8139 Spey rod

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8139 Spey Rod
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8139 Spey Rod
Pete Gadd tests the G. Loomis FR1658/9 Kispiox two hand fly rod.
Mark Bachmann caught this steelhead with a C.F. Burkheimer 8139-3 rod.

Allegedly it all started in the bone yard at Kerry Burkheimer's plant in Washougal, Washington.  Pete Gadd was working in the handle grinding department. Pete is a totally addicted steelhead angler who is always in search of the "magic bullet" fly or a newer, better rod to deliver it to the fish.  He had found a new piece of prime water and concluded the the rods he owned at the time fell a little short at being the best tools to fish it.  Pete figured a 14' 8-weight would give him the best advantage.  Problem is there wasn't one available in stock so he decided to put together a "quickie" out of the parts available.  The pieces didn't fit together quite right and the new rod came out to be 13' 9".  

However, it was so smooth and easy to cast that after some minor adjustments, Kerry introduced it as a new production model.  Ed Ward got one and found it to be the best rod available at the time for his "Skagit casting" style.  It soon became one of his favorite sticks.  Ed is a guy who attracts a lot of attention and pretty quick the 8139-3 became popular with a number of other Pacific Northwest anglers.  CND brought out their own 8139 in their Specialist Series.  It too was an instant success.  When Ed Ward became part of the G. Loomis pro staff two more 8139's were born in the Dredger and Kispiox

Patty with a Sage 8139-4 VT2 rod.

Series.  This year Sage brought out their new VT2 series and guess what, one of their new two-handers is an 8139.   Why is this size of rod attracting so much attention.  In the past, the two most popular sizes in steelhead spey rods were 14'-#9 and 13' 6"-#7.  The larger rod was used for big steelhead, big flies and big water. The smaller rod was used for smaller steelhead, smaller flies and smaller water.  When you think about it a 13' 9"-#8 may be the perfect "all-around" size for summer and winter, big and small, water and fish.  In the last three weeks I've had the privilege of fishing both the Deschutes (5,000cfs) and the Klickitat (800cfs) with the four 8139's that we currently stock.  These are the original C.F. Burkheimer 8139-3, Sage 8139-4 VT2, G. Loomis FR1658/9-4 GLX and FR1658/9-4 Kispiox.  All fished very well.

Full floating and sinking tip lines were used as fishing conditions dictated.  The same two lines were used on all the rods that were tested.  A stock 8/9/10 WindCutter with tips (weighs 585 grains) and a 450 grain Skagit with various combinations of cheaters.  Most often used combination with the Skagit line was a 10-foot cheater and 11-weight sinking tip for a total of 762 grains in a 52' long head. The weights of the two lines varied as much as 177 grains.  Even though the heads are approximately the same length casting characteristics changed quite a bit with the weights.  Probably none of the rods were matched with a perfect line which had been tailored to  it. However certain rods worked better with certain lines.  The Burkheimer casts easily with all of the lines tested, but seemed most powerful with the heaviest line used.  But when I have used the heavy line the rod seems to be maxed out.  I will be testing some lines in the 675-700 grain weights to see if more line speed can be produced with slightly less weight.  The Sage VT2 feels best to me with the standard 8/9/10 WindCutter.  Because of the very fast taper of this rod, it builds the most line speed in the tip.  When the heavier line was used it bogged the tip and killed the recovery of this short spring and line speed suffered. With WindCutter the VT2 develops incredible line speed and accuracy over a wide range of fishing distances.  The two Loomis rods tested, worked best with the Skagit line which was shortened and lightened when the 10-foot Cheater was replaced with a 5-foot Cheater.  This made the head weigh 640-grains.  Both Loomis rods are forgiving to cast and are sweet at close to moderate ranges.  For me they bog down at longer ranges.  However, they were pleasant and effective and covered all the water I needed to cover. Predictably casts that generate continuous loads seem to work best with these rods.  Because of their suppleness, they were the most fun to play fish on.  I hope to join up again this winter with the G. Loomis crew for another rod testing and fishing day.  Maybe Ed Ward can show me more about his Skagit casting technique and I will appreciate his Dredgers more.

If the Sage and Burkheimer have flaws, it is that fishing at close range can be very demanding.  Both of these rods perform at their best when the whole head is past the tip top. 

The actions of the four rods tested, cover a wide spectrum of actions, from the very fast Sage VT2 to the moderate G. Loomis Kispiox.  Obviously each maker had a slightly different fishing application and casting style in mind.  From the maker's point of view, each was designed to give the best advantage in the market-place by giving the angler the best advantage on the water.  The best design should result in the highest numbers sold and the most profit made.

When riding horses, the rider does a lot which determines how fast the horse can run.  With horse riding and fly casting there are a wide range of skill levels out there.  Each rider and caster has a maximum top speed. 

In the world of fly fishing the line speed belongs to the "Shop Rats".  Shop Rats are guys and gals that hang around fly shops.  Most work in shops or are guides or are wannabee guides.  They all do a lot of fly casting and if you do a lot of anything you get better at it.  Shop Rats probably comprise no more than 5% of the fly fishing fraternity, but have a huge amount of influence on what kinds of fly rods become popular.  The core group of anglers hold down regular jobs and fish mostly on week ends or during vacations.  A lot of them cast very well, but usually don't get to practice nearly as much as the Rats.  Another category are the rich guys who spent all of their time making money and didn't take much time to fish until they retired.  Many didn't get much practice except talking about fly fishing over cocktails.  Now they are retired and are making up for lost time. Many struggle at fishing and casting, but exert a lot of influence on rod design because of their buying power. There are probably many other categories of anglers and each might require a slightly different rod action to make them feel most comfortable.  The industry tends to feel that most of the other anglers out there envy the casting skills of the Shop Rats even though they probably won't make the sacrifices in their own careers to become as good at fly casting.  This situation always poses some interesting paradoxes in rod design philosophy.  How does one build a fly rod that the masses will be able to cast well and and still appeal to the Rats. 

All this study in angling sociology doesn't even consider that there are also different sizes of rivers, flies and fish.  No wonder there are a myriad differing rod design theories out there.  Exploring and learning about each of them is an adventure in itself.  The subject keeps many of the Rats light in the pocket book and very busy in the online chat rooms.

The new Sage VT2 Series is nearly as fast action as their TCR Series.  It should be a big hit with the Rats.  I should also become popular with Europeans anglers who generally prefer faster action rods.  Because of its ability to man-handle sinking tip lines the 8139-4 VT2 will appeal to many winter steelheaders.  With its high performance, beautiful finish and moderate price, it is bound to be a financial success for Sage and their supporting shops.

My own particular choice out of the four rods tested. is the Burkheimer 8139-3.  It is very comfortable for the waters that I fish the most.  It turned out to be the rod that I used the most on the Deschutes this last season, which is what prompted this article.  It is a heavier rod than you will need for half of the Deschutes steelhead.  However, this rod sure is pleasant when White River gives you another sinking-tip-day or the wind is howling.  For sure, it will get used a lot this winter on the Sandy.  It has an action that is easy to time, but still develops the line speed that will appeal to most of the Shop Rats.  It should.  It was originally designed by one.

8139 Spey Rod Comparisons
Rod Model Rod Weight Action Comments
Sage VT2 8.2 oz. Fast This rod delivers great line speed with a 8/9/10 WindCutter  A great rod for fishing with sinking tip lines.
C.F. Burkheimer 7.8 oz. Med. Fast Fishes all configurations of lines and is one of the most adaptable steelhead rods available.
G. Loomis Dredger   Medium Designed with Skagit style casting in mind, this rod is adaptable to all kinds of casts.
G. Loomis
Kispiox
  Slow This rod is soft and gentle by nature and will appeal mostly to beginning spey casters.

Meet Tippet The Kat

Tippet fears no fish. Our new customer relations officer is on the job at The Fly Fishing Shop.  Her name is Tippet.  She is a three pound, blue eyed, Himalayan Siamese.  Tippet loves to play with nearly everybody and is especially adept at entertaining non-angling wives and children while the rest of the family shops.  Tippet also finds all of the secret places in the luggage department and excels at chasing down tufts of yarn during casting practice in the back yard.

New Tube Fly Tubes For The Fly Tier
Tube flies are gaining popularity in fly fishing for steelhead, salmon and saltwater fish.

Temple Dog tied by Josh Linn. Tube flies are accepted world wide and each geographic area and culture exerts its influence on how tubes are made and how they are employed.  All sizes of flies are tied on tubes.  Currently, tube fly sizes range from tiny trout flies to huge billfish flies.  Salmon and steelhead tube flies have been going through a period of constant evolution for the last 10-years. This fueled by a cross pollenazation of Scandinavian, UK and Pacific Northwest tying and fishing styles.  The most obvious advantage of using tube flies is being able to size the fly and the hook
independently.  This approach has proven to be most beneficial when larger than average flies are employed.  In the case of steelhead flies, the tube fly approach has allowed them to become much larger and lighter in weight.  Recently tiers on both sides of the Atlantic have shown an interest in tubes that are machined from bar stock.  With these short tubes the weight can be concentrated in certain parts of the fly to produce a predictable swimming action.  We have used and sold the Loop Bottle Tubes for several years with a lot of success.  Many beautiful, productive flies have been tied on them.  Recently two of the guys at the shop, Pete Gadd and Josh Linn, have become very interested in machined tube made by Yuri Shumakov 2.  Both Pete and Josh will be ready show you some of their latest creations at the Metal Head Christmas Party.

Yuri Shumakov Bottle Neck Tubes

Quantity = 10 per package.
Size: 4mm X 13mm
Slots: (3) unpainted

Yuri Shumakov tube.
Item Description Size Price To Top
YS-BNT-AL Yuri Shumakov Bottle Neck Tubes, aluminum 13mm x 4mm $7.95

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Yuri Shumakov Bottle Neck Tubes

Quantity = 10 per package.
Size: 4mm X 13mm
Slots: (3) unpainted

Yuri Shumakov tube.
Item Description Size Price To Top
YS-BNT-BR Yuri Shumakov Bottle Neck Tubes, brass 13mm x 4mm $7.95

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Yuri Shumakov Long Range Tubes

Quantity = 10 per package.
Size: 4mm X 13mm
Slots: (4) unpainted

Yuri Shumakov tube.
Item Description Size Price To Top
YS-LRT-AL Yuri Shumakov Long Range Tubes, aluminum 13mm x 4mm $7.95

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Yuri Shumakov Long Range Tubes

Quantity = 10 per package.
Size: 4mm X 13mm
Size: 5mm X 13mm
Slots: (4) unpainted

Yuri Shumakov tube.
Item Description Size Price To Top
YS-LRT-BR-4 Yuri Shumakov Long Range Tubes, brass 13mm x 4mm $7.95

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YS-LRT-BR-5 Yuri Shumakov Long Range Tubes, brass 13mm x 5mm $7.95

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Yuri Shumakov Skittle Tubes, with slots

Quantity = 10 per package.
Size: 5mm X 13mm
Slots: (3) unpainted

Yuri Shumakov tube.
Item Description Size Price To Top
YS-SKT-BR-S Yuri Shumakov Skittle Tubes, brass, with slots 13mm x 5mm $7.95

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Yuri Shumakov Skittle Tubes, without slots

Quantity = 10 per package.
Size: 5mm X 13mm
Slots: nine

Yuri Shumakov tube.
Item Description Size Price To Top
YS-SKT-BR Yuri Shumakov Skittle Tubes, brass, without slots 13mm x 5mm $7.95

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Hook Holder Junction Tubing, Light Colors

These assortments contain six 6-inch pieces of soft plastic tubing: pink, orange, olive, clear and chartreuse. 
Chartreuse and Reddish Pink are also available in single 12-inch pieces.
Large: fits tubes with 1/8" or slightly larger diameter.
Small: fits tubes of 1/16'-3/32" diameter.  Fits Yuri Shumakov tubes.
The Junction Tubing is usually cut into 3/8" to 1/2" lengths.  Each is then slipped over the rear end of a tube fly. The

Hook Holder Junction Tubing, Light Colors

hard tube is inserted into the soft tubing so that it takes up half of the length of the soft tubing.  A straight eye hook is inserted into the other half of the tube, eye first.  This Junction Tubing must fit the fly tube tightly as it is held in place by friction. 

Item Description Size Price To Top
HMH-JUNC-1 Junction Tubing 6-pk Assortment, Light Colors Large $4.10

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HMH-JUNC-2 Junction Tubing 6-pk Assortment, Light Colors Small $4.10

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HMH-JUNC-3 Junction Tubing 12-inches
Reddish Pink
Large $1.69

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HMH-JUNC-4 Junction Tubing 12-inches
Reddish Pink
Small $1.69

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HMH-JUNC-5 Junction Tubing 12-inches
Chartreuse
Large $1.69

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HMH-JUNC-6 Junction Tubing 12-inches
Chartreuse
Small $1.69

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HMH-JUNC-7 Junction Tubing 12-inches
Clear
Large $0.89

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HMH-JUNC-8 Junction Tubing 12-inches
Clear
Small $0.89

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Hook Holder Junction Tubing, Dark Colors

These assortments contain six 6-inch pieces of soft plastic tubing: bright red, purple, clear, black, dk. olive, dk. red . 
Large: fits tubes with 1/8" or slightly larger diameter.
Small: fits tubes of 1/16'-3/32" diameter.  Fits Yuri Shumakov tubes.
The color of the Junction Tubing can greatly influence the coloration of any fly.  Colored tubing can give your fly a "finished" look.  Will it enable you to catch more fish?  Only if you try it.
 

Hook Holder Junction Tubing, Dark Colors
Item Description Size Price To Top
HMH-JUNC-7 Junction Tubing 6-pk Assortment, Dark Colors Large $4.95

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HMH-JUNC-8 Junction Tubing 6-pk Assortment, Dark Colors Small $4.95

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Cone head tube fly tied by Josh Linn.

HMH Cone Heads For Tubes
A fly that employs a cone head for weight is streamlined and comparatively easy to cast. Usually these flies will sink slightly faster than the fastest sinking fly line.  this is a distinct advantage when fishing for salmon and steelhead holding deep in cold water.  Cone heads are easy to tie with and can be added to a tube fly either before or after the rest of the fly is constructed.  melt the front of a plastic tube so that it swells and  holds

the cone in place.  These "large bore" cones fit over several types of tubing.  They are most often used with Hard Plastic tubes.  Temple Dog style flies take on very seductive actions when front weighted with a heavy cone.  Saltwater squid and minnow imitations also assume "duck & dive" actions when tied with these cones. 
Quantity = 10 per package.

Tube fly cone heads.
Item Description Size Price To Top
HMH-CH-01 HMH Cone Heads, brass Large
1/8" ID
$4.95

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HMH-CH-02 HMH Cone Heads, black Large
1/8" ID
$4.95

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HMH-CH-03 HMH Cone Heads, nickel Large
1/8" ID
$4.95

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HMH-CH-04 HMH Cone Heads, brass Small
3/32" ID
$4.95

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HMH-CH-05 HMH Cone Heads, black Small
3/32" ID
$4.95

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HMH-CH-06 HMH Cone Heads, nickel Small
3/32" ID
$4.95

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Bead Head Prince Nymph.

Free Fly Tying Party
Dec. 3 -  3:00 pm to 6:00 pm Saturday Afternoon.
Tying Basic Nymphs
(achieving traditional proportions).
This program is for new tiers and experienced tiers alike.
Instructional demonstrations with big-screen TV,
and all tying materials & hooks are free.
A custom made fly tying room with perfect lighting
and special teaching aides are provided.
You get to keep all the flies you tie.  
Please bring your own tools & tying thread if you have them.
If you don't have them, we will provide them.
Refreshments will be served.  Bring snacks if you want to.
Everyone is welcome!


Four Great Fly Fishing Tutorial DVD's
Christmas is coming and there is no greater gift than the gift of knowledge.  The four DVD's below offer knowledge in a very entertaining and easy to understand fashion. 
Visit our Video Selection for more great tutorials.

Joan Wulff Joan Wulff's Dynamics of Fly Casting DVD
"Absolutely the most charming fishing oriented video I have ever watched", MB.
Joan Salvato Wulff captured her first casting title in 1938 and has been winning honors and catching fish ever since. 
In chapter format, Joan shows and explains the mechanics and techniques she has been developing, analyzing and refining for more than 60 years.  You will learn the important elements of great casting, vital hand and arm movements, practice routines that will teach you how to make almost all kinds of casts, along
with some very special tips.  You will learn everything... from Solid Basics to Advanced Techniques.
Item Description Price To Top
000399 Joan Wulff's Dynamics of Fly Casting DVD $24.95

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Andy Murray Advanced Skills of Spey Casting DVD
By: Andy Murray    Andy Murray Steelhead School
The world's most renowned Spey caster, has released his second DVD which covers the advanced skills of Spey casting.  Learn the Circle C Cast, Snap T Cast, Snake Roll Cast and Side Spey Cast.  Each of these is useful in different fishing situations and weather conditions.  Advanced Spey casters will gain better insight into the mechanics of higher levels of Spey Casting and should be able to improve their casting skills.
Item Description Price To Top
660444 Advanced Skills of Spey Casting DVD $29.95

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Michael D. Radencich Tying The Classic Salmon Fly DVD
By: Michael D. Radencich
 (2) DVD Set, Total run time: 3 hours and 12 minutes
Takes you step by step through the steps in tying the classic Jock Scott; a built wing Atlantic Salmon fly. This video is very clear and concise, very well filmed and easy to understand. The presentation style puts the viewer at ease through the complex tying procedures. This video is well worth the money.
Item Description Price To Top
000221 Tying The Classic Salmon Fly DVD $49.95

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Gerald G. Bartsch Tying Spey Flies DVD
By: Gerald G. Bartsch
Learn to tie Traditional Spey Flies.  Gerald G. Bartsch is a professional fly dresser from British Columbia who specializes in tying spey flies.  In this DVD Gerald demonstrates his style with tips and techniques and shows step by step how to make tying easy. This video is clear, concise and easy to understand.
Item Description Price To Top
209250 Tying Spey Flies DVD $29.95

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Bruce Sempert

Fly Fishing Tattoo
You never know what you are going to see at The Fly Fishing Shop.  The other day local steelhead angler, Bruce Sempert said, "Hey I saw pictures of fly fishing tattoos in your news letter. Want to see mine?"  Then he proudly hoisted his pant leg and right over the top of his work boot was this heart with crossed spey rods and the words "Wild Steelhead".  While I don't have a tattoo, art is art and fly fishing art is some of the best of it.  Ten thousand years into the future if some archeological group digs up this piece of hide, they will know for sure that this guy loved spey rod fishing for wild steelhead.


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Fish long & prosper, Mark Bachmann, Patty Barnes

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