Spey vs.Two Hander [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Spey vs.Two Hander

10-28-2003, 05:02 AM
I have some basic questions about the two rods. I am an average caster with bad trout fishing casting problems. Most of the people who have come to saltwater flyfishing are in the same boat with me. So here it goes.
What is the abvantage to the two hander over the Spey?As I observed at the casting clave the wind had a big effect on the Spey rod. The two hander did not do much better. Wind is a huge factor in saltwater fishing as we know.
What rod would handle the wind better?
A few posts back I advised someone to get a 10' conventional rod and was told that the 10' for 10 weight rod would be very tiring. Yet casting a 12' two handed rod must also be very tiring.
So what style of rod is better for the ocean?
Thanks to those who answer this thread just trying to make a decision on what rod is the best one to buy.


10-28-2003, 07:53 AM
Fishhawk wrote:
As I observed at the casting clave the wind had a big effect on the Spey rod. The two hander did not do much better. Wind is a huge factor in saltwater fishing as we know.
What rod would handle the wind better?

Bill -

I'm not sure you were there during the two-handed overhand casting portion of the clinic... in fact I am pretty sure you had left before the "beach casting" portion. I think you might be comparing spey casts to to overhand casts people made with the spey rods and lines for grins and giggles.

The overhand casting rod did great in the wind. Even in that horrendous headwind it was throwing the just about the whole line straight down it's throat.

On the parking lot the shooting head was throwing almost 150 feet overhand, wind quartered from the left side. I think you missed all that; in retrospect I should've done the overhand first for the group we had on hand.

Dealing with wind has more to do with the energy in the loop, the number of grains and the narrowness of the path that the wedge cuts thru the air, it doesn't really matter how the loop was formed. A single hander, a double hander, a spey can all generate a wind biting loop given the right lines and casting skills.

The advantages for two-handed rods in wind are:

1) They can easily handle serious grains, which is a major factor in defeating wind. A 12wt line feels comfortable to cast all day.

2) You don't need to turn around to deal with a cross-wind. Just reach over the left shoulder and pull with the bottom hand to let the cast fly.

3) The fly is only in the air for one backcast. It's less likely to impale your ear.

4) you can adapt shooting heads which are perhaps the ultimate weapon for fighting wind. These rods throw heads a mile.

Anyway, to respond to your questions...

Spey fishing (including the rods, lines, casts and presentation) is not ideally suited for general saltwater flyfishing but it can be applied in specific cases to an advantange. The flatwing presentation is one of these. Spey fishing is ideally suited to fishing rivers for salmon and steelhead. The situations where it fits to saltwater flyfishing best are inlets, rivers and tidal areas with limited back casting space where the current allows for spey casting and swinging of the fly in current. You saw how tough it was to spey cast in that coastal headwind. Clearly overhand casting was much more suited to the task, which we did later with a different rod after you left.

Two-handed overhand casting on the other hand is ideally suited to saltwater flyfishing from shore in many situations, in fact these situations it's superior to the common single handed rods we all use. As opposed to spey, it's significantly more suited to the task as most experienced two-handers will agree.

A few posts back I advised someone to get a 10' conventional rod and was told that the 10' for 10 weight rod would be very tiring. Yet casting a 12' two handed rod must also be very tiring.

When you think about it, casting an 11 foot rod with both arms is intuitively FAR less tiring than casting a 10' rod with one hand. The one foot difference is trivial when both arms are in the act. In fact with practice, I have found casting with two-hands to be radically less tiring than double-hauling my single hander to reach the same or much greater distances.
Two-handed casting is not tiring. The only time it can wear on you is while you learn how to do it, just like single hand casting or any kind of casting. I won't sugar coat the learning curve, but it's pretty short. I'd say a morning or afternoon with some fish busting at 100' and you'll get it down :devil:

Inefficient casting mechanics, regardless of the number of hands, is tiring. Conversely efficient casting is easy on the body. I have found that I can exceed single handed cast distances using the two-hander with one backcast, thus spend less time casting and more time fishing.

On average in the surf, I take about 3 seconds to hit a 100' cast. Unless fishing a popper or trying to excite busting fish, I retrieve a fly that distance in almost 30 seconds, shock and stop. That's a 10:1 ratio of fishing to casting time!

And don't forget, when that submarine hits the fighting advantage is night and day.

We should spend some time casting one together one day Bill!

10-28-2003, 08:20 AM

Juro got there before I could hit the send button ;)

Here are a couple of thoughts:

Firstly, "two hands are better than one". Both the spey and overhead casts are different from conventional "single-sided" casting - that's why it feels so strange when you first pick up either style of double-handed rod. Your natural inclination is to make the cast with the dominant hand (side) and you're not sure what to do with the other one. The "two-sided" approach spreads the effort across your upper body hence the whole thing becomes a lot less effort (and hence less tiring on the old joints) - but it takes a bit of practice.

Part of the question had to do with the wind. Its a pity you missed the fun with the LC13 shooting head on the surf stick at Quonny. All things being equal, in really windy conditions in the salt I would choose a stiffer action rod - single or double-handed. Later that evening at Weakpaug I had big problems with my 15ft traditional spey. No lack of power in the rod but the wind was putting more flex into the soft-action rod than I was. Armed with the stiffer two hander I could have covered breaking fish on every cast.

Finally, choosing between Spey and Overhead style rods depends on the type of fishing you want to do. For floating lines and flatwings in the surf or current situations, Spey rods are a delight. For launching something big and nasty over the horizon and maximum "seek and destroy" capability the Overhead style rod will get it done. With practice you will be able to get the fly out there 120+ feet. With practice!

Like any other style of fly fishing, it takes a bit of practice. Like Juro said, two-handed rods won't give you a silver bullet solution to casting problems but they open up a whole new world of opportunties for saltwater anglers.

10-28-2003, 10:15 AM
Once we squeeze the rest of the fishing out of this season I hope we can find affordable indoor facilities to do casting tune-up sessions. We could invite guest speakers (we have several great casters and teachers in the area) and also give our own schpeels (many of us in the forum aren't too shabby either), stay warmed up and even improve dramatically over the winter months. A tying table wouldn't be bad either.

If anyone knows of such a facility in a neutral location, perhaps once a month with one session west of Boston; one near Providence, another on the North Shore, etc - please suggest them.

I love the Reading facility but at $575 per evening it's a bit too much for our humble organization to do more than once a year.

Something to keep in the back of your mind anyway.

10-29-2003, 04:49 AM
Thanks Juro and Adrian for clearing up some of my questions. I too wish that I had stuck around to see the two hander in action. Juro your suggestion to have indoor information casting clave is as usual a great idea. I would pay extra money for a session like this. Thanks again. FishHawk:D