spey for steelhead

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by Ryan Nathe, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. Red Shed

    Red Shed "junkyard spey"

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    I find it ironic that Davy's rod was plenty good enough for 25 years only to lose a fish I'm assuming he would have released anyway.

    As to William, we are not all built the size of a bear and we don't all have the strength to swing a rod the size of a fir tree all day. I'm glad your liking your new toy?:cool:
     
  2. FT

    FT Active Member

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    Redshed,

    As you know, I am like William and use a rod the size of a fir tree on the Skagit.

    Seriously, I use 10 or 11 wt 16'-18' rods on the Skagit from the end of November until the end of April. If you ever hook one of the 20# steelhead found in the Skagit or Sauk, you will understand why I use heavy rods.
     
  3. Red Shed

    Red Shed "junkyard spey"

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    Howdy FT,

    Your just giving that "hog" more leverage to kick your butt.:D
     
  4. gt

    gt Active Member

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    the longer the rod, the more leverage applied to your lower back, hit the gym, drop the weight. of course as you get older this simply gets worse. that is one of the real reasons i have gone to shorter rods.

    keep in mind, long distance casting is a requirment for fishing atlantic salmon, they actually hold in mid river positions. steelhead, as we all know, are edge and obstruction holders. you really don't need to make extreme casts to be successfull with steelhead. just sayin'..............
     
  5. bigtj

    bigtj Member

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    I think catching steelhead on the spey isn't so much about the fight as it is about the grab, and being able to put the fly where you want it. For me, fighting the fish with a spey has always been a matter of "get it in quick as I can, if I lose it, no big deal". I think it's all about the grab and seeing the fish jump a time or two, that's it. The length of the spey puts you at a disadvantage fighting the fish, there is a lot of leverage going on, that's one area where a single hander has a 2-hander beat, fighting the fish.

    If you really want to feel the rod throb, go old school and fish a 7.5' 6-wt bamboo single-hander. OK I know you're not going to do that, but seriously take a look at even a 6-wt spey it's a massive stick compared to a 7-wt single hander, plenty of rod to handle 95% of the fish on the deschutes. So it boils down to being able to get the flies of the desired size into the drifts you want. For an all-around summer steelhead rod and a serviceable winter rod, a stiff 7 would be hard to beat. Rods like the 6126 would be great, too, but really light for crossing over to winter because it won't be as able to lob bigger flies. Try some different rods out if you can but personally I would feel a little under-gunned in some drifts with a 6-wt as my main summer run rod. It just won't throw the bugs I want to throw as effortlessly in many of the situations I fish summer runs.

    I've owned a few heavier rods up to a 16' 10-wt. The 10's are really nice for throwing huge flies but based upon my experience with chrome, big kings to 40+ pounds I really think a 9-wt rod is enough to land a 20 or 25 lb. steelhead. I've seen a lot of kings in the 30-40 lb range landed with a Sage 9140-4 with only on major rod meltdown, which was due to loose ferrules anyway. I'm not saying that it wouldn't be nice to have a 10-wt for a lot of situations, I'm just saying that since 20 or 25 lb steelhead come around very rarely for most people even in places like BC that fishing a 14' 9-wt is a nicely matched rod for most winter situations for me, throwing the flies I like and fighting steelhead in the 6-12 lb range on average.

    -John
     
  6. ssickle1

    ssickle1 Slow and Low

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    If you really want to feel the rod throb, go old school and fish a 7.5' 6-wt bamboo single-hander. OK I know you're not going to do that, but seriously take a look at even a 6-wt spey it's a massive stick compared to a 7-wt single hander, plenty of rod to handle 95% of the fish on the deschutes.
    -John[/QUOTE]


    That's the most rediculouse thing I've ever heard. It's obviouse you haven't caught a lot of steelhead on the deschutes or anywhere else. Guys like you kill fish.

    A 6 weight for steelhead? Been there and done that. Totally irresponsible. I was personally spooled 11 times in one day at South Junction on a 9'6" 8 wt. Trout on the deschutes will spool you on 5 and 6 weights. Not my .02 but a fact.

    Please stay off the river.
     
  7. Ringlee

    Ringlee Doesn't care how you fish Moderator

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    When I fish the skagit, The lightest I go is a 8 weight. I have some 10 and 11 weights that I like to fish up there. I pull the big boys out when the dollies start to trickle off. You could get away with a lighter rod when the hatchery fish and dollies are there, but you will get rocked on a nice wild fish! Plan on doing alot of running with a light rod.
    If you can, you should look at getting more than one rod. A light trout 2 hander and then a heavier rod.
     
  8. Ryan Nathe

    Ryan Nathe Member

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    Thanks for all the insight everyone. Although ssickle1 I am totally disappointed in your response to bigtj if you need to vent some steam on someone after work go to the gym or join a boxing club, but to just verbally attack and abuse a fellow member of the board the way you did is immature. At the end of your rant you said not my .02 cents but fact. That is ludicrous. Trey Combs, the guy who wrote the "bible", about steelheading describes using a 4-5 weight on the Deschutes and suggests an 8 weight as a logical choice for the Kispiox River, which is home to the largest fly-caugth steelhead. Personally ssickle1 I put more stock in Trey Combs's opinion and bigtj's opinion than your fact. You are the type of jacka** I dread encountering on the river. Hopefully one day you will see the error of your ways and apologize to bigtj, but for now I will. Thank you bigtj and the rest of the "civil repliers" for your opinions on the matter, your insight has been greatly appreciated. Nathe
     
  9. ssickle1

    ssickle1 Slow and Low

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    OK. I appologize to bigtj. And you are correct, done in poor taste.

    Nathe, I will tell you I didn't write the bible or read it. I will also tell you that you can land fish on whatever you choose. As one who loves steelheading and the fish, rivers ect, it continues to amaze me that people would target fish that are at risk and or endangered with rods that will clearly increase mortality rates. Back to the bible, I am from Oregeon and spend June through November on the Deschutes anything less than a 7 wt for steelheading is a poor choice, you will find the same to be be true of trout fishing with less than a 5 preferably a 6 wt. And as for running into me on the river I am the guy minding his own business even when low holed, or when some idiot runs his boat over my water.

    Again sorry Bigtj for the tasteless comment. As for Nathe, if you think I'm an idiot call Kauffmans in Tigard, or the guys in Maupin and ask what they recommend for steelheading?
     
  10. ibn

    ibn Moderator

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    Heh, do you use backing?
     
  11. ssickle1

    ssickle1 Slow and Low

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    It's a figure of speech:beer2:
     
  12. Ryan Nathe

    Ryan Nathe Member

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    SSickle1 thanks for the apology to the other member of the board. And I am sorry to you for saying you were a jacka**. I do use an 8 weight on the Deschutes for steelhead and I use a 6 weight for trout. I understand where you are coming from with the endangered runs, but there is a line where the rod is just too heavy and no longer enjoyable and I do not presume to know where that line is for everyone. For me I would not want to go any heavier than an 8 weight on the Deschutes. Where the vast majority of my fish lie in the 3-5 pound range. I have caught a few nicer ones but they are much rarer for me. Thank you for your input, I once prematurely released a trout and saw it sink to the bottom in seven feet of water. I spent the next five minutes feeling sick to my stomach while I rigged my net to the end of my rod so I could scoop it up. I scooped it up and was able to revive it enough to swim away strong (not saying it survived, but gave it a better chance than lying on the bottom). I would feel terrible about killing a wild steelhead by playing it too long. So again I thank you for your input for suggesting a heavier rod. Hope to see you on the Deschutes some time, I haunt the lower stretches near the mouth. Tight lines and healthy fish.
     
  13. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Well-Known Member

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    Nathe,

    I think the easiest way to gage what Spey rod may appeal to your use is to compare to the single handed rod(s) you use. I have caught more steelhead on an old 8 1/2' foot 8 wt fiberglass rod than all my other rods combined (and they are many). These included many mid to high teeners and two over 20 from the Sauk and Skagit. Although it's some work with large fish, I can't say I was ever under-gunned. I use 8# Maxima leader tippet and I bend the rod for all it's worth. Rare was the steelhead that ever took over one minute per pound of body weight to land, and I land the vast majority of steelhead I hook in less than 5 minutes - all this and no disc drag either. I've only been spooled once by a steelhead, and that was the Thompson River, no ordinary steelhead, no ordinary river, and no ordinary spot on that river.

    Most of the hype written and told about the gear necessary to do battle with the mighty steelhead is just that - hype. You'd think we were in danger of getting beat up by a silly fish if we don't wear enough body armor when on the river. Over 35 years of steelheading has taught me that steelhead are the most over-rated game fish I've ever encountered. But I still love fishing for them anyway.

    My first Spey rod was a 16' 10 wt Fenwick prototype from Jimmy Green. A true thunderstick. I derricked a poor 6# hatchery steelhead from the Skagit like it was less than a tiddler. The next Spey was the ever popular Sage 9140. It was more enjoyable to cast, but not much, and it is a lot of stick for any steelhead 12# or less, and as luck would have it, most of the ones I catch are under 12#, probably because most steelhead on the west coast are under 12#. It really feels best playing steelhead in the 15# and up range. And those fish are unfortunately too few and far between. For the last several years I've been casting 12 to 13' rods rated as 7 or 8 weight, and feel that these represent rods that are more than up to the task of safely and efficiently playing any steelhead that swims, and are comfortable to cast all day long.

    A suitable rod for Sauk and Skagit steelheading is just about any rod that you can comfortably cast a steelhead fly pattern 60 or 70 feet. There are a few places where it is advantagous to cast further, but not many. I wouldn't use my CND Spey Tracker (5/6/7 line wt) for large steelhead, but I think the limiting factor in winter steelhead rod selection is the line size that will comfortably deliver the flies you intend to use.

    Sincerely,

    Salmo g.
     
  14. Ryan Nathe

    Ryan Nathe Member

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    Thanks Salmo, Yeah I use a 9'6" 8 weight single hanger (ocviously) and really enjoy it, I have not caught that many steelhead but earlier this year for example I caught a nice 9lb native on the deschutes and it never went into my backing. I honestly think that the vast majority of eastside steelhead at least could be safely targeted with a 7 weight. Thanks for your insight and hopefully you can tie into some monster steelhead so that they arent quite so overrated in your book.
     
  15. inland

    inland Active Member

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    Nathe,

    It really depends on where you are fishing and when. What size flies you want to cast and with what lines. And how far you plan on casting. And under what conditions. You can compromise on some fronts but give up something to do so. Some don't mind the compromise and others can't stand them. Vague I know but not really worth debating here.

    Most if not all steelhead can be handled with an 8wt. The rest comes down to personal choices. Mine are far different from Salmo starting first and foremost with rod action. I have said this many times before on a different board that the closest I have come to duplicating that 'feel' of a steelhead on a single hander is using a very stiff fast action two hander. These rods aren't for everybody. But it seems that those who truly enjoy fast rods aren't the vocal majority searching or complaining about how 'overgunned' two hand rods are for the quarry. As stupid as this sounds I have a heck of a lot more fun playing a 10# steelhead on a 15' 9/10 stiff and fast rod than a 9' 8wt requardless of it's action. Again this is but one person's opinion after a 'quest' of untold $$$'s wasted in gear that collects dust when the answer I sought was right under my nose. Too proud to accept a different route. Smaller, shorter, lighter, softer would make it fun.

    Used to cock off about how there isn't a steelhead that swims that a Sage 6126-3 or Scott 1196 couldn't handle. After each particularly 'average' fish I would say "That's it??? Rod was too much". I pushed to the point of making a two hander out of a 10' 5wt IM6 trout rod (as many others have done as well). Extended the rod to 12' and had a heck of fun stick until it broke. But even then the fish were overgunned with the toy. During this 'phase' I truly had a hard time understanding why anybody would use a two hand rod any heavier than a 7wt. 'Those' guys were nuts.

    After debating with a few people...those crazy guys in the fast rod camp (T&T type fast and stiff)...along with hitting the wall and pretty much giving up on my 'quest' I decided to swallow my pride and revisit the rods I disdained (really hated to be blunt). I realized that the reason I hated them was due to not being up to speed to cast one correctly. So put my nose to the grindstone and spent many an hour to demystify the beast. Plus I put to bed the BIGGEST worry I had about the rods: These things must be horrible to play a fish from being strong enough handle a Marlin. Quickly realized that misconception was wrong. Way wrong. If you treat a fast action, stiff, rod like a soft noodle rod you will be nothing but dissappointed. If you learn to alter your casting technique to take advantage of the design there is much to be enjoyed.

    Again, to each their own. It's up to each of us to make up our own minds what determines fun. This is just my personal solution to a common complaint. I may be the only one in the world that feels this way so take it for what it is.

    William