Re: Help with Fly Fishing in the Great Lakes Surf
I think peregrines has given you some excellent information.
Michigan is a great fishing state with a wide variate of fly fishing. I know you are relative new to fly fishing and Spey rods and equipment is a study in its self. If you have the opportunity to fish for big King Salmon you might feel under gunned with a 9wt. For Kings in Alaska we used 11 or 12 weight rods. Alaska Kings can run from 30 to 80 pounds. If Michigan has Kings this large you can land one with a 9wt but it will take a while. If you are going to kill the fish then a lighter rod is OK. You shouldn't be killing females with eggs. So if you hook a big female you want to whip it quickly and then release. It is my opinion that you can't do that with a 9wt.
Here is how I look at it for myself. If most of the fish are going to be big trout or small Salmon I would want a single handed rod. If you are thinking Spey, I would be looking at a switch rod. I find two handed rods clumsy to use. I had a custom rod made for me in Alaska with a long fighting butt. My thinking was it would be better for Salmon. I disliked the rod so much that I only used it one time until I shorten the fighting butt to a couple of inches. You may feel differently.
I suggest that you buy a Spey casting DVD and study the different cast that are available and see if you think they might apply to your fishing. Then if you are still interested I would call Kaufmann's and talk to one of the Spey casters about the different equipment. Then I would look for a instructor in your area and take a lesson on Spey casting. If you haven't lost interest during this process you will have a good understanding what you want to buy.
It seems to me that you need two rods. One for big Salmon and one for every thing else except small Trout and Smallmouth.