Stillwater Fly Shop thanks George Cook/Pacific Northwest RIO Rep for this blog post.
Smallmouth Bass, even the various Shad species of both coast. Trout Spey tackle which spans from the 4 and 5 weight Switch Rod Theater down thru the 2 and 3 weight true Trout Spey rods set the stage for some mighty interesting angling adventures. In these pursuits like its bigger cousin Spey Rods, lines are aplenty and with it, a given (expected) level of confusion as to just what is “best”. The line “Conundrum” is our subject today , so take 5 and unspool the mystery as we DEFINE today’s Trout Spey Lines, their selection and use.
Skagit Lines: several choices here and completely dependent on just what the angler’s methodology “Objective” is. On one hand, the “Swinging Streamer” enthusiast will find himself at home with RIO’s Skagit Max Short Head. Here, the 200/225 and 250 Grain Heads sit at a very manageable 17’, while the 275 Grain Head comes in at 20’. Matched up with RIO’s “Light” MOW Family Tips makes for a great SWINGING set up. An Example here would be the 225 Grain 17’ Skagit Max Short teamed up on SAGE’s NEW 2109-4 ONE Trout Spey. The NEW 3110-4 SAGE ONE Trout Spey is killer with the 275 Skagit Max Short , a combo I recently worked Ol’ Bow Bow out with on Alaska’s Middle Kenai River. Again, it is vital to note that the Skagit Max Short will BEST SERVE the Angler looking to ply his game via the SWUNG FLY with small to moderate sized streamers . MOW Light and even MOW Medium tips can and will apply in this “Swinging” theater. I might also note that with the Skagit Max Short the “Transition” from normal Spey rod sizes (12 ½ to 14’) to Trout Spey lengths (10’6 to 12’) is less radical in terms of casting stroke format.
Skagit Trout Max: A NEW and very Specialized Skagit style head sets the stage for the Trout and Smallmouth Angler throughout the country who has set his sights on a STRIPPED STREAMER Approach. Most Lower 48 along with Chilean and Argentine Trout (Both Bow Bow and Brown Town) are largely caught by way of a STRIPPED Streamer Method (VS Say Alaska Rainbows, Dollies and Northwest Sea Run Cuts taken on the Swing). The Skagit Trout Max head employs a very fishy 11’ Head that maximizes one’s ability to really format a Stripping Streamer methodology. Here it can be expected that one shall cast either ¼ Upstream to 90 degrees (straight out) in order to gain a quick drop followed by the classic stripping motion made famous by the legendary Joe Brooks in the 1950’s. By formatting a short 11’ head the Skagit Trout Max ensures maximum “Strip Time-Length” before your attached head to running line gently “Clicks” into your guides queuing one to fire off another one to continue the hunt ! Again, the MOW Light Series as well as the Medium MOW members will employ nicely here. I would be remiss not to mention here that while the whole of Trout/Micro Spey involves a very conscious effort on the part of the caster to “Scale Down” both his overall stroke size and speed of operation (Get SMALL as I call it) the mere 11’ of the Skagit Trout Max dictates a further reduction here, get small, stay compact and ever so smoothly execute the Spey stroke, no big moves, no hurky, no jerky !
Scandi Short Heads: The elegant casting choice has Trout Spey in mind with Short Scandi heads from 180 (28’), 210 (28’) and 240 (29’) grains that play super well. Working with short RIO Versi Leaders, all types Floating thru 7.0 ips (ips=Inches per second related sink rates ) in 6’ & 10’ styles or even a 9’-12’ RIO Trout Leader straight off the looped head these classic Scandi style heads work beautifully with Soft Hackle and other related patterns. Un weighted streamers , classics like the Light and Dark Spruce, Muddler Minnow, Black Dace along with a host of Northwest Sea Run Cutthroat Flies will fly fast and with ease utilizing these Scandi Short style heads. As with their bigger Spey Rod cousins the Scandi game always plays at a lower Grain Weight then the Skagit Weight for the given (Same) rod. An example here would be the New SAGE Trout Spey 2109-4 ONE, while the Skagit Max SHORT (Or Skagit Trout Max) choice sets up at 225 Grains the Scandi Short selection will roll in at 180 Grains.
RIO Switch Chucker Lines: The vaunted Switch Chucker has a definite home in the Trout/Micro Spey Theater! Now available in a NEW size #2 and #3 Chucker’s these 25’ heads make Spey Casting Transition relatively easy coming down into Trout Spey/Micro Spey Rod sizes and overall expected angling methods. Versatile enough to cover the whole gamut of Trout Spey be it Soft Hackle Swinging (get crafty and use a 10’ Floating Versi leader here!), stripping streamers or swinging meatier choices for bigger grabs the Switch Chucker will prove a most versatile choice. Indicator game will have its day in court here as well. Can be utilized with MOW Light and even Medium MOW selections as well as a host of Versi leaders in 6’ and 10’ feet. The Chucker should be dead on line size targeted, meaning put a 2 Weight on a 2 Rod, 3 on the 3 so on and so forth. To be sure, the RIO Switch Chucker is a great all around choice here.
NEW RIO Single Handed Spey Line : Awe…this one falls into the “Didn’t know such could work but turns out to be a fabulous choice” category. While mega good on the single hand intended usage (Both Spey and shockingly good overhead) the NEW RIO Single Handed Spey Line is a “Sleeper Choice” on Trout/Micro Spey Rods. Based on a 34’ Taper the Single Hand Spey Line on a “3 Bump Rule” works simply wonderful on these small ball Spey rods. 3 Bump Rule will show that in order to hit an “Applicable” grain window one shall select this line 3 line sizes HIGHER than the given rod line size. EXAMPLES: again the NEW SAGE 2109-4 ONE Trout Spey is a 2 weight rod, simply bump 3 sizes up (hence the WF-5-F Single Handed Spey Line) and batta bing, batta boom you have a simply KILLER match up. Just so happens that WF-5-F weighs out at around 227 grains hitting the 2 Weight Spey Grain window perfectly giving it both max propulsion along with an fully integrated fly line to boot. 9’-12’ RIO Trout Leaders will fine tune this choice into a Trout Spey machine!