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Jack Cook
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1,668 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I went to the river to river today to test a multitude of lines on a few sweet Speys. The rods I took were the CND Expert 14' 9/10 ($345), the Heritage 15' 9/10($250), and the new Heritage 14' 8/9($240).

Today all the lines were sink tips since this was a winter rod evaluation and the water was a fast little run on the Snoqualmie, typical of a winter Steelhead run in Washington State.

The Expert started off with an XLT with 14' removed from the tip and 12' of T-14 sink tip. Next was the GrandSpey 7/8 with the same tip. After that I used a MidSpey 9/10 with a #9 Type 8 sink tip and a Long Delta 9/10 with the same tip. The Expert is an amazing tool. Every cast you can feel the blank bend deep into the handle. Every cast you feel the power of the line streaming from the rod tip at delivery. The rod performed well with the two long belly lines. It took everything I had to cast the XLT 100' feet with the T-14. And yes, this is a very heavy sink tip for this rod but I want to test the limits and this is the heaviest tip I use for fishing these days. To get consistent casts with the entire head required very high line speed and the Snake Roll was thee most consistent cast. After spending the day testing it I would not characterize the Expert 9/10 as a good winter candidate for the long belly line. With the MidSpey and Long Delta things were completely different. The entire head and loads of shooting line flew through the air on every cast. The rod handles shorter head like a dream. Each cast is like a ballet from start to finish and the tip turns over well up in the air across the river. The rod has no lack of power and as such no problem picking up the heaviest sink tip from downstream to initiate the cast.

The Heritage 15' 9/10 is my standard winter rod. Being a bit stiffer than what I usually cast it bends deepily into the 3rd section and then stops. As such it has a lot of lifting power and can cast the entire head on the XLT or GrandSpey as far as I want it to, even with a big Intruder or Waddington Prawn. The shorter heads works nicely also, both were cast deep into the backing time after time. This is also a nice summer rod with the XLT 8/9 on it. If you cast the whole 95' the rod loads very well.

Last but not least was the new 14' 8/9 from Heritage. Having worked in the development of this rod I can tell you it bends all the way to thee end of the handle like the CNDs. On this rod I cast a Traditional 8/9 with a tip and a Traditional 7/8 with a tip. With the 8/9 I feel the rod is a bit overloaded. I can make it cast the weight but it is a little too much work in my opinion. With the 7/8 and a tip the rod casts like a cannon. Even big flies zoom out over the water and turn over without effort. The two Heritage rods are IM6 and as such have linear power curves. This means they are not progressive. You put the proper line on them and casts them and what they do is what they do, time and time again. There is no deep well of power to draw from like rods from CND and Loop.

Here is the short and sweet.
CND Expert 9/10 - Excellent with tips in fast water with MidSpey type lines. Not a long belly line winter rod.
Heritage 15' - Excellent with long belly lines with tips and with MidSpey length lines with tips.
Heritage 14' - Excellent with long belly lines and MidSpey length lines with tips.

Things have come a long way since I started in this sport. Here are 3 rods for under $350 with performance off the scale. I remember paying a lot of money to get performance out of a Spey rod. I am happy to see those days are gone.
 

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9 Posts
Speyman,

This is so timely thanks for doing this testing and providing your results!

I'm looking to replace my starter rod from last winter, a St. Croix 14' 9/10. I currently have the WC 8/9/10 line with 'Upgrade". Any thoughts about how this line would be on the CND Expert 14' 9/10?

Thanks, dave
 

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Jack Cook
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1,668 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
WC 8/9/10

First I must confess I am a long belly line guy. That said I see the need for short heads in certain circumstances. For my 2 cents the 8/9/10 weighs too much. When you add too much weight over the amount a rod is designed for you subract the reserve power from the action of the rod and it is not there when you need it. I agree with the XLT suggestion above. For a dry line on the CND and the Heritage 15 I use an XLT 8/9. Not that this line only loads these rods if you have most of it outside the rod tip so as usual, if you are going to cast a certain amount of line make sure the amount you normally cast weighh the correct amount to load your rod. If 75' is enough then get a Long Delta or MidSpey instead of the XLT.

And most importantly, have fun!
 

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Rich & Speyman,

You're killing me here. Can't you tell I'm needing an excuse to buy another winter 'ROD', and you both come back with line recommendations for my existing rod. I'm so depressed now.

:)

Seriously, I purchased the CND 1307SP a month ago and love the feel of it. Was thinking the CND 14' Expert would give me a similar feel but in a 14' 9/10 rod. The St. Croix feels so stiff in the bottom 1/3 of the rod now.

Also, is there an 'action' difference between the 14' CND Expert vs 14' CND Custom. I know the Custom has a finish applied, but is there higher modulus graphite used on the Custom as well? I know the Custom is into the $450 (Sage 14' VPS) range, but have you tried it too?

Lastly, Speyman when you say "Excellent with tips in fast water " what does that mean (sorry, newbie question for sure).

dave
 

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Dave,

The difference between the Expert and the Custom is indeed the graphite. While the tapers are the same the graphite is a higher modulus in the Custom. The overall action is still the same, but the rod is "faster".
 

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Speyshop's Speybum
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462 Posts
good question

"Excellent with tips in fast water "

This means I could pick up a heavy tip in good current. This is different than picking up a tip in slack water which any rod can do. If a rod is gutless or hopelessly overloaded then adding the pull of a swift current to trying to put a sink tip in the air will cause the cast to fail. Some rods are rated for 6/7/8 but really this applies to a slack water condition and in high gradient rivers they are unable to get the job done. When you are testing a rods for your own use ALWAYS take it to a typical run that you would fish and make sure it will get the job done on the kind of gradients you will be fishing.

As to the difference between the Custom and the Expert. The Custom is more progressive and as such has more reserve power to pull from in the clutch. This does not mean stiffer, both have about the same bending dynamics. Both are excellent choices.

Both will catch a lot of Steelhead.
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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1,771 Posts
Great information all around, I have not had a chance to test sinktips with extended belly lines and appreciate the info.

However I have cast the 1409 Expert with an 85 foot head a lot (verses 100+) in the Airflo Traditional as well as the mid-length and shorter spey lines from Rio. The Traditional 8/9 at 85 feet is an awesome match for this rod for my 'easy' casting preference when a longer line is called for. You can even leave your gloves on when you are working just the head length, like with the extended lines. I'm also about to cut back the Wulff Triangle speys to test out new sink tips I just made from tapered high-density shooting heads ranging from 6wt to 9wt in type IV as well, will report on that later.

But when high winter flows force me to wade close to overhanging trees and winter fish are lying close to the bank, I am usually fishing the way Ed Ward, Mike Kinney and Marlow Bumpus do on the Skagit and Sauk: more compact heads that carry sinktips and big flies with ease in tight quarters. The new Skagit Caster Specialist, a 13' 8" 9wt is designed specifically for this kind of deadly winter speyfishing technique.

The Thompson and Salar Specialists are the extended belly rods in the CND line, and the new Steelhead Specialist (14'4" 8/9/10) is able to throw an entire extended spey line to the backing during field trials by an expert caster.

In general I believe that each rod design has it's own advantages. The advantage of a rod with a traditional action is the easy casting stroke wherein the rod does the work, not the caster. The caster simply needs to get into the rhythm and let the rod carry the load thru the fishing day.

Expert series is IM6, Custom series graphite is IM7, Specialist is IM8 per CND Japan. When applied to a traditional taper, high-modulus graphite produces a higher performance, lightweight rod with an easy casting style in the Expert series, a combination of finesse and force in the Custom line, and advanced casting power in the Specialist series.
 

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Pullin' Thread
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4,694 Posts
Dave,

Instead of getting another 14 foot rod, why not step up to a 15 ft (or longer) 10 or 11 weight rod for winter fishing? There are quite a few very good ones around and they come is all actions from slow to fast, and in price ranges from $250.00 to $1,000.00+.

I ask this question because you already have a 13' 8wt. and a 14' 9wt. A 15" 10 wt. would be a logical choice that would allow easier casting of large winter flies and sink tips as well.
 

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gotta' say; i love this site ,is the speyman the same with the website?, love your site ,esp. the ausies!!!!!!!anyway don't give up on the croix;speyman's right the weight of the line is slowing ya' down,been splicing my own;I don't even know,so don't ask,ultimately;have ya' tryed different lines? the weights are posted here ,Damn it i gave away a dig. scale!!!that's the deal,get a windcutter on yer' rod ,the lightest,then you'll know;the heavier lines turn your croix into a misery stick,they CAN be a high performance rod, the weights are also posted on speybums site,man i 'm gonna be one!,do ya know how they're spined??? they're's a lot to go, know,yeah, ever run a leadhead system??well gotta go,still shivering from the river Rogue,run steely run!!:hehe:
 

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flytyer said:
Instead of getting another 14 foot rod, why not step up to a 15 ft (or longer) 10 or 11 weight rod for winter fishing?
Good point FlyTyer. I'll continue my research.

I'd like to learn more about the Heritage rods Speyman mentions here in the original post. Do they have a corp website?
Dave
 
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