What to look for in first spey setup?

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by J Nordwell, Nov 30, 2008.

  1. J Nordwell New Member

    Posts: 56
    Camas, Washington
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Hello Thinking of either this year or next buying a spey setup. What do I need to look for?? I will use it for steelhead and salmon only. Thanks
  2. Ben Waldschmidt Member

    Posts: 345
    Ratings: +0 / 0

    I just got into the two-handed game. I made the mistake of buying a rod, without casting one first. Everything is working out, but had I tested a few out on the water, I may have gone with something different then what I did. So, I would just recommend going to your local shop and seeing if you can cast a few before you buy.

    Another thing that I would definitely support, would be to take a class on spey casting. I tried for about a month on my own, improved a little but each time, but after I took a half day class, my instructor was able to pin-point all the areas where I was using improper technique, therefore not casting well.

    Good Luck and have fun with it! Any more questions, feel free to ask.

  3. MikeT Member

    Posts: 98
    Hillsboro, Oregon
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Absolutely try before you buy if you can arrange it.
    I got started by taking a guided trip that included spey gear and casting lessons. It worked out pretty well.

    The annual Sandy River Spey Clave will be May 16-17 2009 at Oxbow Park. That would be a great opportunity to see what the manufacturers have on display and try out some rods and lines.

    A "safe" entry level setup that wouldn't break the bank would be a TFO Deer Creek 13' 7/8 with a Skagit head for winters and a Scandi floater for summers. Only need one reel and spool for both lines; just have the shop set it up with looped shooting line and switch heads as conditions dictate. As for a reel, there are tons of choices in the $100-$250 range that would work fine. Watch for closeouts or slightly used gear for a bargain.

    Ebay and Speypages.com are great sources for used equipment if you know what you want and are willing to be patient.
  4. halcyon Hallelujah, I'm a Bum!!!

    Posts: 491
    Vancouver, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    If you are not in a rush (and even if you are :rofl:) don't purchase anything until you go to a spey gathering. Check here and on the Speypages for lots of them coming up in the next few months. Go, find one of the presenters and ask for some assistance (they love doing this so you are not imposing) and then with the presenters help cast rods with matched lines in your price range. When you find the one that you can cast the best, purchase it and the line that works for you. As others have said there are lots of reel choices just find one in your price range that keeps the rod from being tip heavy when the head is outside the rod as when you are holding the rod during the swing and is large enough to hold your line, running line if used, and 200 yds of 30# dacron backing. Then get casting lessons from a good instructor.
  5. FLGator Member

    Posts: 646
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    A knowledgable spey shop.
  6. speyfisher Active Member

    Posts: 1,055
    State of Jefferson U.S.A.
    Ratings: +136 / 3
    All of the above

    There are many places in and around the Vancouver/Portland area that are knowedgable, some specializing, in two hand rods. Free Sat or Sun on the river clinics, execellent starting places. One thing to keep in mind: Rather than going to any specific rod(s) based on what you've heard, explain your uses, and expectaions, as well as your budget before hand. The more you talk to someone, the better they can help you.
  7. Will Atlas Guest

    Posts: 0
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    13'-14' 7-8 wt will cover most fishing situations and would be a good starting place. There are a number of good rods on the market in that window. Prices range from 350 dollars all the way up to more than 850.
  8. fredaevans Active Member

    Posts: 3,115
    White City, Oregon, USA.
    Ratings: +118 / 0
    Keep your wallet in your back pocket and hit the Sandy River Spey 'Clave in May, 2009 OR hit Aaron's shop as he has many 'test bed' rods for you to try. Vis a vis the SRSC many of the worlds best casters will be there, most freely give short lessons, you'll have equipment up the wazzoo to try before you buy, etc., and etc.

    That said, I strongly recommend against 'self teaching.' What you develop is a whole series of very bad habits that have to 'un-learned' to get you on the right track. I've taught a lot of folks how to cast, the 'worst case' was someone who tried to learn on his/her own.:hmmm::rofl:
  9. SpeySpaz still an authority on nothing

    Posts: 1,827
    Roy, WA
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    to echo Fred...

    ....maybe that's why I'm the Spaz...it was the self-teaching...

    J Nordwell is a most fortunate fellow, to have found his way to the Pages to ask his question.
    yup J, good advice being given here, you should take it. Since you live in the cradle of the Skagit world, seek ye a shop and find the guru within. He shall tell you all you need to know.
    Just bring lots of money with you.:rofl:
    regards, Bob
  10. hookedonthefly Active Member

    Posts: 570
    Ratings: +121 / 0
    As said in prior posts, get some exposure to different rods prior to purchase unless you are going straight to a BIIx 13' 3'' 7/8. :D That is one sick rod.

    There are a lot of good Spey resources around. All About The Fly is one. Another is Emerald Water Anglers Spey Casting Classes. Dave will have a variety of rods and you'll get some casting instruction as well.

    Starting out, in-person instruction is the only way to go unless you need piercings.

  11. jcalderon Member

    Posts: 995
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    you would be safe as can be buying a rod before casting.....................The line is more important in my opinion............ if you decide you dont like the way one set up casts, try a different line, and its a whole new machine
  12. SpeySpaz still an authority on nothing

    Posts: 1,827
    Roy, WA
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    a lot of guys start out thinking about what rod they want first, but a better strategy is to work from considering the water size first, then fly choice, line type to carry the fly and fish it the way you want it to then decide what rod will do that. see?
  13. SteelieD Non Member

    Posts: 1,001
    In a van down by the river
    Ratings: +0 / 0
  14. Ben Waldschmidt Member

    Posts: 345
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    For sure!

    As I said before, I bought without trying the rod first. I could not get the line to turn over for the life of me. The shop I go to (Avid Angler) was gracious enough to lend me a couple different lines and see what worked the best for me. Without their help, I would have been totally lost. Started out with the Airflo NW Skagit 8/9. Then tried the Airflo Skagit Compact 540 gr., which worked better for the rod (Echo DH 8wt. 13'3"). Finally, I ended up with the Airflo Skagit Compact 570 gr.- works great w/ that rod for turning over heavy sink tips and big flies.

    Different line, different machine is right!
  15. Skilly Member

    Posts: 196
    Winlock, WA.
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    I go along with the others that say go to a good shop that has a day on the river where you can learn to cast and find a rod line setup that fits you and the fishing you will be doing. Trying to learn on your own is a frustrating experience that need not happen. There is nothing worse than buying a miss matched outfit and trying to learn to cast with no idea what you are doing wrong. I know, I have been there done that.