reel, line, head, tip for spey

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Getting in to the spey game this year for Great Lakes steelhead.

Planning to go with redington claymore 12'6 7 wt rod and suitable reel (probably Redington behemoth).

Curious on everything beyond that - do I need backing and a running line (like Rio Steelhead/Salmon), or backing and mono as the running line?
if the former I'm guessing a running line to match the rod wt, then a head with grains to the rod as well
if the latter - what lb test for the mono.

Am I missing anything?

the Claymore rod recommended Skagit Grains: 500-550 Scandi Grains: 450-500, and I'll get some sink tips too (t-11 and t-14)

thoughts or recommendations much appreciated.
 

duker

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Hey Eunan:

Welcome to the spey game. Lots of great threads in this forum for advice on all things spey-related. You also might want to check out speypages.com if you haven't already--this is the best forum on the interweb, but speypages has lots of good folks and discussion about two handers.

Re: running line. You do need backing, just like a single handed rod, tho' probably not as much as you or the guy down at the fly shop thinks (I generally run about 150 yards of 30 lb dacron on my 7-8 weight rods; 100 yards would be fine). Some anglers like "regular" coated running line, others like mono. You may have to try both before you decide which you like best. I like the regular coated running line--right now I've got Airflo ridge on a couple of reels and Monic running line on another--as I find I can grip it better and it coils less. The guys who like mono argue that it casts farther, you can fit more on a spool, and it's cheap to replace. It does stretch, so you will want to replace it regularly. From what I've read they usually use something in the 40 lb. range. You can use something like Berkley Big Game or Catfish mono, or go with one of the dedicated mono running lines that pretty much all the line manufacturers make.

And yes, once you've got your backing and running line on it's time for a head and a tip. Other than the Redington recommendation (which is a good start), you may want to try a few heads in different grain weights before you find the one that works best for you. Getting into the differences between Skagit and Scandi (and hybrid, and mid- and long-belly) would be a whole other thread, but I think it'll be easier to start with a Skagit head.

Sink tips are essential, especially for steelhead, and there are a number of ways to go. You can use T-11 or T-14 in various lengths, but that's a heavy tip. You could also consider the Rio MOW tips, and the polyleaders and versileaders that Rio and Airflo make. Not sure about the Great Lakes, but you may want to consider getting some floating and intermediate/hover type tips if you ever want to try a dry or low water fly.

I've only ever fished for steelhead in northern BC so can't help with any GL steelhead tips--I know others will chime in. Hope this helps.
 
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Hey Eunan:

Welcome to the spey game. Lots of great threads in this forum for advice on all things spey-related. You also might want to check out speypages.com if you haven't already--this is the best forum on the interweb, but speypages has lots of good folks and discussion about two handers.

Re: running line. You do need backing, just like a single handed rod, tho' probably not as much as you or the guy down at the fly shop thinks (I generally run about 150 yards of 30 lb dacron on my 7-8 weight rods; 100 yards would be fine). Some anglers like "regular" coated running line, others like mono. You may have to try both before you decide which you like best. I like the regular coated running line--right now I've got Airflo ridge on a couple of reels and Monic running line on another--as I find I can grip it better and it coils less. The guys who like mono argue that it casts farther, you can fit more on a spool, and it's cheap to replace. It does stretch, so you will want to replace it regularly. From what I've read they usually use something in the 40 lb. range. You can use something like Berkley Big Game or Catfish mono, or go with one of the dedicated mono running lines that pretty much all the line manufacturers make.

And yes, once you've got your backing and running line on it's time for a head and a tip. Other than the Redington recommendation (which is a good start), you may want to try a few heads in different grain weights before you find the one that works best for you. Getting into the differences between Skagit and Scandi (and hybrid, and mid- and long-belly) would be a whole other thread, but I think it'll be easier to start with a Skagit head.

Sink tips are essential, especially for steelhead, and there are a number of ways to go. You can use T-11 or T-14 in various lengths, but that's a heavy tip. You could also consider the Rio MOW tips, and the polyleaders and versileaders that Rio and Airflo make. Not sure about the Great Lakes, but you may want to consider getting some floating and intermediate/hover type tips if you ever want to try a dry or low water fly.

I've only ever fished for steelhead in northern BC so can't help with any GL steelhead tips--I know others will chime in. Hope this helps.

Hi Scott

I really appreciate the insight, it surely simplified the deal for me. I'm don't envision frequently fishing this style, (6 hour drive per trip one way), but good to have the info and like you said, maybe I can pick up a few used heads/tips to test out.
 

Ard

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Eunan,

I saw your post shortly after it went up but deferred to other members because my style of fishing isn't the normal thing. Frankly I believe the other forum may prove to be confusing because many members there will offer advice. In reality you only need a couple options not 20 of them. Personally I would recommend against mono as a running / shooting line. I use lines I get from Steve Godshall at the R.B. Meiser rod shop that are integrated lines with a floating vinyl clad shooting line fused to the heads. The loop to loop thing between head and runner is unnatural I think.............
 

flytie09

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Hey Eunan welcome back. I would suggest 75 -150 yd of 30 lb Dacron for backing, coated level running line in .040" diameter, and a floating Skagit shooting head for a beginner w/ 10' lengths of T-tips in T8, T11 and T-14. That's about the simplest setup for someone starting out. I nail knot a short section of 20 lb mono to the end of the sink tip, use a barrel swivel and use 3-4 ft section of 10 lb or 12 lb mono like Maxima Ultragreen or Chameleon. Insert fly here and that's about it.

I don't worry about hinging or all of the loop to loop connections....... I like the versatility of being able to change lines quickly if conditions dictate it. With all of the rods and reels I have.......I keep them all loaded with at least a coated running line. I'm not going to mess with thin mono backing during cold weather and the coils that can result. That's just me.
 
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eastfly66

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I think Rio makes a kit with the integrated Skagit head and tips all in one package if you want to just have one set up. They include the wallet too.
 

lake flyer

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I would say either of the two detailed recommendations are good for the Great Lakes. Pretty much the standard for our area. I agree the looped running line works best because you may want to change heads from time to time.
I use mono (Lazar line and/or Big Game) all winter (goes through frozen guides better and carries less water back into the guides when stripping line in) but you might prefer coated running line. Either is a good choice.
 

lake flyer

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On the shooting head get one that either has a butt a different color than the running line or a head a different color than the running line. You can thank me later.
Good advice.
When using mono I put a 6” loop at the end so can feel the knot at the tip top and the back it out slightly which gives me my overhang to cast again. This works well when fishing in the dark.
 

Lamarsh

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do I need backing and a running line (like Rio Steelhead/Salmon), or backing and mono as the running line?
I'm pretty new to spey, but already went through the gear thing. You definitely need backing (I'd go with 30lb). From the backing, it will depend on whether you decide to go with an integrated skagit or scandi line, or just a head. If you go with integrated, you just attach it right to the backing just as you would a fly line. If you go with just a head, you need a running line, and you'll again be faced with a decision as to go with a coated running line or just mono. Really more of a personal preference. Many people find the coated line is manipulated easier, but the straight mono supposedly shoots better. If you go with just mono, OPST Lazar Line is tough to beat, but there are a few others out there.

laymore rod recommended Skagit Grains: 500-550 Scandi Grains: 450-500
If you're new to skagit, the grains your rod recommends is a great starting point, just keep in mind you can likely go heavier or lighter and it might work better for your personal casting stroke. Many recommend beginners start with something on the heavier side of the recommended range.

I'll get some sink tips too (t-11 and t-14)
Add a T7 in there and you'll have a complete tip setup.
 

tcorfey

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If I were starting out day one today, I would purchase a reel that is designed to hold a 10wt single hand line. I would load the spool with 150 yards of 30lb Dacron backing. I would call Steve Godshall and explain what rod I was using, what conditions I expected (depth of water etc) and what size flies I intend to use. Then have Steve recommend a running line, head and tips for you. Now you can take that and install it on the reel and have confidence that the line setup is correct. After you gain some experience with your casting then start experimenting. Steve's number is 541-840-2594 his Email: [email protected] . It will save you a lot of aggravation and uncertainty.

To give you an example of Steve's knowledge I had two 7wt Spey Rods one a Redington Dually and one a Buelah Platinum, both were over 13' and within a couple of inches of each other. Steve explained that the Redington was a big 7wt and the Buelah was a lighter 7wt so the head for the Buelah should be 40 grains lighter than the head for the Redington. To have that kind of knowledge in his head is incredible. Every line he has made for me is spot on. Also his pricing is very competitive and usually a few dollars less than the big name guys.
 
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