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How to Set Up a Trout Spey Rod, Reel, and Line System

Posted by Joe Rotter on
How to Set Up a Trout Spey Rod, Reel, and Line System

Too. Many. OPTIONS. Haha. We can help. Have you looked at taking the plunge into lite spey fishing but are overwhelmed by all the gear? Join the club. LOTS of folks are confused here, so I put together this straightforward, but long video to help you make some educated choices on gear. In addition, here is a framework to help you understand some of the tackle and the basics.

Things to Know:

  • Spey fishing is "tight line" fishing best done in currents walking speed or faster.
  • 90% of trout spey fishing is done with "Skagit" style lines. These are compact shooting heads designed to be married with sink tips and shooting lines.
  • Skagit style casting is "sustained anchor" casting. Slow down and watch this video series when you are ready to start casting.  
  • Skagit heads MUST have a tip or sink tip attached in order for them to become complete. They are designed with the assumption a tip will be attached.
  • A Skagit line is composed of several parts:
    • Sink Tip (or floating tip)
    • Shooting Head
    • Running Line (possibly integrated into the head, possibly connected loop-to-loop). Pro's and con's in video.
  • Tippet for Streamers on sink tips should be short and heavy. 3-5' +/- 10-12# test.

Essential Ingredients for a Trout Spey System

  1. Trout Spey Rod - The most common size range for trout sized critters is an 11' - 11'6" 3-4 weight rod.
  2. Trout Spey Reel - Should be +/- 7 weight sized. Full frame is beneficial, but not essential.
  3. Trout Spey Line - Skagit shooting head, can be "integrated" with the running line or the two can be separate.
  4. Sink Tip (or floating tip) - The sink tip is typically 10-12' and should be proportionally sized to the shooting head. i.e. the same sink tips you use on y our 8 weight spey rod, will be too heavy for the little shooting head on your 3 weight.  


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