King Of Spey Rodsby: theangler
It was while I was ill that John Kuehn of the Angler’s Roost began telling me tales of his latest acquisition – a 14-foot spey rod. As we talked, one thing became very evident – he was excited about the prospects for his new product. A few days later, John called again even more excited’ He said, “Guess what, one of the rods that’s out West sent a line sailing somewhere over 150-feet.” Now, 150-feet is a long way and easily worthy of attention among fly fishing advocates of the spey rod and “Big Water!”
“Equally surprising is the price man manufacturers are asking for these two-handed graphite sticks crafted from various powders, resin and scrim. I’m beginning to think that something in the range of 500 bucks must be a bargain, since the really good rods – according to the manufacturer – cost $700 or more.” That’s a lot of money and not necessarily true.
“And, what a fun trip this has been... If nothing else, it proves old dogs can learn new tricks. Spey casting is fun, easy, graceful, and, believe it or not, allows for the transfer of many things you already know. One thing is certain, if I can learn the spey cast, you can, too...”
Under his eBay banner of Angler’s Roost Enterprises, John offered four Spey models:
12-Ft., 3-piece, 7/8 weight.
12-Ft., 4-piece, 5/6 weight.
12 1/2 Ft., 4-piece, 9/10 weight.
13-Ft., 4-piece, 7/8 weight.
However, what proved to be the most amazing attraction in today’s world was then (and now) the very reasonable cost and the outstanding performance given by these rods.
With this backround, John has brought another outstanding rod to the spey rod community – a rod that consistently gets rave reviews from all who toss a fly a “country mile” using the magic of spey casting. And yes, it is the rod that started this article. After gathering facts, comments, and tidbits from the folks who have spent years longer than I have on the major rivers of North America, I decided Johns Kuehn’s new 14-foot IM-8 Spey Rod deserves the name, The King Of Spey!
Remember the earlier mention of a rod out West and 150-foot casts? If you do, there is a bit more to the story. While pursing contacts for more info, I ran into a gentleman I wish I had run into years ago. His name is Stephen Godshall, the owner of a small company called Spey Works located in Medford, Oregon. I’ve concluded that Steve knows more about spey rods, spey casting, and spey lines, (down to the finest detail) than anyone else I know. He has to – Steve makes a living building custom spey lines specifically designed in weight and taper to perform on your rod. Thus, he needs to know not only the specifications of the popular commercials rods of today but how a specific rod feels and how a line performs in the hands during the cast. Only then can he design and build a line for your spey rod, and do it for the most reasonable cost.
At this point I mentioned to Steve that I was having trouble casting the rod that in the near-future I would nickname the King Of Spey. Steve’s reply was quick; Doug, you’ve got the wrong line – I’ll get one in the mail today that is matched to the characteristics of John’s new rod.” He did just that. The line arrived. I rigged it, cast it, and stood there flabbergasted. The rod that recently felt uncomfortable in my hands suddenly came alive when the cast was made with Steve’s line.
2. My thanks for the use of the wonderful photos of the spey cast to Steve and his friends and associates.
For you folks that may have followed my writings know that for over twenty years I have argued that the most important part of the fly fishing system is the fly line; more important than the rod, the reel, of for that matter, how much you paid for either one. In over twenty years, nothing has come up to change my mind.
Obviously, Steve thinks a great deal of John’s new rod. He remarked, “You know there are a bunch of rods being brought into the States that look cosmetically very much the same as John’s rods. But that’s where the similarities end. They do not make the cast like John’s rods, regardless of the line used.”
I learned a lot more from Steve than space permits here. Suffice to say, if you want expert help in perfecting your cast, remember that importance of the fly line. Drop Steve Godshall a note:
2890 Farmington Ave.
Medford, OR. 97504
Phone: 541-840-2594 Fax: 541-774-8812
I will offer my opinion on what I consider to be the finest inexpensive Spey Rods in the world. The King is a fine rod that offers far more in service and value to its owner than the money the owner paid... Available in 3 models, a 5-6, 7-8, and'/or the 9-10, will more than suit your “big” waters and your cast.
If performance means a lot to you, and not necessarily the axiom, “the more you pay, the more you get,” by all means contact John Kuehn. Give him a call at 716-565-9838 or email him at email@example.com Better yet, visit his website
I confess to all, the secret to a graphite fly rod is to be found in the rod maker’s mind when he or she brings together a concept of the taper, wall thickness, and length. And then adds the graphite powder, rosin, and scrim that when mixed make the thing a rod, after being wrapped around a mandrel... and baked in an oven. Regrettable, many rod builders would have you believe there is a methods to their madness. Perhaps...
Copyright Doug G. Macnair, 2011
Added: Mon Feb 20 2012
Last Modified: Mon Apr 09 2012