Spey Rod

Spey Rod
Photo: John G. Sherman

My first Spey rod was a 14-foot 9-weight with an action described as "Euro." At the time I bought it, it was probably the best-selling two-handed rod in America. I caught a memorable 20-pound, fire-engine red steelhead on the Suskwa River, and some June Atlantic salmon on the Gaspé Peninsula, and I believed it to be a fantastic rod.

Now it sits in a corner neglected, and unused. Technically there's nothing wrong with it except a few bumps and scratches. On the other hand, plenty is wrong with it, and I couldn't in good conscience give it away.

That's because today's new two-handed rods are light years from where they were when Spey rods first arrived North America. In general, the more popular models today are shorter and lighter, both in the physical weight of the rods and in the weight of the recommended lines.

Instead of using 9- and 10-weight rods to carry huge amounts of line, and create immense D loops, the most popular (and effective) rods in the US today are meant to throw relatively small D loops with a quick, compact stroke using much shorter Skagit and Scandi heads.


The trend toward lighter, shorter rods gave us switch rods, which are in name and theory small enough to switch to single-handed use. In reality though, most switch rods are rarely used with one hand except those rare occasions where you need to scratch your nose, or warm up one hand in a pocket momentarily.


Switch rods are two-handed rods 99% of the time, they are just sized down for smaller rivers, and gamefish that don't require a beefy stick. Switch rods are generally 11 or 12 feet, and are great choices for smaller Lake Erie and Lake Ontario steelhead streams, swinging streamers for smallmouth bass, or tidal salt ponds and surf fishing for striped bass.


You can use Spey techniques and two-handed rods for almost anything that swims in moving water. And while you may not at first catch more fish (or even as many) you'll find that merely casting is more complex, addictive, and more fun when you add that extra dimension, so get out there and try it!

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You

How an Atlanta craft brewery is helping to save Georgia's most important trout stream. United States

Saving the Chattahoochee River

Ross Purnell - April 23, 2019

How an Atlanta craft brewery is helping to save Georgia's most important trout stream.

The Kamikaze Sculpin is easy to tie, versatile, and smartly designed to get the job done. Fly Tying

Tying the Kamikaze Sculpin

Charlie Craven

The Kamikaze Sculpin is easy to tie, versatile, and smartly designed to get the job done.

Here's a look at 8 new fly lines for 2019. Lines

8 New Fly Lines for 2019

Fly-Fisherman

Here's a look at 8 new fly lines for 2019.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

 Getting Started In Fly Fishing

Getting Started In Fly Fishing

Getting Started In Fly Fishing

Breaking the Surface

Breaking the Surface

Attack of the Bass continues as Breaking the Surface attacks bass with fly and lure 12:30pm ET Sunday, April 17th.

Black Beauty

Black Beauty

Master fly tier Charlie Craven discuss the tools and materials needed to tie the Black Beauty.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Read about Colorado's backcountry fly fishing in United States

Indian Peaks Wilderness Area Colorado

Steven B. Schweitzer - May 03, 2016

Read about Colorado's backcountry fly fishing in " Indian Peaks Wilderness Area Colorado."

Best Panfish Flies Fly Tying

Best Panfish Flies

Skip Morris - October 17, 2016

Best Panfish Flies

George Daniels offers his advice on which types of fly-fishing leaders are best for the most common applications you'll encounter on the water. How-To

Picking the Perfect Fly-Fishing Leader

George Daniel - January 22, 2018

George Daniels offers his advice on which types of fly-fishing leaders are best for the most...

See More Stories

More Rods

Although Sage isn't officially calling this a saltwater rod, we tested the new fast-action Sage Method on the bonefish flats of South Andros Island. Rods

Sage Method

Ross Purnell, Editor - October 23, 2013

Although Sage isn't officially calling this a saltwater rod, we tested the new fast-action...

The black Xtreme Skin handle on the St Croix Legend X is durable, easy to clean, and is solidly adhered directly to the rod blank in thin layers. Rods

St Croix Legend X

Ross Purnell, Editor - October 23, 2013

The black Xtreme Skin handle on the St Croix Legend X is durable, easy to clean, and is...

After a long period of testing, tweaking, and tuning, Orvis has finally released the Orvis Superfine Glass, rolled and assembled at the Orvis rod shop in Manchester, Vermont, and priced under $400 Rods

Orvis Superfine Glass Rod

Fly Fisherman - October 28, 2013

After a long period of testing, tweaking, and tuning, Orvis has finally released the Orvis...

See More Rods

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×