The spey rods market has never been so ripe with Skagit rods. ¬†Nearly every manufacturer has a stick or two in their arsenal that excels at throwing short heads and big flies. ¬†Most of these rods are 13 footers designed for the big water situations we see in the media: broad, riffling runs with a half dozen fish-collecting boulders strewn about.
But if you come tour the West Coast’s winter steelhead rivers, you might be surprised by how much “unconventional” water you see. ¬†In fact, (dare I say it) the majority of our winter steelhead are holding not in the easy-to-fish runs but in the tighter and deeper runs in between. ¬†And these spots rarely have easy beaches to wade–or wide open skies that allow long rods.
The rod designers at Beulah understand this, clearly. ¬†Enter the 12′ 4″ 8 wt Platinum, a big game two-hander that excels at fishing the tighter and deeper runs that–at this very moment–are holding big, dime bright steelhead.
I’ve been fishing this rod since January. ¬†It’s the stick I reach for when I’ll be standing on a bouldery shore, casting big or heavy flies out from under a canopy of alders. ¬†Its shorter size allows a full rod stroke in more places, but it remains long enough to allow technical mending and swing steering for those far-side lies. ¬†Its flex profile allows it to cast well at short ranges (casting with just the tip) and at longer distances (casting with the whole rod). ¬†And it has the power reserve to turn over my heaviest tips (T-17) and, if the current is really cranking, worm weights.
I match the rod with a 580 grain Beulah Tonic Skagit head, though if I’m going to be throwing the heavy stuff, I bump up to a 600 grain Compact Skagit. ¬†I suspect the rod could handle a much heavier head without tip-wobbling, especially for short-range work.
The rod is listed as having a slightly “regressive flex,” meaning the majority of the flex happens lower in the stick. ¬†My own experience with the rod is that feels more progressive than Beulah’s other rods in the Platinum Series. ¬†In fact, its flex profile is one that makes timing during the cast essential; hence, I recommend the rod for intermediate and experienced spey casters, folks who have learned how to maintain load through the sweep and D-loop.
The rod has Beulah’s trademark lightness and recovery. ¬†At 7 ounces, it is far lighter than most 8 wt 12 footers, and thanks to its smartly designed taper and graphite, it recovers after the forward stroke almost instantaneously, resulting in immediate transfer of power from the cast into the line. ¬†In short, you can have a poorly placed anchor or an abbreviated D-loop and–so long as you come to a crisp stop on the forward stroke–still send a fishable cast.
This rod, like the other Beulah’s I’ve fished, is clearly designed by folks who spend a lot of time on the water catching steelhead. ¬†Give it a fish, and I think you’ll be impressed.