I don't like really light spey rods. Unless, I'm targeting SRC's in rivers, I like a 14 or a 15 footer. For SRC's I like a 13 footer. Guess we just like what we like, that makes us enjoy this stuff so much.
I do think the day will come when some of us will be using a two handed 9 foot spey rod, and wondering why bother.
For the rivers I fish, I prefer the 14-15 foot rod lengths. The lightest rod I own is a sage 7141 and the heaviest/longest is a Sage 9150. As others have mentioned, the 9140 is a sweet rod but I prefer the faster 9141 when I'm throwing tips and/or winter fishing with shorter distances. The Sage 8136 is also a sweetheart rod for sure. The "new" Greased Line rods by Loomis are primo, I'll probably pick up their 7#, 15 foot rod one day.
Here on large rivers in Scotland I prefer 15' - 15 1/2'. Line control and long heads are a "must" on these rivers. The problem is when you fish without a gillie to land your fish and beaching is not possible! All long rods in such final moments are at much greater risk of breakage than short rods.
For most of my fishing I us a Norwich 15' 11 line and, now, a CND Salar 15 1/2'. For slightly lighter line work a Winston DBF 8/9 (I look forward to getting a 15'2" Solstice) I used to use nothing but Sharpes spliced bamboo rods ( from 12' through to15' - brilliant rods in a gale and much quicker at taming fish than any carbon, though my CND Salar is brilliant at both.
On smaller rivers I still prefer a long rod/head combo. as the rivers I fish are often EXTREMELY windy - they keep the fly further away from heads, shoulders, hands etc.. But my favourite short rod is an old Burkheimer 9143.....unfortunatly a friend fell out of a helicopter in Russia and broke its tip!! Same guy also broke my Burkheimer 7123 in a very large Litza fish.
Any one got a 9143 tip for sale? What is left of the 7123 (mid piece) is free but you have to pay shipping!!
" .........unfortunatly a friend fell out of a helicopter in Russia and broke its tip!! Same guy also broke my Burkheimer 7123... "
Same guy busted TWO of your rods and he's still a friend? Must be a great ptyd buddy. That said, the good news is Carry should be able to repair either of the rods if you want to send them over. Say 'send them over' as he'll need the whole rod to assure the new sections match up properly.
You'd think that a 'rods a rod,' not quite the truth. All things are not created 100% equal. If you need any assistance on this just let us know; most of us know Carry/Company quite well (personal basis).
I have a 14' Heritage and two Rainshadow's (11'6" and 12'6") and seem to prefer the shorter spey's. My next spey will be between 13 and 13'6", something like a CND Black. Meiser MKS/Highlander or comparable blank(CTS) if I decide to build it.
I also want to play with some of the switch rod's and see how they cast, so I can't see I longer spey purchase in the near term for me. I will eventually get another 14'er, but that is down the road for me.
I have cast a variety of 15'er's and even a 16' and 17', but I seem to have to work too hard with them. I have enjoyed casting some of them, but just can't see the need for me to use a longer spey.
Seems no one is talking about mending and line control in this discussion of rod lengths. Isn't this more important than casting capabilities. Playing on Saturday, I frankly felt no limitations for the shorter rods for casting, but that may not be the only parameter for rod length.
One reason that seems to come up quite a bit is once somebody gets efficient at casting the same distances can be reached with the shorter lighter line wt rods. Even if people move around between head lengths and casting styles.
With good form the 15' and up rods can become a pure pleasure to cast and fish. Even if, at times, you are overgunned for the prey at hand. After spending untold thousands of hours fishing and casting (two handers) over the past 12+ years I can find no more pleasure than what my favorite 15' 9/10 and floating long belly line provides. Even when common sense dictates smaller and lighter...those rods just never provide me equal satisfaction. Always feeling as though something is missing. So I go and find reasons to fish the bigger stuff where it isn't shooting woodcock with an elephant gun.
Hey inland, I agree the long rod, long floating line combo cannot be beat on those days when the journey matters as much as the destination. Especially in big water years like this. The only reason to be overgunned however is lack of funds. There are more and more 15 foot and longer rods in the 6 to 8 weight range every year. Check Meiser's rods for a great deal (still in the $600 range but essentially a custom rod) on a long and light one, or Clan if your pockets are REALLY deep... CND solstice 15' 2" 7/8/9 is nice. I'm sure there are other's I just don't follow the newest and latest. It's cheaper that way
"Seems no one is talking about mending and line control in this discussion of rod lengths. Isn't this more important than casting capabilities."
This IS absolutly on the button and, for me, is the BASIC answer to the whole question. It is because here in Scotland we often need max. line control that we opt for long rods and long heads. Short heads at any range just do not mend well enough.
How much mending control is necessary? Do you need to mend line right out to the leader knot? I haven't found it necessary for effectively fishing the wet fly swing. I can see that greater line control would probably be necessary to fish dead-drifted nymph style, however.
I find that rods of around 13.5 feet and shorter begin to suffer as line-menders beyond around 60-70 feet. Even if there's some combination of line choice and skill that lets the shorter rods cast farther than that, they're still handicapped. OTOH, there's a lot of pleasureable fishing to be done at moderate distances.
I have tried every 15'ish 6/7/8/9's on the market and nothing quite does it for me. Eventually settled on the Loomis 15' 7/8 and XLT #7 when the A runs are in. When the odds for the B runs gets reasonable the 9/10 will be in use.
Plus the 9/10 makes, hands down for my casting style and tastes, a very efficient winter dryline rod too.