magic bullet and/or perfect match type of system are drowning in a pipe dream.

For those of you that have spent anytime with a single-hander (I'm begining to think that is quite a rarity anymore around here) and fished many differant rod/line combos will know that every single-hander has a perfectly matched dry line (SA GPX, TROUT, XXD, XPS; Rio Grand, Classic etc. etc.; Cortland 444 Peach. 444SL etc. etc.). And these variations in standard single-handed lines will cause one rod when fished with these various lines to feel like anything from a sweetheart to a total dog. And when we are talking about fishing a single-hander, especially trout, we are talking about 9' rods, 30' casts and 150-200 grain flylines.

So now lets think about the world of two-handed rods. Gone are the small light rods and short casts (relatively speaking). Jump into 14' rods, 90' casts and 600 grain flylines and the nuances of one flyline over another (eventhough both may technically be the same line size according to the new standard) can have dramatic effects on ones set-up, casting and fishing abilities.

For decades the single-handed rod community has had no issue dealing with the nuances and variations of lines and rods as well as the thousands of various casting strokes out there so the two-handed community should be able to do the same (although the vast majority of single-handed fishermen guage the capability out of an outfit based upon how it fishes where as it seems anymore, the two-handed fisherman...or should I say caster?...guages the capability of an outfit not on the fishability but if it will let him cast 110').
 

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chrome-magnon man
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Brian,

this probably belongs in a new thread but your comment about US manufacturers taking note of UK developments got me thinking about how all of this has sort of come around full circle. The long belly double taper was the standard speyline for years; then US steelheaders started experimenting with lines that eventually became the Windcutter. Meanwhile, a few folks in the UK were experimenting with the principles developed by Alexander Grant, and those ideas came across the pond and eventually became the Triangle Taper Spey, XLT and GrandSpey. Not long afterwards the UK casters produced the Jetstream and continue to refine the line and others like it and increase the belly length to match the XLT. I think that the North American interest in spey really drove the spey renaissance, and cutting edge lines like the Windcutter and XLT really made the UK designers sit up and take notice. Steve Choate's win at Musto a few years back with a US-designed line made it clear to the spey community that the North Americans were a powerful force in spey technique and tackle design. The past few years the UK has come on strong again supporting their casting talent and developing new line designs.

It seems that the UK designers took some notes on what the US guys were doing, and now they've applied their vast historical knowledge and experience with spey to once again develop cutting edge lines.

It's a great time to be a two-handed caster!
 

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I think Dana's and Ryan's points are exceptionally well made and very eloquent. Some would say that the whole purpose of fly casting and spey casting is to catch fish, but if we boil this down to it's essence, it's not really ALL about catching fish, otherwise we'd be using dynamite, gill nets, fish wheels, or worms.

If we accept the aesthetic pleasure of making something which is inherently difficult (catching fish with an artificial lure) and make it harder - on purpose - by casting a fly with a fly rod, it exposes the fact that the emperor is really not wearing any clothes after all. That is, the sport which we all enjoy so passionately really will never have industry supplied magic bullets (well put Ryan!) - manufacturer's claims to the contrary - as fly casting is so much about feel. Sure, any good kit these days will cast 80 feet in the hands of an average caster. But some stuff feels great, and is a joy to fish, other stuff just bascially sucks.

The accelerated development in line design over the past few years that Dana puts into perspective so well is fantastic, and I think the average Spey fisherman directly benefits from the lessons learned "crossing the pond" in both directions. The ironies of one fine gentleman from Inverness breaking another gentleman from Inverness's record (which stood for 110 years!) with a line inspired by the latter's work are pretty cool.

Never before have so many really good lines been so easily available for so many styles of two-handed casting. I think the next few years will be wonderful ones, where continued development in really cool line tapers, better rods, and more widespread knowledge of the techniques to cast (and fish) better will really permeate our little spey world.

Dana accurately and thoughtfully puts things into perspective. The more we (North Americans) realize that there is a big world of great stuff and techniques out there, and that lines are mere tools to help us in our self-imposed masochistic pursuit of fish on a fly (seeing the bigger picture and growing out of "short-head vs. long head", "US vs. UK", "Skagit vs. Scandinavian" adolescence), the more we will understand the simple joy of a cast well executed, regardless of what the numbers on the line or rod say.

Although I am sometimes pleased with my stuttering progress learning how to cast further, my most memorable casts are the ones which weren't far at all - like the time I caught a steelhead while trying to disentagle my latest greatest XLT prototype from the trees above and behind me on the Deschutes...
 

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Indicators Anonymous
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spey_bubba said:
Although I am sometimes pleased with my stuttering progress learning how to cast further, my most memorable casts are the ones which weren't far at all - like the time I caught a steelhead while trying to disentagle my latest greatest XLT prototype from the trees above and behind me on the Deschutes...
Maybe XLT's and various other long belly do catch more fish after all. ...'cause if you were fishing a Skagit-head, you would of never of ended up in the trees above and behind and thus never would of caught that steelhead. ;) ...maybe the 75' head is the all-around length after all???? :saeek: NAH!! :razz: :)
 

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Speyngineer
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Another obvious challenge for the Standard are the Skagit lines (of which I know nothing) as based on the Rio´s website info, e.g. following full floating skagit lines exist (I assume, that the sinktips are at least as heavy, and propably much more than the floating ones):

Skagit___8/9, 44 ft belly, 700 grains, actual Spey Standard # 11.5
Skagit__9/10, 44 ft belly, 800 grains, actual Spey Standard # 12.5
Skagit_10/11, 44 ft belly, 900 grains, actual Spey Standard # 13.5

Yet I am sure, that these lines are just ok for the given rods, with Skagit style of casting. It all comes to the casting weight again... :D

As for Mr Gunns note on the ice age, when we were here up north still under the ice cover, it really was easier, as the DT-lines came pretty much in standard shapes and sizes, and usually there was two lines to choose from. Also the taper of the DT belly did not contain any big surprises, and by taking few yards of belly in, the casting weight change was quite reasonable. Today, the Speylines are all more or less WF lines, and the tapers so different, that the story is different for every line there is.

Obviously the grain windows for most rods, at least progressive action ones, is wider that a single grain figure. But at least IMHO, if I buy a Speyline, WF type that is, I want the sweet spot of the combo to be just there when the whole head is out. It is then my call, how long head I want (can that is :Eyecrazy: ) to use, and buy a line accrodingly. The worst thing is IMHO, that there are hidden assumptions made by the line designer, which are reflected into the line designation. This comes into play with longer bellies, as I think that up to mid-belly lines, the design point is the whole head out.
 

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Dana said:
Brian,

Not long afterwards the UK casters produced the Jetstream and continue to refine the line and others like it and increase the belly length to match the XLT.

Time scales must be different over there, or does "not long afterwards" mean before?
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Interesting thread, broadly waivering but yet still together somehow :)

Thank you Way for putting into words a philosophy I share, that the joy of the cast is no insignificant part of the experience of Spey fishing but it is indeed fishing not just casting.

On topic some of the references above to length verses grain need to keep in mind that any given rod carries more grains over a longer taper, nothing new there but this is the basis for the multiple length classes. This is a huge step forward from the black art of line matching of the past IMHO, especially for those who do not already have in mind more sweet combinations than they can actually afford.

As far as my experiences in learning of great spey rod/line combinations, I simply say - "thank God for conclaves!"

Or maybe that's why I have such a long list of combinations I lust after but can't afford :rolleyes:
 

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chrome-magnon man
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Malcolm,

when did Ian and Carron release the Jetstream? I might be out on my timeframe--the Jetstream might have been developed after the Accelerator (another US development but actually based on a Canadian design---although the designer was a Britsh subject he was living and working in Canada), but certainly the drive to extend the belly of this line did not occur until after the XLT hit the market. Wasn't the year Choate won Musto Ian was still using his original Jetstream, and the following year he had a new extended version?
 
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