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nick k 07-18-2013 07:33 AM

8wt or 9wt spey for stripers?
I'm wondering what would be a better rod for striper fishing in MA. The two options are:

13'0'' 8wt
14'0'' 9wt

I was originally thinking the 8wt and that the shorter length would be better for overhead casting, but I'd like to know what most guys use for this application.

Thanks for the help.

ZachMatthews 07-18-2013 12:19 PM

Re: 8wt or 9wt spey for stripers?
Nick -

I can't speak to Massachusetts stripers (by the way are you talking about river fish or ocean fish?), but I may be able to give you some general principles.

I wrote about this in American Angler last year and I've re-printed that article on my site if you care to take a look:

Article: Spey Stripers

I have been pretty satisfied with my 13' 7 weight Scott T2h for stripers up to about 10 pounds. I'm using Scientific Anglers Mastery Skagit Extreme line with this rod; it's a monster weight forward, integrated (although you can cut it and add loops), with an integrated very fast sinking tip.

The disadvantage of that kind of rig for stripers is that we usually use much bulkier flies than the steelhead and salmon guys can get away with. Thus when trying to huck a 6" long Major Mullet it takes multiple repetitive roll casts to pull the fly up the column high enough to do your setup strokes and begin the Spey cast.

I more or less "solved" this problem (at least in my fishery down south) by fishing floating, but diving flies like the Wiggle Minnow and its ilk. The added advantage of the Wiggle Minnow is that it will wake on the swing, thus having action even in traditional Spey casts, which of course stripers like.

I am in complete agreement that the 8 weight and a shorter length would be better for overhead casting. You might also consider sizing on up - Loomis made or makes an eleven-foot eleven-weight specifically for surf casting which can execute both overhead and Spey casts. You might be outgunned for the fish you catch but you'll be more versatile for sure in the flies you can present.

Rods-wise, the TFO Deer Creek is on the cheaper, but softer side, with more of a traditional European Spey action. The Scott LS3 is a little bit more expensive but still affordable (as Spey rods go) and it has a much faster action.

Good luck!


nick k 07-18-2013 02:26 PM

Re: 8wt or 9wt spey for stripers?

Really great article and advice. Thanks for all the help. I actually bought one of the 13'0'' 8wts from for $40 yesterday when they were having that CRAZY sale. I just wanted to make sure I made a good decision in choosing the 8wt over the 9wt. It sounds like I will make out just fine.

I think I'm going to use a compact scandi head on it so that I can still cast overhead. I don't think that will be too easy with a skagit head.

ZachMatthews 07-18-2013 02:29 PM

Re: 8wt or 9wt spey for stripers?
Agreed on the Scandi. Those are significantly finer generally and also have less of an abrupt rear taper, so you don't necessarily need to carry the entire head (unlike with a Skagit which would be ball-and-chain city if not outright destructive if you tried to cast it overhand).

I have snapped a Spey rod before throwing overhead, so exercise caution and good sense. I did not. :)


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