Intro spey set-up

Scott Behn

Active Member
Just food for thought, but you can build a 14' 9wt on the new forcast blanks with components for around $200.00 if not a little less.

I'm going to start building me one here at the end of the month when I'm done with my 9' grass stick (just put the 1st coat of spar varnish today).


Steve Buckner

Mother Nature's Son
One thing you may consider is down sizing a rod weight or two if your primary purpose for the rod is steelhead fishing. A nine weight is certainly a nice rod, but is overkill IMHO for 90% of the steelhead that you'll catch. I believe that a 7 or 8 weight rod is a better match for steelhead for the vast majority of the fishing that you'll be doing here in the Pacific Northwest. That said, if you'll be fishing for some species of salmon with a two-hander, a 9 weight may be a good "all-round" rod. It will be a little heavy for most of the steelhead that you'll catch, and a little light for some of the larger salmon.

As for lines, short head lines (such as the windcutter) are possibly easier to learn with. The down side is that because the head is so short, in order to obtain good distance, you'll be shooting the majority of the line and then having to strip it all back in prior to your next cast. If you're fishing medium to large rivers, medium length head lines (like the Rio mid-spey) may be a better option. I would not suggest long belly lines until you develop your casting.

Unless you only fish for summer steelhead, no matter which head length you choose, consider getting a multi-tip line so that you can match the fishing conditions as much as possible.

For rod length, a 13' 6" to 14' rod is a good length for most rivers. You'll gain about 10 feet of distance for each additional foot of rod length. A 15 foot rod would be a better choice if the majority of the rivers you'll be fishing are medium to large in width.

As for rod action, the slower rods are easier to learn to cast with. The sage 9150, 9140, 8136 (or equivalents) are good choices. The slightly faster "european" rods by sage are excellent, ie, 7141 or the 9141. I would suggest staying away from the ultra-fast rods.

Scott Behn

Active Member
Steve I too am going to be trying the 2-hander this winter, but I have been told by many that it is easier to learn with a floating line. My question is that in winter since fish tend to hug the bottom, (I have always used my Versi-tips on my single handers) can you get away with using just the floating line to learn with? Or am I going to have to invest in multi-tip for the spey too?


Steve Buckner

Mother Nature's Son
You should learn to cast with a floating line. That said, with a multi-tip line, one of the heads is a floating section as you probably already know.

For the majority of the fishing during the colder months, you'll need a sink tip to get your fly down or you'll need to use heavily weighted flies. If all you have is a floating line, it is possible to cut it and build your own multi-tip system, although it is probably just as cost effective to pick up a multi-tip line on ebay or from a local shop.


Active Member

Just following suit on this one. Please don't purchase a rod until you get your hands on the demos at Mike's Clave. With some helpful instruction to add. You might really like a Skagit shooting head system. Or a Windcutter type shooting line. Or even a mid head.

You are asking quite a bit to find a Ronde/CW rod. Polar opposite on river size. And steelhead size at times. What you gain for one will be lost for the other. If you are planning on mainly FISHING the CW I would certainly look at the 14' 9wts from TFO, CND, and Snowbee. If this is going to be a CW rod then I urge you to also look into a 15'er. At least cast them side by each to get a feel for what works for you.

If you are thinking of going CATCHING on the Snake or Ronde you might want to look into the 13' 7/8's. Better balanced to either of those river's steelhead and plenty of rod for the CW. Not ideal but plenty.

Unless you are covered in magic dust you will quickly come to understand my FISHING and CATCHING comment. It's an easy formula: 1 A run steelhead from the CW or 4 from the Ronde....1 B run CW steelhead or 15 A runs from the Ronde...Mind you this is really TIC. But only to a point and it should play into your decision on rod choice.

Steve also brings up great points. For my background I have been exclusively using a two handed rod since '93. Started out with a 16' 10/11 meat stick on poor advice. QUICKLY reduced down to a 13.5' 7wt. Was happy for a few years but started accumulating a graphite forest. I have spent considerable time with rods of varying actions and lengths. To back up what Steve is saying, I too agree a 7/8 rod 12' or 13' in length is a GREAT all around rod. IMO way moreso than the usual 14' 9wt baseline. A 14' 9wt is really on the big end of things. I promise you a 14' 9wt is NOT overkill on the CW when the big fish are around. A 15' 10 wt isn't either. You will probably like the slower action rods better at first. Probably. Absolutely don't fail to try the faster rods. Mike will have a rack of T&T's at your disposal that day. They will give you the upper end of fast to compare to a slowish/mediumish CND Expert. Sage Trads are on the really slow end of things. You will need to find what works for you. If you happen to like a faster rod the Snowbee's are a great choice without paying T&T's premium (mind you their premium is one of three rod makers that I feel are justified in their top end MSRP). Don't forget to at least give the Burkheimers a good testing. Lastly Bob Meiser will be there with rods of all action types, lengths, and line wts. Don't say you aren't warned. If you happen to appreciate a moderate and slightly faster action rod the Burkie or Meiser's will ruin you into having to have one. If you fall for a FAST rod the T&T will be in your future. I only bring this up as you will be sorry if you don't at least compare them all.

Good luck with the dark side. You WILL purchase more than one. Just reconcile that right now.



Active Member
Thanks everyone again. It looks like I'll be implamenting all of your advice at the clave and come home with the beginnings of my future bankraupcy.
I agree with the "don't buy anything until after the CW clave" comments above. You'll have an opportunity to wiggle many and talk with others regarding lines and styles etc. It should be a really good time.

If you are going to just start with one rod I really think you should look at a the lighter end. Rods in the 12' 6" - 13' 6" and the 6/7 wt class would be where I would start. You'll be able to cover lots of water and handle tips of all lengths and densities and have a rod that will not be overkill for the 'a' runs or the Ronde. TFO makes a really sweet 12' 6" 6wt that is one of the gems of their series that would be a great (and affordable!) rod that would fit the bill nicely. Check it out when you're on the water in a couple of weeks.

Also, can't recommend the Red Shed Fly Shop highly enough. Customer service is hands down the finest in the business. Mike has earned my business and continues to do so...

Take care,


P.S. Fair warning...this gets addicting! :thumb:


Active Member

Like William, I've been using a 2-hander exclusively for steelhead since 1993 and I'm in complete agreement with him on rods. Anyone desiring to get into 2-hand rods and spey casting really needs to test drive (cast) rods of the same length that have different actions; otherwise, it will be very unlikely you will be happy with the rod after a short time. Steve also has lots of very good solid advice in his response on line wt and belly lengh. A newcomer should never even consider using a long-belly line (75'-100' belly length) because it takes very good technique to aerialize and cast them, which a beginner by definition will not have. Beginning spey casters should look at short-belly (RIO Windcutter, SA Short Spey, Delta Spey) lines with belly lengths of around 55', or mid-belly lines (RIO MidSpey, SA Mastery Spey, Delta Long Spey) with belly lengths of around 65'.

I own rods from 13' to 18' (William got to cast this beast in April when we fished together) and fish all of them on different water types and river sizes. All of my rods are of the faster, stiffer action (T&T, Loomis, and a new Meiser Highlander Series) because that is what I like. The first 2-hander I bought was a Sage 9140-4 and I didn't like it at all because it is among the slowest, softest actioned 2-handers on the market. I sort of made it work for me for 3 years until I had the chance to cast faster rods. After casting the faster, stiffer rods, I went out and bought a T&T 1611 for winter and a Loomis 13' GLX for summer, I still own both and have added 3 more fast, stiff rods to my arsenal (a 15' 10wt, a 16' 9wt, and an 18' 11 wt).

Keep in mind that I like long rods (I'm also 6'3"); but that doesn't mean you should look at one. My point in telling you what I own and use is for you to see that different folks like different things. That is why it is so important to try several rods of the same length and line rating that have different actions.


If you are planning on using the winter rod on the Sky, Sauk, Skagit, you might be better off with a 15' 10wt because it will let you more easily cover those sometimes distant lies.
Great Words of Wisdom

Just a few notes.
If at all possible learn to cast (switch Cast Mainly) before you buy a rod.
This will give you a chance to try several action, rod lengths and lines before you plunk down your hard earned money.
This is the Reason River Run Anglers Pioneered the Try before you buy Idea.
I had found and still find today many people buy what they thought they need or were told that they needed.

Rod length is a funny thing.
Scale the rod for the river you will fish the most.
I prefer to start casters on 13.6 to 14 ft rod somewhere 7/8/9 weights but this does not mean that this is the weigh or length of rod that you have to buy just learn to cast on..
You can learn on any length some things just make it easier.
The reason being this is that the longer the rod the more forgiving the timing and have a little more feel.

As for line length this is what I have and of recommend learn to cast with about 31/2 or 4-rod lengths of floating line less the leader. This will give you plenty of line to get your anchor set and still load the rod for the cast.

If you get a chance to go to the Clave on the Clearwater do and learn.
Leave your mind open