Balance of Tackle is Essential
The balance of rod, reel and fly line is essential for effective and enjoyable Spey casting for Salmon. If the system is out of balance, not only will your casting be sub-optimal, you will retire in the evening feeling dissatisfied and weary. Matching a fly line to rod is not so difficult if AFTM ratings are followed, though we often find that a good Speycasting rod enjoys casting a line which is rated a grade heavier than recommended. The reel weight and capacity should be appropriate to rod length and line rating, but unless the reel is particularly heavy, imbalance is rarely a problem.
We are all in a privileged position in having a great selection of quality fly fishing gear to choose from. Here we discuss the aspects of particular items of tackle that we feel are important and we recommend certain manufacturers where their products excel.
The Speycast consists of a series of loops. The set up of a nice anchored loop before the forward cast is essential to a quality delivery of the fly.
A good Speycasting rod will always have a through action where the rod flexes down to the butt. This may initially seem a little strange to anglers who are more familiar with stiffer blanks designed for overhead casting. A through action blank is merely an extension of the fly line loop and vice versa. The rod’s power is transmitted through a rolling loop in the line relatively straight down the line, as in the overhead cast. Having said this, the Speycasting rod will still ably handle the overhead cast. Many traditional blanks are too stiff for Speycasting, and the rod attempts to lift the line off the water, rather than transmitting the whip of the rod down the line.
Nature of the Spey cast
We always recommend taping the joints of a Speycasting rod. The nature of the cast encourages twists and if sections work loose, it is possible to break the rod. Use a tape that will not damage the varnish – try Scotch 3M tape from Sportfish.
Bruce and Walker are at the core of fly rod technology when designing rods for Speycasting. The firm was founded by combining the enthusiasm and technical knowledge of an engineer and a thinking fisherman. Jim Bruce and Ken Walker were the first to design Salmon rods specifically with Speycasting in mind. Their rods, in our opinion, have yet to be bettered.
The Powerlite Speycaster range of rods has a beautiful, lightweight blank but has the power and sophistication for expert Speycasting in various conditions.
The Double Speycaster is the expert’s dream, having interchangeable tips for use with sinking or floating lines.
The Norway Speycaster is a little stiffer than a standard Powerlite, but has been designed to combine distance on big rivers whilst retaining exquisite presentation.
Recently, the development of the shorter 12 ft. ‘Switch Rod’ has become popular and is extremely versatile. They cast superbly with a single or double-handed Spey cast using a lighter and short-bellied shooting head line.
Bruce and Walker rods are fully tested in the field, and the company listens carefully to the valuable comments of gillies and experienced fishers alike. Any rod can be modified during manufacture according to personal preference with respect to action, fittings and finish. See their website for further details.