Proof 2/3 Trout Spey Line Recommendations

motts

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Hey guys - after fishing streamers with the switch rod I built my wife this fall and loving it, I built myself one of the Proof 2/3 Trout Speys for swinging soft hackles/smallish speys in the spring/summer. I've had it out two times now just to play with it, but haven't been able to dial in the line/leader equation, so I was wondering if anyone else has this rod and can share what worked for them.

I using a 180gr Rage with both a 15' leader and 10' polyleader + tippet so far, as well as a cut down and welded old Rio Grand 5wt head plus leader. The rage plus leader left me mostly underwhelmed as it didn't seem to really load the rod up as well as I hoped, and casting distance suffered. If I timed everything properly and really focused on the bottom hand being in charge, I had casts in the 65' range, but they were not consistent and I was blowing a lot of anchors. I only tried a type 3 polyleader on it, which felt like too much for the rod to handle on the lift (just dead, couldn't really get the fly and tip up in the water column without really being aggressive on the lift), but it might be different with a floating or intermediate poly. The welded Rio Grand with leader felt like it was way too light (I really only put it together becasue I was getting rid of the line anyway).

I'm going to get some shorter polyleaders to try and will probably pick up a 210 rage. I'm also looking to get a 210-225gr skagit head to play around with and make some tips out of some other old lines I have laying around that aren't being used. The grain window for this rod is 150-220. I was trying a bunch of different casts to see what worked best (snap-t, double spey, single spey, snake roll), but nothing really felt "right" or gave me a starting point to make changes with purpose or direction. The snap-t was probably most consistent, followed by the snake roll. Flies were all around size 10, mostly unweighted, only a small beadhead if they were weighted.

Does anybody have any other combo they can recommend?

Thanks.
 

huronfly

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You mention hitting good casts every once in a while, so I think it is a matter of casting technique. I experience this often when I switch from short heads like skagit to a mid belly. It is much harder to get the timing down while casting with a longer head. Many people find the rage a bit long for an 11' rod, and I prefer it on my rods over 12' as well. For ease of learning, a lot of people recommend the 3:1, or 2.5:1 ratio. This means your line(including tip and leader) will be no longer than 3x length of the rod. As you have it set up right now you are closer to a 4:1 ratio. The fact that you mention the type 3 tip is difficult to lift is another sign that the line is probably a touch long for your setup.

If you roll cast downstream before you start your cast you will probably have much more consistent casting, but that's a pain in the arse too so I try to use a head short enough that the roll cast is not necessary.

Are you using trout polyleaders or the salmon/steelhead? The salmon/steelhead polys are built on heavier mono and wouldn't turn over as easily as the trout versions.
 

motts

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You mention hitting good casts every once in a while, so I think it is a matter of casting technique. I experience this often when I switch from short heads like skagit to a mid belly. It is much harder to get the timing down while casting with a longer head. Many people find the rage a bit long for an 11' rod, and I prefer it on my rods over 12' as well. For ease of learning, a lot of people recommend the 3:1, or 2.5:1 ratio. This means your line(including tip and leader) will be no longer than 3x length of the rod. As you have it set up right now you are closer to a 4:1 ratio. The fact that you mention the type 3 tip is difficult to lift is another sign that the line is probably a touch long for your setup.

If you roll cast downstream before you start your cast you will probably have much more consistent casting, but that's a pain in the arse too so I try to use a head short enough that the roll cast is not necessary.

Are you using trout polyleaders or the salmon/steelhead? The salmon/steelhead polys are built on heavier mono and wouldn't turn over as easily as the trout versions.
There's no doubt my technique played a part in it as I'm far from an expert in the two-hand game, but it seemed like a lot more work than it should have been. I also agree with your thought that the head might be a little long, and I'm not against cutting it down a little if that will help solve the problem. I worry the 180 will be too light though if I chop 5 or 6 feet off it, so I'll have to look at either the 210 or another slightly shorter scandi head. I also think that's why it performed better with the tapered leader than it did with the polyleader and tippet.

The downstream roll cast was often necessary when using the polyleader. They're the salmon/steelhead polyleaders (24lb); I was going to order the shorter ones in the trout version.
 

huronfly

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I would try other things before chopping the head as you are already in the lower range of your grain recommendations, the turnover would likely improve, but you would even less rod load than what you are currently using. The thin tip of the rage may not have the grains/ft to turnover those poly's like the heavier rage's do. I would either give in to a skagit type head and continue with the salmon/steelhead polys - this is what I use with my trout spey(200 grain skagit), or go to the lighter polys and stick with your 180 rage. Be careful with the scandi though, they don't turnover poly's near as good as the rage does so I think that may be a step backwards.
 

motts

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Thanks! I think that's what I'm leaning towards doing first - something 200ish grains in a skagit head plus the lighter poly's so I can play around with both. I don't need the scandi to fish it successfully, but I thought it would be fun to play around with. Might not be worth it at this low end of the spectrum though. I'm already considering a blank from Meiser, and I'm sure they have plenty of line pairings they can recommend so it might be a better fit for that project instead.
 

LOC

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I looked at that kit myself. Seemed like a fun way to get into Trout Spey at the time.

Lines, I would go more towards shortening the head and not the polyleader.
From what I read that Rage head is used more often with slightly longer slightly heavier rods then a Trout Spey but I'm sure if you are well experienced two handed caster you could make it work.

I have several different lines for my Trout Spey rods and to keep it consistent I kept the same 11' polyleader on all the different Scandi lines I tried.
The shorter the head the easier it was to cast. The SA Scandi Lite was the most user friendly @ 23' with a 11' 30 grain poly leader.
A couple of feet can make a significant difference on how a line will cast.

I have a 10'6" 3/4 Trout spey for reference using the 270 SA Scandi Lite and that is money on this rod.
The Rio 265 Trout Spey is also 23' feet but it has a longer front taper. In the beginning this line was harder to cast because of difference in front taper length but once I dialed it in it's also a nice casting line on this rod.

To put things into context, I also bought a Airflow Comapct Scandi @ 30' and in the beginning I was convinced the length was too much line for my rod because of how much I struggled with it. Now it's my favorite line if the (conditions are right) because my technique has caught up.

So my best guess is it's a combo of finding the right line and the right technique till you're butter...
 
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MCHammer

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If you're blowing anchors, I don't think shorter polyleaders will help. They will probably make the anchor-blowing worse. A good rule of thumb for Scandi leaders is to have 1 1/2 times the rod length in polyleader and tippet. So, with a 10' polyleader on an 11' rod, you would want about 6 1/2' of tippet. I blew anchors for years before someone clued me in on this. I would start there before buying a different line.
 

dean_mt

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I built up the same blank last year but haven't even cast it yet. It's definitely a summer rod for me, long evening light waning into dusk, caddisflies popping, and trout rising all around... Snap out of it!

Sorry, I was getting carried away. I'll be curious to learn what works for you on this rod. I picked up a 240gr Rage on a classified because it was cheap, sounds like maybe not the ticket. I thought that Matt told me the grain window was 150-250. Anyway... I hope you get if figured out.
 

motts

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I built up the same blank last year but haven't even cast it yet. It's definitely a summer rod for me, long evening light waning into dusk, caddisflies popping, and trout rising all around... Snap out of it!

Sorry, I was getting carried away. I'll be curious to learn what works for you on this rod. I picked up a 240gr Rage on a classified because it was cheap, sounds like maybe not the ticket. I thought that Matt told me the grain window was 150-250. Anyway... I hope you get if figured out.
When I emailed Matt, he told me the grain window is 150-225, and I think that feels like it should be correct from the short amount of time I played with it before everything froze back up. I think 240 will be too heavy, but you never know until you give it a shot. I picked up another head, a 200gr Rio Skagit Max Short (17') that was on sale for next to nothing to try as well. I'll update the thread with my findings after I get to use everything a little more and figure out what works best for me.
 

motts

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Had the rod out a couple more times and now have a better sense of what works for me. I'm really liking the 17', 200gr, skagit max short head I picked up for an "all-around" set-up. I can use sinking polyleaders and throw some smaller streamers or traditinal spey type flies (think small GP's in olive or brown to look like crayfish), or switch to a floating poly and extended leader for swinging traditional wets. I haven't tried skating anything with it yet but intend to once the hatches get a little heavier around here. I also tried the Rage 180 with a much longer leader, and it works well with the smaller traditional wets flies - even two or three of them - but still struggles if theres much wind. If I could only choose one line I would stick with something like the max short around 200 grains and 20 or so feet in length.
 
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LOC

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I picked up a 300 grain Rage head myself and took it out last week for some casting.
I'm using it on a 41111 IMX Pro.
It took me a while that first session to adjust to the the taper. I was finally getting it dialed at the end.
The next day I built off of that session and dialed it in some more. Towards the end of that session I was letting some really nice loops fly.

I found I had to really mind my technique and not take any short cuts and also add some more subtle advanced techniques to bring the whole thing together. Compared to my Rio Steelhead Scandi which is similar in length if feels a bit clunky and harder to cast with the thicker taper.

I fished again last night putting it to the test with a heavy fly and lots of wind. That line kept me in the game to make fishable casts where a standard 30' Scandi would have been miserable. That said, the smart thing for me to do would have been to throw on a Skagit head but I was determined to make it work.

After last night session I think it would be great if they actually made a shorter Trout Spey version of the Rage head in the mid 20 foot range, 200 to 300 grain weights. That would be great for my use.
 

tcorfey

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You might also consider an 8wt DT line for use with soft hackles. I use the Cortland 444 Peach at 210 grains on my Echo Hydrogen 3wt Trout Spey Rod both Spey and overhead casting. Works well for me. I also use an OPST Commando smooth at 220 grains with OPST tips of 10' and 80 grains. That is also a winning combo. I like the DT line when fishing clear low water conditions usually with a 6' furled leader and 5' of tippet. The furled leader gives me a better anchor.
 
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ghostrider408

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I picked up a 300 grain Rage head myself and took it out last week for some casting.
I'm using it on a 41111 IMX Pro.
It took me a while that first session to adjust to the the taper. I was finally getting it dialed at the end.
The next day I built off of that session and dialed it in some more. Towards the end of that session I was letting some really nice loops fly.

I found I had to really mind my technique and not take any short cuts and also add some more subtle advanced techniques to bring the whole thing together. Compared to my Rio Steelhead Scandi which is similar in length if feels a bit clunky and harder to cast with the thicker taper.

I fished again last night putting it to the test with a heavy fly and lots of wind. That line kept me in the game to make fishable casts where a standard 30' Scandi would have been miserable. That said, the smart thing for me to do would have been to throw on a Skagit head but I was determined to make it work.

After last night session I think it would be great if they actually made a shorter Trout Spey version of the Rage head in the mid 20 foot range, 200 to 300 grain weights. That would be great for my use.
LOC, try out the Rio Scandi Body or Rio Trout Spey (same thing really except for slight grain weight differences). The Rio Scandi Body is a 23' slightly stouter and shorter Scandi head that is kind of between that and a Skagit, but leans more toward Scandi. I run them in a 265 grain on my 3 wt. Sage Pulse and a 325 grain on my Sage One 4 wt. switch rod. The 265 grainer also works on my 4 wt. if I want a really light and nimble load on the road. This head casts both Skagit style, water loaded casts and Scandi style casts with equal ease. For tips, the 325 grain will easily handle all Polyleaders, light Rio replacement sink tips that weigh 55 grains, and probably even up to 8-10 feet of T8 or light Rio MOW tips (which are T8 rated). It's really a great head that is easy casting and will lay down with finesse if you run a long tapered leader only off the front of the head.
 

LOC

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LOC, try out the Rio Scandi Body or Rio Trout Spey (same thing really except for slight grain weight differences). The Rio Scandi Body is a 23' slightly stouter and shorter Scandi head that is kind of between that and a Skagit, but leans more toward Scandi. I run them in a 265 grain on my 3 wt. Sage Pulse and a 325 grain on my Sage One 4 wt. switch rod. The 265 grainer also works on my 4 wt. if I want a really light and nimble load on the road. This head casts both Skagit style, water loaded casts and Scandi style casts with equal ease. For tips, the 325 grain will easily handle all Polyleaders, light Rio replacement sink tips that weigh 55 grains, and probably even up to 8-10 feet of T8 or light Rio MOW tips (which are T8 rated). It's really a great head that is easy casting and will lay down with finesse if you run a long tapered leader only off the front of the head.
Thanks for the recommendation, I've always been late to the party to pick up a Rio Scandi body on the cheap or it's not in the right grain weight. I've reads great things about that line so I'll keep trying and keep an eye out for one. I own the Rio Trout Spey as well as the SA version. I use the 265 RIO and the 270 SA they are both fantastic lines. The wrinkle is I am pushing the envelop on the weight of the flies I am using (the fly is similar to a Sculpzilla but tied Borski). That's why if I had the length to keep it Scandi but with a thicker front taper than what a Rio Trout Spey or SA Scandi Lite offers it would be a perfect fit for my use. I perfer Scandi over Skagit but the right tool for this job really is a skagit head. I'm being a bit stubborn but it's all good and a fun process pushing the envelop with these lines. Thanks
 

ghostrider408

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Thanks for the recommendation, I've always been late to the party to pick up a Rio Scandi body on the cheap or it's not in the right grain weight. I've reads great things about that line so I'll keep trying and keep an eye out for one. I own the Rio Trout Spey as well as the SA version. I use the 265 RIO and the 270 SA they are both fantastic lines. The wrinkle is I am pushing the envelop on the weight of the flies I am using (the fly is similar to a Sculpzilla but tied Borski). That's why if I had the length to keep it Scandi but with a thicker front taper than what a Rio Trout Spey or SA Scandi Lite offers it would be a perfect fit for my use. I perfer Scandi over Skagit but the right tool for this job really is a skagit head. I'm being a bit stubborn but it's all good and a fun process pushing the envelop with these lines. Thanks
I gotcha, the Rio Scandi Body is hardly ever on sale, I've looked too before and ended up just pulling the trigger on it. With that said the Rio Trout Spey comes in a 305 grain version and 350 grain is the next step up, while the Scandi Body offers the 325 grain version. However, the front taper on the Scandi Body and the Trout Spey are very similar if not the same taper, so just keep that in mind. I can say I don't have much trouble tossing 2-3 inch streamers on the Scandi Body with 55 grain Rio replacement tips in various sink rates. Another line to consider is the Airflo Scout which is a Skagit that is on average 1.5 to 2 ft. longer than a comparable OPST Commando head. I've got a 330 grain Airflo Scout for that Sage One 4116 and it has power for days with bigger flies and wind. I believe that head is 16.5 ft. long. I really think that Scout head in a 300 grain would be a good fit as well on a 4 wt. trout spey, as the 330 grain doesn't hold anything back and is pretty aggressive.

I started out with a 360 grain Scout and have found that to be way too much for my 4116. So many heads and configurations out there! Check out Ashland Fly Shop's YouTube page on trout spey line comparisons. They cover all the lines I listed above plus a couple more. Btw... those guys really talk up and love the Scandi Body. I'm with them, but as you know, every head has its place.

I just thought of something... Another line you might find on the cheap (because it was closed out) is the Rio Skagit Short in a 325 grain. That head is 20 ft. long. Longer than any of the other Skagits out (I'm sure RIO replaced it with something similar) and at 325 grains, spread out to 20 ft. vs. 15 to 16.5 ft. Skagits in the same grain weight, that Rio Skagit Short has less grains per foot, so it's not quite as aggressive as a regular, short Skagit.
That might be a good fit for what you're looking for. I bet you could find one on closeout still for under $35.
 
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LOC

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I gotcha, the Rio Scandi Body is hardly ever on sale, I've looked too before and ended up just pulling the trigger on it. With that said the Rio Trout Spey comes in a 305 grain version and 350 grain is the next step up, while the Scandi Body offers the 325 grain version. However, the front taper on the Scandi Body and the Trout Spey are very similar if not the same taper, so just keep that in mind. I can say I don't have much trouble tossing 2-3 inch streamers on the Scandi Body with 55 grain Rio replacement tips in various sink rates. Another line to consider is the Airflo Scout which is a Skagit that is on average 1.5 to 2 ft. longer than a comparable OPST Commando head. I've got a 330 grain Airflo Scout for that Sage One 4116 and it has power for days with bigger flies and wind. I believe that head is 16.5 ft. long. I really think that Scout head in a 300 grain would be a good fit as well on a 4 wt. trout spey, as the 330 grain doesn't hold anything back and is pretty aggressive.

I started out with a 360 grain Scout and have found that to be way too much for my 4116. So many heads and configurations out there! Check out Ashland Fly Shop's YouTube page on trout spey line comparisons. They cover all the lines I listed above plus a couple more. Btw... those guys really talk up and love the Scandi Body. I'm with them, but as you know, every head has its place.

I just thought of something... Another line you might find on the cheap (because it was closed out) is the Rio Skagit Short in a 325 grain. That head is 20 ft. long. Longer than any of the other Skagits out (I'm sure RIO replaced it with something similar) and at 325 grains, spread out tofor 20 ft. vs. 15 to 16.5 ft. Skagits in the same grain weight, that Rio Skagit Short has less grains per foot, so it's not quite as aggressive as a regular, short Skagit.
That might be a good fit for what you're looking for. I bet you could find one on closeout still for under $35.
Thanks for the great info...
I believe you and I are walking down the same path. :cool:
I use a 360 Skagit Scout on 51111 with 8' of T8 it's the cannon ball for my IMX Pro cannon.
I could see how that would be a bit much on a 4116.

The Skagit short is a great idea. That's basically the taper i'm looking for. Now to find one on the cheap.

I find a lot of these line on Spey pages. The average line from new to barely used on that site is 20 to 35 shipped.

Here's the list that I own

Scandi

Rio Trout Spey 265 integrated
SA Trout Lite 270 integrated
SA Trout Lite 300 integrated
Airflow Compact Scandi 240
Airflow Compact Scandi 300
Airflow Rage 300
Rio Steel head Scandi 310

Skagit

Airflow Skagit Scout 360
OPST Commando head 325
SA Skagit Lite 300
Rio Skagit Trout 275

Rio Single Hand Spey for 7wt

IMO none of these lines are clunkers and fortunately I did not pay over 30.00 for any of the lines or heads.

I should add I own a Hardy 3/4 10'6" switch
2x IMX Pro 41111 and 51111

All except the Skagit Scout I have tried on every rod and they rated from totally fishable to perfect matches.
 
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ghostrider408

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Yes, LOC we are kindred spirits, lol. The Loomis IMX Pro 51111 is a great stick! I have that rod, and can say that I hooked up on my first swung fly steelhead with it in Oregon a year and a half ago, fishing in the fall for late run, summer steelhead. I was running the 360 grain Airflo Skagit Scout on it with a 5x5 light Rio Mow tip. I love that Loomis short spey! Such a good rod. A little heavy for my trout spey in Colorado, but I fish it anyway, just for the fact that it has the ultimate mojo. I have a ton of heads like you as well. I really like the Airflo Scouts, OPST Commandos, and Rio Scandi Bodys for trout spey and for my summer steelhead stuff. Now, for winter steelhead, it's a different story. I have a bunch of different heads that I utilize on my Sage Igniter 7126 and Sage One 7136, from 425 and 475 grain Commandos, Airflo Skagit Switch in 510 grain, Airflo Skagit Compact 540 grain, and the absolute ass kicker head which is the Rio Gamechanger in 525 grain in the F/H/I/S3 configuration. That head absolutely launches!! Fourteen to sixteen big pulls of running line and out she goes across the river, lol.
 
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Outside bend

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I've had very good results with the Scandi Body and SA Spey Lite scandi. I have to plug the Wulff Ambush Short as a skagit like but not clunky option. The more I use it, the more I like it. On my 2 wt trout speys it throws poly's or SA Sonar leaders with a Slumpbuster attached delivering line speed and great turnover. We have lots of good choices now for our trout 2 handers but the Ambush orig. or short is hard to beat.
 
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ghostrider408

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I don't doubt the Wulff lines are great. I learned the two hand game with heads and mono running line, so I got used to it. That is all I fish for both trout spey and steelhead, except for a recent addition of a Commando Smooth 250 grain that I've used on my 7 wt. Scott Meridian for single hand trout spey. Looking to double it up for use on my Sage One 4116 as a super light option or on my Sage Pulse 3110 as a little more rod loading option on that rod. I've read good stuff on the Ambush lines no doubt. I bet that line works great Outside bend.
 

dean_mt

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Thanks for the recommendation, I've always been late to the party to pick up a Rio Scandi body on the cheap or it's not in the right grain weight. I've reads great things about that line so I'll keep trying and keep an eye out for one. I own the Rio Trout Spey as well as the SA version. I use the 265 RIO and the 270 SA they are both fantastic lines. The wrinkle is I am pushing the envelop on the weight of the flies I am using (the fly is similar to a Sculpzilla but tied Borski). That's why if I had the length to keep it Scandi but with a thicker front taper than what a Rio Trout Spey or SA Scandi Lite offers it would be a perfect fit for my use. I perfer Scandi over Skagit but the right tool for this job really is a skagit head. I'm being a bit stubborn but it's all good and a fun process pushing the envelop with these lines. Thanks
If you prefer fishing the Scandi taper, why not try an SA Speylite scandi in the top end of your grain weight? 300-325 scandi on a 4wt would give you better payload for tips/flies, still be in the rod's grain window, and cast prettier than a Skagit.
 
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