Another Spey vs. Single hand rod thread...

A few quick thoughts:

First, I am a strong advocate of spey casting, but not because the technique necessarily catches more fish (which I believe it does, if only because one can cover more water). Rather, I love the elegance of spey casting. Also, I love the fact that spey casting is easy to learn, but difficult to master.

Second, I use a single hander on the smaller rivers. For example, last week I fished the Camp Water on the North Umpqua. I took both a spey rod and a single hander and used both. When I fish the Stilly, I use a single-hander almost exclusively, now.

Third, I make a distinction between spey casting (which can be done with both single- and two-handers. I almost always spey cast with my single-handers. Learn the single-hander Turbo Spey - A spey cast using a single-haul - and you can lay out line as far as most overhead casts.

>The only drawback I can see to
>Spey fishing is its lack of
>sensitivity when you have any
>size fish on compared to a single
>hand rod

I somewhat unclear about what you mean by sensitivity, but the many spey casters from whom I learned argue that the longer rod gives the fish (and the fisherman) more leverage. In terms of detecting a gentle strike, you may be correct. But Mike Kinney and Dec Hogan both say they can feel the fly swim (Not me, tho').

Finally, as mentioned earlier, bringing a fish to hand is non-trivial, at best, when using a long spey rod.

Good luck, have fun.


Add me to the list of the people that switched to spey rods and have hardly looked back; I even fish my light (six weight) spey rod for trout on the Yak or from a float tube on occasion.

A few things that haven't been drawn out fully are that:

1) Many spey rod fisherman cast past the fish, myself included all too often. This usually is not a problem on the Sky or Sauk, but on a small stream, or a branch of a larger stream, the fish are often so close to you, and a long cast is pretty unproductive.

2) Mending and line control is, in my opinion, the single biggest reason to fish a spey rod. You can mend 80, 90, or more feet or line at once. You can effectively fish a seam 50-60 feet off the bank on the other side of some deep frog water (Buck Island, anyone?). You can fish multiple seams on the same swing with good mending during a drift. On some of the longer casts and swings, you can get a seemingly endless slow swing (my friends have labeled it "continental drift"). And perhaps most importantly, you can mend a bad cast into a good swing; this is always something I have trouble with on a 1H rod, because I am not a very good 1H caster.

3) Ease / effort is the second biggest reason to fish a spey rod. You can cast 80-90 feet with the heaviest tips all day long with very little effort; in fact, most spey debates I see center around "this is the easiest line to cast," in other words minimizing the workload on the caster.

4) Spey casting is FUN. Do you remember how much fun you had the first time you picked up a fly rod? It's like learning to fish all over again, except that you know something about fishing already. Good 1H casters quickly become good 2H casters, since you know how to load a rod. I've taught lots of people to spey cast and usually with a little help people are fishing right away, and casting reasonably well within a day. But, get some help; flailing around on the water by yourself with the rod won't get you very far.

5) Spey casting opens up water that you don't normally get to fish. Forget the distance thing for a second: steep banks, overhanging trees, edges with no backcast room, etc., are places that few people hit. If you can cast 40-50 feet (often less than the belly of the line) from such spots you can be deadly. Yes, it's hard to land fish there but I believe it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

I hate discussions like this because now I'm definitely going to have to get a 2H when I go up on the Bulkley and Morice this fall.
It's just that I have a spent a huge fortune on fishing tackle. In fact, I have often thought that I should have opened a sporting goods store when I was younger because I would have made a rather handsome living with just myself as a customer let alone the possibility of hooking a few others here and there.
But now it's too late for the store idea so it looks pretty much like I'll have to pony up some more dough.
I could sell one of my four boats, but how then will I fish? Maybe my unused bellyboat (a Caddis) should go up on the block for say $50, about half of what I paid. Got to think about that one.
Then maybe I could sell lemonade or apples down on the corner for the rest of the money. Also, if you would like to donate some bucks to the "BOB LAWLESS CHARITY DRIVE TO GET HIM A NEW SPEY ROD," please feel free to do so. Any extra money will be donated to him for beer and sandwiches.
I'm a pretty good roll caster and I could use some more distance here on our rivers on the O.P. Damn, life has its torturous problems: to spey or not to spey? eh?
Bob, the Sick with Indecision.
:bawling :bawling :bawling

Old Man

Just an Old Man
He might provide the beer but you can't drink it. He buys any off the wall kind. I think that he looks for whats on a close out sale and then gets it. On the other hand BOB you're going to have to sell a lot of lemonade to get a spey rod. But if you wait a little longer I think that the price will get down to your price range. Lamiglas is coming out with one that is a little cheaper in price. Oh hell I don't thing you will be around by the time the price comes down being that your on your last legs.

In the parking lot where our last meeting was held, a pretty woman asked me if Jim (two years older than I am) was my father? I thought maybe she was hitting on me, but now I think it might have been the Old Man she was after. Women are getting very strange these days. HHHmmmm. I guess my time is still to come.
:rofl :rofl :rofl
Spey flyfishing has caught on very strong in the past few years. What I am curious about is how many folks on this forum have fished a real two-handed setup for steelhead longer than 10 years?

Even folks like Syd didn't fish a two handed rod all of the time. Now purists are jumping out of the woodwork claiming to fish for little trout and summer runs with a spey rod. Were talking 6" to 8 pounds of range here! I know there are times when a two handed rod is better for fishing deep holes where the big boys are but when a hatch is on, the technique is useless.

To be honest about this whole entire spey thing, I think the flies are more practical than the fishing techniques. You certainly won't catch more fish regardless of how much MORE water you can cover if you don't know where to find em or what they will respond to. A well tied spey, dee, bucktail or grub can make or break your day though.

What is even more bewildering is that there are now classes dedicated to this form. Simon and Jim Vincent makes a killing off of these classes!!!

Economically, Spey rods are a bad omen. It causes people to spend more money on gear and less on gas and beer. Gotta have the Sage 14' 9 weight for $495 and the RIO Simon signature addition line with 6 tips for $120. Gotta have the Bauer MX4 with a spare spool for $545 + $245. Don't foget the Alec Jackson signature steelhead irons and the $400 blue eared pheasant skin and the $5 per matched pair of bronze mallard. Don't leave home without the $4 3' steelhead tapered leader!

I see marketing pays off.
If troutman isn't suggesting a fad, I certainly would. Sooner or later things will calm down.

The idea that a spey rod will help me catch more fish seems like a silly notion to me. If I was concerned with my catch rates (which I probably should be) I'd sooner use a spinning rod than a spey. Just sounds like more fun to me. I have cast them, and found that I can cast a pretty good line out. They are fun to cast, but the positives don't cancel out the ridiculousness I feel wielding a 15' long rod for a comparatively small fish. And to think some people use these for trout???? Any time I could use a fly rod as a wading staff, I’d rather use gear. Just my personal opinion.

A little off topic, but I think spey fly's are a bit of a fad as well. It drives me nuts to see just about any steelhead fly with hackles be called a spey. Reminds me of my favorite B. Lawless piece about the spey this and spey that.


I will have to agree with Derek on the fad thing. I am a hard core double handed fisher but I do think they are a fad for a lot of people. As for using them for trout, depending on the situation, they might really shine but they will never replace the single handed rod.

Circlespey hit a number of points in his excellent post above. For what they are intended for, they are hard to beat but they will not make you a better fisher or in most cases, allow you to catch more fish.

There are those cases though where a spey rod really outshines a single handed rod. For winter fishing this mainly means those tight backed runs where lack of backcast room prohibits effective use of a single handed rod. Yes if you are good you can do a modified roll cast but this becomes a royal pain in the backside when you are trying to get 60' of line, heavy sinktip, leader and large bushy fly out and mended. And then there is just the fact that 8 hours with throwing a tip with a single hander is hard on your body. 8 hours throwing a properly set up spey rod system, is a pleasure.

For summer run fish on large rivers, they can make or break a day. I am not talking Skykomish sized rivers but rather monster rivers like the Snake and Thompson (although the Bulkley might fit in their on certain hard hit stretches). These rivers of course have fish that can be picked up within 60' of shore, especially at dawn, but they also have fish that hold in rock gardens and on the edge of current seams that are 100-120' out. For this reason, I never mind following a single hander through runs on the Snake as I know I can fish over fish that have yet to see a fly. Of course, if you can't cast well at distance, all a spey rod will do is end up thrashing the water to bits so you would be better off without trying.

Please don't get me wrong about needing to cast far. Probably 80% of fish are picked up within 60' of shore but on those occasions like I mentioned above, it is very nice to be able to fish for the other 20%.

Bob Lawless -- When are you headed up to the Bulkley/Morice? I will be up there for 9 days the end of September. Water conditions allowing, and that is always a big if, we will be spending most of our time on the Skeena proper and Kispiox but are planning on at least a couple days above and below the Telkwa on the B. FYI - I just heard today that the test fishery in the lower Skeena was less than stellar and they are predicting sub-normal returns :( I sure hope they are wrong.
We'll have to get together up there an compare notes. Maybe one or the other of us will have them dialed in. I have also heard bad rumors about the poor run. But what else is new these days? You just have to bite back the tears and enjoy casting.
Speaking of which, I can think of another reason for my getting a spey rod. My partner and I (a guy from Minnesota I met on this forum, if you can believe it) are going to drift the Bulkley in my 12' boat. The water is a piece of cake, but both of us will be flaying away at the same time.
Unfortunately, he is right handed as I am. Now there will be times, no matter what we do, that a fly is going to zing through the middle of my boat. I don't like to think of this, but I know it's coming
With a spey, I could give him the transom and roll cast with the spey up in the bow.. Might this work? Maybe I didn't explain the problem well, but I can see it in my mind.
Bob, the Long Roller:smokin
Keep it simple gentlemen. Spey casting means less time in the air and more time in the water. Very damn few fish floating ten feet above the water.


"Everyday that you wake up and decide not to go one less day you'll go fishing." Forrest Maxwell
back on the board and here is my favorite subject yes I switched 15 years now but refused to drop the american cash for a over priced american fad rod my winter rod came to me from england paid for in english pounds and mailed through customs total cost 215.00 including large arbor ledda reel has handled everything from alaska skagit sky snake clearwater et al horrible over kill on the nf so as I mentioned a few months ago for summer fish, windy days and pinks and silvers I got a hold of one of cabelas 11' 6 # float tube rods for the life of me I can't figure out who would want a 11 foot rod in a float tube you think it is hard landing a fish from the bank with the long rod just imagine it in float tube any how added 10" and re configuired the reel seat and cork handle bliss on the nf matched up with a hardy salmon #2 and rio mid spey in size 6\7 total cost 165 including the line look for second hand stuff and be creative if you want to save your cash for gas to get tto the river one trick I've learned on landing fish on the long rod is toget him above you turn his head downstream point the rod downstream and most times he'll glide right past you following the now slack line sometimes they come unbuttoned but were releasing them anyway right the view of them going away if they come off is often cooler than the kaos of tail pcture oh and ahh? some one out there agrees I'm sure it's the take the fight and the river where out there for not the kodachrome this year with the low and warm water especially. my point is this expensive cars are just cars rods are the same spend your money on good hooks and good waders even the most expensive rod won't help if your hooks are dull and your feet are cold
thanks for the thread

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
I agree, a fad to some.........

But that's like ANYTHING new (or new to an area). Speys have been around for a VERY long time. I've only been using them a few years now. But I remember myself (and this is from a more gear then fly guy) when you didn't see ANY fly guys. Especially on the OP rivers I fished. I rememeber around the time "the movie" came out an ONSLAUGHT of guys bought fly rods. You know how many I found cheap? Say it this way, I paid for one semester of college buying a super nice rod/reels cheap and reselling it for what it was worth. Speys will be the same. You'll get ALOT of guys buying them up. But, you'll see ALOT being sold soon afterwards too. I've found them quite useful. Just need to get my cast down (may actually break down for lessons ARGHHH). But once I have the line out, it's awesome. Like what Matt said above, more line on water longer (not in the air). Say it this way, I started picking up speys very cheap from guys selling out their "hated" rods. Was great for me. Was even better when i HAD to sell mine. Got twice the money for them. But, will keep my eyes peeled once I'm back on my feet again.