Along with budget, your intended application is also important. I have a CND Spey Tracker which is designated 5/6/7, but I'm really only comfortable with a 6 wt Spey line on it. As I mentioned, the Forecast rod is more of a 7, and I'm comfortable fishing winter steelhead with it, whereas I limit the Spey Tracker to summer/fall fishing. James Mello has a Beulah 6/7 switch, and it's a sexy delightful rod, but I think it's also more of a summer weight rod, although he's giving it the winter test.
Reels that suit this size range for me include my Hardy St. John, and the Elkhorn T-4 I picked up at the Fly Fishing show.
If you're not needing to cast the proverbial country mile, these smaller Speys are a joy to fish.
Figuring out lines is easy. Just ask Mike at Red Shed or Ron or Kristin at AATF.
IF your budget allows, I also vote for the 7125-3 Burkie. The line recomendations from Trutta and Kevin are excellent choices. I use a Danielsson 8-12LW. I just finished building mine, so it looks a bit different than Kerry's production rods, but still casts as sweetly. And yes this is an excuse to show it off.
There a lot of great rods "off the shelf" rods out there, but I always want it my way so I do my own or go to guys like Bob or Kerry.
iagree Definitely sweet rods!! High on my to buy list! I've cast the 5/6 a couple of times, and other than the fact you need to slow down your cast, it's awesome! Of course with all of the lighter speys, you really need to slow down your cast to let the rod load correctly.
Good luck and yes, if you're able to spend the dinero, consider one of Bob's sticks!
Just my two cents. I just built a beulah 5/6/7 and I really like it. I also have a Beulah 7/8 switch that is a great rod. Cast the 5/6/7 with a midsey 6/7 with the tip 2 removed and seemed pretty good although I still would like to try a few more lines and really dial it in. I have an older meiser 1356 that is one of my favorites, casts a 6/7 midspey floating or tips perfectly for me, although it may be more of a seven as speys go. Im pretty sure Meiser had a little input on the Beulah rods. I think if you go with either of these two you would be very happy. Definatly go for some test rides though. I finally did and it changed my outlook on what type of spey rod actions fit my casting style. I think it would be cool at some spey gatherings to put tape over the manufacturers rod names and let people do a "blind" test ride. I think it would surprise alot of people on which rod, line and action of rod they actually like.Maybe they already do this, dont know have only attended one class and it was put on by Sage but just a thought. Good luck. Kevin
I went through this same question over the past year, and here was my personal experience
Went to the Day on the River on a number of occasions to test and retest a range of rods. I learned brand preferences can change with rod wts. I learned I had to think a little more about what I wanted the rod to do for me. I wanted a lighter rod in feel for summer run steelhead and perhaps some salmon species. While some of the lighter rods felt good with floating lines and yarn, they could not handle bigger flies and sink tips. I ultimately decided I wanted a rod that could handle a broader range of fishing conditions.
I had to think about rod lengths. I ultimately focused on shorter rods. I wanted a shorter rod so that when I used the rod for salmon and was actively stripping flies, the rod didnt feel too cumbersome.
My preferences surprised me. My "big" rod is a sage which I really like, but I found I didnt prefer the lighter wt sages. When testing rods for my big rod, I really didn't like the feel of CND rods. I was really surprised with the Solstice rod. I tried a friend's Anderson rods built on Burkie blanks. To me, silky smooth but no backbone. I ultimately requested and tested a Highlander demo rod from Meiser and that was my final selection. I liked the rod because it felt like a small rod with more backbone than most to accommidate all my intended fishing conditions. I got lucky and was able to purchase an unused Marquis #1 reel to go with the rod. It turned out to be a great match.
I took the rod out on its maiden trip early in the winter season thinking I was likely to get into dollies only. 10 casts into use and it was christianed with its first steelhead. The rod met my expectations. I've got a multi-use spey rod with the feel of a single-hander that purrs with a hardy reel.
The process re-enforced to me that it is foolish to consider buying any spey rod without test driving it. I think that rod feel with spey rods is way more critical than single handers.
I think you comments are very helpful to anyone making a purchasing decision. regardless of rod length and weight.
I don't mean to hijack this thread too far out of bounds, but I do have a question. Are you sure that your friend had an Anderson built on one of Kerry's blanks?
I ask because Anderson designs his own tapers, but they are rolled up at Kerr's shop. Just a small point, but in general there is quite a difference between the two. On ther other hand, it may be exactly as you stated.
After seeing Gary's work at this years FF Show in Bellevue I thught maybe I should have had him do the custom Burkie. Way less work for me and a full warentee on the whole rod, not just the blank.
I am not 100% certain they are Burkie blanks. I thought my friend said that his rod was the last Gary was building on older burkie blanks. I am clear his rod was the last in a series based on a famous makers blanks and it was the end of that series.
The rod is beautiful. I loved the wood work in the handle. I dont know if others would agree with my description of the rod. It is the silkiest smooth rod I've casted to date. But, it doesnt match my casting style. I have a (bad?) habit of "punching" the rod. Therefore, I lean towards fast action tippy rods. In some ways I fear I compensate for bad casting skills/situations with punching the rod. With the Anderson rod, that dont do. You got to jive with its rhythm.
Meiser, Burky or C&D Tracker. I've cast all three and own the Tracker, which is really a 6 and put a St. John on it with a C&D line and it casts itself. I would definately say it is a summer, fall rod though, or a great trout spey. I like to push gear a bit, but it will stay in the "rack" in winter. Meiz's light spey rods are unbelievable as are Kerry's. The word on the streets (Hawaii?) is that Kerry is developing a trout spey as we speak. Coach