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Grabflies Tips and Tricks #4 Line Weight for Spey Rods

This will be more of a newsletter for this edition of Tips and Tricks. Trying to catch up after the summer and early fall seasons. I tied a record amount of flies this summer - thanks for your orders.


Here in SW Washington the summer and fall fishing was pretty good considering the record heat and drought conditions. Fished the Cowlitz in the summer, Klickitat all season, and some on the Deschutes. The hot flies were 2.5 inch (Two Toned Flash Moal Leech, Purple and Red) and 2.5 inch (Two Toned Flash Moal Leech, Blue/Chartreuse). Now heading into winter the flies and the size will change.


I want to share an amazing story. I wrote this about a customer, now fishing buddy, Dave Robinson. To read the story about Dave's remarkable first year (click here).

Fish Photos

Grabflies now has a Photo Album up. Occasionally customer's e-mail some of their Steelhead photos - I love looking at these photos so I thought I would share. (click here to see the photos) Please email me yours.

25 lb King Salmon

New Gear for Grabflies

I just started stocking Redington's Chromer Spey Rod. I have the 8136-4 (13 ft 6 inch, line eight) for demo use. I took it out and did some casting with it on the Klickitat river - WOW what a great rod. A Real Cannon! A great rod for the PNW, and maybe the best rod for under $400.00. See the rod (click here) I recommend the 625 grain, Rio Skagit Max Shooting Head for this rod, which leads to the next topic - selecting a line weight for your Spey rod.

Line Weight for Spey Rods (The Tips and Tricks of this newsletter).

When you look at a manufacture's suggested line grain weight window for a given rod, you see suggested like (575 - 625). Or sometimes they'll go in the middle and suggest 600 grain. What's up with this?

There definitely is the best line weight for that rod but that may depend on how you cast the rod. When I started casting I once had a rod where I was happy with 575 grain line and years later was casting the same rod with a 625 line. How could this be?

What part of the Spey rod are you loading when casting?

Beginners or new Spey casters often use more of their top hand while casting. Often this is brought over from single hand casting. This loads the top half of the rod. The tip half takes less weight of line to load it. (575 grain for an eight weight rod)

As you evolve in your casting abilities you start to load the rod more and now are loading the rod in the middle - need a heavier weight line to do this. (600 grain for an eight weight rod)

Once you are casting like a pro and are loading the rod deep - all the way into the butt of the rod. Now you need your final grain weight line. (625 grain for an eight weight rod)

This is an example of how you can go from 575, 600, 625 grain weight in lines for the same rod.

Other things to consider is your rod casting speed. If you are whipping the rod fast you'll need a lighter line as you aren't allowing the rod to load all the way. If you slow your rod's speed down, the rod will load deeper - heavier line.

What's the difference?

The heavier the line that you cast efficiently for your rod; the more easily it can move a fly, line tip, and slice through the air and wind. Also it will be easier for you physically as you are letting the rod do the work.

Mantra for casting - Slow it down, and slack in the line is the enemy.

Thanks for reading, Jeff Layton - | Back to tying flies.

Steelhead Fishing Tips and Tricks

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