How to Match a Spey Line to your Deer Creek Rod

TFO oval logoBy Temple Fork Outfitters

The Deer Creek Series of rods have casting properties that marry perfectly with modern Spey lines. They have a unique progressive, traditional action making them ideal for executing all types of Spey and Skagit casts.

However, finding an appropriate line for a two-handed rod can be an area of struggle. With varying tapers and head lengths, line terminology can be confusing. Add in the fact that purchasing lines is expensive, than it is easy to see how frustrations can arise when attempting to match your rod with the perfect line.


Image by Temple Fork Outfitters.

All TFO two-handed rods have a grain window listed on the butt/handle of the rod.

A grain window defines the engineered grain carrying capability of a fly rod blank under load from the line.

The primary purpose of posting the grain window on our two handed fly rods is to aid the caster in achieving a correct and balanced rod/line marriage.

Before discussing grain windows and matching lines to rods, it is important to mention the physical make up of spey lines and which lines are appropriate for your fishing situation.

Skagit Heads

Some of the most popular lines used on Spey rods today are Skagit style heads. Skagit heads tend to be thicker, with a short often times indiscernible from taper. They offer more water resistance to get a better load on the two-handed fly rod with the sustained anchor style of Skagit casting. These lines are shorter, typically two-and-a-half times the length of the rod. They are ideal for throwing heavy flies, heavy sink-tips and fishing deep, fast moving water.

Scandinavian (Scandi) Lines

Scandi Lines, on the other hand, are designed to throw smaller flies. They are designed for “airborne anchor” casts – casts such as the single spey and snake roll. Scandi lines are thinner in diameter (particularly at the front end) and have a long front taper that allows the energy to unroll easily while presenting a fly.

Traditional or Long Belly Spey Lines

Traditional or long belly Spey lines are often twice the length of Scandi lines. They are designed for long, delicate presentations on traditional, (slow) action Spey rods. Unlike Skagit heads, these lines always have integrated running lines.

How to use a Grain Window

For example, the 13’6, 8/9 Deer Creek Spey rod has a grain window of 550 to 800 grains. If you were to be fishing large water in the Pacific Northwest, the Great Lakes Region or in British Columbia, an ideal line choice would be a Skagit head.

When choosing a Skagit head line, it is often best to pick a line towards the high end of the grain window. The heavier the line, the easier it will be for the road to load, and make an effective cast.

Skagit heads in the 600-660, with tips to 200 grains are ideal for this rod. A Rio Skagit in 600/650 grains, Airflo Skagit 8/9 and a Rio IFlight Intermediate line in the 600/700 grain range.

Scandi lines in the lower end of the grain window, 500-575. Examples include: Scientific Anglers Scandi Extreme Head, in a 520/560 grain.

Traditional lines in the 8/9 to 9/10 designation. Line recommendations include the Airflo Delta Long 8/9, CND GP 8/9 or 9/10 for deep loading, Rio Power Spey for 8/9 or 9/10 for deep loading.


About templeforkoutfitters
Armed with a lifetime passion for fishing, we set out to establish a new standard of value for fly and conventional rods. We have relied on our own experience and advice of many professionals in creating what we believe is the perfect marriage - price and performance. Sound too good to be true? Cast one and you be the judge.

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