6 Weight Spey - Reel Recs

Was going to buy an Echo 6 weight spey but found a demo 6 weight Z-Axis that I could not say no too.

Need to get myself a reel now before October hits - don't want to drop a ton of cabbage but will buy something relatively nice as it'll be the only one i get.

Any recommendations?

Also what line will be well balanced for this set-up?



Active Member
In the main, a reel is a place to store you line so dropping 'big bucks' can be a waste. That said, two basic choices: Drag ... or no Drag. But there is one choice ... get one that's far larger than you think reasonable. Spey lines/shoot line/backing suck up a lot of space. As an example, most single hander lines are 90 foot long. The typical spey set up (be it a skagit/scandi/mid-belly) will be at least 120 feet. Carron's come standard at 150 feet.

As reels all advertise up to a 'xyz' line weight and 'abc' amount of backing you need to 'up-reel' at least three for a spey set up. That said, there's a second important point that the larger reel brings to the table .... a counter balance for all that 'plastic' sticking out beyond you upper hand. Different strokes for folks as to where the balance point should be. For me I like the rod/reel to balance here I'd have my upper hand on the cork.

Just my .02 cents


Well-Known Member
I have two reels that seem perfect for 6 wt Spey. Hardy St. John and the old Sage 509 (made by Hardy and same size but with rim control spool; also machined and anodized instead of cast and painted.).

Not exactly a classic reel, but I paired my 6126 z-axis with a Galvan Torque T-8. Holds plenty of backing plus the running line, head, and tip. I think it balances the rod nicely as well. There's a good deal on a lightly used one in the classifieds (no affiliation) FWIW.

As far as lines, the best you can do is take it to a good shop that will let you try out some different lines and find the one that best suits your purpose and casting style. Both Rio and Echo/Airflo have recommended grain windows for rods on their websites.
Link to Echo/Airflo
That said, I have both a 390 grain compact Scandi and a 420 grain compact Skagit for light tips. Both work well for me. You'll have to decide what is right for you, but maybe this will give you a place to start.
That Galvan t-8 is a workhorse if you want to go the drag route! I've got one and it's awesome, not one complaint. And if you ever want to go fish the warm salt for some bonefish or something, you've got it for that too.
Best advice to you is call Steve Goodshall (SGS Lines) and talk with him. He'll spend 15-30 minutes asking specific questions as to what species, rivers, type of casting you plan on doing and for no more or less than the cost of a commercial line he'll make you one that works specifically for your rod & fishing preference.
As far as reels go, Salmo_g said it. I prefer to spend $ on rods & lines, Lamsons are great reels with superb service. Kiene's Fly Shop in Sac (& maybe Poopy's RedShed has some left) are discounting the Konics to $99 & spools @ $49. Get a #4 and a couple spools and spend the savings on something you really want. The Konic is everything the upper $ Lamsons are, just not as pretty, same drag, warranty, SW capable,etc.
I have two reels that seem perfect for 6 wt Spey. Hardy St. John and the old Sage 509 (made by Hardy and same size but with rim control spool; also machined and anodized instead of cast and painted.).
I second that! Something in the 3 3/4 to 3 7/8ths range. I picked up a St John 3 7/8ths for $140 bucks. Just got my first fish on that reel tonight--awesome! Highly recommended. Other good click pawl reels include JW young reels, also can be found for relativley cheap. I got a 3 3/4'' japanese hardy knock off for $50 (shipped from england) that holds plenty of backing and a 400gr full skagit line. I'm in the process of phasing out all of my steelhead reels with disk drags in them.
I have an Orvis Mach IV on my 6 wt. that I found new on eBay for a great price. There seems to be a ton of these available through eBay and I like it as much as the Orvis BLA V that I have on my 8 wt. Orvis reels are the most bang for my buck that I've found in the spey arena IMO.


Active Member
I use Hardy Salmon 1 on my 12' 6" 6wt. I like the way Salmon feels on the short stick. 150 yds of backing, Airflo running line and a scandi head with 10ft poly leader and 4-5 ft of mono.
Scientific Anglers 10! Great little reel made by hardy and can be picked up for $100-125 and balances a 6wt perfectly. I see them for sale all the time when people upgrade to more sought after classics and if you decide click pawl isn't for you someone will buy it, no $$$ lost.just a thought.