Bargain Spey rods? TFO or . . . ?

Richard E

Active Member
I've noticed a number of spey lower-priced spey rods out in the market. Cortland CL, Heritage, Elkhorn, and Temple Fork ("TFO") come to mind.

I've had great luck with one-hander TFO rods, and so would be partial to that brand. I notice TFO offers, I believe, a 12'6" 6/7 weight, a 13'0" 8 weight, and a 14'0" 9 weight.

I have never spey fished, and I believe (preliminarily) my interest would be towards more summer and fall fishing, and right now not towards the more traditional winter spey fishing on the Skagit, etc.

Any recommendations on a spey stick on which a beginner guy can cut his teeth, and grow in to? Without breaking the bank, just in case spey fly fishing doesn't turn out to be his cup of tea?




Will Fish For Food
I haven't fished the TFO spey rods ... and am not likely to even resemble being a good spey caster for several more moons, or at least until the next shad run is over.

However, I do have a few TFO rods which I really like. But they're pretty stiff, and in my opinion (which I really tried to qualify in the above paragraph) if that stiffness carries over into their spey line, you don't want one.

If you wanted to try one on the cheap, I'd do one of the following:

1.) Get one of the Cabela rod packages or the short Reddington on sale
2.) Buy a used one
3.) Buy nothing, but instead butter up my local shop guys and borrow their rods, lines, and reels while figuring out what I liked.

Myself ... I put myself at the mercy of one of the local shop guys and ended up with a 14' CND Custom ... which I really like but it's way sloooow compared to most of the other rods on the market ... but once you slow down enough to cast it well, you can cast a country mile with very little upper body effort.


One of the best ways to get some experience witih spey rods, lines and reels is to attend one of Arron's spey days in Carnation. There are plenty of rods, reels and lines to try, plus some one on one assistance in learning this great craft.

Having said that I have purchased three spey rods in the last year. One is a Redington 8/9 which I like a lot for throwing tips or heavy flies. To me the action seems a little slow, but a very enoyable rod to cast. The cost for the rod was about $250, but someone said Cabela's has them on sale right now for under $200.

I also have a TFO 6/7 that I truely love to cast. Light in the hands and much faster action than the Redington. 70 to 90 foot casts are easy with this one. I bought it primarily for sea run cutthroat on the Cowlitz. Price of the rod was $250.

I just got my wife an Elkhorn 6/7 at the Bellevue show. Lined it with an Airflo Delta spey and it's a sweet casting rod. I bought it so my wife would keep her hands off my TFO. Casting on the lawn out back, she can hit 70 feet with no problem. It's the equal or better than the TFO. Price at the show for rod and reel (Elkhorn T-4) was $200. Not sure what the MSRP on this rod is.

One of the keys to spey casting effectively is matching rod and line. A rod can be a dog with one line and a rocket with another. Get some reputable help in matching the two.

Hope this helps a ;ittle.