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Grabflies Tips and Tricks #3 What About Double Handed Spey Rods

I often hear and get asked "what do you think about this rod brand or that rod brand." My usually response is - "they're good rods." As most rods on the market today are good rods.

I think a better question would be - what rod is best for me? And an even better question would be what rod type is best for me?

What's in a rod? For a moment forget about rod brands.

Think of rods by these three criteria:

  1. Action (medium, medium/fast, fast)
  2. Rod length
  3. Line weight

My observations on rod action:

  • Medium action rods are better to learn with
  • Faster actions rods can cast farther
  • Medium action rods cast floating lines and smaller flies better
  • Faster action rods cast heavy sink tips, Intermediate lines, and big flies better
  • Faster action casts in the wind better
  • Medium/Fast bridge both attributes

Think of rod action like a spring. Medium action is a softer spring than a fast action. Medium action is slower to respond and slower to release - it can store energy longer. Faster action is harder to load, but more explosive when un-loaded.

When learning to Spey cast a medium action is more user friendly. It works with you, waits longer. As you get better you might get a little frustrated when you want to cast beyond 100 feet. The medium action can cast far, but a faster action has the physics built into to it to cast farther.

My observations on rod length:

  • Longer rods through physics can cast farther - longer lever.
  • Smaller rods can cast easier with your back up to willows and brush on the river
  • Smaller rods are easier to land fish with
  • Longer rods are easier to control the fly line with when swinging and mending

My observations on rod line weight:

  • Heavier lines cast bigger flies and heavier tips better
  • Heavier lines cast in the wind better
  • Lighter lines cast softer - stealthier

Over the years I have acquired many different rods and action types. I have my winter rods (fast action) and I have my summer medium/fast action rods. A Spey Fishermen can get so fine tuned into this pursuit, and with enough money select rods like a golfer selects golf clubs. I think it is probably more enjoyable for most of us to keep this simple as possible.

Concluding thoughts:

  • When beginning select a medium action rod - ask if the shop you are buying it from has a trade-in/up policy - does. Or keep in mind that you may want to sell this rod and get a different rod later (or just keep it).
  • Medium/Fast action rods bridge the gap. You can learn on them and be happy with them for a long time
  • Fast action - when you want the most out of a rod, and softer rods aren't giving you that extra kick - power in your cast.
  • Have a fast action rod and are working harder than you want to cast - try putting a heavier line on the rod.

Jeff Layton |

Steelhead Fishing Tips and Tricks

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