Odds 'n' Sods of Information and Opinion

How do I know if my Spey line is right for my rod?

The simplest answer is - the rod and line combination will achieve what I call, “Easy Distance”. In other words, will the rod cast the line from short ranges out to reasonable distances with minimal effort on the part of the angler? If the answer to that question is “Yes” then the line is working well on that rod. Whether or not it will suit your tastes is another matter, but at least it casts well.

If we don’t have a lot of Spey casting experience, this may be a tough evaluation to make when trying a line. So here’s a couple of guidelines that will help narrow things down.

If the line is too light for the rod, it will feel light. Short and medium distance casts will be fine, but longer casts just run out of gas. The angler starts having to push the rod to reach reasonable distances. It still feels light, but the angler is working. It’s not uncommon to push too hard and start throwing tailing loops. One way to compensate is to shorten up the casting stroke and make the hard stop crisper. We make up for the lack of weight, not by pushing harder, but by accelerating at a faster rate. We do that by shortening the casting stroke. If the casting stroke is shortened up and the stop made more crisply, often the light line will begin to perform well.

If the line is too heavy, it will feel heavy and it will seem like work to make it go. Like the ‘too light’ line, short to medium distances usually will be OK, but farther out will suffer. With a heavy line, the longer the cast, the more the angler works. When going for distance, it’s very easy to throw a tailing loop. To compensate, slow down the stroke, broaden it out and make a bit softer stop. Often when the angler slows and broadens the stroke, the heavy line starts to really work well.

So if we’re out on the river with a test line and things are not going well, try the two ways of compensating and see which one works best.