Ways To Add Weight To A Spey Reel?

I'll play the devil's advocate here. I believe that balancing is overrated especially with a 2handed rod. I prefer to fish a lighter, unbalanced rod and reel over a heavier, balanced one.

Paul Huffman

Driven by irrational exuberance.
Jason - I asked that question here back in 9/2006 I hoped to open up the butt of my 8126, but got nervous about damaging the rod. I tried wrapping the reel seat with 3/16 lead, but it got in the way of the reel and looked like hell. If I could find some 1/8 or smaller lead, maybe that would work better.

After losing my Ross Canyon 4, which really wasn't big enough for 8wt spey lines, let alone any wraps of lead core under the backing, when LiteSpeed's were being closed out, I got the biggest LiteSpeed they had in the catalogs because I wanted more weight. Not the biggest, I guess, it's the 4. It turns out that these reels are really light. That's why they named them "Lite"Speed, Duh! This inch reel looks kind of dumb, chasing little mid Columbia Steelhead, but, hey, I got lots of backing. I'll never be spooled. Besides, I figure it will work well for saltwater too.

Salmo_g - I thought the desired balance point was right at the top hand placement. If it's right above the corks, I'm there now with the huge Litespeed.

Dec wrote how he likes his old unbalanced reel because the noise and jackhammer effect adds to the excitement during runs. I'm a little odd, I guess, because I prefer quiet reels. I guess it comes from my days sneaking in under "No Trespassing" signs or onto a reservation
and trying not to attract any attention to myself. I saw that the click on the LiteSpeed is produced by an entirety superfluous strip of plastic like a length of zip strip inside the spool under the handle counter weight that engages a plastic gear on the spindle. Sometimes I feel like just clipping that off with a pair of side cutters, but then I consider haw that might negatively effect the resale value. It looks like I could pull it out of there by using a little allen wench to remove the counter weight.


still an authority on nothing
Make sure you check the balance or the next time a steelhead takes off it could be pretty interesting.:)

I'm thinking of adding weight to the nonrotating tower in the center of the reel body, I think adding weight to the spool could get me fragged...:)
and really, I'm only thinking about it for my 15' rod. I disagree politely with sashjo- one day with a tip heavy 16' rod convinced me! I have a buddy who put a reel weighing a full pound on his 16' rod. says it takes half the effort to cast and fish, and his right hand pain went away.
I kind of like my shorter rods to be balanced when reeled in and a little tip heavy with line out, I generally swing with the tip just above the water, but that long rod...the perceived weight and effort to fish it are greatly reduced, despite an increase in total weight of the outfit...and this is true for SH rods too. an unbalanced outfit wears you out quicker, especially in 8 wt and up.


still an authority on nothing
Good points guys.

Salmo G, has a point; remove the rubber dohicky, see if I can put anything in there, more torq from that point than at the reel.
the only drawback I can see to this is that the rod and reel would be permanently married then, unless you can figure a way to remove or add weight.

I failed to mention before, but you may have to add ten ounces or more to achieve balance on some spey outfits. would be tough to fit that into the butt of a blank.

Paul, there's several schools of thought about DH rod balancing, but most guys go with the rod slightly tip up when held at your normal grip position during the swing, with your average length of line out. Spey rods have heavy lines so this makes sense. The only guys who balance the rod with the line reeled in are Spazzes...


Fishin' to the end, Oc.P
?????? How much line do you or will you have out when you balance your outfit? 40ft, 60ft, At what point is it balanced? Does that not change or am I thinking to technical? Are we balancing it when the line is not out? Do we just balance for the amount of running line held off the water? Does the rate of swing and depth fished change the balancing? what if we change lines, does that change the balance?:beathead:



still an authority on nothing
I forgot to mention the friction of the water against the line...:beathead:

no, you don't have to make it that hard.

Just go out in the yard, put your outfit together and start stripping line out of the rod tip while you walk. if you can get the whole head and color change out (if your line has one) that should be good enough. now try to balance the rod on your finger. If the balance point is somewhere near where you hold the rod during the swing, you're golden.

For me, I want to add a few ounces to the butt end because I have to hold my 15' rod about 4" above the top grip during the swing for the rod to balance slightly tip up, which is how I like it for drylining. "your mileage may vary", as guys like to say here in the pages.

actually, if you're holding a DH rod in your hand, you're golden-all the rest of it is gravy.:thumb:
hope this helps, Bob


Well-Known Member

Whether balance is over-rated probably depends how out of balance a specific rod/reel/line combination is. No worries if it's only slightly unbalanced. If it's extreme, it can affect whether I want to fish the rod or not. My interest in Spey rod balance was occasioned by the Sage 9140 when I first built it up with the fore and butt grips almost the same length, with the reel seat slightly back from the middle. It was handy for reeling in line or playing a fish, but I grew tired of holding it during the swing for each cast. It was only comfortable to swing if I held onto the rod blank forward of the foregrip. It wasn't a good arrangement. I removed the old grips and reel seat and rebuilt it with a short rear grip of about 4", the reel seat, and a typical long foregrip, and now all is well with that rod so long as it is equiped with a fairly heavy reel.


Yeah, sometimes the buttcap is epoxied onto the end of the rod blank, and you can't remove it without modifying the rod butt slightly. The preferred balance point varies among anglers. I think it's most important that you get it right for "you." I like the balance point at the front of my rod hand to two inches forward of it.

Dec might like unbalanced reels for the extra noise produced, but I think making a reel unbalanced by adding lead to a revolving part is a really bad idea in that the effective weight becomes a flywheel under centrifugal force. Think about bicycle wheels and why builders go to great lengths to manufacture ever lighter wheels.


It makes sense to me to improve the balance point on a long heavy rod. I suggest adding the weight at the lowest point on the rod because that will achieve the desired balance effect with the smallest amount of added weight. I'm feeling a little weird here. Am I the only one who took physics?


It's a personal thing. The balance matters most to me when I'm casting and holding the rod during the swing. Therefore, the balance matters when the head or belly portion of the fly line is out beyond the tip top. The weight of the running line isn't significant to matter much. The head or belly amounts to an ounce or ounce and a half, maybe two ounces on really large line sizes.


Salmo g.


Hallelujah, I'm a Bum!!!
Salmo g,
It isn't that others have not taken physics, but that for a 13 to 16 ft rod with the reel typically about 5 to 7 inches above the butt end of the rod, as a practical matter adding weight to the reel frame is more easily done without voiding any warranties for rebuilding the rod:thumb:

Salmon Chaser

Wannabe Spey God
Buy a Perfect in the proper size to accompany your rod length:thumb:
Or,, Tim at Speyco reels will have a reel to more than balance what you need. Just buy a real reel
Salmon Chaser


still an authority on nothing
Salmon Chaser suggests the ultimate solution of course- getting the right reel to begin with.

Salmo G- sure, I know about levers and relative weight, but I'm sure I don't want to drill holes in my lower grip to add lead. Adding weight at the point where the lightest weight will have the most effect (butt) makes perfect sense but there are other considerations too.

I don't want to create a setup that permanently marries a reel and a rod by altering the rod. From your post I know you know how much fatigue is created by an unbalanced long rod, much more so than a shorter rod, so we do agree-but adding removable weight to the nonmoving parts of the reel seems like the solution that will work best for me, simply because I can reverse the process anytime. My Lamsons are ideally suited for this because of the center tower on the frame, which contains the bearings and drag. The tower is stationary and the spool spindle rotates inside it.
This thread has really been good because it's provoked me to think about making some small adjustments to my tackle that will make fishing less tiring and more enjoyable. Thanks to everybody!

Dan Page

Active Member
An interesting thread for sure as I've just gone through the same process. I tried the leadcore trolling line--actually a gift from SpeySpaz :beer2:--. It helped alot to balance the weight of my 16'er. But not enough. 100' was 2.4oz.
I've kept my rods slightly tip heavy and liked it, but this was too much work to make it through a whole day of swinging. I bought a Speyco reel that put me on the other side of tip heavy. It's affected my whole casting stroke. Am still getting used to it, but think I like it.
Balancing the rod butt is no doubt an efficient way to go. If you can afford it a new reel is alot more fun!


still an authority on nothing
We must fish.
I just got a new flask from MalWart for three bucks and I'm dying to try it out...
that 16' feels like a completely different rod with that Speyco on it.
From a Google search:
The following steps will show you how to find your balance point and find the weight that you need to add to obtain that point. These steps are how it is done by custom rod builders like myself. They will be illustrated with a rod that has a black plastic slip over cork butt cap. It will allow you to add the weight in such a manor as to not place any bulky caps (over your existing cap) or butt extensions on your rod. Plus it won't cost you an arm and a leg. Once completed you will be the only one who knows that your rod has added weight for balance.