what is the difference? spey rod/ european rod

Hello, I am interested in spey rods and seeing fishers using them on the river is making me want one.. What I don't know is how can I tell if the rod I am buying is a spey rod or a european type rod? I assume we use a specific kind here in WA. waters? I will most likely buy one used and have had good luck buying fly rods from ebay.. so that may be a place to look once I understand what to look for. don't want to invest in the wrong type rod.

thanks everyone


lurker at large
there's irony in this post.. the irony being "Spey" fishing has its roots on the river "Spey" in Scotland which is why the double handed "european" rods are dubbed in north america as "spey" rods...

I don't think you have to worry about investing in the wrong type of rod.. considering they're two in the same...


Another Flyfisherman
a rod designated as a "Traditional" action rod is a more full flexing rod.....slower action. European action rod are a faster action, not quite as full flexing. Same comparison as a Sage SP (medium action) and a Sage Xi2 (super fast action).
2 handed rods in the UK and Europe(rather than England and Europe, Scotland being a different country but still part of the UK) are generally called salmon rods as that is what they are used for.
You can have a "salmon rod" which has two handles but is hopeless for speycasting as it was designed for over head casting.
Sage who started this strange traditional(sic) and european have yet in my opinion come close to designing a half decent speycasting rod. When have you ever seen a Sage in a speycasting competition. I like their single handed rods so I am not bashing the company.
I am a recent beginner, too, and I ended up with a UK brand rod: The Snowbee. The model I have is a medium fast action, 12' 6/7 wt. It is designed for more of a Scandinavian (or "European") style cast--utilizing shooting heads of 35 - 45 feet, running line, and a underhanded casting technique. ("Underhanded" means most, if not all, of the rod movement on the forward cast is imparted by the bottom hand on the rod, with the top hand stationary and acting as a pivot. The bottom hand stops short on your belly. Tight loops and long casts are the result.) I can use more traditional spey lines and casting style, tool

A side note: Rod and line wt ratings (i.e. "6/7", etc.) don't mean much in the world of two-handed rods. Grain weight of the shooting portion of the line is what matters, whether it's a 35' shooting head, or an 80' long-belly head.

I chose a small-ish, faster action rod to use for summer-runs, Yakima trout, and for overhead on the beach. And the nice thing about shooting heads is that the running line never changes, just the heads. I have a 44' floater, and a shorter sinking interchangeable tip shooting head system, and I even will use my single-handed 5wt 12' tips on the very end when Scandi casting on the river.

Confused? I was, but now I'm a geek. Go to the "Day on the River" every Saturday at the confluence of the Tolt and Snoqualmie rivers. There Aaron, owner of the River Run fly shop, has a dozen rods set up, with many, many, line choices to try. Then you'll be a geek, too.

Have fun! Talk to people, and take advantage of "try before you buy" whenever you can.

This is part of a e-mail that I recently sent to one of the board menbers following the same line of thought.

There are two facts of life:
1. The simple matter of life is that distance sells fly rods.
2. When it comes to speycasting, performance sells speyrods.

When it comes to the speycasting, might I add one thing?
Try to learn to cast before you buy a rod.
This way, over time, you will get a chance to cast more than one rod.
River Run Anglers’ Day on the River program is a good place to learn, and the best part is it is free. (I know everone is budget minded.)

First we must lay out some of the performance physics. Overhead is normal style of casting and takes place it a two dimensional world. Speycasting on the other hand works in three-dimensional world.
In other words the overhead cast is made with a forecast and back cast. A speycast is made with a forecast, backcast and an anchor so we say that it
has three detentions.

Here is a look at how a speyrod should be judged:

1. We must ask the rod to more that just move in a straight line as you would with an overhead cast.

2. Quick is a new word to rate performance of spey rods and should be looked as a key factor when looking to purchase a spey rod. Your rod has to be designed to do dampen out as quickly as possible thus the term quick. You are basically asking the top sections of the rod to do more that just move a straight line as you would with an overhead cast. If the rod dose not dampens quickly enough, the tip will be out of alignment when you go to deliver your forward cast causing a slack in the d-loop or, worse yet, secondary loop in the forward cast. (Both of these are performance-robbing characteristics.)

3. In other movements for repositioning the line, you will find that you have performance problems due to slack forming. Slack is the killer of all casts whether overhead of speycast and should be avoided at any cost.

Let us look at performance:
Since there is no standard, here are my views on graphite build up of rods dealing with performance. If a rod says it IM-Something: meaning all the sections or is one IM-Something and the other sections some other grade of Graphite. The other case is one of multi-layered build up of rods. Here one layer of one section could be IM-Something and the rest of lay-up of the section or the rod could any thing the manufactures wanted it to be. The lay-up of a rod can also cost money.

Is the rod made up of one layer or multi-layers? Is the rod laid up of multi layers going of graphite all the same direction or, are they ply-oriented?
Ply-orientation meaning that the each layer of graphite fabric ply is rotated in the direction of the fibers giving greater resistance to bending. Here again different ply rotations could be of varying types of material of different modules of tensile elasticity. Each one of these features add to the cost of production

Looks can be deceiving.
In the past, I have sanded down quality blanks to remove the manufacture’s company’s color. I then I built it up without different furniture on to see what the general response was when comparing the same rod with one in the factory colors. (The sanding did not take away any performance, but the comments were just what I thought they would be.)
Most of caster picked the new rod apart but when they casters use the same model with factory colors on it the loved it.

Go figure
This is an interesting thread for a long time lurker and a first time poster. As a caster who has bum elbows I have been researching the overhead cast 2 hander vs spey 2 handers. From what I have been able to assimilate a Scandanavian style rod is stiffer in the mid section and has a faster action than a more traditional spey rod, and that both rods can work for both styles of casting but not well. My preferred local fisheries are salmon & steelhead saltwater beach fishing where its mainly a cast and strip rather than a cast, mend, and swing. I also make a few trips each year to BC to fish the Skeena system, Kitimat, and Atnarko for whatever that bites. A stiffer, shorter rod in the 12' range that throws shooting heads rather that a long bellied line seems to "fit" my prefered casting/fishing style. I've tried spey style rods up to 15' but have found them difficult to strip the fly properly to the beach. Does anyone have experience or rod/line/reel recommendations for this style of casting?


Hallelujah, I'm a Bum!!!

With the joint problems you mention you may wish to purchase, read, and practice the suggestions in a book called "Fit to Fish" written by a MD and a phy. therapist and published by Frank Amato Publications. This resource may well make all of your fishing more enjoyable.

[ From what I have been able to assimilate a Scandanavian style rod is stiffer in the mid section and has a faster action than a more traditional spey rod, and that both rods can work for both styles of casting but not well.

In my experience, this is not true. I can easily hit 100' with my Snowbee with a 335gr shooting head (overhead) with one back-cast, on a rod designed for spey and under-handed style casting. Unfortunately, I'm on the steep side of the spey and scando learning curve, but I am getting to 60+ feet. Interestingly, I need a heavier head (around 350 gr) to do spey casts.

As I understand the scando rods (after speaking to Jack Cook of the Irish Anger), a fast rod doesn't necessarily mean stiff. It can bend into the butt, but it's the recovery that matters (fast recovery = "fast" rod). I don't pretend to really know a whole lot about it, this is just what I've managed to absorb.

As for over-head two-handed rods, CND makes two specifically for that purpose. I've heard the the Sage "European Style" (Leland?) work well, too, as do some of Bob Meisers rods. I, of course, am happy with my Snowbee. They make a 7/8 wt in a similar style and action, too. And check out the other European rod manufacturers (Loop, Guidelines, Scierra, etc.) for other choices.

There's a huge world of one- and two-handed fly fishing options. Often the most fun for me is research! There are also some great web sites out there.



FFing and VWs...Bugs & Bugs
Tom, how does your Snowbee's recovery compare with the Rainshadow you built? I'm finding a little more distance/control slowing my tempo down with my Rainshadow. Also, underhanded casting style, at least for me at this time does not seem to suit this particular rod. To help this out I'm going to have to spend a couple of Saturdays with Aaron at River Run Anglers to dial in a line(s). :)
I think you have me confused with someone else--I've never built a rod! (Though it would be fun to learn and I've read about those Rainshadow blanks and if I did learn I'd become an FF-ing monk or hermit, happily building rods, tying flies, and going fishing, while my income drops and my standard of living drops and I only associate with people who can talk about "mandrels" and "grain weights.")