spey for steelhead

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by Ryan Nathe, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. If you really want to feel the rod throb, go old school and fish a 7.5' 6-wt bamboo single-hander. OK I know you're not going to do that, but seriously take a look at even a 6-wt spey it's a massive stick compared to a 7-wt single hander, plenty of rod to handle 95% of the fish on the deschutes.

    That's the most rediculouse thing I've ever heard. It's obviouse you haven't caught a lot of steelhead on the deschutes or anywhere else. Guys like you kill fish.

    A 6 weight for steelhead? Been there and done that. Totally irresponsible. I was personally spooled 11 times in one day at South Junction on a 9'6" 8 wt. Trout on the deschutes will spool you on 5 and 6 weights. Not my .02 but a fact.

    Please stay off the river.
  2. When I fish the skagit, The lightest I go is a 8 weight. I have some 10 and 11 weights that I like to fish up there. I pull the big boys out when the dollies start to trickle off. You could get away with a lighter rod when the hatchery fish and dollies are there, but you will get rocked on a nice wild fish! Plan on doing alot of running with a light rod.
    If you can, you should look at getting more than one rod. A light trout 2 hander and then a heavier rod.
  3. Thanks for all the insight everyone. Although ssickle1 I am totally disappointed in your response to bigtj if you need to vent some steam on someone after work go to the gym or join a boxing club, but to just verbally attack and abuse a fellow member of the board the way you did is immature. At the end of your rant you said not my .02 cents but fact. That is ludicrous. Trey Combs, the guy who wrote the "bible", about steelheading describes using a 4-5 weight on the Deschutes and suggests an 8 weight as a logical choice for the Kispiox River, which is home to the largest fly-caugth steelhead. Personally ssickle1 I put more stock in Trey Combs's opinion and bigtj's opinion than your fact. You are the type of jacka** I dread encountering on the river. Hopefully one day you will see the error of your ways and apologize to bigtj, but for now I will. Thank you bigtj and the rest of the "civil repliers" for your opinions on the matter, your insight has been greatly appreciated. Nathe
  4. OK. I appologize to bigtj. And you are correct, done in poor taste.

    Nathe, I will tell you I didn't write the bible or read it. I will also tell you that you can land fish on whatever you choose. As one who loves steelheading and the fish, rivers ect, it continues to amaze me that people would target fish that are at risk and or endangered with rods that will clearly increase mortality rates. Back to the bible, I am from Oregeon and spend June through November on the Deschutes anything less than a 7 wt for steelheading is a poor choice, you will find the same to be be true of trout fishing with less than a 5 preferably a 6 wt. And as for running into me on the river I am the guy minding his own business even when low holed, or when some idiot runs his boat over my water.

    Again sorry Bigtj for the tasteless comment. As for Nathe, if you think I'm an idiot call Kauffmans in Tigard, or the guys in Maupin and ask what they recommend for steelheading?
  5. Heh, do you use backing?
  6. It's a figure of speech:beer2:
  7. SSickle1 thanks for the apology to the other member of the board. And I am sorry to you for saying you were a jacka**. I do use an 8 weight on the Deschutes for steelhead and I use a 6 weight for trout. I understand where you are coming from with the endangered runs, but there is a line where the rod is just too heavy and no longer enjoyable and I do not presume to know where that line is for everyone. For me I would not want to go any heavier than an 8 weight on the Deschutes. Where the vast majority of my fish lie in the 3-5 pound range. I have caught a few nicer ones but they are much rarer for me. Thank you for your input, I once prematurely released a trout and saw it sink to the bottom in seven feet of water. I spent the next five minutes feeling sick to my stomach while I rigged my net to the end of my rod so I could scoop it up. I scooped it up and was able to revive it enough to swim away strong (not saying it survived, but gave it a better chance than lying on the bottom). I would feel terrible about killing a wild steelhead by playing it too long. So again I thank you for your input for suggesting a heavier rod. Hope to see you on the Deschutes some time, I haunt the lower stretches near the mouth. Tight lines and healthy fish.
  8. Nathe,

    I think the easiest way to gage what Spey rod may appeal to your use is to compare to the single handed rod(s) you use. I have caught more steelhead on an old 8 1/2' foot 8 wt fiberglass rod than all my other rods combined (and they are many). These included many mid to high teeners and two over 20 from the Sauk and Skagit. Although it's some work with large fish, I can't say I was ever under-gunned. I use 8# Maxima leader tippet and I bend the rod for all it's worth. Rare was the steelhead that ever took over one minute per pound of body weight to land, and I land the vast majority of steelhead I hook in less than 5 minutes - all this and no disc drag either. I've only been spooled once by a steelhead, and that was the Thompson River, no ordinary steelhead, no ordinary river, and no ordinary spot on that river.

    Most of the hype written and told about the gear necessary to do battle with the mighty steelhead is just that - hype. You'd think we were in danger of getting beat up by a silly fish if we don't wear enough body armor when on the river. Over 35 years of steelheading has taught me that steelhead are the most over-rated game fish I've ever encountered. But I still love fishing for them anyway.

    My first Spey rod was a 16' 10 wt Fenwick prototype from Jimmy Green. A true thunderstick. I derricked a poor 6# hatchery steelhead from the Skagit like it was less than a tiddler. The next Spey was the ever popular Sage 9140. It was more enjoyable to cast, but not much, and it is a lot of stick for any steelhead 12# or less, and as luck would have it, most of the ones I catch are under 12#, probably because most steelhead on the west coast are under 12#. It really feels best playing steelhead in the 15# and up range. And those fish are unfortunately too few and far between. For the last several years I've been casting 12 to 13' rods rated as 7 or 8 weight, and feel that these represent rods that are more than up to the task of safely and efficiently playing any steelhead that swims, and are comfortable to cast all day long.

    A suitable rod for Sauk and Skagit steelheading is just about any rod that you can comfortably cast a steelhead fly pattern 60 or 70 feet. There are a few places where it is advantagous to cast further, but not many. I wouldn't use my CND Spey Tracker (5/6/7 line wt) for large steelhead, but I think the limiting factor in winter steelhead rod selection is the line size that will comfortably deliver the flies you intend to use.


    Salmo g.
  9. Thanks Salmo, Yeah I use a 9'6" 8 weight single hanger (ocviously) and really enjoy it, I have not caught that many steelhead but earlier this year for example I caught a nice 9lb native on the deschutes and it never went into my backing. I honestly think that the vast majority of eastside steelhead at least could be safely targeted with a 7 weight. Thanks for your insight and hopefully you can tie into some monster steelhead so that they arent quite so overrated in your book.
  10. Nathe,

    It really depends on where you are fishing and when. What size flies you want to cast and with what lines. And how far you plan on casting. And under what conditions. You can compromise on some fronts but give up something to do so. Some don't mind the compromise and others can't stand them. Vague I know but not really worth debating here.

    Most if not all steelhead can be handled with an 8wt. The rest comes down to personal choices. Mine are far different from Salmo starting first and foremost with rod action. I have said this many times before on a different board that the closest I have come to duplicating that 'feel' of a steelhead on a single hander is using a very stiff fast action two hander. These rods aren't for everybody. But it seems that those who truly enjoy fast rods aren't the vocal majority searching or complaining about how 'overgunned' two hand rods are for the quarry. As stupid as this sounds I have a heck of a lot more fun playing a 10# steelhead on a 15' 9/10 stiff and fast rod than a 9' 8wt requardless of it's action. Again this is but one person's opinion after a 'quest' of untold $$$'s wasted in gear that collects dust when the answer I sought was right under my nose. Too proud to accept a different route. Smaller, shorter, lighter, softer would make it fun.

    Used to cock off about how there isn't a steelhead that swims that a Sage 6126-3 or Scott 1196 couldn't handle. After each particularly 'average' fish I would say "That's it??? Rod was too much". I pushed to the point of making a two hander out of a 10' 5wt IM6 trout rod (as many others have done as well). Extended the rod to 12' and had a heck of fun stick until it broke. But even then the fish were overgunned with the toy. During this 'phase' I truly had a hard time understanding why anybody would use a two hand rod any heavier than a 7wt. 'Those' guys were nuts.

    After debating with a few people...those crazy guys in the fast rod camp (T&T type fast and stiff)...along with hitting the wall and pretty much giving up on my 'quest' I decided to swallow my pride and revisit the rods I disdained (really hated to be blunt). I realized that the reason I hated them was due to not being up to speed to cast one correctly. So put my nose to the grindstone and spent many an hour to demystify the beast. Plus I put to bed the BIGGEST worry I had about the rods: These things must be horrible to play a fish from being strong enough handle a Marlin. Quickly realized that misconception was wrong. Way wrong. If you treat a fast action, stiff, rod like a soft noodle rod you will be nothing but dissappointed. If you learn to alter your casting technique to take advantage of the design there is much to be enjoyed.

    Again, to each their own. It's up to each of us to make up our own minds what determines fun. This is just my personal solution to a common complaint. I may be the only one in the world that feels this way so take it for what it is.

  11. To each their own

    Anyone remember the 20/20 club? Lee Wulff started that. You had to catch a 20lb fish on a size 20 hook to qualify for membership. Lee Wulff also advocated short, light bamboo rods. Atlantic Salmon on a 5 or 6 wt stick and light tippet. Although he later admitted the error of his ways, no one ever bad mouthed Lee Wulff for not being a true sportsman.

    There are methods, flies and rigs, that I wouldn't be caught dead using. Some being very effective. And others take great pleasure in catching fish that way. We each fish the way we do, because it turns us on. For one reason or another. That's good enough.
  12. Exactly, same here in the GLs for winter steelheading a 9 wgt 14 footer is all that is needed and on our smaller rivers an 7/8 wgt 12-13 foot spey is the preferred rod. Although I am trying a 12 foot 7/8 wgt spey now for winters also.

  13. The Princess going to let you buy that new rod,BG.:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

  14. Jim,

    I already bought the 12 foot 6/7 wgt Torridge spey rod, its pretty nice so far.

    Here she is with my 20 year old Marryat MR-9 reel on here, looks like a good marriage so far.

    :thumb: ;)


  15. Black Ghost,
    Somebody stole your fish:rofl:
  16. William,

    As one of the folks you debated with on the how the heavier and longer 2-handers were overkill because I have been using the faster, stiffer, longer and heavier 2-handers, you have stated very well why I like and use faster, stiffer 2-handers of 16'-18' most of the time. And it still comes down to personal preference, just use the rod with the length, line weight, and action you like and you will be a happy camper. But the faster, stiffer, longer rods do have a performance advantage once you learn how to cast them and take advantage of it.
  17. SSickle1,

    I missed all that stuff a couple weeks back but don't worry it's no big deal. Everybody is entitled to their opinion. I can see where your thoughts were coming from, I respect what you said and your side of the story has a lot of merit, and I consider your apology to be a nice gesture and a sign of your good character. From my perspective I don't consider your apology necessary but I appreciate it.

    I wasn't for one second recommending light rods for steelhead for everybody. The only point I was trying to make is that spey rods are pretty massive sticks compared to what has been used to land fish in the past by a lot of folks. Put a 6126 side by side with your average 8-wt and you'll see the mass and flex are comparable.

    If you knew me, my ethics, and my fishing background, I think you might understand where my comment came from. In Alaska I have personally landed a 10-lb silver with sea lice on it in about 5 minutes with a 8' 4-wt Scott F-series fiberglass rod with absolutely no harm to the fish; in fact, I would argue strongly that fish was in a lot better shape than some fish I've seen landed with an 8-wt by folks who don't know what they are doing. (I happened to be fishing for 3-4 lb pinks at the time, which are a freaking blast on a 4-wt, the Silver came out of nowhere and I didn't hook it intentionally). With any rod, it's a matter of fighting the fish hard with the attitude that you dont' care if the hook pulls out and using the flex of the rod to it's full advantage. I still stand by my comment that, under the hands of a competent fish-fighter, landing a 10-lb steelhead quickly with a 6126 on the deschutes is no big deal. In fact, my main nymphing rod for deschutes-sized i.e. 4-8 lb steelhead (I fish for summer runs on the Trinity a lot) is a 10' GLX 6-wt, which I have landed hot steelhead up to 10 lbs. and silvers to 14 pounds without ever breaking the rod or over-stressing the fish. I'm talking 4 or 5 minute fights and fish that kick butt on their way back to being released into the river. No bull I do it all the time and the fish don't suffer for it and more than the guys fishing with 8's and 9's.

    As far as getting spooled goes, in nearly 20 years of fishing for anadramous salmonids, 8 years of which I was guiding in Alaska, and landing litterally thousands of kings, chums, pinks, sockeyes, silvers and steelhead in aggregate, I have never been completely spooled, and have only once lost a fly line. In case you're wondering, the rod I was using when I lost that line (a 9/10/11 windcutter) was a 10160-3 spey rod (16' 10 wt) which is an absolute cannon. I'm not 100% positive exactly what happened, but to the best I could tell at the time, I had accidentally snagged a ~25-lb king and before I could get a handle on it, the fly line was out of the guides, and the backing broke near the knot, I must have nicked the backing when I put the line on. The funny part is, the following day one of my dudes hooked that same king, and I got everything back except the first 15' headd. At any rate, this could have happened with any weight rod. Based upon my experience and what I've seen with a lot of clients over many seasons, how you were spooled 11 times by summer steelhead with a 9'6" 8-wt boggles my mind, it's like nothing I've ever seen or heard of. But it makes me think that under certain circumstances all gear used for steelhead fishing has its limiations and nothing is guaranteed.

    If you don't agree with my experience and approach, I respect your right to express your own experiences and opinions that differ with mine. If we all agreed all the time, life would be very boring.

  18. :beer1:
  19. Sorry William, whine if you wantbawling: ... but I'm not giving you back those two wonderful custom Burkies I bought from you.;) Got anything more collecting dust I need to know about?????:cool:

    "Again this is but one person's opinion after a 'quest' of untold $$$'s wasted in gear that collects dust when the answer I sought was right under my nose. Too proud to accept a different route. Smaller, shorter, lighter, softer would make it fun."
  20. Fred, I have a lot of things collecting dust that you need.:cool:

    To me the most important statement in this whole thread is by JD (speyfisher): "We each fish the way we do, because it turns us on. For one reason or another. That's good enough."

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