5. Orvis Clearwater 12’ 5-weight $349.00
Here is our pick for the best inexpensive rod to swing with. It has a lot of power but also a wide sweet spot, which will be easy for beginners to hit. At 12 feet long, the Clearwater is long enough to make big mends and manipulate the line better than shorter trout spey rods. Purchasing this rod will give you a little extra allowance to pursue a nicer reel than you otherwise may not have considered.
The Clearwater is a terrific value for it’s level of performance, and easily the “best buy” in our Shootout.
The Orvis Clearwater in finished in an olive green color with dark olive wraps over Ceramic lined stripper guides and chrome snake guides. The snake guides are generously oversized, which will help clear running line tangles. Also oversized is the huge up-lock reel seat, with two enormous locking rings that tend to squeak over time. The reel seat and handle are huge, and look like they belong on a rod for king salmon rather than trout! Orvis uses a black and green carbon fiber inlay that matches the blank well. The cork is very good quality for the price and the shape of the upper and lower handles are very good. A cordura covered rod tube and cloth bag are included.
Impressive! The Clearwater is a two handed cannon that throws long like a champ. However, it is noticeably heavier than the Beulah Onyx, Sage ONE, Custom Flywerks Quantum, and G. Loomis IMX PRO. Once you do get this rod in motion it will really throw some line. Lighter and smoother than the TFO DeerCreek, this rod is a fine performer especially when you consider the price tag. Lots of bang for your buck here…
Best Economical Trout Spey Outfit:
Orvis Clearwater 12’#5 with Orvis Battenkill IV
sub total: $595.82
<line, FLO tip, running line,
backing & leader at cost> <$55.82>
Free ready to fish rigging –
No Tax –
Free Shipping –
Grand Total: $540.00
Here is our pick for the best inexpensive rod and reel combo to swing with. The Clearwater is a powerful rod yet it has a wide, easy-to-load sweet spot and is a great rod to learn spey casts with. At 12 feet long, the Clearwater is long enough to make big mends and manipulate the line better than shorter trout spey rods, yet does not feel brutally heavy.
We matched this rod with an Orvis battenkill V reel, which is light, durable, and proven to last the test of time. We also like the click and pawl sound you get with the Orvis Bettenkill. You’ll have this reel for a long time, even if you decide to later upgrade to a newer, lighter rod. For the largest fish caught on the Battenkill, you may want to “palm” the rim of the spool, which will add extra resistance to the reel’s drag. In this respect you can make the drag as strong as you need manually, since the drag won’t turn up very strong on it’s own. That being said, it has enough resistance to keep the reel and line from free spooling and tangling, which is all you really need. There won’t be any need to yell out “fish on!” to your buddies since the sweet, classic sound of the Battenkill will do the talking for you!
The Airflow Scout 360 skagit line is the perfect match for the Orvis Clearwater 12’#5 in the hands of an experienced caster. We figured most people who are learning to spey cast would benefit from a slightly heavier line however, so we chose the 390 grain Skagit Scout. The extra grain weight will allow a learning spey caster to feel the line load better, and in the long run it will be a less frustrating line to learn with. If you are already an experienced caster we can easily switch the 390 out for a 360 grain.
We love the Airflow Skagit FLO tips. These tips have a thicker diameter and more mass than other tips, which translates to a smoother transition between your line and leader. This smoother transition matches the thickness of the Skagit line as well as the leader on the other end, making this the best tip we have found. The result is awesome turnover, with an even tighter loop, which is better when punching into the wind and also for accuracy (if needed).
As far as running line goes, we cut down costs by spinning your reel up with 50 yards of #30 pound Amnesia. This is the same material we use in the but sectoins of our Hot Butt leaders. It does have some memory to it, especially when it is cold outside so you’ll want to stretch this before each day’s use. It is easy to see and shoots great at a far less cost than other mono running lines. The best running line, the SA floating braided PE mono would only add another $30 and you can request this over the Amnesia.
Last but not least we have a short but effective leader designed for excellent turnover and stealth. When fishing a sink tip a longer leader defeats the purpose of a sink tip. Too short, and the fish may see the black tungsten coated line on your FLO tip.