A 6/7 wt is fun under ideal conditions, but I can remember too many times on the water that my Sage 7136 simply couldn't cut it. Not enough punch to overcome summer winds and toss bushy dries. I like a rod for 7/8 lines, around 14', to reach out. Why have so many rod makers skipped over 14' 7 wts? (and why have others botched it!). Thankfully a few haven't.
A 13' 7 is a wonderful stick for most applications but wind and large rivers might not make it perfect. (But there is a lovely one up for auction now just in case )
The 14' 3" Solstice that Mike mentions is a sweet rod as well. Sean and I just got off the river playing around with it's brother the 15'2" Solstice and I was very impressed. We were throwing tips on it but it really shined with both the 7/8 Mid Spey and the 7/8 Delta Long.
There are a number of other grerat rods out there. If possible, get somewhere where you can cast them side-by-side and see what matchs your style. The Sandy Clave next month should fit the bill nicely.
Come and test the best selection of spey rods and lines on the West Coast. You should have a chance to test the CNDs, Sage, T&T, Meiser, and others on the spot to decide what you like best. You won't have time to test a fraction of what is available.
I not really in the market for a summer rod yet. I am simply interested in what everyones favorite summer steelhead rod is. I am planning on attending the Sandy Spey Clave. I have a lot of rods to cast so it should be fun.
If I had to pick one summer rod for steelhead large and small, and river medium to large I would go with the Scott LS2 1408. If i knew that I was only on bigger rivers I would go with the 1509 and a long belly line. Super light in the hand and easy to cast. Perfect.
I just got an opportunity to try the LS2 1307 and was surprised that so many pronounced this a faster rod than the ARC. I found the rod to have the same flex in the top 1/2 of the blank and a wee bit more power in the butt than, say, the 1287 ARC. Definitely not fast or even med fast. Threw a 7/8 midspey. Might be a different animal with a 6/7 long delta, but the midspey had to be stripped in to almost the color change in hand to be able to lift the line off the water without overloading the top of the rod.
Not trying to give the imprression that I did not like the rod. I thought it was a very nicely built rod and has that "Scott" feel to it. Very nice. It's just that it had been hyped as the rod that splits the difference between the A2 and ARC in action, and the 1307 is not that. It is like an ARC without the spigot ferrules at a more friendly price, which is great. Also amazingly light in hand. A rod you'd be happy casting all day.
Of course this is only my 2 cents worth after throwing the rod for 10 minutes. A friend of mine really loved the rod, his eyes got real big and he told me "Jim, you've got to go over there and try the LS2!"
I look forward to trying the bigger sticks in this line. The friend who brought out the 1307 is bringing the 16 footer next time. That ought to be fun :saeek:
By the way, to answer the original question, best dry line spey rod of all time? Burkheimer 8139!
I have to concur with Steve on this one. I was on the hunt to find what I considered the best tool for the job and I have settled on that 14ft 7wt range. I personally feel that a 9wt rod for summer steelhead and MOST winter steelhead is like shooting ground squirrels with a 30-06. Fun-Yes, but overkill. An additional factor to consider is the size of water.....and unless you're fishing the Thompson on a regular basis does that extra foot make or break your day.....more than likely not. Sink tips for winter fishing....there are plenty of rods in the 14 ft 7wt category that will handle a sink tip just fine but wont make a fish feel like a 3 inch trout on your trusty 6 wt. Does the 8/9/10 category make that much of a difference in fighting a fish than a 7wt? A tiny bit maybe. The potential is always there for a big huge fish that will kick your butt....but the normal day of steelheading does not yield these returns and as long as you fight fish properly....you're not loosing much perfomance at all. So, for ME (And only ME) I think the best all around tool for the general application is a 7wt.
Its like the same progession that we all go through with a single hander. We tell everyone who asks what the best all around single hander is and 99.999 % of the time its a 9ft 6wt. Which is true. However, another 80% probably owns a 5wt, 4wt, and 3wt who fish for trout in all but the windiest places. Same goes for spey rods. Go 9wt to learn......and then we start down sizing except for those special/specific applications. Just my pennies.
I fish the 6/7 midspey on the 1307 and it is a perfect match. I bet the 7/8 did make the rod feel soft. The 1287 is very different then the rest of the ARC series and i think of it as more of an 8 wt. then a 7. If you compare the 1408 LS2 to the ARC 1308 or 1409 you will get a much better idea of the differences between the lines. They are very different.
Let me know what you think of the 1610. I just got one and am just starting to try lines on it. Way suggested the 9/10 XLT but I have not tried it yet.
I suggest that interested parties contact T&T, preferably Lon Deckard, to express interest in a 14' #7. He and I had a brief exchange on this years ago, and he seemed interested, but I'm only one voice. I have a feeling that they (he) could be swayed now that their two handers are getting the good attention and visibility that they deserve.
I can only imagine how awesome T&T would make this as a summer rod, especially with a design goal of a summer rod, instead of a crossover summer/winter rod which is how I view the Sage 14' #7.
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