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Friday, December 23, 2011

BAM's Swingin' Rig for Steelhead Alley

The idea for this post isn't original; the inspiration comes from the Deneki Outdoors blog that I visit frequently.  For those of you who are looking for some product reviews, true expert rigs, and knowledge on all other things spey, you should definitely take a peek -  Consider this an attempt to cover a fraction of what's discussed in that link, for our area.

What follows is a breakdown of my two-handed set up that you'll find me fishing day in and day out on the Erie tributaries.  Like most things spey, this rig is based largely on personal preference, which I'll get into a bit later in the post.

The Summary:  
- Scott Arc 1196
- Rio Skagit Flight 475
- Nautilus NV 11/12 with spey spool

The Details
- 30 pound gel spul dacron backing attached to the spool with an arbor knot.
- SA Dragon Tail shooting line attached to the backing with a loop to loop connection.  Tie a bimini twist to create a loop in your backing.  Double over the end of the non-looped side of the shooting line and secure into a loop using two nail knots.  Loop these two ends together with a "handshake connection."  The DragonTail helps with loop stabilization. Although it doesn't shoot as far as mono, on our rivers rarely is it necessary to shoot more than 40 to 50 feet of line, so distance isn't an issue.

- Rio Flight 475 looped to running line using factory loops on both ends.
- 10 ft. Rio MOW Tips in medium (T-11) and heavy (T-14) weights; the 5 ft. floating/5ft. sinking, and 2.5 ft. floating/7.5 ft. sinking tips should cover most swinging applications in this area.
- 12 inch section of 20 lb. Rio Max plus mono, with a double surgeons loop on both ends.  
- 18 inches of fluorocarbon tippet, looped to heavy mono with another double surgeons loop.
- Articulated fly attached to tippet using a non-slip mono loop.

The Commentary
- At 11'9", the Arc is a great length for fishing the larger Lake Erie tributaries.  The rod is a true two hander and features a full second grip.  The downside?  This rod isn't made anymore.   Other "short and light" spey rods can fill this role.
- With a medium action and a 475 grain line, short casts still allow for lots of feel and load through the rod.  The Flight is able to turn over a wide variety of tips making it a great choice for many different rivers and water conditions in our area.
- Fighting fish on a 6 wt. is really, really, really fun.
- When swinging this time of year with a Skagit line, be prepared to break a lot of ice out of your guides because of the amount of stripping required when preparing for your next cast.
- Make the fly look alive, then hang on...

Get out there, swing a bug, and hope for a tug!

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