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Discussion Starter #1
I've been lusting after fishing for steelhead on the Great Lakes (tribs of Lake Ontario) for some time, it looks like this will be the year.
Any suggestions? I have been eying the CND Custom 7/8 13'.

Regards,
Markus
 

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GL SPEY RODS

I think you are on the right track for a great lakes spey rod. I was fortunate enough to cast one this past spring and plan on ordering one very soon. Christmas gift from the wife to me :D . I think that this one or the custom 8/9 would make the perfect
GL spey rod. Good Luck and Tight Lines!
 

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CnD custom 8/9

I played around with one of these today on the banks of the Snoqualmie. I have a St Croix 14' 9/10 loaded with a 8/9/10 Wind Cutter. Well I was getting a bit farther with my casts withthe CnD that I was with mine own rod. It also feels about 10lbs lighter.

One who is now hooked on Spey rods

Jim
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Markus -

I would suggest the Custom 8/9 13' because you'll have a wider range of options - sinking tips for winter runs, floating lines and long leaders, and even an occasional salmon although I would not suggest intentionally targeting chinook on any light spey rod :eyecrazy:. You'd be best to use a 9 or higher weight rod for chinook in rivers.

But for steelhead, the majority of which are winter runs the 1308SP Custom is probably the best choice. They are very light in the hands yet very powerful casting and although rated 8/9 they are more of a 7/8/9 in fact that's the Windcutter line you should use on the rod. The Midspey I like is the 7/8 on it.

The 1307 SP Custom is a light-touch pure run summer rod, and if my experiences on the Salmon River and Big/Little Sandy serve me the 1308SP is the better rod for the water and fish you have. My first fish there was a 16# 3oz buck in mid-winter.

The 1308 Expert is also very light, super-durable and one of the easiest rods to spey cast I've ever felt. The line jumps from the rod. It's price is $100 less than the Custom ($295 US) and it's a perfect Great Lakes rod for those who want to explore the world of spey without breaking the bank.

I suggest starting with a 1308 13' (7)/8/9 in either Custom or Expert models for Great Lakes fishing due to the winter conditions, size of fish, and possibiliy of battling salmon during the early steelhead season.
 

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What fishery are your targets....

What tributaries do you plan on fishing and what methods. Drop me a PM.

I like the CND rods, but not for all situations. Sometimes they aren't best for all two handed applications in our Great Lakes tribs. The hype of spey rods in our GL tribs is exaggerated, a 10'6" - 11" switch rod is alot more applicable, except for long line applications on the largest of rivers.
 

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fly on little wing
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yo Markus

it depends on your river. I fish rods from 9' to 14'. Most applications I can get by with the 9 footer. My home river is huge (+300') and i love to throw the big line. but i catch the most fish with the 9 footer. i don't want to discourage you from a big rod, but i see too many guys on smaller tribs with oversized rods. i wouldn't consider a 13 footer unless your river is over 80' wide and most of the slots are 40' out.

Gary
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Not sure I can agree with the 80x40 here, with all due respect of course. For over 20 years I've fished steelhead rivers that include those smaller streams ranging from 40-80ft wide and caught fish on the hang down around the boulders I'd end up standing on as I work through the run with a 13'er, swinging of course. I don't spey fish with an unstream component, and I only swing for salmonids.

If the spey rod has a multi-dimensional action, that is tip finesse, mid-loading and a deep reserve, then it can cover a broad spectrum of situations.

Now I can't speak for the chuck n' duck crowd, but when spey casting through a run, using all techniques including Skagit casting where necessary, I don't care for really short spey rods. Of course these same rivers include pools that vary to well over 100ft, even the smaller steelhead rivers I tend to fish. A 13'er with a matched line can throw to the other bank in such a stream, with about a rod length behind you. Mending, line control, and picking up the line for the next cast is all enhanced by the extra length.

Nobuo makes and sells single/doubles even as short as 9.5ft, but these are generally targeted to trout anglers and have yet to be introduced in North America. They were a hit at the Denver Trade show and there may be some coming this way eventually.

Still my opinion is that a good progressive single hander like the Sage RPL series (now VPS) throws a heck of a turbo spey cast (per Simon Gawesworth's technique) and there isn't a heck of a lot of difference between a 9'6" 8wt and a 10-11' two hander in terms of distance, line control and fish fighting ability. In fact the difference is little more than the handle config and the haul puts a lot of line speed into the equation. But that's just my opinion, and I could be wrong. I just know I can cover a lot of water with a single-hander and a hauled spey cast. Trout anglers have been doing it for years under the name "dynamic roll cast" or "distance roll cast", etc. The trick is to incorporate the various maneuvers that allow change of direction as in spey casting to streamline one's coverage technique - snake rolls, for instance. While fishing the Gaspe' with Topher Browne this summer I was made acutely aware of the benefit of using short heads and also single handed rods for upriver dry work. Nevertheless coverage of rivers as small as the upper Bonaventure in low summer flows was a pleasure with the 13' 8/9 I recommended above. I dared not go lighter as some of those Quebec salmon can go 30 or even 40 pounds! I did switch from the midspey to the windcutter to allow for strip retrieving as soon as the swing slowed, but in steelhead country I'd happily fish a long-belly spey floater all day on the same rod.

Overhand casting, well now that's another story! I find anything longer than 11' to be more than is needed for that game in most cases, particularly when the line is strip-retrieved to entice the strike.

.02
 

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FISHIN' FREELANCER
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rod choices...

hello marcus. this is to be my first post here as well.

having been & still in your situation let me offer this. i would be sure to put some thought into what waters you want to fish on, & with which methods. a sort of mental outline i guess.

after taking an interest in spey casting i studied a bit & purchased a rod. i bought one that i thought might do a passable job of dual purpose indicator/light tips use. the upshot is that once i got spey casting some, i applied it to the single hand rods i already had with good success. i no longer needed or wanted to fish my new 2-hand rod with an indicator. trying to swing tips on it has not went so well. the rod is to light for what i need.

i am now looking into my "next" 2-hand rod.

good luck in your search, SG
 

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For Lake Ontario Tribs...

I notice you are from NY. With the exception of a few rivers (Salmon, Genesee, Niagara), you don't NEED a spey rod on most tribs. I am sometimes using an 11'3 "switch" rod as I indi fish; the extra length helps me mend lines better. But most of the time I fall back on my 9 footer.

BobK
 

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I don't cast well, I owned a CND for only a very brief time, and I cast a Hardy Gem for only one morning. I loved the Hardy. The CND was ok, but I didn't personally feel that it was significantly better than the (cheaper) Daiwa Lochmors that I already owned. Did I say that I loved the Hardy ?
 

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Flexibility and the rod collection

To me two key issues are 1) flexibility of use for the different presentations you use, and 2) how many rods you will have in your arsenal. It's possible to take this question too far and try to define a "do-it-all", but I question the value of that. Here's my take:

1) Consider the different presentations you fish--sinktips, floating line w/ long leader, indicator, chuck-n-duck, underhand casting with heads, overhand casting with heads, etc. I suggest that you aim your choice toward your primary use, as some rods handle some uses better than others. I like a switch rod in the 11' (6-7) range for indicator nymphing when trout are in the picture and the casting is no more than 55'. It's light, handy and doesn't feel like overkill on a 12" pre-migrant or lake-run brown. Stack mending a two hander is a breeze.

I prefer the longer rod for all of the other uses, with my two primary long rods 12.5' 7/8 and 14' 9wt. I disagree with Dan above about the long rod being appropriate only on big water. Before looking at the presentation details, consider that the fish-catching "lethality" in the Great Lakes isn't so much about distance casting as it is about line control. Sure, I can boom sinktips across the Muskegon, but the point is that I can control them better with my 14/9 than with the shorter rod. And in smaller rivers, that 14' rod gives me superior line control too. I will often fish smaller rods with smaller flies, but the big rod rules for line control, tips, wind, and bigger flies. I can mend and fish a two nymph rig 10-12' down under an indicator, 75' out with a 14' rod, and there are a few places where that will get fish when nothing else will. But I also like to fish tips, and can do the same thing. On small water the longer rod lets me avoid having to strip and feed line so much, and it lets me thread the needle with presentation. On a 40' river in January, with a longer rod, I can dance streamers in the faces of steelhead, and cover water laterally, while standing in one place. I can't do that as well with a switch rod. If I'm fishing indicators all day, the switch rod gets the nod. But if I'm going to fish other presentations, or switch around, the long rod wins. The only situation where I'd look to a medium length rod as key is overhead casting of heads. I'd love to cast the new CND Atlantis for browns and steelies in our Lake Michigan surf.

2) About the arsenal: If I had to recommend one rod for GL, I'd be right with Juro on a 13' 8/9. Long enough to give the line control advantages. Comfortable length and weight to fish Skagit style, adaptable to indicators, not unwieldy on small streams, and capable of any of the above presentations. I think the biggest mistake made by new GL speyers is thinking that a 9wt spey is only for salmon as they view 9wt singles. A 9wt spey rod can be a ball with modest sized fish too. But 8/9 is about entry level weight for fishing decent sized sinktips and/or dealing with much wind. However you may find that having just one spey rod is like stopping fishing after catching just one fish...kinda hard to stop.

3) I've split the difference in my "arsenal". My 12.5' 7/8 is great for what the westerners would call summer conditions--low water, floating line, spooky fish and smaller flies. It's also great with carp and river smallies, and fishes indicators effectively further than the switch rod and with less mending. When the fall and winter winds blow, or I need to fish tips deep and/or bigger streamers, the 14' 9wt is the tool--and yes I'd take it any day over the 13' 8. But it's probably appropriate to mention that I'm generally a long belly speyer. The heads are fun to cast, and stripping produces well, but fishing the long belly avoids guide icing--and I often fish when the river is making ice, not just icing guides.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
All:

Thank you for your advice!

The 13' 7/8 is part of a longer term strategy.......

I was intending to use it not only on the GL but for Landlocked Salmon on the tribs of Lake Champlaign as well.

In the long run I would like to add a second, stronger rod for salmon fishing.....

Best,
Markus
 

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don't get me wrong...

I too use a longer rod for traditional methods on smaller streams and indicator nymphing(i.e Sage brown 6126 III) which is very helpful alot of times. Never had a problem using it on smaller tribs, but I don't use it all the time. I can get by with a 10-11' single hand(switch) rod just as easily. I'll stick with a 13' 8wt rod with a powerful butt if I had one rod only.

On most larger rivers, I will use a spey rod about 99.9% of the time. Whether this be using traditional methods, overhand casting with skagit style heads or underhand casting...it just helps alot!

For surf, I got my rods that adapt well. Only time I ever need a spey rod is off pierheads or sometimes at the beach. Most of the time I am sight fishing too steelhead/browns and salmon in pods or know where the fish are before I head out. When targeting them with a boat while they are cruising, a spey rod isn't necessary one bit, but that is a different story.

Just my opinion!
 
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