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How to Fly Fish with a Spinning Rod

Trout Streams of the Tetons

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Coppersmith Studios Presents

Custom Built Spin-Fly Rods

To begin the process of ordering the world's best custom spin-fly rod send an email to CoppersmithStudios@gmail.com.

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3 spin fly rods WATCH WORLD'S BEST SPIN-FLY RODS This video explains the basic concepts of spin fly rods and also introduces the world's BEST spin-fly rod design.

One of the recent changes I have made as to how I fish is to use customized spin-fly fishing rods. In the past I would have to choose between fishing with a fly rod or spinning rod and often times I wish I had brought my other rod. I might start with my fly rod but then the wind picks up to the point where I can not cast any more, or I am fishing a stream I am not familiar with and there isnt room to cast a fly rod, or maybe the current is too fast or deep for fly line. There have been times when I walked a mile back to my car to get a different rod type. Other times I would just bring my spinning rod and suddenly a hatch occurs, the trout are feeding heavily on the surface and I miss a great opportunity to fish dries with a fly rod.

I have solved those problems and others by using custom build spin-fly rods. A spin-fly rod is essentially a fly rod with a universal handle that can hold either a fly reel or spinning reel and has ceramic line guides, something usually not found on most fly rods except for the first guide. The advantages are many and significant:

1. By carrying a spare reel in your back pack you can easily switch from a fly rod to a spinning rod while fishing without having to return to your car. If conditions change or you are fishing an unfamiliar section of stream and are unsure of which rod works best you will always be prepared.

2. You get two rods in one. It is good to have a spare rod of each type, especially if you go for multi-day fishing trips. If either your fly rod or your spinning rod breaks a spin-fly rod can be used as a spare.

3. Fly rods tend to be longer than spinning rods and will be able to cast a lure much farther. When fishing a wide river where casting distance is a priority I often use a 7.5 ft or 9 ft fly rod with a spinning reel to maximize casting distance.

4. Customized spin-fly rods can be painted to your specifications. This is partially limited by which blanks you choose from but generally there is a list of 36 great colors to choose from. This important for two reasons: A) It allows you to easily identify each rod. I have at times put two pieces of different rods together and did not realize it until I was out on the water. That is an easy mistake when all of your rods are black. B) It makes the rods look really nice. Aesthetics are an important part of fishing, and personally I find black rods as boring.

5. If you want to get fancy you can have your own logo fused into the rod. I have my Coppersmith Studios CS logo added to the rods during the customization process. This is a registered trade mark that only my custom rod builder is allowed to use.

The universal handle of my spin-fly rod has so far done an excellent job of holding the reels firmly in place. Make sure your rod builder gets this piece right! However, when fishing in a dry environment like the Rocky Mountains (< 35% humidity) for a couple weeks the cork can experience a slight shrinkage. When this happens just wrap the handle in a wet cloth overnight and it will be back to normal the next day. For fly fishing I actually prefer the feel of a universal handle. When fishing a spinning reel I like that I have control over the placement of the reel. With some traditional spinning rods I was so dissatisfied with where the reel was placed I took the rod in to have a couple inches sawed off the handle to correct the issue.

Custom spin-fly rods Custom spin-fly rods
Spin-Fly rods rigged with fly reels. Spin-Fly rods rigged with spinning reels.
I currently own 3 customized spin-fly rods as explained below.

1. A 9 ft 5 weight 7 piece fast action, 3.5 oz. I needed this rod for some long back packing trips to reach remote streams known to harbor large fish, so I got it in the 7 piece style for easy packing. For a 7 piece rod the action and feel are surprisingly good. The rod is basically black but turns a sparkling emerald green when the sun shines on it. I am not sure how that works. While I have used my ultralight spinning reel on it with good results (see the picture of me fighting a 20 inch fish with this rod and an ultralight reel) it might be more suitable for a little larger sized reel. It casts 1/8th oz lures just fine but 1/16th would be too light.

2. A 7.5 foot, 4 weight, 4 piece fast action 2.9 ounce. I have this rod painted neon green and I match it with Cortland mint-green 4 weight line and a Redington olive green Rise reel. An ultralight reel works well on this rod too. For medium sized streams this is probably my go-to rod. It casts lures in the 1/16th oz to 1/8th oz range well. I would not go lighter than 1/16th oz.

3. A 6.5 ft, 3 weight, 2 piece fast action at 2.3 ounces. I have this rod painted neon orange and match it with bright orange 3 weight line. When fly fishing I match it with a Redington Zero fly reel which at 2.7 oz makes an extremely lightweight combination (Note, I don't use that reel anymore as I have seen evidence the loud clicker spooks trout in shallow water). This is a fun rod on the smaller creeks. Unless I am fishing a really large river, if I plan on using mostly a spinning reel I like to use this rod most often. It is essentially the same size as a spinning rod and casts the lighter 1/16th oz lures well and could even go lighter than that.

While workmanship and other features are important the overriding factor in any custom rod is the type and quality of the blank. There are a number of different sources that provide blanks. My custom rod builder is very knowlegable of the various blanks available and has been helpful in getting a good match for the type of fishing I do. The blank also has an impact on the final price. The three completed rods I have bought cost $275 each including shipping. For those who like to have the very best you can get top end quality blanks that will push the final price much higher. Remember that these are custom, built to your specifications, handcrafted in the USA and command a higher premium than cloned factory rods produced overseas.

My custom rod builder has experience making exactly these types of rods and is highly knowledgeable about all aspects of the rod building process. With all of the feedback I've given him from my extensive use of these rods he may very well be the most knowledgeable spin-fly rod maker in the world. If any of you would like to have him build you a custom spin-fly rod or any other style of fishing rod send me an email at CoppersmithStudios@gmail.com and I can get you in touch with him.

Click on a picture to see a larger size.

Custom spin-fly rod 3 weight spin-fly rod 4 weight spin-fly rod colors for fishing rods
Fighting a 20 inch fish on a 9ft 5wt spin-fly rod. 3wt orange spin-fly rod with CS logo 4wt green spin-fly rod with CS logo List of 36 different colors available when purchasing a custom fly rod.

The blanks I normally get are the high modulus, high strain Carbon 4 material featuring fast actions. These blanks are light in weight and small in diameter yet they are strong and durable. Most are 4 piece designs that have tight ferrule fits and very smooth overall tapers.

Many fly rod blanks that are touted as high performance only load up properly when they are carrying long lines. The ones I have been using work great when making longs casts but also load up beautifully when making false casts with shorter line lengths. The actions are great and the backbone is there too. And their ability to swith to casting an artificial lure should you decide to switch reel types is admirable.

The currently available types for the Carbon 4 series of fly rod blanks that can be obtained in your choice of 36 different colors is as follows. Be aware that any blank can have its size reduced by 6" by cutting off the lower end. And yes there are plenty of spinning rod blanks available too.

6.5 ft, 3 wgt, 2 piece, 6lb line, 1/24th to 1/10th oz

7.0 ft, 3 wgt, 4 piece, 6lb line, 1/24th to 1/10th oz

7.5 ft, 4 wgt, 4 piece, 8lb line, 1/16th to 1/8th oz

8.0 ft, 5 wgt, 4 piece, 10lb line, 1/8th to 1/4th oz

8.5 ft, 3 wgt, 4 piece, 6lb line, 1/24th to 1/8th oz

9.0 ft, 4 wgt, 4 piece, 8lb line, 1/16th to 1/6th oz

9.0 ft, 5 wgt, 4 piece, 10lb line, 1/8th to 1/4th oz

9.0 ft, 6 wgt, 4 piece, 12lb line, 3/16th to 5/16th oz

9.0 ft, 7 wgt, 4 piece

9.0 ft, 8 wgt, 4 piece

9.0 ft, 9 wgt, 4 piece

Created by: Dan Coppersmith 2023| www.CoppersmithStudios.com