As in prior shootouts, it is critical to eliminate as many variables as possible. Our apologies, we had to send many of the trout switch rods back to the manufacturers before we had a chance to deflect them, so above you can only see how the trout spey rods deflected. For the Design, Fit and Finish category we considered everything from guides, cork quality, reel seat design, and rod blank technology. The custom anodized aluminum reel seat isn’t nearly as fancy as the Onyx but functions well. Lines . This reel is excellent for those that want a smooth and silent operation. For a 9’#8 weight, there are lighter reels on the market. $75 handling fee. 5. I’m thinking of going lighter. In order to swing up a fish, you must believe it will happen. If you are really concerned with throwing larger streamers, then you may want to consider getting a regular 8-weight spey rod instead. I would like to see a 12′ or 12’6″#5 TNT DNA that is equally light and powerful – that would be the ulitmate windy day weapon for swinging flies to big trout. Having the ability to quickly change the depth your nymphs are being presented at is the key to catching more fish. The componentry and finishing on The Echo rod also aren't anything to write home about, but its Skagit performance made us forget about the entry-level price tag. A rule of thumb for any Spey outfit is to jump up three sizes on the reel. These leaders come with a perfection loop so you can easily loop the leader into the thinner end of the FLO tip. In this column you’ll find the length of each company’s external rod tube. R.L. Redington Dually 11’5” 5-weight $249.95. TFO DeerCreek 12’6” 5/6-weight $469.95. Early spey rods were 22 feet long, but modern spey rods are typically only 12 to 15 feet and available in two, three, and four-piece models. The Dually blanks are finished in a deep matte burgundy color with matching thread wraps over chrome stripper and snake guides. In this column you’ll find our recommended grain weight for the Airflo Skagit Scout lines when used by novice anglers who are still learning to spey cast. The matching purple wraps cover two large stripper guides and chrome snake guides. As far as running line goes, we cut down costs by spinning your reel up with 50 yards of #30 pound Amnesia. Fenwick Aetos 11’#5 with an Orvis Battenkill IV reel, line at cost, free backing, & leader <$65.81>. Too short, and the fish may see the black tungsten coated line on your FLO tip. Originating on the banks of the River Spey, the first spey rods were 22 feet long and made out of greenhart wood. Not that we haven't seen great things from Hardy in the past, but the Demon is a Spey rod we haven't heard much about. For 2019, Tim Rajeff revamped the lineup and the new Echo Trout Spey rod was born. The anodized aluminum up-lock reel seat isn’t too fancy but the two lock rings secure the reel adequately. The RIO Trout Spey Shooting Head is truly a versatile line. It really needs a very slow, easy, relaxed stroke. This is a lifetime warranty, and if this rod breaks, they They will repair (but usually replace the rod) for $35. When we originally tested this rod it was $589, now the price has dropped in half and costs only $294.50, making this rod a bargain, while supplies last. The TFO reel put a quick stop to this Jurassic Lake rainbow, back in our 8-weight reel shootout. Reply ↓ Iain MacLeod. These are actual pictures of every rod laid on top of each other for as accurate a deflection board as we've ever seen or produced. And that really is bad news as there are not many of these available on eBay or Craig’s List. This Skagit Head is designed to throw sink tips and large streamers, and we recommend a mono shooting line, especially in the lightest weights. Because the rods are different, the lines are also different than traditional Spey lines. The Hardy Jet #5/6 switch rod is finished in a grey graphite color with matching dark grey wraps over fuji stripper and snake guides. You will find each manufacturer’s policy listed below under Warranties Explained. Good recovery and plenty of power to set the hook. 1-406-222-7130. The coatings on … Some companies did not post their rod’s overall weight, others did. The Demon came really close to winning the shootout. As smooth as this rod felt, I wish it had a little more power for the Livingston wind. What are Trout Switch and Trout Spey Rods? $50 handling fee. Trout Spey allows anglers to cover more water, minimize backcasting room, and reduce fatigue during long days on the water. This wasn’t our favorite rod in the group, but it held its own against rods with a much higher price tag. A nice Yellowstone brown caught on the swing. Sage is a juggernaut in contemporary fly fishing, so the fact that the ONE Trout Spey AND the new Trout Spey HD ended up at the top of the pack in the shootout is no surprise. Usually takes 2-4 weeks. TFO BVK SD Fly Reels. For this category, we were focused not just on how the rods cast a Scandi line, but specifically how they performed the Single Spey and the snake roll casts, which we believe are the most relevant casts for a floating line. There are different opinions on how far you should grip your upper hand on the cork. Your line recommendations for the Hydrogen are insanely heavy. It would also be a good choice for fishing heavy sink tips like 10 feet of T18 to dredge the deeper, slower runs in the winter. Our easiest-on-the-wallet spey reel is the ECHO Ion, which we’ve sold for years. Thus, you can easily handle heavy and large fish. Lots of bang for your buck here…, 6. I was surprised how well some of the softer rods performed here when the wind wasn’t blowing, they were super smooth and effortless to cast once I slowed down and let the rod do the work. 7. Now that the Orvis Helios 2 has been discontinued, we feel the DXF is not only the best mid-priced trout switch rod, but it is also the best performing trout switch rod on the market. And now, they're back. The “A” refers to advanced or expert spey casters who can already cast with proper technique and have already mastered the basic spey casts. Mending is a breeze with this rod, and high sticking it into your swing is delighful. Last but not least, our own hand tied nymph leader tied with stiff butt sections for better turnover while utilizing a long knotless section of 20 pound, to allow for easy bobber adjustment. The Custom Flywerks rod was rolled and baked in Korea, but then the cork work and guides are wrapped here in the US. If buying a rod in this price category just isn’t in the cards for you (and for most of us it won’t be) I feel it is more important to pick up a less expensive rod and start learning. > Back to Spey Doctor Home Page. 6WT Spey Shootout - North Fly Shop Dec 2 2015. James Anderson with a Yellowstone brown caught on the swing. What OPST have done with these rods is amazing and what’s nice is their rods are true to weight, a 7wt is exactly that, it handles fish as a 7wt SH would. Softer trout spey rods had more difficulty handling these larger streamers, where the ONE handled them like a champ. (Trout spey only). It’s lack of butt and mid-section power makes it more difficult to set the hook, compared to the Orvis H2 or Douglas DXF. 4. Braided PE Advantages: Tangles less than mono but shoots better than coated running lines. $374.95, Rio Intouch Switch line WF-5-F ……………………..… $99.95, 100 yards 20 pound backing …………………………….… $9.95, Custom trout Switch leader 12’ 3X …………………….…$5.95, Fenwick Aetos 11’1″#5 ….…..……………………….…….. $299.95, Orvis Battenkill V reel…..……………………………….…. I like the shape of both the foregrip and rear grip handles. Swing Weight – 10 and 20 points available. The DXF series has been a favorite of ours since we first tested it in our 2015 9’ 5-weight shootout. 3. The Beulah Platinum and Orvis H2 were the outright winners here. That being said, it has enough resistance to keep the reel and line from free spooling and tangling, which is all you really need. If you happen to own one of these, consider yourself lucky! If you are already an experienced caster we can easily switch the 390 out for a 360 grain. by James Anderson and the Yellowstone Angler. The rod's softer mid-section and increased length made the IMX-Pro both forgiving and powerful, a rare combo. All you have to do is flick the reel handle quickly and let the 375’s smooth bearings do the work. Orvis uses a black and green carbon fiber inlay that matches the blank well. Reviewing the capabilities of the G. Loomis Asquith 9' 5 wt. Does it have to do with their short lengths? James Anderson with a Yellowstone brown caught by high sticking a switch rod. While not overly fancy, the aluminum up-lock reel seat functions well. In hand it feels significantly heavier than the Orvis H2, Douglas DXF, Fenwick Aetos, and St. Croix Imperial. Popular Brands and models of Running Line, Scientific Anglers floating Braided PE 29 pound – $34.95, Scientific Anglers Floating Dragon Tail -$59.95, Scientific Anglers Monocore (coated mono) – $34.95. Rods are replaced. We hope TFO considers re-adding this reel back into their lineup. 7. Those who appreciate a slower casting motion will love this amazingly smooth rod. Any serious steelheader would be very happy with this rod while fishing in trout territory. Here is our pick for the best inexpensive rod to swing with. If you’re looking for a forgiving rod, check out the Echo. It is also feels light and easy to cast, even with a heavy indicator rig. This combination is incredible. This rod performs best when you slow down and let the rod do the work. A spey cast is deemed a spey cast when the fly line is cast under the rod tip on the back cast (as opposed to over the rod tip in a traditional fly cast), AND is allowed to anchor onto the surface of the water (near or slightly in front of the angler) before makin… There’s a lot of truth in the saying, “buy nice or buy twice!”. Best Lightweight: Ross Evolution LT Fly Reel at Amazon "The reel justifies its hefty price tag with its artful machining and incredible durability." It can be intimidating and almost cult-like when you hear spey jargon for the first time like: skagit lines, scandi lines, double-spey, snap t, blown anchors, perry pokes, and other unfamiliar nomenclature. This is a wondeful rod for anglers who appreciate slower, softer actions. Rods are repaired, not replaced. Nothing fancy here, a perfection loop, 15 inches of 20 pound Maxima to a size 12 owner micro swivel, followed by 36 inches of Trout Hunter 1X fluorocarbon. Like the Orvis Helios 2 single hand rods, the H2 11’5-weight switch rod has a beautiful smoke blue colored blank with silver trim thread wraps and high-end flexible titanium snake guides. 8. Nearly all are charging a “handling” fee of $50-$100 to repair or replace your rod. Now the current and correct price is $595.00. These rods are versatile, caster-friendly, forgiving, and affordable. How is it different from the ONE? All Spey Lab reels are hand made in Finland. New! Not only does it look and feel like a Bentley or Rolls Royce of reels, but it also has a technology that no other reel has – a spring loaded drag that increases hook up rates when swinging a fly. Older rods not under warranty cost $120 or more. We matched this rod with an Orvis battenkill V reel, which is light, durable, and proven to last the test of time. The smallest reel in the shootout was the Orvis Access Mid-Arbor II at 2.994 inches, followed by the Bozeman Reel SC325 at 3.009. In making the deflection charts, we placed the rods at approximately a 45-degree angle and then hang a lead weight of 3.9 oz. Rods like the Sage ONE, Beulah Onyx, IMX Pro, and Custom Fly works took top honors here. While the 5 pc construction makes this rod slightly smaller and more packable than the 4 piece rods, it won’t break down “in half” like the other rods in the test. Our standard is to use Scientific Anglers floating braided PE mono, which has a very slick coating and shoots well, yet does not have the memory issues of mono. Like spinning skateboard wheel and watching it go, this reel is second to none when it comes to flicking the handle or slapping the face of the reel and watching it spin while picking up your running line in a hurry. The Orvis Helios 2 was easily the lightest and most powerful switch rod in the Shootout, unfortunately this rod has since been discontinued. The TFO 375 and TFO425 both utilize a carbon fiber drag system that compresses into the spool when tightened down. If you’re swinging wet flies without a sink tip on a larger river and prioritizing presentation and finesse, a Scandi setup may be the most productive casting method for you. Thank you for all of your blogs. Great shootout. Our deflection charts have been popular in our single handed rod Shootouts, so we wanted to include them with this Trout Switch and Spey Shootout. FLO tips have larger diameter butt sections, which we feel helps smooth the transition from your line to your leader while casting. We spend a lot of time testing gear and writing shootouts to give you all of the tools to make your next trip a success. Also the only disadvantage to the Sage ONE Trout Spey’s extremely lightweight feel is that they may be less durable than some of the other rods. Not only does it look fantastic, this reel has a spring in it which is designed to smooth out the take of the fly and help increase hookups. #4 Goture Fly Fishing Reel Spark. For this reason alone, we love the Invictus, but we also love the quality build, sound, and over quality that this reel possesses. We looked at all the warranty policies in detail and updated those that have recently changed. FLO tips only come in 10-foot lengths, but come in T7, T10, T14, T18, for $26.99 each or the entire kit (which includes a zippered wallet) for $120.99. It might not shoot quite as well as monofilament, but it shoots well enough and tangles a lot less. At 12 feet long, the Clearwater is long enough to make big mends and manipulate the line better than shorter trout spey rods. If you’re throwing bulky rigs or heavy-ish lines, the Pulse is a great option, but we're sure there are 4wts out there that will serve you better. The Asquith series of rods is a collaboration betweeen Shimano and G. Loomis. At 12 feet long, the Clearwater is long enough to make big mends and manipulate the line better than shorter trout spey rods, yet does not feel brutally heavy. The rods that were the lightest got the most points, the rods that were heavier scored less points. Unlike the Skagit Scout that is designed for swinging, the InTouch Switch has a much longer belly as well as an integrated running line that is just thick enough to mend so you can achieve nearly a 100 foot drift! And one of the top three lightest in terms of swing weight, (behind the Beulah Platinum and T&T DNA). 2020 marks the return of Greys to the United States. But for anglers who often fish in windy areas, the T&T DNA is one of the best rods on the market. NEW! We still have a few red and gold reels left, but most of these are black. We chose the Airflow Skagit Scout 360 grain as the best all around swinging line for the trout spey rods. If you’re looking for the high end feel and performance of our ultimate trout spey set up, but don’t want to spend nearly as much as you might spend on a used Honda Accord, take a look at our best mid-priced outfit. The cork quality is impeccable and the shape of the grip is different from others, more of a cigar taper than an upward swell at the forward end, which looks different but classy. This roughly translates to about 100 feet of terminal tackle: 50 feet of running line + 33 feet of skagit line + 10 feet of FLO tip + 4 feet of leader = 97 feet. No handling fee. The ability to firmly and quickly set the hook when your indicator goes down is one of the major keys to nymph fishing success. Our Trout Spey leaders consist of 12-15 inches of 20 pound Maxima tied to a size 10 or 12 owner micro swivel, followed by 36 inches of Trout Hunter 1X fluorocarbon. Thicker and easier to grip when stripping your fly. That being said, if you’re looking for a distance rod and don't mind a swing weight that's on the heavy side of things, this is one of the best rods in the group. More of a medium action, you have to remember to take your time with the Onyx rather than rush it, otherwise you will likely blow your anchor or struggle to power through it. The other two trout spey rods that seemed to handle the wind well were the 11’11” G. Loomis IMX Pro and the 11’9” Thomas and Thomas DNA. When taking your time this rod is effortless to cast. If you want a great trout spey rod for swinging, but don’t prefer a super fast action, the Onyx is the perfect choice. Too short, and the fish may see the black tungsten coated line on your FLO tip. Casts well in close, cast well at distance. The Aetos series has always been one of our favorites when considering high performance at a low cost, and the 11’1” 5/6-weight is no different. The cork quality is excellent although the rear handle grip is a little short. Well, that changes with two-handed rods... more about that later. Targeting Larger Trout, Steelhead, or Salmon? 300 for the Scandi? JG taking the Sage ONE Trout Spey out for a rip during testing. If you are looking to throw larger streamers this may be a good option, however the Orvis Clearwater is lighter with equal power and costs less. G. Loomis – Lifetime warranty to original owner. NEW! I’ve fished these reels for nearly a decade now and trust their bulletproof nature. The Custom Flywerks Quantum blanks are finished in a gray graphite color with matching gray thread wraps over carbide ring TiCr strippers and TiCr snake guides. Give us a call anytime and we can help you determine which type of two-handed rod is right you. Here you’ll find the type of guides used on each rod. Overtime, when it becomes dirty it becomes more prone to tangles. Last but not least, our own hand tied nymph leader tied with stiff butt sections for better turnover while utilizing a long knotless section of 20 pound to allow for easy indicator adjustment. This rod feels heavy compared to the rest of the switch rods. The fulcrum on single-handed rods is this balance point near the middle of the rod’s cork grip, wherever it felt most comfortable to grip the handle. Inexpensive rods also make for good backups. We picked this line not only because it is shorter and better suited for most trout spey rods, but also because matched most of the rods perfectly. We like the easy to adjust Air-Lock indicators for these leaders. If you like to strip your running line, as we often do while fishing for big browns, and get a hook up with 10-20 feet of running line out, very few reels can capture line as quickly as the TFO 375, enabling you to keep your eye on the fish and reel up your slack almost instantly. If you think you might be fishing rivers like the Missouri or Bighorn more often then you should highly consider the 11’11”#4. Anglers who prefer a softer action will really like this rod. Fly line Coated Running line Advantages: Easy to grip and familiar feel. Light, fast, powerful, amazing. Thomas and Thomas and Custom Flywerks are in a class by themselves and really should have been award 11 points out of 10. A classy aluminum rod tube and cloth bag are included. $139.95, Rio Intouch Switch line WF-5-F ……………………….… $99.95, 100 yards 20 pound backing ………………………………… $9.95, Custom trout Switch leader ……….……………………….… $5.95. TFO if you are reading this, please bring this reel back! Fenwick Aetos 11’1” 5/6-weight $299.95. I prefer rods that fold in half, so I can reel my fly to the tip, take the rod apart at the mid point, and fold it in half for easy lunch hour fishing trips or for fishing after work. The rest I spend on tying flies and gas/hotels for the fishing. Winston – Lifetime warranty to original owner, $50 handling fee. The Pulse is one of the fastest rods in the shootout. For running line we picked the Scientific Angler’s floating braided polyethylene (PE) mono. Bottom Line: If you’re an experienced Trout Spey angler looking for a technical rod with tons of power, this is the rod for you. You send in rod and their warranty dept. Overall Grip + reel seat Length (in inches). I find them helpful. 7. If you are really trying to bomb it out there as far as possible or need to punch it into the wind, the Sage ONE, G. Loomis IMX PRO, or T&T DNA are going to have usuable more power. They should have a Spey reel shootout. These “micro” two-handed rods are lighter, thinner, and have softer actions than regular switch and spey rods, making them the perfect two-handed tool when nymphing or swinging for trout. Bottom Line: The Pulse is ultra-fast and good for long distances and aggressive casting strokes. I also wish it was longer, since the 11’7″ length made it more difficult to mend and manipulate my line during the swing. The cork quality is decent and about what you’d expect for a less expensive rod. Our only gripes – like other Sage rods, the epoxy work on the snake guides is a little thick and sloppy for a thousand plus dollar rod. Don’t worry, you can still swing with a trout switch rod, (or a 9 foot rod for that matter), it’s just that a longer spey rod gives you a greater advantage when mending your line, manipulating your swing, and casting further. In this column you’ll find our recommended grain weight for the Airflo Skagit Scout lines we used in the shootout. These reels have never failed that I’ve heard of. All of the IMX Pro two-handers are a unique length of 11 feet 11 inches. Orvis Mirage LT Fly Reels. This is a rod that provides superior performance at a mid-price level. The main thing holding the Echo Classic back from a higher finish is its heavy swing weight. Since we love this reel so much we are not selling it on sale, and they will only be available when purchasing it an outfit. I get a commision from a spey rod sale off ebay or Amazon if you follow my links. We also have a few larger TFO 425’s in stock which are perfect for 8-11 weight spey rods, and also double as a solid tarpon reel should you make your way to the salt. Echo Bravo LT Fly Reels . The Platinum’s smooth medium action makes casting fun, but it was more difficult for me to produce tight loops. The end of each section has an interesting “checkered” carbon fiber weave that I’m not used to seeing on other blanks. For the trout spey rods, we chose our favorite trout spey line – Airflow’s Skagit Scout. The Quantum 12’7” 5-weight is the longest rod in the shootout, yet you’d never guess that by picking it up. The quality of cork is very good, although the length of the foregrip seems longer than it needs to be. Bottom Line: A great mid-priced rod with performance that rivals rods that are twice the price. Redington Grande Fly Reels. Trout spey rods are longer in length, (typically 11’6”-12’6”) and are designed for “swinging flies” from the bank “spey style.” Unlike switch rods, (or most 9 foot rods), trout spey rods are designed with softer mid-sections, which make spey casting more effortless by allowing the rod to do the work. Echo – Lifetime warranty for original owner. You really have to wait for this rod and let it do the work rather try to punch it or force it to work. Another Yellowstone brown caught on the swing – this one fell for a white Home Invader, Warranties Explained; Manufacturer by Manufacturer. 4. For leaders, we used two. The softer action of the Hydrogen was much different than rods like the Trout Spey HD and caters to anglers with slower casting strokes. (And they should)…. For those of us who have been at this long enough, you'll remember when Greys left us some 6 (or so) years ago to become a European only brand. The St. Croix Imperial 11’ 5-weight is another good choice for an angler looking for a great performing rod without the high-end price tag. We set up each of the rods we were comparing with the same exact reel, line, running line, amount of backing, and leader. Reel seat, cork and components are nice enough but not in the same ball park as the Orivs H2, Winston Micro Spey, T&T DNA, or Custom Flywerks. The result is awesome turnover, with an even tighter loop, which is better when punching into the wind and also for accuracy (if needed). Purchasing this rod will give you a little extra allowance to pursue a nicer reel than you otherwise may not have considered. It just does everything really well, particularly if you're a Skagit caster. (Trout switch only). One of the amazing things about the Custom Flywerks rods (something you’ll also find on Meiser’s rods) are the colorful feather inlays located just above the cork handle. Most anglers prefer very short Skagit style heads in the 12' range so that they can propel large flies with light rods. In other words, if you are just learning to spey cast, it will be less frustrating for you to start off with a line that is one line size up. The longer the rod is, the harder and more awkward it is to set the hook, so longer rods loose points in this category, as do shorter rods that lack enough power to strike well. Mono Advantages: Shoots the best. A cordura covered rod tube and cloth bag are included. An additional bonus – when we originally tested the T&T DNA 11’9″#5 it was $1,055.00, but now the price has dropped $130.00 down to $925.00! Easily the long bomb king, and the best rod here when punching into the wind, despite its shorter length. If you are the type of person that loves great gear and can afford to purchase the best, then by all means go for it! As such they have softer mid sections, which allow the rod to load easily and “fling” your line effortlessly. If a rod easily could handle throwing a large articulated fly (such as one of Galloup’s Silk Kittens) 75 feet it got a perfect 20. Even if you do buy a nicer rod in the future, you’ll have a back up rod which you can to lend to a friend or use should your main rod be at the rod repair center. Next to casting the rods yourself your reviews are a great resource. Warning: this isn’t a rod for the novice Spey angler. The bad news is the price tag that is over $1000.00.
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