Yesterday I had a conversation with a guest about spey rods, and it raised a point regarding rod selection that I thought was interesting.
He indicated that he was contemplating buying several rods, and he asked me to name my 3 “go-to” spey rods. Immediately I resisted answering—not out of fear of sharing my rod preferences but because I know that my preferences rarely match other peoples.
What’s wrong with that? Well if he goes with my selections, it presumes that he and I are doing the exact same kind of fishing, which implies that our needs are identical and therefore that our rods should be as well. I knew this wasn’t the case. No two people ever fish precisely the same waters, and even if they did it’s unlikely they would fish them in the same ways. So while my “go-to” rods might be perfect for my own fishing (and they are of course), I can assure you that they would have been far from perfect for this, or any other guest.
I answered by steering the conversation so that we talked about where he fished and how he fished. Only then could I guess his needs in a fly rod, and offer some useful rod suggestions. And that is exactly the point. It’s not about what rods I or any other “guide” uses, it’s about figuring out what’s the right rod for you. That’s why the experts are there—to help you discover the rods that will function best for the kind of fishing you are doing.
Too many people are preaching about rods, and that you have to go get the latest one like its a new smart phone. Too often I have heard about rods being bought—to the purchaser’s detriment—where the overriding factor was merely that some “guide” used the same rod. That’s just not the ideal way to go about it.
Rod recommendations and selection should centre around you and your fishing requirements, and the most knowledgeable guides always keeps this principle foremost in mind when talking fly rods.
Personally I have very specific needs. I fish small rainforest rivers in Haida Gwaii where I like an 8 weight switch rod. In fact, I actually prefer a 9weight switch rod less than 11 foot 6 inches long, but no rod companies will listen to me on that one. Shortly after my winter season ends I begin to king fish. I like a short, light, 12.6 foot ten weight rod that will cast the most unholy tips and flies that the devil himself creates. Full sink skagit lines and 12.5 feet of T-17 are cotton candy for me when I king fish. After my the king season I simply get rotator cuff surgery and I am good to go.
Come August I am ready for something different, and if the steelhead gods bless me with decent water conditions I will be fishing strictly floating lines and dry flies for steelhead. For this I like a 7 weight spey rod 13 foot 6 inches with some feel and bend in the rod.
Which companies do I like to buy? Well instead of advertising for them I will just tell you this. I like faster action, high modulus, sensitive, light rods you can feel that react to subtle, short power strokes. I do not like slow, heavy noodle rods that remind me of my fathers Al dente pasta. If you want to know more about rods and what we like, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org