Spey Rod Steelhead and Salmon Fishing

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George M. Kelson circa. 1895 author: "The Salmon Fly" described spey casting in detail. During this era casts were performed with wooden rods which regularly weighed several pounds.

Two-Hand fly rods are powered with both hands. These rods are commonly 12' to 15' long. This extra length gives the angler the advantage of being able to present and control the fly at longer ranges and greater depths than with shorter single-hand fly rods. For these reasons, two-hand rods are very popular with anglers fishing large salmon and steelhead rivers.
Two-Hand fly rods come in two types; those designed for over head casting and those designed specifically for change of direction roll casting, ie. Spey Casting .
The first type is called an "Overhead Rod". They are usually designed with a very fast taper and stiff butt and excel when fishing wide-open water. They are most often used with shooting-head type fly lines.
The second type is commonly called the "Spey Rod". These rods are designed with more moderate actions to facilitate timing and loading during Spey casting. Since our river banks are usually vegetated to the shoreline, Spey Rods have become very popular in our area (Pacific Northwest, USA).
This illustration of spey casting is from the book, "The Art & Science of Spey Fishing" by Mike Maxwell, which unfortunately is out of print.  It shows the angler making a long cast with very little room behind him.

Many types of fly lines can be used with Spey Rods. Double taper fly lines were most popular in the past. They still give the angler the ability to cast without having to adjust line length.  With a double taper line it is easy to mend line at very long distances. However almost no one uses double taper lines any more because weight-forward taper Spey lines are much easier to use.

Modern graphite Spey rods shoot line better than older rods made from other materials. For this reason weight-forward Spey lines open up new fishing areas where back-cast room is very limited. These kinds of lines also handle larger flies and sinking tip lines, which opens up even more water.  In recent times, the head lengths on the most popular Spey lines are getting shorter.

Spey Rods become most effective when combined with custom tailored "changeable-tip fly lines." These lines are designed to deliver a wide range of tip sizes and perform at both long and short range. A complete system should allow an angler to fish from the surface to depths of more than five feet in steelhead currents. This type of line also allows an angler to carry a wide range of both floating and sinking lines without having to carry extra reel spools. Instead the tips are carried in a soft wallet. This system has a real advantage for saving weight and bulk when hiking or wading.

There is some confusion about which line is best with which rod and in what situation. Listed within this "Spey Line Section" are the lines, which have become most popular in our region. Specifications are listed for each one. And our staff has tested each of them many days under field conditions.

There is little doubt that there is a magic line which will fit your favorite rod and will suite your casting style better than all others.  Such a line should help you adapt as fishing situations change on the water you are fishing. There is also no doubt that this magic line will perform better and better as you acquire good casting skills. There are a number of valid approaches to spey casting. If you want to get good, study and practice are the surest procedures. Professional casting instruction is by far the easiest way to learn.  The video tutorials offered within this site are fundamental research material. You can never know too much.

Attention Spey Rod Fishers!!!
Plan to Attend The Sandy River Spey Clave
What is the Sandy River Spey Clave?  It's a gathering of anglers interested in two-hand fly rod fishing so they can exchange information and fish together.
More Information

  The Fly Fishing Shop, Welches, OR

1 (800) 266-3971

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