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Dana Sturn’s Steelhead Rig

Posted on April 03 2009

What Dana Sturn will be doing on July 4, 2009.
Dana Sturn and his partner Sean Ransom run – the internet’s premier resource for information related to spey casting and spey fishing.  Dana started Speypages in 2000 and is an active spey instructor and destination travel host.Dana started fishing the Dean in the late ’90s and has fished from Clay Bank way upriver all the way down to the mouth of the Dean.  He’ll be hosting a group trip to BC West on the Dean from July 4 – 11, 2009 and providing spey casting instruction as part of the trip.  A few spots are still available during his week – drop us a line if you’re interested in joining Dana on the Dean!

Here’s Dana’s rig for a typical day on the Lower Dean.

The Summary

  • Bob Clay Riverwatch River Series 13 ft 8/9 Bamboo – “A classy rod for classy fish.”
  • Nautilus Spey Reel
  • 550 grain Rio Skagit line

The Detail

  • 200 yards of 50 pound gelspun backing attached to the spool with an arbor knot
  • Double surgeon’s loop in the fly line end of the backing
  • Loop to loop connection from the backing to the full Skagit spey line.  “I’m not a big fun of using mono as a running line.  I don’t think it’s necessary.  The disadvantages of handling and tangling outweigh any advantages in distance.”
  • Braided mono loop attached to the back of the fly line, secured with a nail knot.
  • 15 ft type 6 sinktip, attached via a loop-to-loop connection to the factory loop on the Skagit line
  • 3 feet of 15 pound Maxima Ultragreen for leader, attached to the sinktip with a loop-to-loop connection and a double surgeon’s loop.  “Sometimes I’ll use a perfection loop because it has a lower profile – depending on the size of the tip top on the rod I’m using, I may opt for the lower profile of the perfection loop, even though it’s not as strong.”
  • Big bunny leach or intruder-style tube fly for ocean-fresh fish. “I always fish tubes.  One of my favorite flies to use is a Tyler Kushner General Practitioner tube – a black one called the Voodoo Child or an orange one called the Raging Prawn.  I like tubes because they allow me to have a very small hook size but vary the size of the fly.  The smaller hooks minimize damage to the fish and I want a short shank hook for easy release.  If the hook is going into a holder on the back of the tube, I use a standard clinch knot.  If I want to tie the hook on as a trailer, I use a double surgeon’s loop because that provides some bulk to snug the hook to the fly, and it allows me to vary the position of the hook relative to the fly.”

The Commentary

  • “If people are fishing for wild anadromous fish, I really advocate using stout enough tackle to manage the fish and get the fight over as quickly as possible.  I’m not a big believer in ultralight tackle for wild salmon and steelhead.  I tend to really put the muscle to a fish so I can get the fish in quickly and get it back on its way.  Get the big sticks out!”
  • “I pay a lot of attention to the factory loops on fly lines.  I’ve learned over the past few years that I can trust the loops, but I’ve found that after some use they start to crack, so I keep an eye on that and if I see any sign of wear, I cut off the factory loop and create a new loop by folding the line over on itself and whip-finishing a loop.”

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