When fall rolls around, I hang up the single hand and rig up my favorite summer steelhead rod, the Winston Boron III TH Microspey 5 wt. This rod hasn’t let me down. From being flung off the car going 60 miles an hour, to landing a chrome 12 pound hen, it keeps on bending and deliverers a crisp, powerful spey cast.
The dance of spey casting on a river is like standing on a mountain top covered in snow. This is my backcountry. The continuous movement of stepping downriver and feeling the water around my ankles and knees satisfies the soul. Just like having the right skis to carve deep powder, I also need a rod that can cover the water and handle the fish I hook.
The steelhead rivers I fish are tributaries to the Columbia River with fish averaging 6-8 pounds. This year the Columbia River steelhead returns are low but this won’t keep me from swinging a fly. With low numbers of fish and anglers, steelhead aren’t being pressured like they usually are. To bank on the odds, I will fish the runs that yield the highest success and fish them well, with a reliable rod. Each spey cast with the microspey, sets my rhythm and gives me confidence.
My 5wt is rigged with a Scandinavian line, floating poly leader and 2 feet of 8 pound tippet, looped on to the poly leader. My favorite steelhead flies are small – size 8 or 10. Some of my favorite summer steelhead flies are the Green Butt Skunk, Golden Demon or muddler.
Evolution, a natural progression for any sport, whether it be golf, skiing or fishing, keeps it growing and alive. As a person’s performance develops, equipment changes to help you go faster and bigger, or make a 60 foot cast, that is painless and easy. From silk lines, to hooks made from a needle or a rod made from bamboo, tackle changes over time to fit the need of the angler and the size of the fish. For me, a small rod with a narrow profile grip allows me to leverage powerful cast, without getting fatigued and tired. The Winston 5 wt. Microspey fits the profile.