Im looking to pick up an 8 or 9 weight but am trying to decide between a one hand or a two handed rod. Im leaning towards a two hander, or a switch, for shoulder reasons. Throwing weight can stress my right shoulder (75% range of motion) and make for a short day out on the water. A two handed rod makes sense as it would help alleviate some shoulder weight. Im looking to fish some bass, stripers and eventually make my way out to chase steelhead or salmon.
Why did you go with a two handed rod? What are the advantages and disadvantages of a switch or two handed rod?
I'll catch flak from the two handed friends here but I thought it would be a more effecient way to fish the tribs, its not in my opinion. If you're out west or have some real big water, it makes covering water alot easier and you can move a fairly big fly a good distance but, to me, to fish 99% of the Erie tribs here in Ohio its way overkill. Don't get me wrong there are spots and sections where the long rod is a big plus but most of the time I found it to be limiting. I found myself walking past water that I knew to hold fish but couldn't fish it well with a 13 foot rod, even an 11' rod was too much. The fish get pressured all fall and really heavy come spring and a big ole fat line ripping up the water on every cast would spook fish half the time. Is it easier to cast? Absolutely, very easy on the shoulders and hell its fun too. For me though I couldn't pick apart water like I can with a smaller rod. I'll admit that the long rods have fallen out of favor with me as I like, should say love, to fish smaller rods under 9' so I'm biased. Were I to fish alot on bigger waters in the Upper Midwest, the Pacific Northwest, or any river where a 60' cast isn't getting you into the game I would certainly use a spey/switch rod. If you have the water go for it, if you fish smaller rivers learn single hand spey casts, they'll keep the psychical stress down too.
I switched from a single hand rod to a spey rod for steelhead fishing because it was the cool thing to do. Well, not entirely true. It happened one day on the Deschutes River when I was taking a two day guided trip I won in a raffle. The guide catered to Spey fishers and he wanted to convert me. There were four boats and eight anglers. I was the only one with a single hander. On the second day, I finally caved in and gave it a try. Big mistake! It has cost me thousands of dollars (think Sarcione, Hatch, Winston, T&T). Seriously, it changed my fishing life. I stuck with it and became a competent caster. I use the spey rod on the Deschutes because I believe it is a better casting tool. I can fish places I could not fish well with a single hander because my back cast was obstructed by tall stream side grasses and Alder trees. It is especially advantageous to me as a right hander when I am fishing river right. That is most of the time when fishing the road. I feel my fly is also in the water more as there is no false casting and I can cast farther making longer wider swings. In the winter it enables me to cast large flies and sinking tips with ease. It's a whole new ball game, and I'm one of the guides best friends now.
I still use a single hand rod for all of my trout fishing, even on the Deschutes. I would also use one for small stream steelheading, or dead drifting a nymph, both of which I seldom if ever do anymore. I can't help with bass or striper fishing.
Location: White City (tad north of Medford) Oar-E-Gone
"Eye of the Beholder."
First, let's just drop the term 'long rod.' You can get 2handers as short as 10 feet up to (that I know of) 20 foot. From there you choose an appropriate rod length and line system for what you want to accomplish.
Is a rod over 14' in length appropriate for smaller streams (up to 100'ish foot wide) or new casters, probably not unless the target fish get damned big. More is not better in many instances. Using the Rogue River as an example, at the top end a 14' rod is more than enough to cover 95% of your fishing. Drop down to the mouth area (Gold Beach) there you've got one hell of a lot more river in front of you. There the ability to 'Reach out and touch somebody' really comes into play.
Next question to toss around (and there is no universal school thought on this one) is what weight rod do you need for your fishing? For Steelhead (there are some notable exceptions that come to mind here!) A six or a seven will cover you. Higher water/bigger fish (10'ish pound to even 20) a seven should be considered. Fish below 10 pounds a '6' will cover your bet(s). Hell, I've landed my share of fish in the 10# range on 5wts.
And yes, a '6' sounds light but you can really put the horse power to a fish with a 6. (Remember, a 'spey 6' 2 hander (probably) equates to at least a '8' in a single hander.) For a simple example of this just compare the casting grain weights of a single hander to a 2hander. Worlds apart! Even with the same 'line number' on the blank.
Anyway, back to the point (hopefully ) I'd look at rods from 11' to a max of 13 for the conditions outlined above. Line weight? Flip a coin but a 6 or a 7? Last thought is if you've already got shoulder problems, go 2hander. If you find you're still having 'problems' it's odds-on you're NOT letting that long lever do its job under normal fishing conditions.
Mr. Bash and I are pretty close in location, so my thoughts pretty much echo his post. For the streams I fish, it is limiting, pretty much to one or two steelhead tribs and in the widest locations on those streams. It is a blast, I throughly enjoy doing it and for the most part it simply gives me another means to fish with. A change of pace if you will. My rod is an 6110 switch, so not a full spey rod. My go to GL steelhead rod is a 10 footer, I can nymph & egg, swing streamers and do some single hand spey/switch casting with it. Even that rod limits me as the smallest steelhead streams are best fished with a 9 footer. Unfortunately the low clear conditions we often see pretty much call for these tactics over swinging streamers or those traditional steel/salmon flies.
I'll give the advantage to the switch rod for larger streamers using two hand casts but if I need to use any of the aforementioned flies, it is cumbersome to cast. I have a pretty light reel on it too and it's not terrible by any stretch of the means, but less than ideal. The more versatile rod for my location and the streams I'm fishing is the single hand rod. If I were to add a few other locations, say in NY and or in MI or WI to the mix, the two hander would be absolutely ideal. If I were blessed to live in the PNW, or fish there on a regular basis it would be a no brainer to go with a 2 hander.
I have not really fished it in a lake/pond but I'd imagine a two hander would help get you distance and make for easier casting given the fact that there could be obstacles behind you.
Just curious, have you tried learning to cast with your other arm? Spey/switch casting will also involve a learning curve. Not trying to say it's a bad choice to go that way for you or anyone for that matter. Point being outside of the learning curve, it really is an investment in itself.
Location: Lake of the Woods/Rainy River Minnesota Canada border
Re: Why did you go two hand?
Originally Posted by derelict
Throwing weight can stress my right shoulder (75% range of motion)
Why did you go with a two handed rod?
It will be a lot less stress on the shoulder. I have a wrecked back and it's a lot less stress on that also. It's a lot less stress on my elbow also. I used to get tennis elbow by the end of every summer. I don't anymore.
The reason I went to the two hander was for Walleye. That and I just thought they were way to cool. I decided to try fly fishing for Walleye and quickly discovered it was not only possible, but I got really big ones doing it. The problem is though I have high banks with very little 'beach' and it gets deep quick. It makes casting a single hander a real challenge. My first two hander is a Meiser 15' 8/9 wt. I built. It has the advantage of being able to hit distances I could never get with a single hand rod. Plus I can do it with very little room behind me. Where I fish a lot by the railroad bridge on my local river, I had a 'backcast lane' in the brush going up the bank. At the top center of it is a wild rose bush. I have dug more clousers out of that rose bush. I don't even have to think about what is behind me now.
Ostensibly, I switched to save my re-built right shoulder. And while I'll readily admit that that is a fishinglife-saving attribute of the two handers, I really did it because it looks so cool and was such a great reason to get more equipment! And, if that's not enough, when I'm fishing the Miramichi, I can reach fish I couldn't reach with the single hander. Win, win, win.
Thanks to this section and some personal guidance from Dan I am on my way to my first Spey setup! I'm looking foward to the benefits of the long rod such as ease in casting distance and throwing Clousers easier. I don't intend to make it my only outlet but am excited about the change.
Having told my son about this I was surprised to hear that he thought that I would never go this route. When I explained to him that many guys have he gave me the "yeah right" look. So on our recent steelhead outing I told him to look at the others on the river and I think he was really surprised that 9 out of ten guys were using Spey set ups. So at this point I got his approval ( not that I needed it!)
After making these observations we both realized in this situation there was an underlying reason for all this Spey action. Basically they were all chucking and ducking with out the need to duck! All had the largest of thingamaboobbers on and maximum amount of lead. The speys made the process of tossing this conglomeration easy.
I then explained to my son that this is not the reason I want to learn to use the Spey and that I just want the new experience and the prospect of more distance!
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