Dear Doctor Linespeed, What are aproximately fifteen things I should know before purchasing my first Spey rod?

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You can buy a used rod for less than half the price of a new one. Just make sure it wont cost you an arm and a leg to have it repaired if you break it!

Dear Dr Linespeed, First off, why do they call you Dr Linespeed? I have seen you cast and quite frankly, I wasn’t impressed. I think you should change your name to Dr weenie arm haha. What are absolutely fifteen things I need to know or more, before buying my first Spey rod?
Baffled in Bellingham

Dear Frankly,
please do not ask inappropriate questions on the blog, as I only have the bandwidth to discuss those directly related to the subject at hand. Any more uprisings and you will be banned from the Lecture series.

What you should know before you buy your first spey rod.

First of all, you can’t rely on somebody else’s description of the rod’s action. Also, as fishermen, we are known to greatly exaggerate our casting abilities and fishing abilities. It’s what we do. So take any rod purchasing advice shared over the internet with a grain of salt. If the action is important to you then you personally have to try the rod out on moving water. Fishing. Use the type of flies and sink tips you prefer to fish with, in similar water to what you primarily fish.

If you really want to know what you’re getting into, try the rod on the water in that fishing situation, for at least a day if you can. When I fell in love with my beloved Beulah Classic, I believe it was actually stolen in a round about way. I contacted the original owner and reported the rod’s whereabouts but only after I’d fished it a good solid day on my home waters.

If you buy from a fly shop, make sure it’s a fly shop that has extensive experience with two handed rods and lining them. A fly shop employee who is not familiar with the two handed game can get you into trouble.

For your first rod, don’t spend a bunch of money. Anglers Roost, Cabela’s, TFO, Echo and Redington  make some very good inexpensive rods.

Make sure your rod comes with a good warranty. The rods listed above have good warranties or relatively inexpensive replacement parts.
Especially if you plan on Skagit casting with Dumbbell eyed Intruders which can break your rod if you smack it hard enough.

The line is every bit as important as the rod. If you get a recommendation off of the internet, make sure it is confirmed by several reliable sources.

Be aware of the Paralysis by analysis. There is so much information and marketing hype out there that it’s easy to become overwhelmed with choices. Most of it is absurd and doesn’t even come into play unless can cast like Simon Gawesworth.

Don’t worry too much if you end up with a rod that is a quadrant of an ounce heavier than the latest and the greatest. Just pick a decent set up and run with it. Also, the scrim is not near as important as we are led to believe in marketing hype. I don’t even know what a scrim is, or a multidirectional graphite matrix, yet I’m fully able to enjoy time on the water with various rods, even those with unverifiable scrimmigration credentials.

Don’t start out with a switch rod if you can get away with it. It’s not the end of the world if you do, but long ones are fun and easy to learn on.

When somebody tells you that they can easily cast 12’ of T14 on any particular rod paired with any particular Skagit head, don’t be too impressed. Most rods can throw heavy sink tips but not all rods make easy work of big, ugly, dumbbell eyed, soggy, Intrudery type flies. They are not always all they’re cracked up to be and if you try tossing them with a less than skookum rod you may end up with a casting stroke like mine.

Even if you ignore all of my sage advice and end up with a rod you’re not totally crazy about give it some time. If it’s lined correctly you will eventually get used to it and learn to enjoy it. It’s probably a decent rod.

Mark has some good combos.

Poppy has some good combos.

If you wanna go super cheap, Anglers Roost Enterprises has some very soulish sticks for super cheap prices. Pick up some Garilla glue in case the butt knob falls of of the IM6 models. But I do love those rods.








This beautiful Steelhead was landed by Steve Holt with a full sized Spey rod.  The scrim was not identified.  (Photo by Greg Holt)

Click the above photo to buy the Echo Tr Spey on Amazon.

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