To Spey or Not to Spey

I've been a member for a couple of years and have responded to posts here and there, but I believe this is my first original post. So here's the issue:

A couple years back I moved to Washington and thought I would get into steelheading. Seeing a lot written about the spey rod, I thought this would be a great idea. I ended up with a new 8wt spey rod, reel, and line. Now, two years later, I've taken the rod out exactly two times for casting. When faced with the prospect of thrashing around w/ this ungainly stick, I usually head to the Snoqualmie Forks or the Yak for trout. I'm still interested in steelheading and am now dabbling with fishing in the salt for SRCs and anything else that comes along. I'm a capable caster with a single handed rod and other than the spey, only have a 5wt and a 3wt. Also, my time for learning new things is limited with a new 9 month baby in the house.

The question: Should I keep the spey and take the time to learn how to spey cast or should I sell it, purchase a new single-hander and go straight to fishing (with less learning). Things to keep in mind: (1) I can only have one rod (for budget reasons) and (2) depending on your answer, there could be a new Loop blue line spey rod for sale. Thanks in advance for your thoughts. :thumb:


Big K1

Large Member
You should go to River Runs get together in Carnation every Saturday morning.
It will reduce the learning curve drastically. I wish I would have had that resource when I started.

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
Keep the spey. There is always a use for it. Take K1's advice and go see Aaron. He'll help you out ALOT. Just make sure you keep an array of tackle, unless you plan to be a bank maggot all the time. Speys have their place, but think too many limit themselves using them exclusively. Especially if you have buddies who have a driftboat. WAY overkill fishing one, even in a bigger 20' model. Where the 8'6"-9'6" rods really shine. But a great tool for those fishing the banks, and working long and/or wide slots. Loved fishing mine. Just it came out for certain rivers only.


Well-Known Member

If your time for learning is limited, your time for fishing is likely even more so. But since you already have the rod, reel, and line, you might be best served by using it. As K1 said, the Saturday sessions at Carnation (9 AM, mouth of the Tolt R. on the Snoqualmie) are your best bet and probably not too far away. Having said that, the shortest distance between where you are and landing the first steelhead is learning how to fish for steelhead, which you would probably get to sooner with a single handed rod since you already know how to cast it. Since you've only been out 2 times, in 2 years, spending a few Saturdays at Aaron's casting clinics won't extend your learning curve by much.

Good luck, and enjoy.


Salmo g.

Bert Kinghorn

Formerly "nextcast"
I second what Kevin said.

I would also add that these clinics are very informal, one-on-one coaching. You will have some of the best spey casters and instructors in the Northwest teaching you and it is absolutely FREE! The clinics start every Saturday about 0900 and generally wrap up about 1130, BUT you can come when you want, leave when you want, and stay late by yourself. A surprising number hang around after to practice what we learned.

Try the clinic at least once and then make the decision after you fall in love with these neat, if ungainly, tools or when you can make an educated judgement that you have truly had enough.

Big K1

Large Member

I am one of the guys who limits himself to the two-hander only.
A boat is just a mode of transportation from one run to the next for me.
I fish the swing.

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
Ah, that's a shame. In a boat, you cover so much water, and you can swing your fly on the move. Funny that so many guys who use driftboats only move to the next spot. I've caught a lot of fish while on the move. Especially since alot of slots aren't "wadeable". So you'd be passing up slots just to get to a bar you can fish. Just most spey rods are too long to work in a boat. Especially since you're usually on top of the fish. Overkill. But you can work your fly in the water all the way to the next slot. Even in my one man boats, I'll try and keep some sort or line in the water until the next slot. Even if it means putting a float/jig on a gear rod and letting her drift.


Active Member
Wow, I second or third what everyone above say about Aarons Saturday sessions.

I am very new to to spey as well. But one morning there will turn the learning curve into a hairpin.Let alone attending several times.

Have not been able to get back but I plan to this Saturday,maybe see you there.


Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
Ah, gotcha. I'd go nuts doing that. LOL. Guess it was just the way I was taught steelheading. If you're in the front of our driftboat, you're fishing as we're moving (unless we're pulling plugs/baitdivers). We don't waste water on the move. Been ingrained in my head. Different strokes for different folks.

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
LOL Kerry. Man, I need to think about that myself actually. Supposed to get my work release tomorrow. That means serious cash flow back into the house. Which means TACKLE shopping. :thumb: Need to rebuy back my spey rods. Hell, need to rebuy back a TON of rods I sold off.

Steve Buckner

Mother Nature's Son
From my perspective, learning a variety of casts is paramount to becoming a successful fly fisherman. One can get by in many cases with short overhead casts, this is probably more true with trout fishing.

However, there are many cases where learning to throw long lines and/or learning to throw long casts when there is limited back casting room available will make or break a day of fishing. Spey casting solves so many problems and many trout fisherman would do themselves a favor in learning how these casts can improve your ability to catch fish. They can be performed with either a single or a double-handed rod.

A great number of fly fisherman want to learn how to tie flies, others want to learn the latin names of every insect available, but often times, learning how to successfully, skillfully, and logically throw the best cast for the situation isn't something they want to think about or practice. In my experience, fly fishing is about fly casting. And casting a fly rod, be it a single or a double-handed rod, is one of the most enjoyable aspects of fly fishing. If you're serious about this sport, I'd suggest learning as much about fly casting as any of the other facets of this wonderful sport.


Active Member
Jerry Daschofsky said:
If you're in the front of our driftboat, you're fishing .

Ah Jerry, sometimes atleast I would be sippin my "spicy & sweetened" coffee yuh know, that and untangling the line from my neck. Lately it's becoming more "coffee" atleast.