IS two handed and Traditional Spey Rod the same?


Active Member

I know exactly what you mean about shop employees or owners who know little or nothing about spey casting selling rod and line combos that I know just don't work well. I've even witnessed a shop owner tell a fellow who just bought a spey rod from him that a salmon/steelhead line he had in stock was just the ticket to make the rod sing. I spoke up at that and pointed out that salmon/steelhead lines are not spey lines so it wouldn't even come close to loading the rod and told the customer what spey lines would work best for him, which the shop didn't have in stock in the proper size. After the customer left, I was invited to never come back into the shop by the owner because I cost him a sale. When I tried to explain to the owner that th customer deserved getting a line that actually worked with the high end spey rod he just paid a fair bit for, the owner informed me that he had to sell the lines he had in stock and besides since spey casting is nothing more than fancy roll casting, pretty much any line of the same weight should work. I haven't been back to his shop since and that was 5 years ago. I feel sorry for his customers because he knows nothing about spey casting and only fishes single hand rods in lakes for trout, yet he freely dispenses advise on spey rods and lines to unsuspecting folks.

We are very fortunate in Puget Sound because Aaron in Carnation is a very accomplished spey caster who will provide excellent advise and who will not sell beginning spey casters rod and line combos that don't work. Additionally Aaron does his Saturday morning spey clinics on the river and he takes many of the 60 or so spey rods he has in stock down to the river for folks to try. A better deal than this where you can get spey casting instruction for good spey casters and try rods and lines without having to buy is something I'm not aware of anyone else doing in the area.

There are some other shops that give good advise and have good spey casters as owners or employees Dave over in Port Angeles, Patrick's in Seattle, Kaufmann's in Bellevue (but unfortunately not downtown) has a person knowledgeable in spey casting behind the counter as does Creekside in Seattle.


Active Member

Thanks for catching my mispelling of Dana's name. I know better than to do so since he is an aquaintence of mine (has been for 5 years) and I just got to see and talk to him at Aaron's Speyfair this past weekend.
It is true that the line carries the fly. It would also be true that the rod casts the line. However if you feel that is in some way not the case, then feel free to take your reel of line and your heavy tube fly and go down to a river and start casting with no rod at all and see how you do at casting your big flies accuratly.

On the subject of lines, head length, weight, and taper all play a very important roll in spey fishing. Technique and ability would also play a roll. The rio skagit spey which with tip the head measures 42 feet long which holds most of the weight. Even with the 450 grain version I could cast easilly any big honkin fly I own. Now start adding cold freezing rain with a good dose of northwest wind, I would be lucky to hit the broad side of a barn 80 feet away, and that is after stripping in all the running line up to the start of the head, risking of course cutting the running line on wet frozen guides.

In the above example lets say that now I am using a full sinking line, or even a sink tip line that weighs say 550 or 650, maybe even 750 over say a 65 foot head. I would have to strip in far less line, and the line certainly has the ability to cast a larger fly longer distances in the wind and rain. However now we start running into what type of rod would best be used to load properly this amount of line plus friction and weight of the water on the line without breaking or buckling from the weight.

I do know a great deal about 2 handed rods, as well as the lines used. Short heavy heads definatly have their place, and I would not argue that compared to larger heads, do have a tremendous amount of energy. However full sinking lines with a 65 foot head, or a straight floater with a 75 foot head is just as important if not more. With these larger heads, the length one can cast a heavily weighted fly accuratly comes down to technique, length of rod, and the power of the rod.

So the comment I made about rod selection holds very true. I do not personally care if a rod says it is a #7 or a #10. I do think that knowing the grain window on a given rod is paramount. I usually pick the line I will use based on the flies I will be using. Knowing what length of head, what size of fly, and how far I will be casting, as well as what type of fishing I will be doing all goes into which rod I choose.
In northern Idaho there is the Red Shed fly shop. The guy there specializes in everything Spey. You might not want to travel there but he could recommend a rod and lessons.


Active Member
Right on Michaeldeg!

That is precisely why I use 16' and 18' 11 wt rods and long-belly spey lines with a plethora of sink tips in winter. They let me cast to 100' more or less with a long-belly 11 wt line (for those not used to spey terminology these line have belly lengths of 95'-100') without needing to strip any line at all. And if I want to reach to occasional lie that is 120' or so distant, I simply shoot some running line.

As you said, I don't have to worry about icing up my guides, stripping umteen feet of running line, or having the wind blow and stop the short head well before it reaches 80'. I noticed you left out that with the longer belly lines, we can still fish the 50'-65' casts with ease.

Ever since I started using longer belly lines, I seem to be more accurate with my casts, and thus enjoyed my casting more.

I usually use full sinking line, or straight floating line. I rarely use sink tip lines myself anymore. When I first started spey casting I seemed to gravitate toward faster action progressive taper rods. It seems like now I like to feel the load all the way into the cork. I also have noticed how much more I use my 15 footer over my 14' 3". I do own an old 16 footer, I can only imagine the power your 18 footer casts.

What brand of spey rod do you use? With the 16-18 foot range I can pretty much guess and say a European brand like Clan or Carron.