Fly fisherman trout spey casting on estuary at dusk
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Single hand Trout Spey :
Getting started with a 9 ft 5wt rod

Spey casting for trout is catching on everywhere.


To explore Trout Spey and avoid the frustration of mismatched gear and unnecessary expense, I share useful info and winning combinations.


When I began my Trout Spey journey in 2017, the information I had was confusing and saw me trying to cast sink tips that were way too long and heavy for the 15 ft Skagit heads and 9 ft rods I started with. It took me almost two years of obsessive experimentation, and more money than I care to admit, to fine tune my single-hand outfits.


Once I did, the magic began.


Many anglers may mistakenly believe they need to invest in a two-handed outfit to get into this fly-fishing adventure.


Fact is, a 9 ft 5wt single hand rod is usually more effective for Trout Spey than a two-handed rod when fishing rivers less than 30m wide and flowing under 20 cumecs, and here’s why:


1. A 9 ft rod with a short 180-200 grain Skagit head has better presentation than a 250 or 300 grain head on a 3wt or 4wt double hander, yet it is able to cast the heavy tips and flies frequently needed on New Zealand rivers.

A 1wt to 2wt double-hander, on the other hand, cannot handle the size of fly and weight of tip that a 5wt single hander can, even with an identical Skagit head.

3. A 9 ft rod and short head is more accurate and better suited to stripping streamers, as well as fishing at close quarters, than double handed rods, which are more adept at swinging flies at distance.
4. A 9 ft 5wt rod with a 150-190 Scandi-style head has the delicacy of a 1wt double hander for swinging dry flies and fishing soft hackles, but with much greater capacity to fight fish longer than 20 inches in flowing water, because it has more power in the butt.

A line haul, possible when casting single handed, means you can cast as far with a 9 ft single handed rod as you can with a longer double hander.

I don’t share equations and formulas I’ve come up with for assembling balanced outfits, as most anglers are not that into the maths and just want to know what works.


If you’re interested in the geeky detail, check out Single Hand Skagit: Science behind the magic.


Single hand Trout Spey : Getting started with a 9 ft 5wt rod

+ Getting started
+ Rods and Skagit heads
+ Sink tips for Skagit heads
+ Tippet for Skagit heads

Intermediate Skagit heads

+ Hybrid heads
+ Floating tips for Skagit heads
+ Running lines
+ Cost effective approach
+ Learning to Spey cast
+ A final word

What is Trout Spey

+ How it all began
+ What is Spey casting?
+ Fly lines
+ Sink Tips for Skagit Heads
+ Single versus two handed rods
+ Effective Spey flies for New Zealand Trout and techniques for fishing them
+ Favourite Trout Spey outfits
+ Conclusions

Single Hand Skagit - Science behind the magic

+ Where it all began
+ Head design
+ Sink tips
+ Casting heavy sink tips
+ Running lines
+ Reels
+ Rods
+ Intermediate heads
+ Favourite outfits
+ Conclusions

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