Originally Posted by sweetandsalt
This tread has started to meander about which is fine with me because interesting points are being raised. I am with Chi, I prefer single handed fly rods as long as they are appropriate. My wife enjoys Spey casting and my West Coast fishing partner is an inveterate two handed steelheader. It is truly impressive what a skilled or even merely capable two handed caster can do with easy distance which makes sense swimming a fly across a broad salmon of steelhead river. That style of fishing is not that effective in the Great Lakes tributaries I have fished; I wish it were as the high stick, dead drift, nymphing with egg pattern technique commonly employed is my least favorite and most mind and arm fatiguing, blind fishing method imaginable. This style, hefting a 10'/#7 rod, more than the crowds and bitter, dark mornings is what led me to forego this 1990's, post-Halloween tradition. Having said this, I have to find that old 10 footer as socio-political influences have requested our presence up on Lake Ontario early in November. Brrrr, boy would I rather be bonefishing!
Back in the 1980's I enjoyed the wonderful opportunity to fish in Scotland for a fortnight. English friends took my to a beat on a favorite river of theirs that was full of stale salmon clearly visible in a holding pool. These colored-up fish had zero interest in eating anything much less a fly. My friends were outfitted in their typical 15 foot rods; I with my typical 9'/#8. But you can reach across this stream with such a rod, why fish such a thing here? Because, well, its the way it's done! Now, I embrace tradition, I learned a lot about Whiskey over there and I had acquired a 14' rod for this trip which I did fish a handful of times Speyside, now it languishes in my collection along with the gigunda CFO VI and DT11F line as used back then. On many a Scottish salmon river, much like the majority of salmon rivers in New Brunswick and the Gaspe, a single handed 9 to 9 1/2'/#8 is a delightful rod to fish. Plus it can used to fish dry flies with which the big two handers are ill suited for.
Just to further stir this tread; no way is a great 8-weight salmon/western steelhead rod suitable for or transposable with a spot-on 8-weight bonefish rod. Two entirely different entities.
I agree on the bonefish rod, especially in the great lakes where the ability to protect a 4x tippet is a rod requirement. The best single hander I EVER fished for Steelhead was the old Winston BL5 10-7.
I've gone to indicator fishing with two handers in situations where dead drifting or chuck and ducking is normally done with a lot of success. I've found a couple of things, 1) I foul hook far less fish especially with Kings, 2) I'm less tiered at the end of the day. Chuck and duck use to kill me.
As far as dries, I would disagree, nothing will control a mend on a drift or a skating presentation better than a long rod. I'm convinced that the only Steelhead Salmon presentation where a single hander is superior is stripping streamers. But any presentation that requires mending, roll casting, or continuous presentations down the same lane it's hard to beat a two hander. I've run 11 1/2 foot 7 weights on just about every small stream in the great lakes with the exception of the Indiana creeks with no issues of too much length and far superior fishability.
If a single hander is your thing and something you enjoy, cool. But as a rep in the territory I couldn't give away a high end single handed steelhead rod in the last couple of years. And as a tool they are inferior, I say that from about 20 plus years of experience fishing them before I changed over 7 years ago.