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Discussion Starter #1
I think Dana's question is missing the mark. It's not what was your first spey that's important to a beginner like myself, it's "what would be your first spey knowing what you know now and whats available on the market now?"

In my case I''d be interested in recommendations for lighter, shorter dryline summer steelhead rods that would work for a first rod. I've spent time borrowing and fishing rods and taking lessons and I know that a medium fast progressive action with a recessed butt works best for me right now, but that may change as I progress. I'd like to purchase a rod that will stay in my quiver for dryline summer runs (Norcal, So Oregon) on medium sized rivers (say 12'6" 6/7wt).
 

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Pullin' Thread
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I'd say that you have already figured out how to go about buying your first 2-hander to insure you get a good fit for yourself and the fishing you are going to be doing. You have taken the time to try various rods in a variety of actions, line weights, and rod lengths and have found the type of action you prefer. That is what I always tell people to do.

And as I'm pretty sure you found for yourself, the 2-hand rod action you prefer is most likely very similar to the type of single-hand rod action you are used to or prefer.
 

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#&%*@^# Caster
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Hmmm good question. If I did it again a 14' 9wt would not have been my first choice.

In my opinion I think you are in the right length for what I would go with. Specifically I would choose the 12' 6" 8/9 Loomis stinger. Why? It is incredibly versatile for both summer and winter work. A tad heavy for summer fish but they have a nice flex profile and 7-8lb fish will be plenty on that stick. The time I have spent on the rougue I think the 12'6" fits that river perfectly.

You can throw mid bellies as well as skagit type lines to throw big flies with relative ease. With this rod I can fish small water and do OK on big water as well. It is nice to have a rod that lets you explore a wide range of lines and this rod will do everything with the exception on long bellies. They make a 7/8 and that may fit your intended use better but it is nice to be able to go after big winter fish and not be under gunned.

For all-rounders I enjoy shorter sticks but as with everything spey casting one rod just does not seem to do it. If I was strictly fishing bigger summer water I would go with one of the new 15' 7/8 sticks that loomis, meiser and CND are making. The loomis is the one I have spent time with and it will handle winter fishing as well. It is just with that extra length you cannot fish in tight as easily as you can with the shorter rods.

In a perfect world I would want one longer stick and one shorter one. For starters though I feel the shorter sticks are more user friendly and will not become a special use stick like my 1409 has become. I can guarentee my 12'6" stinger will not be collecting dust in the corner, ever.

-sean
 

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With what I know now, the Sage 6126 would be my lst rod.

With what I know now, my first rod for the waters you and I fish, would be my Sage 6126-3. :D

With the Rio Mid Spey 7/8 and tips, it is a pleasure to cast, catch fish, bring the fish in quickly, release the fish, and then cast for more fish. :)

With the winds we have in California and S Oregon, I use the 678 WC with the upgrade. I have a WC 5/6 floater, and it is really fun to use on a lake or a calm mid size river with dries, terrestials or emergers.

I have a Meiser 5/6 Switch Rod (10' 6") for the tighter and smaller streams which is why I have the WC 5/6 floater. However, the Sage 6126 with the WC 5/6 and big flies, terrestials or emergers can boom the flies out well into the green backing or all the way out on a lake or medium wide river.

I have a new Loop 3W and a spare spool on their way. The Loop 3W will become the reel of choice with my 6126. When I figure out how to Skagit my 6126 :Eyecrazy: , one Loop 3W spool will hold the Skagit line system, and the other spool will hold the MS 7/8 with tips.

To summarize my feelings for the Sage 6126-3: If Sage ever decides to stop making the 6126, I will buy another one just to have a spare. In fact, I might buy three, to have 2 rods for my two grand children to learn on besides my spare rod. :)
 

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Here we go again!
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Knowing what I know now, for a light summer steelhead rod like you mentioned I'd buy a Meiser S2H1356 (and I did, too!!). Throws a beautiful, long line and can handle tips on short heads as well. At 13 feet and a light 7 weight, makes for a great all around tool for summer work. I had tried several 7's and once I tried the 1356 (actually was the same blank but wrapped up by Anderson) it was like, WHOA!! :devil: Huge difference!
 

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Given the variety of the rivers I fish and the fish that inhabit them, I would not try to get an all around one-size-fits all rod. Instead I would get a 13' for 7 and either a 15' for 9 or 10. If I was pressed to get just one, it would be a 15' 8 weight.
 

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Speyshop's Speybum
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This is good.

I must say if I knew what I know now them I would not have had half as much fun nor learned as much as I know.

What I have came to prefer in a rod is: a tip bending progressively into the mid-section plus the reserve of power in the butt. This is necessary to load the rod with enough line speed off the water form a good centered d-loop and follow through into the forward cast.
The rod must be quick recovering and self-dampening flat taper so the entire rod working in unison.
This will allow me to cast short, medium and long heads with top hand, 50/50 or underhand with no problems.


Working for the Improved Spey community through communications.
:smokin:
 

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Pullin' Thread
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After giving this some more thought, I realized I provided practically zero information in my previous post.

Like Sinktip, I would not try to get a single rod to cover the rivers and times of year I fish. I would get a 13'-14' 8 or 9 wt for summer and small river winter fishing and a 15'-17' 10 or 11 wt for winter and large river fishing. I would also get a fast recovering, stiff to medium-stiff, strong tipped, progressive rod that move the casting load further down the blank with increased casting load (very similar to what Aaron mentioned), just like the single-hand rods I prefer and own instead of the soft, full-flex 2-hand rod I got as my first rod. If I absolute had to get just one rod, it would be a fast recovering, stiff to medium-stiff, strong tipped, progressive 15' 9 wt.
 

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zail said:
I think Dana's question is missing the mark. It's not what was your first spey that's important to a beginner like myself, it's "what would be your first spey knowing what you know now and whats available on the market now?"

In my case I''d be interested in recommendations for lighter, shorter dryline summer steelhead rods that would work for a first rod. I've spent time borrowing and fishing rods and taking lessons and I know that a medium fast progressive action with a recessed butt works best for me right now, but that may change as I progress. I'd like to purchase a rod that will stay in my quiver for dryline summer runs (Norcal, So Oregon) on medium sized rivers (say 12'6" 6/7wt).
What is your budget? I think a tfo 6 weight 12.6 is a very sweet rod for the money. Have you tried them out?
 

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With respect, Zail, your question is a practical impossibility, even though it's useful food for thought. I couldn't have gotten to knowing what I know now without buying my first spey rod, then about ten after that, and trying as many more as I could.

When you think about it, most of us would choose a first rod that materially expands our reach (literally) well beyond any of the single-hand rods that we certainly own already. If big rivers are part of our angling scene, it's likely to be a fairly big stick. My first was the St Croix 14-foot for 9/10 lines. And an excellent choice for a first rod it was, although there are better rods, and now better-performing lines, in the same category. Like a 9-foot 6-weight for a first trout rod, or a .30/06 for a first hunting rifle, it's something you can never outgrow. (Now, I might pick something like a CND Salar.)
 

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All the recommended rods are nice and would work. More importantly make sure the line you purchase is a good match for the rod you choose. I made this mistake and didn't realize it for a long time and got frustrated. If you get a well balanced outfit learning the casts will be much more enjoyable. Also if you know your going to love spey fishing/casting and will become fully addicted to it I wouldn't start with the cheaper rods. I would go straight to the top of the line meiz, burk, t&t, cnd get a quality outfit.
 

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My first

rod should have been a Meiser 13' 6" for 7/8/9 with a 7/8 long delta or midspey.. Of course it wasn't available when I bought my first, but I sure wished it wasn't my nineth. Have to be careful, or I will be giving Fred a run for his money. I need to clear a few from the stable so I can play with something new.
 

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JD
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First Spey rod

When I first got into this (Spey) game, I lived in So. Cal. Steelhead fishing being what it is, so dependant on weather & river conditions, I figured mid summer was the only time I could plan a steelhead trip and be reasonably sure of conditions. With that in mind, I wanted a half pounder rod.

Until recently there has been nothing that would not be overkill for those conditions. Neither rods nor lines. Happily that is about to become a thing of the past. Last weekend I cast a 12'-6" 5 wt rod balanced out with a prototype 6wt XLT line. We were tossing 90' of line.

My how things have changed. I can now fish for Steelhead or Salmon seven days a week, all year long. Some of the custom rod builders are turning out some really amazing stuff. And we have lines!

So things being what they are today, I would go for the CND Solstace 15'-2" with a 7/8 XLT line for my first rod. Note I said first. :D 'Cause now there is that sweet little 5 wt I mentioned. And then I need a Skagit rod for the Chinooks. :whoa:
 

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Discussion Starter #16
What rods would make the short list?

Thank you to everyone who took the time to reply. If we were to come up with a short list of 5 rods to try before I buy that would be on the list? To reinterate: I'm an experienced fly fisherman and steelheader looking to buy my first spey rod. I'm willing to spend the $ for a rod that will remain in my quiver. I'd like to start with the 12-13' 6/7/8 wt for summer run dryline steelheading for adult fish (not necessarily only half pounders} Eventually I would add a medium rod (14' 7/8/9) and/or a heavy rod (15' 8/9/10) or even a lighter trout/ halfpounder spey. In single handers I like medium fast rods with a progressive action (as long as the butt has plenty of reserve). In my limited experience a 13'3" Gary Anderson 7/8 overlined with a 8/9/10 wc worked nicely. So, gentleman what would be your choices of rods to go out and test drive?
 

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I like Dana's question better. I will tell you why. I live in MI last 3 years and I have fished for only migratory salmonoids very much year around last 15 years or so. I like to, (sometimes have to ) use 11'.6 to 16' rods and line weight #8 to #11 with #8 muddler to 6" articulated leech, depending on conditions. I do not believe in sinking tips, which is not a matter of subject for discusson in this thread, however I use them between middle of march to middle of april in the great lake rivers with desperation, when the river is high, heavily stained and cold with snow melting-the worst time of year for me. When I go for 7 to 10 day fishing trip to one river, I love to change rods and reels everyday or every other day because different rods -action, length and weight are giving me different pleasure in casting and there are times when fish are scarce, only 110'+ cast is connected with fish,and I do not use the same floating line after all day fishing for at least 2 days that gives enough time for no moisture in the line. Unfortunately or maybe fortuantely You will eventually own several spey rods just like you might have several single handed rods only if you are into it. I love all my spey rods - the more, the better. One last tip, do not sell your fly rods,especially spey rods, just because you do not use them much or you do not like the action of the rods unless you can get decent money return. You never know the future and always remember your casting skill is evolving.
 

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FWIW, of the light rods I have cast, my favorite is the Meiser 1356. I'm pretty sure it was the 1356 anyway, but it was more like a 6/7. But it was pure pleasure, easy to cast, lightweight, but not a wimp by any means...The perfect dry line summer steelhead rod, IMO. I've cast this rod everytime I'm around one of my friends who have this rod, just because it is so enjoyable. I don't own this rod because I'm not really in a position to buy more equipment for myself, but if I were to buy a light rod, this would be the one.

--Bill
 

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nothing less than

18 ft.,,,why mess around,get strait to the point!,16's are fun but :chuckle:
 

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Cool thread.

I got into this game with a 14' 9wt after hearing that it was 'average' for all purposes using a floating DT Spey line with a long leader 12 summers ago. The real reason was that after the rod and reel I only had enough $ left for a DTF. It wasn't until deep winter that I went to a sinktip system after trying the tips on the DT and being disappointed at the casting limitations of a DT w/ tips.

That 'DT foundation' really helped, I would do it again just like that (a DT in summer). By coincidence, or not - the fish came pretty steady through the fall and got me off to a very happy start before reality struck that winter.

The only thing I would change is that I would experiment with more lines throughout the first several years instead of staying in a groove. I didn't cast anything but short spey lines for years and it was not easy to get the mechanics together for 75-105ft heads when the big greaseline river opportunities arose. In recent years I've made it a point to cast everything and anything to explore the nuances of each approach.

So knowing what I know now, would I take a different route? Nope. I would still start with a 14ft 9wt and a DT dry on a summer when the rivers had good numbers of grabby fish.

However, knowing what I know now I would obtain all line styles (Skagit, Scandi, short, mid, long belly and extended belly) and explore them each thoroughly so as not to get into a rut through the learning years in the middle.

Today like many/most I strive to own rods to match all these diverse lines despite the humble beginnings :lildevl:
 
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