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Discussion Starter #1
Lots to report from the last couple of weeks, so there will be a lot of "rambling" here...

Went to the Descahooties to "hang" with Steve and Tim Rajeff. Salmon flies were hatching. I spent more time watching than fishing... it is very fun and very educational to watch anglers of such caliber in action! Man, these guys get the job done! Steve took a Loomis 11' 8" or 9" singlehander with one of my Skagit lines built for 7 weight rods and cast it singlehandedly almost to the other side of the river! Yeeowwza! Tim Speycasts a singlehander in quarters so tight that a duck would have trouble turning around in there! Anyways, I have joined the Loomis Pro Staff, the first benefit of which was my acquisition of a 13' 4" Metolius 5/6 Spey rod. I spent the rest of the weekend swinging for trout while Salmon flies crawled, flitted, and plopped into the river around me - not the best time to swing wets! But that's what I love to do, and while those guys hammered the Redsides, I managed to stick a few, the biggest around 19"( they caught at least a dozen for every one I got, probably think I'm a bit "touched in the head!"). The Metolius? In a word, awesome.

Since this Trout Spey "project" was started before my affiliation with Loomis, I feel that I can give an honest and unbiased assessment of all three rods used. The Sage 5120, CND 12' 2" Speytracker, and Loomis Metolius are all exceptional. The 5/6 rod rating had me thinking that this category of rod would be more of a novelty act than anything else. With a Skagit line weighing 488 grains they performed FAR beyond my expectations. All rods cast easily beyond 70' in winds of 10 to 15 mph (floating line, #2 stonefly weighted). The Metolius would go the furthest (pushing 80'), but this is to be expected because it is more than a foot longer than the other two rods. The Speytracker and Metolius cast with a very relaxing "bamboo" feel, the Sage was a bit faster in action. All rods felt exceptionally responsive and sweet - lots of "love". These rods will also cast very well (with a little reduction in distance), an 8' sinktip cut from a 20' 200 grain Airflo Custom Cut Tip (CCT20-200, contact Rajeff Sports). This is very convenient as these come with loops already in place on both ends - cut at desired length, nailknot on a leader loop, presto! you're good to go. This density sinks at 7.5" per second and 8' of it will carry a size two fly down to around 2 1/2' in medium speed current - giving these rods the capability to fish a majority of summer conditions.

12" to 16" trout put a nice bend in these rods - 19"ers are loads of fun. 2 1/2 to 5 pound Dollies will jar these little sticks right down into the corks with their headshakes. I did manage to land a 12 pound fresh, rockin' summerrun on the Loomis Metolius (totally unexpected). It was one of the most fun and scary-exciting events that I have had happen on a flyrod in a long time! While I don't recommend the use of these rods on steelhead of such caliber, it is nice to know that they can handle the occasion if it arises, albeit just barely (the bigger question is can you?). I can't wait to try these gems on the Grande Ronde and Deschutes.

More later, it's my dinner time!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
continued...

So, here is what I have concluded. These rods are unbeatable for swinging wet flies or streamers in rivers, whether that be for trout or smaller races of steelhead, or probably any other fish that can be caught on a swung fly (smallmouth bass? Hey, what about white bass?), when the majority of the casting needs to be in the 30' to 70'+ range. This may not sound that far, but distance is relative. Think of casting ALL DAY LONG at 60' to 75' in a stream situation with a singlehanded rod... arm getting tired yet? There are also the "normal" advantages inherent to all Spey rods: line control, line control, line control; increased effectiveness in wind; and less backcast room needed. I would "guesstimate" the target fish size range of these rods at 1/2 pound to 6 pounds (I will confirm this when I can find someplace to catch a few more 3, 4, 5, and 6 pound fish). Ideal fly size would range up to size 2.

Those are the "pragmatic" parameters. Now for the "fun" factor. Personally, I admit to having lost some enthusiasm for some of our smaller "interior" races of summer steelhead over the past 7 or 8 years. I didn't really know why - it just seemed as if they had lost some of the "pizzazz" that I remembered from catching them back in the early 90's. It finally dawned on me as to why, since playing with these Trout Speys. Over the years graphite has become ever higher and higher in performance (think stiffer and stiffer). Along with this our Spey rods have become stronger and stronger. Most contemporary 8 weight rods on the market are now "stronger" than the 9 weights from the "old days". I have always preferred 7 weight doublehanders when fishing the Ronde and Deschutes. That was fine 12 years ago, but my "modern" 7's are actually more like the old timey 8's. The fish haven't gotten any more anemic, it's the rods that have changed. These Trout Speys re-educated me to "fitting the rod to the fish" -of course AFTER first fitting the rod to presentation needs. Now I am totally PSYCHED for this coming Fall. "Cast up to size two flies 70' to 80' in 10 to 15 mph winds" - this should be perfect for covering a significant proportion of fishing circumstances on the Ronde and Deschutes! Keep in mind here that I am talking about the very strong reality of having your butt repeatedly kicked by anything over 6 pounds though. Since playing with these rods, I have had more fun than is probably or should be legal, and have discovered a new "burst" of enthusiasm for being out on the river. The lightness and smoothness with which these Trout Speys cast, and yet with very high performance results coming out on the line end, combined with how incredibly lively a feeling one gets when fighting "smaller sized" fish is just too much fun.

All three of these Trout Speys are great rods. The Sage and CND are ideal for small to medium sized rivers, and with their shorter length will have an advantage in tight casting quarters. The Loomis Metolius has a little more distance capability because of its longer length, and also line control. I have been favoring the Metolius lately because of fishing bigger waters. I really liked ALL of these rods, and could not say that any one of them is superior to the other - I just rotated through them acccording to which best suited the conditions at hand. I will get to the Skagit line that fits these rods tomorrow.
 

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Speyshop's Speybum
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Ed Your the man

Great report.
I would like to give the Metolius a work out my own same self..


:smokin:
 

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Junkyard Spey
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Hey RA...

I agree with Aaron. You wrote a great report. Thanks! MJC
 

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Ed, I just loved reading your report, thank you. We can really feel the excitement in your words which articulate so clearly the fun and effectiveness folks can have with these rods swinging wets and streamers. I have recently experienced this on the Yakima with my Meiser trout spey.

A short while ago my fishing buddy asked me if I had given up dry fly fishing entirely. My answer… "Well I'm having too much fun fishing this way, but maybe I'll skate a steelhead bee across the surface. Does that count?"

:)
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Ed -

Thanks for putting the 12'2" 5/6 Spey Tracker to the test. Good to know it's a top three contender. I wish you weren't so busy at the Sandy so you could've had the chance to play with the Greased-Liners, I feel they are *the* summer run rods for those hot 12 pounders. :smokin:

Congrats on joining Loomis, but just be sure it's not the scotch talking - will you still love them in the morning? :devil:

JUST JOKING! Seriously, it's a pleasure and an honor to have you evalute CND rods like the Skagit Specialist, Custom Series, Tracker and I am going to get a Greased-Liner IM8 summer run spey action rod into your hands to get your opinion but don't tell the guys down in Woodland ;) ;)

Thanks for everything and I hope we will all continue to benefit from your insightful equipment reviews.

Juro
 

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To add a few points:

"With a Skagit line weighing 488 grains they performed FAR beyond my expectations. All rods cast easily beyond 70' in winds of 10 to 15 mph"

Totally agree. With the right lines, and good technique, trout two handers are easy enough to cast plenty far to find fish. Even on some of the large rivers.

4 or 5 years ago I decided to give an old IM6 9' 4 wt a good go after the Ronde fish. I was hoping to 'find' exactly what you talked about being 'lost' in these steelhead. After messing around with the best techniques to get the hook to hold beyond a couple of headshakes I quickly realized it's not the rods. It's the fish. Unless your lucky and happen into a 'hot' bunch of them, I would strongly caution to keep your horses stabled until fall comes around. :D

"I would "guesstimate" the target fish size range of these rods at 1/2 pound to 6 pounds (I will confirm this when I can find someplace to catch a few more 3, 4, 5, and 6 pound fish)."

Of the inland races of steelhead you have listed, personal experience says you won't have much trouble until getting a fair bit over the 10# mark. But, even then I had little to NO trouble with fish in the 10# to 12# range and some of them had a gas tank full of p$ss and vinegar.

In the end I have come around full circle and reverted back to fishing rods that I once held with no small amount of disgust. Why on earth would you chase these fish with anything that powerful? Well, the answer came with LENGTH. I prefer a quicker, more progressive, 15+ footer as the rod under load leaves a longer lever and makes it more 'fun'. Several times I have had these 5/6# fish loaded to the max only to have the rod nearly ripped out of my hands as they burst. The same thing on a shorter, lighter, or much softer, stick just bends to absorb the shock and leaves me thinking 'wimpy' fish. The old forearm takes way more abuse with my favorite elephant gun meat stick on 6# inland steelhead then it EVER did with 11', 12', or 13' 5 or 6wt two handers. It came down to the realization that if the fish aren't going to fight, it matters not how light the rod is.

Would I use a 15' rod on the Ronde? Nope. Or the D? Nope again. The trout two handers are great for those races of fish. Meizer Switch rods are also perfect for the task at hand.

Not trying to dissuade anybody from trying! So, if you are bored with the usual, or just love to push the envelope, these light speys are A LOT of fun chasing summer (and winter) steelhead. The casting is more of a challenge and certainly trying to contain a hot fish adds to the ante.

Ed, thanks a million for taking the time to write such a complete report on your findings!!!

Now, Juro, (trying to jostle a bit) the Greased Liners can't be "the" rod if they never make into the public's hands. :devil:

William
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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inland said:
Now, Juro, (trying to jostle a bit) the Greased Liners can't be "the" rod if they never make into the public's hands. :devil:

William
They are on the mandrels as we speak :smokin:
 

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Spey in the South?!
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Hey Juro-

Where can I see a picture of the Spey Trackers online? I noted that CND raised its prices on the Expert by $30. I'm sorry to see that but I recognize everybody's need to stay in business.

I love my rod so much I'd like to have a couple more, but I can only swing one at a time. Maybe I need to get my wife swinging a spey rod. Hmm.

Are there ANY women spey casters?

Zach
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Yes, the introductory pricing in 2003 for the Expert 13' 6/7 was $265.00, it's now $295.00 - which we still feel is a phenomenal value. This increase was due to a corresponding increase in premium components (e.g. Fuji SiC guides only, flora cork, etc) industry-wide and the need to maintain highest possible warranty service.

Yes there are women spey casters but they are all married or engaged within 5 minutes of stepping into the water. ;)

Tracker photos below...
BTW Please note that only the 9'8" 6/7/8 and the 12'2" 5/6 will be available in North America during 2004.



 

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Spey in the South?!
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Hey Juro-

What's the price range and general action on the 12'2" 5/6/7? The rods look great.

Thanks for the explanation on the price jump. To my knowledge only the Expert series and TFO's new TiCr X single handers are using flora cork in the sub $300 range at all.

Zach
 

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Speytrackers

Nice pictures Juro but we all want to know when they will be available and how much :confused:
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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The North America shipment is already in production, so we are looking at a few weeks before they are in inventory. Pricing is being finalized for north america at this time, we expect them to be competitively priced keeping in mind the SpeyTracker is not an economy series but a premium CND rod line like the Specialist Series. The workmanship and materials are first rate like Fuji hard chrome SiC guides and titanium frame SiC tip guide, flora cork and aluminum rod tube - no skimping on components. Most importantly the performance of these rods speaks for itself, they're feather light and well suited to the task of trout spey fishing.

I expect the 12'2" 5/6 Speytracker to retail in the vicinity of $500-525 with aluminum tube, and the 9'8" 6/7/8 "over/under" will be available in limited supply at approximately $475. These are the converted numbers from their current availability in Japan only.

The 12'2" 5/6 casts beautifully with the Windcutter 5/6 or Hardy Mach I 8/9, I like the steelhead taper in a 7wt on the 9'8" but it casts the Windcutter 5/6 for it's full length overhead while also making spey casts with all the feel and punch of a longer spey length rod. I think the latter will be popular where upriver dry presentations and spey presentations coincide, like the atlantic salmon fishery on the Gaspe'. The 12'2" has been put to the test by anglers in the west and passed with flying colors, read Ed Ward's recent reviews for more details.

Please let your CND dealer know you are interested to make sure we have a good supply on hand for interested spey casters as this is a special order item from Japan.

Feel free to contact me if you have any more questions.

Juro
 

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Line recipe yet?

Do we have a line recipe from RA yet? I have been away and do not want to miss that as I need to build one for Bob Meisers 11' 7" for 5/6. :confused:
 

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Nope, still waitin...

I'm waiting too, as I've got the same rod coming that you do. I've still got a 3pc demo in hand, and have been tinkering with what lines I have around. The 460-480 gr range feels really good, and 36-38' seems pretty close. I'll be interested to see what RA posts, as I think I've found a couple of possibilities that fit those numbers.
Carl
 

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RA is busy running around doing all the last minute prep one needs to do in order to live and guide in the Kamchatka bush for 3 months! He told me that he was going to get that info up before he goes.

I guess we just need to patient, I think he may have headed down to the Cowlitz for a last shot at steelhead ... after all - he is leaving for 3 months :chuckle: and he does need this last trip - it is a long flight to Russia!
 

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Like Kush

we can be green with envy. :lildevl:

It is hard to be patient when someone is having fun fishing. Hope Ed catches some here and has a great time in Russia.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
And here it is...

OK folks, here it is. Keep in mind that the information being given is for private use only, and that the dimensions and concept of this line are not to be used for any commercial endeavor. The only person having my o.k. to build this line for anyone other than themselves is Homer2handed. If you do not have the resources to build this line, Homer is the guy that can do it for you.

Starting from the back end of the line - 22.75" of 10 weight, 35" of 11 weight, 94" of 14 weight, 85.75" of 12 weight, 86" of 11 weight. This makes up the belly. I would suggest building it one foot longer (on the front end) and then you could trim back if it feels heavy. The weight I shoot for is 406 grains. The floating tip that works phenomenally on this belly is 8' 10" cut from the front of a number 9 line, weight = 82 grains. The sinktip I have been using is 8' of Airflo Custom Cut 200, weighing in at around 80 grains.

This line will make any one of the three rods I have talked about into a very potent fishing machine. If you do not find this line to be far higher in performance than any other, then you are probably not getting the sustained anchor casting concept quite right. I won't be able to help anyone on that until next Fall. Have a good Summer folks!
 

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Thanks RA

It is great to get the formula. Now the big question is how to get 14 wt floating line to finish the project.
 
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