I'm sure many of you know Rick Matney, he's one of our top guides and is on Pro Staff for Echo Rods, Airflo Lines, and Hatch Outdoors. Rick did us a huge favor and put together a list of his 5 favorite setups for swinging and nymphing trout in Montana... Using the auto industry for comparison.
The 4-Door Tacoma Loaded With Leather:
I compare this rod and weight to the Tacoma because it can basically do a lot in a small, compact package. For streamers use a Skagit Switch 360 grain line with a T-7 Flow Tip and you are off to the races. For dries and soft hackles the 330 grain Compact Scandi will get it done. For all you bobber degenerates pair it with a 4wt Speydicator line. This rod really shines with the Skagit and Flo Tip combo. It is able to throw a wide range of streamers including weighted ones. Flies up to 4” with dumbbell eyes are no problem for this little guy.
The One-Ton Diesel Fully Loaded:
This is my favorite full sized spey rod. If you like playing in the big creeks and want to have a great summer run steelhead rod as well, then this is your boy. Running the Compact Skagit 420 grain line with 12 feet of T-7 will get most any reasonable fly into flight. The 420 grain Compact Scandi is the line of choice for skating dries and the 5wt Speydicator for all your nymphing needs. This is a cannon, not for use at close range. Big water and big casts. Mo enthusiasts should find this rod perfect for the big, broad runs. Take a steelhead trip over to the Clearwater or Salmon and you have a great fishing system for many conditions. Put a Hatch 7 plus Large Arbor reel and you got yourself a pretty sweet ride that will go anywhere and do anything.
The Vespa Scooter:
This setup may not be for everyone and is not all that versatile but for swinging soft hackles and small dries, this is the cat’s pajamas. Super light and sensitive this is also one of the best nymphing micro speys as well. It's super fun to fight fish on and very indicator friendly. Don’t expect to be dropping 90 foot bombs with this tool and be aware that the largest fly it will effectively throw is a weighted wooly bugger. With that being said, if you are into technical fishing and want to save your shoulder from the single hand and increase your effective fishing area this is your tool. Pair it with an Airflo Super Dri River and Stream in a 6wt and you have got most everything covered. For those wanting to get more distance for swinging, an Airflo Compact Scandi 330 grain with the first 8 feet cut off will huck an October caddis to the far bank in the tailout. Likewise a Compact Rage with 8 feet cut off will throw poly leaders and small streamers such as a bead head woolly bugger and get deeper.
The 1967 Volkswagon Van:
I may call this one the soul pole. It has so much of a unique feel and finish that it demands a throwback following. I know what you are thinking, that’s an awful big rod for trout. You are right, but because it is such a fun rod to cast I put it up here. This rod will throw squirrels and rabbits. Line it with a Compact Skagit 540 or 510 grain and put a Flo Tip T-14 on it and let the fur fly. Don’t let the glass technology deceive you, this is a cannon. It’s smooth and remarkably easy to throw a lot of junk really far with a super slow stroke. So chill out and let it work for you. As far as skating dries, a 510 Compact Scandi does a great job. This is definitely a more steelhead friendly rod over a trout rod but if you want to swing big flies down deep on big rivers then this will fit that bill. When the winter doldrums get you down with crappy snow, head out to the coast to throw chickens at some oversized wild winter steelhead. On a side note, I believe you will be required to grow a beard and wear wool flannels to purchase this hammer...
The Subaru Outback:
Not quite the workhorse of the Echo 3 but a great alternative for better gas milage while still maintaining a lot versatility. The 360 grain Skagit Switch with a Flo T-7 will have you pitching streamers to the far side of the river. The 300 grain Compact Scandi for the soft hackles and dries. If you're into nymphing give Airflo's River and Stream Superdri 8wt line for your nymphing needs. This rod is slightly slower than the Echo 3 and is also more forgiving for beginning casters. This would be a great intro rod for someone looking at getting into the two hand game for trout.
You can check out all of Echo's fly rods on their website www.echoflyfishing.com and Airflo's site with all of their lines HERE. If you have any questions about a new Spey setup or just fine tuning one of your current rods feel free to give the shop a call at 406-587-4707.
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