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Kodak101

Swinging Setup

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Hey all,

 

I'm looking to purchase a spey/switch setup to swing giant streamers on the Bow River to target big browns. After reading everything I can on the internet I have more questions then when I started.

 

I'm thinking of a 12'6" in a 7 weight so that I can throw huge patterns without spending so much time chucking and ducking. Hopefully I can also use the rod to target steelhead, and perhaps the odd atlantic salmon trip back home in NB. Is there a rod that is capable of doing all of this? Or am I spreading the butter too thin?

 

From what I understand, spey rods have far more power than their single handed counterparts. Does a 7 weight spey have the fighting power of a 9 weight single hand rod? If so, is this too big for large brown trout, or should I get a heavier spey to make sure I can turn over gigantic streamers?

 

Let me know what your thoughts are, and thanks!

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I can turn over 6-7" streamers on a 6 weight switch with a 350 head. Generally not breaking the 50-60 foot mark though...not that you need to. I've broken the rod once, so I'm flirting with disaster.

7 spey is a lot of gun for the bow. switch is generally lighter.

A 6/7 spey would work for most situations you listed other than chinook maybe, but I'd rather have a 4/5/6 for trout.

I use the same 6 for summer steelhead.

A fish won't be satisfying on a big 6/7 until its well into the 20s.

A bit of a ramble but I guess my message is even my 6 switch is still a little heavy for the bow. I'd go for lighter rod and tie flies smarter (sparse, synthetics etc), then get a separate rod for atlantics and steelhead.

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Earlier this year I picked up a 5wt switch for the Bow and love it. I feel a 6wt is a little much for the Bow but if you plan to do most of your fishing elsewhere for bigger fish then go for something larger.

 

Also I thought i'd mentioned that you don't exactly need a spey rod to catch big browns. The bigger fish are generally not found in the middle of the river, most guys use a SH 6/7wt rod fishing tight to the bank. On the other hand if you just want a spey rod that's cool too, they are a ton of fun to cast and there's really no reason why it wont work for what you are doing.

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Yeah, I've already got a single handed 6wt, which covers my bases for dry fly and nymph work on the Bow - I'm really looking for something that can handle chinook winds and big chunks of rabbit fur. On calmer days where the trout are rising I'll be using the SH rod for sure.

I've read a lot of differing opinions. Some say a 7wt spey is way too big, some say it's perfect for big streamers on windy days. Was hoping I might be able to get the opinions of some people here who have used a spey for big trout/steelhead applications.

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Think you need to make a decision. There is a pretty big difference between 30-40 inch steelhead, and the occasional 24" bow river rainbow. A 7 or 8 weight would do you a lot better for steelhead then trout, and you can always just deal with having a big rod. If you go smaller, like a 5 or 6 weight spey to have more fun for tout, you're going to be undergunned in a big way for steelhead (to the point you probably shouldn't use it, unless you're doing dries on the Morice or half-salts down in the states).  If you were just trout-spey fishing, i'd say look at a 5 weight as you can easily turn over big streamers with that as it's rare that you're using big sink tips on the Bow. If you're looking at a do-it-all, a stiff 7 like a TCX would be a better option. If you're leaning more steelhead, then an 8 would probably be a better choice.

 

Also, 'big' streamers doesn't mean much. Are you talking about 4" intruder style, 6" sex dungeons, or 10" monster bugs. They're all completely different in how they cast and what will turn them over.

I remember when the spey fad hit here in a big way and guys were using 8-9 weights so they could turn over massive bull trout flies, until they realized that a 13' spey rod was essentially useless on the oldman/sheep/highwood. If you're just wanting to chuck seriously big bugs, you're not necessarily looking at the right tool for the job..

 

 

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1 hour ago, bcubed said:

I remember when the spey fad hit here in a big way and guys were using 8-9 weights so they could turn over massive bull trout flies, until they realized that a 13' spey rod was essentially useless on the oldman/sheep/highwood. If you're just wanting to chuck seriously big bugs, you're not necessarily looking at the right tool for the job..

What are you talking about? I use my spey rod to chuck tricos on Stauffer all the time! :D

I agree with what Bron and bcubed have already said. My suggestion would be if you're going to start with one rod, go with a 7 or 8 in 12'6 to 13'6 neighbourhood. It'll be good for steelhead and you can still use it on the Bow but it'll still be a little overkill. Then if you decide you like it enough you can branch out and get a smaller 4 or 5 for the Bow and possibly a larger 8 or 9 for chinooks and atlantics (full disclosure: I have never fished for atlantics but I suspect you'd want a long rod with floating line for them). I've got my 12'6 7wt TCX for steel, a little 5wt Winston Micro Spey for the Bow, and a 14'3 9wt Z-Axis for chinooks. I think that gives me everything I need.

Another thing to keep in mind that I don't think anyone has mentioned yet. Spey casting is not entirely about distance, contrary to popular belief. It's about keeping your fly in the water longer because you aren't doing a ton of false casting. You don't need to be bombing 90 foot casts to catch fish, even steelheading.

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Oh yeah, in southern Alberta I'll be using this Spey setup just on the Bow - I love fishing the Highwood but I wouldn't bring a 13'6" rod to cover that water. :D

I think I'll probably run with a 7wt to learn on, it will be able to handle sex dungeons and high winds - after a few years of practice if I love it for trout I can always size down, then I'll have a fine rod for summer steelhead/summer atlantics. 

And about the casting - yeah I'm not concerned so much about giant distance, it's about ease of casting and not having to worry about back casting room. Also I just want something new to learn. After playing with a buddies spey rod it's just a ****ing blast. It should also satisfy my gear acquisition syndrome for another couple years. (Should, not will.)

 

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Just a heads up from another rookie, I went down your path about a year ago settling on a 13' 7wt spey to ease throwing big dungeons on the bow. I am certainly not a great double hand caster but immediately hated throwing a heavy streamer with my spey rod. I stopped using dungeons on my spey rod because it was so clunky and frankly pretty difficult to throw for a beginner in the two hand world. This was with a 540 grain head & 10' of T-8. Plus I was pretty put off by how those big hooked dungeons can mess up a little fish.. 

I now prefer unweighted or lightly weighted flies and vary my depths by changing sink tips. Caught some monster fish this way too.

SeanD on here even started tying unweighted dungeons for his spey rod and he loves it.

Just wanted to caution you that while these big skagit heads were made to turn over gigantic, heavy intruders, it's no prettier than single hand chuck and ducking and you very easily could still get a hook in the back of the head on a windy day if you set your anchor on the wrong side of your body or flub a cast

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And really, the way a dungeon is fished, isn't on a swing. Lose the whole point of that style of fly if you're just swinging it.

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Good to know! I'll start out swinging some standard wet flies and soft hackles to get the casting down and keep the dungeons on my single-handed rods. How do you find your 7wt handles trout on the bow RedBeard?

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You also have the less expensive option of simply purchasing a single hand Skagit head for an existing rod like the OPST commando heads with floating or various sink tips. I have a 225 grain head that I'll often use on my 6wt Z-axis  and it's great for the Bow.  You can still do all your Skagit style casts in tight quarters (or just because you want to), and in general keep your fly in the water longer without having to false cast. You can bomb out big flies with long casts (especially with mono running line), actively strip or just swing; that said, I wouldn't say it's the best method for short line indicator nymphing.

If you decide you like that style of casting/fishing then get yourself the appropriate sized two-handed rod for the job i.e. 8wt or beefy 7wt for BC steelhead, and most likely east coast Atlantics, 9wt or better for chinook , maybe even get addicted an get yourself a more traditional 15' 10wt. and throw some long bellys!

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1 hour ago, KnotLikely said:

You also have the less expensive option of simply purchasing a single hand Skagit head for an existing rod like the OPST commando heads with floating or various sink tips. I have a 225 grain head that I'll often use on my 6wt Z-axis  and it's great for the Bow.  You can still do all your Skagit style casts in tight quarters (or just because you want to), and in general keep your fly in the water longer without having to false cast. You can bomb out big flies with long casts (especially with mono running line), actively strip or just swing; that said, I wouldn't say it's the best method for short line indicator nymphing.

If you decide you like that style of casting/fishing then get yourself the appropriate sized two-handed rod for the job i.e. 8wt or beefy 7wt for BC steelhead, and most likely east coast Atlantics, 9wt or better for chinook , maybe even get addicted an get yourself a more traditional 15' 10wt. and throw some long bellys!

I've been fishing an OPST for a long time and they're definitely great shooting heads for single-hand rods and short switches. But, I think it's a lot easier to learn the casts on a two-handed rod first then apply that knowledge to the single-handed rod. I learned to single-hand spey using a rod with a fighting butt and any time I was unsure of the casting motion I'd put my left hand on that as though it were the lower handle of a two-handed rod. So if the OP wants to do some steelheading in NW BC the 7wt two-handed rod is ideal and he can use that to learn the casts, then later get the OPST head for a single-handed rod on the Bow. Personally, there are some days I like to go out with the micro spey on the Bow and others where I take my 9'6 7wt with an OPST setup on one reel and indicator line on another.

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2 hours ago, Kodak101 said:

Good to know! I'll start out swinging some standard wet flies and soft hackles to get the casting down and keep the dungeons on my single-handed rods. How do you find your 7wt handles trout on the bow RedBeard?

Good! I have a moderate action 7wt and the bow river trout put a great bend in the rod! As good as a small steelhead does!

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24 minutes ago, RedBeard said:

Good! I have a moderate action 7wt and the bow river trout put a great bend in the rod! As good as a small steelhead does!

really small steelhead haha

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9 minutes ago, bcubed said:

really small steelhead haha

In fact, anything over 19.5 inches. 

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On 10/11/2017 at 1:49 PM, bcubed said:

really small steelhead haha

The only kind I catch! hah

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On 10/13/2017 at 7:56 AM, RedBeard said:

The only kind I catch! hah

I cant even catch those!!

but even with an 8wt, 600gr head and T11, throwing a dungeon with a (1/4)" eye isn't pretty.
It's still chuck an duck.

As redbeard said, i've tied a few dungeons without eyes (sticking on 3D eyes for the look) and just relying on the T11 sink tip to get it down.

but using a smaller dumbbell (maybe 5/32) and zap-a-gaping a larger 3D eye (filling gaps with UV resin) is what I find the best weight to throw.

The eye still has enough weight to allow the fly to jig, but is still as easy to cast as an intruder.

I can speak to it's effectiveness on the bow, but it has the same profile as your standard dungeon, and casts pretty well.

i'm not a purest though when it comes to a traditional swing.
I'm more than happy to throw slightly upstream and add the occasional strip/jig till it starts to swing as you'd do singlehanding from the bank.

No reason you can't do the same with a double hander, esp since it's big trout not steelies you're targeting

 

 

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3 hours ago, sldrose said:

 

i'm not a purest though when it comes to a traditional swing.
I'm more than happy to throw slightly upstream and add the occasional strip/jig till it starts to swing as you'd do singlehanding from the bank.

No reason you can't do the same with a double hander, esp since it's big trout not steelies you're targeting

 

 

Nothing wrong with stripping your fly in with the two-hander. I'll cast, mend, then strip on one cast then on the next I'll mend, step step, swing through to the dangle and then strip.

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