Buy -Build Spey rod [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Buy -Build Spey rod

Jim Miller
11-19-2010, 01:57 PM
Hi all
I have already solicited info from Todd & Juro....but I will put this out to the general membership too! ;)

I 'm looking to buy or build a spey rod. I will use this for Salmon River Salmon & steelhead as well saltwater fishing for bass & blues.

I'm a pretty good single handed caster....untested (untrained) w/ a Spey.
I am usually pretty technical and strive for good form.

So what do you think is a good all round rod option for me. Both in a built rod or a good blank to custom build upon.

I'm thinking 7/8 13' .....but what do I know. :Eyecrazy:
Thanks in advance for helping me spend my birthday present! :eek:
Ohhh Budget! $400 plus or preferably minus. :D

11-19-2010, 07:02 PM
I built a 12'-6" 7 wt with a forecast blank so far, and this is my first year useing it, I'm pretty happy. It is actually closer to a to an 8wt from what I've been told. I have it lined with a 540 grn skagit compact head. It seems pretty forgiving and served me well on the Deschutes and also handled Salmon river Kings and steelhead in these higher flows. Total cost for blank and components is under $150 so it isn't much to get started you'll spend again as much on the line and tips. As I'm sure you've been told it will all depend on what type of set up you plan on useing. My next rod will be a Rainshadow 12'-6" 6wt set up with a scandi head for lighter presentations and poly leaders they also have a 13'-7wt. Gary Anderson help design them and he was very helpful with any questions I had. Since I'm new to this also I look forward to everybody elses comments.

11-19-2010, 07:31 PM
For a river of that size and flow I would fish my CND Solstice 13'8" 6/7/8 and I'm sure it would be ideal. In fact, there are few rivers where I would opt for something smaller and at that point I'd likely go single-hand Spey casting (see Simon Gawesworth's book / video) with my trusty 9.5 ft 8wt Sage RPL.

I would go bigger though - rivers like the Thompson call for the big guns, 16 ft is barely enough on those real western rivers.

The purpose of Spey casting is to reset the fly at the top of the swing with as little as one motion, sometimes two, while requiring only a small fraction of the backcasting room of overhead casting. Once learned it maximizes the time that the fly is in the water and covers significantly more water than overhead casting. Once mastered it uses very little energy although you may need a hot tub or massage therapy during the learning curve :)

Good to hear that the Salmon River is becoming swing-friendly... my last visit it was far from it.

Jim Miller
11-19-2010, 07:46 PM
Thanks for the reply...I sent you another e-mail

You mailbox is full. So to answer your PM:
Hi Joe
Well...3 major camps. Dee style wings and Spey upright and spey laid down wings. (and of course cross overs).

Dee syle are typically a pair of wings, v shaped, laid flat, diverging and slightly upward pointing. (kinda like a royal coachman)

The spey upright wing is usually a single or double hackle, centered on the top of the fly. tied in at the head and pointing rearward. hackle(s) are in vertical posture.

The spey laid down wings are usually matched bronze mallard feathers tied in at the head and tented (kinda like a tented caddis dryfly wing). These are the toughest to get right.

I wish you were is much easier to show you at the vise.
A good reference is "Spey and Dee Flys" by John Shewey and " Advanced Flyfishing for Steelhead" by Deke Meyer. Also Trey Combs book "Steelhead". (A good read in any event.)

I have been posting some Spey and Dee ties on "Stripers ON-Line" flytying forum. Some are classics ...some are derivitive. Search my name to find the ties.

Feel free to ask further questions and i will do my best to give you a good answer.

Good luck tying and hopefully we can meet up sometime to fish the Salmon, Deleware or my Adirondack streams!

Tight lines


11-20-2010, 08:50 AM
It's actually quite difficult to get one double-handed rod that will both speyfish for you as well as saltwater fish, unless you actually plan to speycast for stripers. Most guys use the double-handed rod in the salt as an overhead rod and there are very few rods that will overhead cast AND speycast well. There are a few that can do it if you are willing to buy separate lines for each. I made a T&T double-handed rod serve both purposes for awhile, and it did all right. The old Loop Green line also did OK, although I didn't actually enjoy speycasting with it as much as the Yellow line. If it were me, I'd figure out which I'm likely to do most often and get yourself well setup for that and make the other somewhat of a compromise. Chances are quite likely that if you enjoy the double-handed rod you'll eventually buy a different rod for the other arena. Read Rich Murphy's chapter(s) on speyfishing for stripers (Fly Fishing for Striped Bass) as there you could use the same rod and line you'd likely use on the Salmon River. His techniques, though, aren't suited for all striper fishing locations. Sometimes you just have to overhead cast.

Hi all
I have already solicited info from Todd & Juro....but I will put this out to the general membership too! ;)

I 'm looking to buy or build a spey rod. I will use this for Salmon River Salmon & steelhead as well saltwater fishing for bass & blues.

I'm a pretty good single handed caster....untested (untrained) w/ a Spey.
I am usually pretty technical and strive for good form.

So what do you think is a good all round rod option for me. Both in a built rod or a good blank to custom build upon.

I'm thinking 7/8 13' .....but what do I know. :Eyecrazy:
Thanks in advance for helping me spend my birthday present! :eek:
Ohhh Budget! $400 plus or preferably minus. :D

11-22-2010, 08:59 AM

From a beginners perspective here are some thoughts. Choosing a line was one of the hardest aspects for me because there are so many opinions on the matter. I use my rod for both spey and overhead, it is a T&T 12' 8wt and it has been a great rod for my level of casting. I eventually went with a 550 grain skagit and put on heads of T11-T14 for spey. 12' was about the max of T14 I could throw for the first several outings but was eventually able to use 15'. There are places that call for a 20' section but I'm not there yet. I've used both the skagit line and windcutter. The windcutter was much less forgiving. Slight mistakes or being out of position even a little bit really caused the cast to fall apart.

The Rio outbounds worked well for overhead. Their site will have the recommended lines for most rods out there. I ran down from VT one weekend to join Juro and Beulah rods for a clinic and it was most helpful. Especially some great tips on line control which helped with both spey and overhead.

In talking with many folks about equipment the T&T 13' 7wt for the Salmon was considered by lots of folks to be the perfect rod (if there is such a thing). It is a pricey rod no doubt however. A good alternative was the Sage VT2 in the same size and I believe they have been closed out so you may be able to find one in your price range.

Just a quick note on those rods, a friend who has been using 2 handers for stripers for some time found that both were too light for stripers and not stiff enough for overhead casting as JR Spey pointed out.

The hardest part for me was getting started. Eventually I just got to the point where I said I have to buy somehting and get casting. Glad I did. Once my casting improves I'll probably begin looking at other options and dive deeper into the more technical aspects of rod design and lines.

If you are looking to build a rod I would give Bob Meiser a call. Super nice guy who loves to talk about rod design.

Jim Miller
11-22-2010, 09:18 AM
Thanks Gseries...Great info and very much to the point of my current experience and decision making.
Yup, a lot of things to consider. At Juro's advice I am searching out a 13'4" CND 6,7,8 but am considering Meiser and Beulah also. For building a rod, the Meiser and Beulah blanks are a bit less expensive. (less $100)

Can anyone give me a comparision/recommendation for a 6,7,8 13' rod by these 3 brands (CND, Meiser, Beulah)

I have also seen Sage Spey rod "kits" on E-Bay. Any info on the Sage offerings?

Thanks has been a lot of help to me!

Jim Miller
11-23-2010, 08:01 AM
Hey Guys
Any other input?....west coast guys????

Hey Juro....did you have a chance to check out my questions on a.) what you may still have for sale and b.) CND blanks for a build.

Thanks all.....I'm about ready to put in my Birthday present request! :biggrin:

11-23-2010, 11:03 AM
Sorry Jim -

I've been blasted at work on a short week then heading out to the west coast to start a new aerospace project. Luckily it might warrant a spey rod in the luggage :cool:

Not sure if my previous opinions came thru but there is no such thing as a single rod for true spey fishing and striper fishing. We might want a city car and an oversand vehicle all in one too but one's not going to like Storrow Drive and the other isn't going to handle the trail after the July 4th traffic.

For a river the size of SR, I would go with the Solstice 13'8" 6/7/8. It has no confusion about whether it's spey or overhead, adaptable from Scandi to long belly (lightened up), light as a feather and casts itself. It's one of those rods where you don't know where the power is coming from in that little whip.

I also like the T&T mentioned, and Bob Meisers works of art, and Burkie's got some amazing rods in that range as well as the big names - Sage and Loomis, etc. If you're going to try to hit lightning on the first strike then pay more and go with something people swear by and gather a lot of feedback.

Otherwise go with something reasonable and cheap and get the knack for it, then go for the lifetime purchase. That's what I did... start with reasonable tools and get the skills up to parr many years ago.

Keep in mind the price point reaches a point of diminishing returns and it takes a skilled Spey caster to appreciate the subtle differences in the upper range. As you climb the ladder it's really not that important in fact if you can cast well with a crappy rod you'll be a magician with a really good one.

more later


11-24-2010, 03:11 AM
I recently purchased a Meiser Highlander S in a 13' 6" 7 wt that I really enjoy casting. I am fairly new to the sport, and much in the learning mode. I am looking forward to trying it on the SR, however I have only played with short belly lines (Vector 6/7 and 7/8) with ploy leaders, and have not moved to the skagit area yet. I have no doubt this rod will perform well with skagit lines
My main focus is fishing for Atlantics.

11-24-2010, 05:16 AM
You might want to consider one of the switch rods too. I recently got a Deer Creek 11-8 and love it for the versatility it brings. It will fish skagit, scandi or regular lines overhead quite well. At around $350 plus a versatile line system, I got mine through Bob Meiser, it gives a lot of options.

Jim Miller
11-24-2010, 05:19 AM
Thanks JT!
I was looking at building that exact same rod. Meiser seems to have great kit options for building. Do you feel that the highlander is a rod that you will grow into as your experience grows? Like you I have been single hand fly casting forever. I am not so sure of the learning curve for this new tool.

What kind of casts have you found to be easily learned and useful to get you up and fishing? I look at these videos and wonder if I will ever become proficient! :Eyecrazy:

I would ask the same question of my fellow newbies out there in speyland.

Thanks again...great info and exactly what I am looking for! :D

11-24-2010, 09:10 AM

After being nervous about switching from single to 2hand casting for a long while, all I can say is that it is a lot more intimidating than it is difficult at least in terms of a double spey and circle C/snap T (not sure there is a difference between the two) when using a skagit line. I believe both are considered easier casts but they will get you fishing in short order and are easy to learn. A couple of guys from the forum had me on my way with a few quick tips at the spey clave last year on the Cape.

Some of the casts required over your opposite shoulder when you are dealing with wind and current direction can be a bit tougher but the basics remain the same and some one with your single handed rod experience will be able to pick up on the nuances quickly. Learning to cast with your opposite hand is much easier as well.

Some guys like to boom out 100+' casts and I don't blame them, spey casting is beautiful to watch. But I think that on our smaller NE rivers like the SR, line control and slowing down the swing and getting to the right depth is the bigger challenge, not casting.

11-24-2010, 12:11 PM
Jim; Yes, the Meiser is a rod I feel you can definately grow into. I can feel it each time I practice with it. Although I have not used it to fish with yet.
I started with learning the single spey, against conventional wisdom I discovered, with an 8/9 wt 13', and it is currently my best cast. I can perform, to some degree, all of the basic casts, but have a ways to go to consider myself proficient. I have a long way to go with left hand up. I started with a mid-belly line (65' head), and that was a mistake for me. Once I dropped back to a short head in the 50 - 55' range, I experienced great improvement. I agree with others that learning the Snap Z, Circle C, and Double Spey will get you fishing sooner than other casts might. Getting the right line for you, and your casting style is very important, and requires some experimenting. I will suggest the Red Shed Fly Shop as a great source for loaning lines to test drive. It has worked for me. Talk with Poppy at
I fish Atlantics 2 or 3 weeks a year, and that gives me considerable spey fishing experience with the river right and left and wind conditions. I also have a Meiser Highlander 3/4/5 wt with a Scandi head that gives me an opportunity to practice spey while trout fishing. I rely heavily on Rio's Modern Spey Casting DVDs with Simon. My wife feels I must have worn the discs out by now. I pick up little bits every time I watch it. I also have Al Buhr's book, Two-Handed Fly Casting which has been quite helpful.
As you will find, muscle memory can be difficult to overcome at first.

11-24-2010, 07:10 PM
Jim, Here is a resource that might be helpful. It is relative to spey casting instruction, etc.. Click on Bob Pauli's spey casting instruction booklet.
Also is a great resource forum for gaining information from an international membership.
Good luck.

Jim Miller
11-25-2010, 05:59 AM
Thanks again JT. The Meiser kit is very attractive and looks like it will yield a very nice rod. The question becomes what series is best for me..classic, S, or mcKinney.
They seem to provide all the parts...and if I want to customize the cork or threadwork....I can easily add cork rings or change up the wraps. NICE!
I was aware of Speypages...but the other site is cool and new to me. Thanks again! :D

11-25-2010, 10:50 AM
Jim; A call to Bob could be helpful in deciding which model would best fit your needs. He certainly knows which rods are designed for what.

Jim Miller
11-25-2010, 08:13 PM
Thanks JT.
I will give Bob a call....Looks like a fun build with his kit. I will still probably build something....cause it's fun!

Well....found a great deal on a CND Solstice 13'4" 6/7/8 and made the purchase.
Now on to step 2.....what system to line it with?
Will mostly be fishing th Salmon River. The width runs 50 to 150'. Wide pools and runs with big tailouts. Short deep pools up to 8-10' deep. Wide flat areas with "trenches" in the shale rock. The water can run from 200 cfs to 2000 cfs in a matter of days. I fish big speys and buggers down to small nymphs and egg patterns. I will put either a Tibor Riptide or Abel 4 reel on the rod.
I suppose I need to be versitale and adaptable with my line system. :Eyecrazy:

As before ...the floor is open to suggestions.

Thanks all for your help!

11-26-2010, 11:50 AM
I have no experience with sinking systems, and have to enter that arena myself. I would start with the Rio site to get an idea what they recommend for lines for your patricular rod, and would give Poppy a call at the Red Shed for experienced recommendations. good starting points, I think.

11-26-2010, 12:38 PM
Take a good look at the Meiser/SGS "Skandit" line system. Covers all the bases.

Jim Miller
11-26-2010, 01:50 PM
Actually talked w/ Bob Meiser this AM....will explore!

Jim Miller
11-28-2010, 04:51 PM
So I looked into Todd's advice. Called Bob Meiser (a truely nice guy) more advice/information about spey rods/lines than my brain could handle. ;)
So I ordered the SGS Scandit Shooting Head System sized for my CND Solstice.
Pretty neat system w/ interchangable parts to go from scandi to skagit line systems depending on the conditions.
Now I just need to learn how to spey cast!
FWIW: In today's times it is refreshing to talk with a guy like Bob Meiser. Low sell...just tells you what you need to know. If you are looking to buy or build a rod I would call his shop and talk w/ him about what you are wanting to do. His expertise and williness to help you out is something one doesn't find too often! His products are superb! (my next build will be with one of his kits...)