Planning to catch Steelhead this fall or during the winter? Folks in the Pacific Northwest have developed a spey casting system for dredging the bottom of big rivers with heavy weighted flies, yet needing little effort for casts up to 100 feet. It's called Skagit style spey casting and is well worth looking into.
If you are interested in Skagit style spey casting, here is a tip on perfectly matched two-handed spey rods and Skagit head fly lines.
The Loomis brand Dredger Kispiox and Dredger GLX rods are perfectly compatible with Airflow brand Skagit Heads. For example, an 8/9 Loomis Kispiox is perfectly matched to an 8/9 Airflow Skagit head. Likewise, a 9/10 Loomis GLX is perfectly matched to a 9/10 Airflow Skagit head.
There are lots of rods and line combinations possible but through professional instruction and personal experience, I have learned that this combination works, right out of the box. Some other manufacturers rods and lines are not directly size for size compatible. Of course it is possible to mix any of these products with others but they may not be as perfectly matched as these combinations.
The difference between the Kispiox rod and Dredger GLX is materials. The "action" of these two rods is just about identical, by design. The Kispiox has a much lower retail price. The GLX is made with "better" material, which feels a bit stiffer than the Kispiox. The GLX has better guides and a fancier reel seat.
For those new to Skagit style spey casting, you need the rod and a fairly large reel spool to handle the line and head system. In addition to the Skagit head, you will need running line and a tip section. Airflow's running line seems to be pretty good and is comparable to a fly line. You can also use 50 lb mono as your running line but it may cause difficulty in cold weather.... steelhead weather, which is what these Skagit rods are intended to catch.
The tip, head, running line and lots of backing all have to fit on the reel. Ideally, the reel loaded with line will balance nicely near the top of the two handed handle. An 11 ounce reel works for these outfits.
The Skagit head from Airflow comes with a 20 foot section of sinking tip (eg 330 grains). That is a tip that can be cut into sections. 20 feet of tip is a bit too much to cast. You might try cutting it into 2 pieces of 12 ft and 8 ft, for example. It is also possible (and desireable) to create "density compensated leaders". That is to say, create several leaders of the same length, but having different lengths of sinking section, compensated with complementary lengths of floating fly line (eg #10 for a 9/10 rod)
You can probably figure out the Skagit casting system from video instruction or books but I recommend that you attend a proper class or hire a FFF certified two-handed instructor. You will be casting great distances after a few hours of instruction. It is all technique and attention to detail makes a very large difference in distances you can achieve.
PS I do not work for any of the companies mentioned in this article and am not in any way connected to the fishing or tackle industry. I just like to fish and I thought I would share some of my experience.