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Old 12-27-2008, 11:53 AM
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Default Spey Rod - to buy or not to buy

To start with this is a great forum, I am glad to have found it.

Here's the situation. I live on a nice lake in northeastern Oklahoma which has great fishing for hybrids and smallmouth. I fly fish for trout over in Arkansas and Missouri about 8-10 times a year. I travel to Colorado or NM at least once a year, and every other year I make a larger fishing trip to Alaska, Chilean Patagonia, etc. I currently use a Sage single hand 5wt with a Ross reel for most of my trout fishing in the lower 48, and have a nice G. Loomis single hand with several reels in a 9wt to fill out all of my larger trips. However, this past year two of my good friends moved to Anchorage. They intend to stay for many years, so I anticipate my trips up there to be more frequent.

I have fished a Spey Rod with a guide down in Chile on the Rio Grande and the Rio Serrano and loved it. The casting distance, the mending precision, the ability to land very large sea-run browns and chinook was amazing. But that was several years ago. When I was in Alaska this past summer I really wished I had one again. I believe that in fishing on the Kasilof and the Kenai I would have been able to catch some of those Kings instead of having to resort to a drift boat if I had had a Spey in hand. I still did great on the Russian fishing for Reds and catching Pinks in the northern Kenai Peninsula streams with my 9wt and 5wt mainly because those streams were so much smaller and those salmon hug the bank.

So here is my quandary - I intend to head back to Alaska for the first king run this year and head back to Patagonia in the next 2-3 years. I would love to have a Spey rod for both adventures, but I certainly don't want to buy a 10 wt Spey for the Alaskan Chinook and then it be too much stick for the smaller sea-run browns down south. And I don't want to buy 2 rods which wouldn't get a whole lot of use except for those trips. My thought has been that if I bought a 7/8 I could use it in both places as well as use it to cast for smallmouth and hybrids here at home (which would give me the practice I really need). Except I have never fished a two handed rod on a lake, is it a whole lot different than fishing a one handed rod? So here's the question - does that sound like a decent idea, buying a 7/8 and using it everywhere? Will it be too little for the Kenai Peninsula Chinook? Will it be too much for smallmouth and hybrids? Or should I just stick with what I've got? Thoughts?
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Old 12-27-2008, 12:03 PM
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Default Re: Spey Rod - to buy or not to buy

I would say, you need to check into a SWITCH rod. It is a single hand rod with the capability of "Switching" to two hand.
Echo makes a real nice one at a real fair price, but I know allot of companies also make them. Google "switch rods"
I have cast a Switch, but I haven't cast a true spey, so I really can't answer on the difference, other than I know it is not easy to cast a Spey with one hand where as a switch is lighter and designed for just that.
P.B. Meiser is another you might want to look up. He pretty much came up with the idea.
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Old 12-27-2008, 01:49 PM
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Default Re: Spey Rod - to buy or not to buy

Hi anemec,

Welcome to the forum. I am glad you found us and hope you become an active member.

First thing to do is convince your friend to get a boat that will work on the Kenai river. That would solve your problems. I had a 20' freighter canoe with a 25hp jet and I could fish all over the Kenai.

The Kings in the Kenai river can get up to 70lbs, even 90lbs. The majority are in the 30lbs to 50lbs range. I don't think the 8wt rod would be what I would want to fish with for Kings on the Kenai River. It would probably work on the Kasilof or the Anchor rivers. I am assuming you are thinking about fishing the Kenai River from shore. The places that I fished from shore did not have a lot or room to maneuver. An 8wt won't give you the backbone you need to control the fish. It would be different in a boat where you could follow the fish. If I was fishing for Kings from shore I would want a 10wt at least. Some of the lodges that fly fish for Kings use 12wt for their guest. Of course the lodges are expecting guest who have never caught big Kings before.

If you hire a guide for Kings you could use their gear and get your 8wt Spey or Switch rod. I had a two handed rod and did not like the feel of it casting with one hand. Since you have already cast a Spey you know the advantage of them on big water. There will be opportunities to use a 8wt Spey but you single handed 9wt will work for you most of the time.

I fished Alaska for 15 years and a 8wt single handed rod is all I used. This was before the Spey rod caught on here in the US. Since you have a 9wt single hand, have you thought of getting a 6wt or 7wt single hand. The 7wt would work for everything up to Silver Salmon. If you target Kings then I would go with a 10wt Spey rod if that is what you want.

One problem with Spey gear is it gets expensive. Especially if you get a real Spey Reel. I don't think anyone can make this decision for you. You know how and what you fish for so just pick what fits you best. My experiences may be entirely different that yours.

Frank
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Old 12-27-2008, 02:28 PM
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Default Re: Spey Rod - to buy or not to buy

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Originally Posted by Frank Whiton View Post
. . . Since you have a 9wt single hand, have you thought of getting a 6wt or 7wt single hand. The 7wt would work for everything up to Silver Salmon. . . .
Further to what Frank and Joni advised, Sage makes an 11 foot 7-weight Z-Axis Switch rod which may fit the bill for you (depending upon which of the scenarios Frank outlined fit for you). I am not an accomplished two-handed caster yet, but mine works fine for me in one-handed flycasting as well.
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Old 12-27-2008, 02:32 PM
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Default Re: Spey Rod - to buy or not to buy

TFO makes a good Spey rod. With Spey rods it is something you need to cast before you could buy.
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Old 12-27-2008, 03:15 PM
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Thumbs up Re: Spey Rod - to buy or not to buy

From what I have read on this Forum over time, both Echo (Joni) and TFO (MikeG) make great rods for their reasonable price, and like MikeG said, you need to cast a Spey rod before you buy it.
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Old 12-27-2008, 04:10 PM
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Default Re: Spey Rod - to buy or not to buy

Thanks for the quick replies. Frank, you're right about the Kenai. The only places I even thought about fishing on the Kenai was around where the Russian intersects. I tried for a few hours there this past summer and only succeeded in catching a couple of char. I was really thinking more about the Kasilof and the Anchor. I did end up in a nice drift boat using traditional tackle and caught a nice 51lbs. King on the Kasilof. So it wasn't a total loss afterall. (big smile). Overall I think you are right about either using a guides rig and then going with a switch or a true Spey rod in a smaller weight so I can get those sinking tips out there without giving myself a hernia.

Joni, I'm googling it right now. Fly2Fish, I'll check it out as well. You like yours? Would you use it on a lake?
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Old 12-27-2008, 06:28 PM
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Default Re: Spey Rod - to buy or not to buy

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. . . Fly2Fish, I'll check it out as well. You like yours? Would you use it on a lake?
Anemec, yes I would. In fact, I bought it for lakes and big rivers where wind was likely a factor and I couldn't wade close enough to the spot I wanted. My thinking was that the two-handed grip provided for if desired would help me achieve that. As I mentioned, I'm just beginning to learn two-handed casting, but if the comparison helps between two powerful but not-identical Sage rods, I'm able to get farther out one-handed with my 11' 7-wt. Z-Axis Switch than I could with my 10' 7-wt. XP - more than the extra foot in length would seem to account for. The odd thing is, the Z-Axis, even though a foot longer, seems less tiring to me (again, one-handed) than the XP to cast. Perhaps the new technology Sage says enables them to lighten the Z-Axis with no loss of power from its predecessor XP actually amounts to something beyond marketing hype.
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Old 12-27-2008, 09:27 PM
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Default Re: Spey Rod - to buy or not to buy

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Originally Posted by Fly2Fish View Post
Anemec, yes I would. In fact, I bought it for lakes and big rivers where wind was likely a factor and I couldn't wade close enough to the spot I wanted. My thinking was that the two-handed grip provided for if desired would help me achieve that. As I mentioned, I'm just beginning to learn two-handed casting, but if the comparison helps between two powerful but not-identical Sage rods, I'm able to get farther out one-handed with my 11' 7-wt. Z-Axis Switch than I could with my 10' 7-wt. XP - more than the extra foot in length would seem to account for. The odd thing is, the Z-Axis, even though a foot longer, seems less tiring to me (again, one-handed) than the XP to cast. Perhaps the new technology Sage says enables them to lighten the Z-Axis with no loss of power from its predecessor XP actually amounts to something beyond marketing hype.
I'll bet you can high stick with that baby.
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Old 12-27-2008, 11:51 PM
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Default Re: Spey Rod - to buy or not to buy

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I'll bet you can high stick with that baby.
Yeah - often to low-hanging branches. Want to keep that baby on open water.
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