At Alaska West we spend a lot of time chasing anadromous fish with two-handed rods.
We see this situation all the time:
- Angler arrives in camp with new spey rod.
- Angler sets it up with the line that his or her buddy/mentor/favorite author/shop guy/rep/mother-in-law said would work well.
- Angler fishes it for a while and struggles mightily.
- We worry that angler may break rod/dislocate shoulder/fall down in river if this keeps up.
- We suggest new spey line (Hot Tip: often quite a bit heavier) and angler, in desperation, agrees to try.
- Angler becomes casting superstar and fishing is fun again.
What’s the point? Well, the point is not at all that we know more about matching lines to spey rods than anybody else out there. It’s that when you get a new spey rod, you should try at least a few different lines on it and fish the one that you like best.
If you’re fishing a single-handed 5 weight rod these days, you can buy a 5 weight line for it and be pretty confident that it’s going to cast and fish well. In the world of spey, reality is that casting styles vary, sinktips vary, flies vary and conditions vary to the point that Expert Angler A may hate the line that Expert Angler B fishes on any given rod in any given situation.
We would strongly recommend that, prior to spending a bunch of time and money going on a destination fishing trip, you try a few different lines on your new spey rod. Get a recommendation from the people that you respect, and then try lines that are heavier and lighter than what you were told. Way heavier and way lighter – like 50 or 75 grains heavier or lighter! You’ll never know if you don’t try.
Matching your spey rod with a line that you really like will make your casting better and your fishing a whole lot more fun. It’s supposed to be fun, isn’t it?
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