two hand @ spey gaining popularity?? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: two hand @ spey gaining popularity??

10-29-2003, 08:46 AM
It seems more so that spey and two handers are gaining popularity with shore bound salt anglers. The few I know, use them because of casting issues with 9 footers. Personally, I prefer a 9 foot rod and feel very comfortable in doing so. Although, my curiosity regarding spey and two handers has me asking, is the size and weight worth the efforts it takes in handling such rods in comparison with a light and powerful 9ft ten weight?? I realize the long rod makes a difference while casting in waist deep water and maybe you gain some power in fighting fish, but are the gains worth the sacrifice in size and weight? Thanks, KC

10-29-2003, 09:27 AM
Absolutely a good tool to complement the already popular singlehander! BUT... I am of the school that a spey rod is not necessarily the right tool, but a two-hander is - and that there is a big difference between a spey rod and a specialized two-hander.

Here's a thread where much discussion has taken place on this topic:

If you do a search on "twohand" you will find plenty of discussion to review.

In summary, these two-handed surf flyrods offer some distinct advantages:

- handle more grains easily, thus more distance, larger flies, more fighting power to handle big fish

- uses less energy to cast a whole flyline, with practice just a single backcast is all it takes. Two-hands on an 11ft rod is much easier than one hand on a 9ft rod.

- shorter than spey, more direct power transfer to line, generally much faster and easier to handle for stripping line all the way to the butt as we do

- overall components are configured differently to be better for striper fishing

- casting 100' or more over the weak shoulder is easy in the event of a bad crosswind

Put it this way... a spin rodder uses a light rod for sluggos and a big rod for plugs and pogies. The single handed 9wt flyrod is like a sluggo rod... the two-handed surf flyrod is the big surf spin rod's equivalent in fly tackle. And you don't see them casting with one hand ;)

I ask you this... have you ever felt out-gunned on the beach with a single-hander? You don't need to reach for the spin gear if you don't want to, these rods provide the next level of artillery in fly gear for tackling bigger ocean challenges than the singlehander can manage.

I have co-developed a new two-handed rod with CND (two-handed rod company) which will be available within days. Feel free to contact me for more information (info at or ask your local dealer to get one in for you to check out.

(CND is a forum sponsor)

10-29-2003, 01:31 PM
A two-handed fly rod is not a solution for someone who has, " Casting issues," with a one hander. A bad one-handed cast will translate into a bad two-handed cast.

The people who are proponents of two-handers in the surf, such as Juro, myself and Lefty Kreh, are all pretty competent with a one-handed fly rod.

Some of the reasons I like two-handed fly rods:

Cover more water, more easily
Stand up on the beach out of the surf, like the conventional surf casters
Better line control & easier mending
Potential for higher back cast on steep beaches, or over grass, etc.
With a longer rod, you can intentionally throw larger loops for very heavy or wind resistant flies and never worry about hooking an ear
Lift more line off the water to re-direct to a sighted fish
Easier to stay in contact with the fly, especially in surf
Throw larger lines and hence larger flies with less effort
Longer casts=more time with the fly in the water instead of the air

For all of these skills, length is an advantage, not a disadvantage.

And with regards to weight, I will assure you that any of these modern rods like the CND 11-footer or the T & T DH 1212 are very light in weight and because you work them with two hands, they actually feel lighter and are easier to cast.

This is just another skill to learn. If you are the kind of fly fisher that enjoys practice and learning and expanding your skill set, I think you will have some fun with them.

If you have a lousy cast and don't enjoy practice, save your money because these rods are not going to do much for you except to lighten your wallet.

10-29-2003, 09:15 PM
I have seen enough to know that a switch style two hander will be my next Fly rod. If I can afford to buy one I shall But if they are $600 or more I'll probably build one as my first rod project this winter.


10-30-2003, 08:30 AM
Jay- by request

Would you also touch on the aspects of physical ability vs. limitation we talked about a bit ago - I can't talk to it except to have agreed with you on physiology/principle. Thanks.

10-30-2003, 08:39 AM
Coincidentally, I am just in from testing yet ANOTHER new two-handed surf fly rod. This one is lightweight and powerful and best of all: Very reasonably priced!

That is three surf-specific two-handers that I am aware of, and a couple more that I hear rumored. Maybe there is something to this two-handed surf thingie???

10-30-2003, 08:40 AM
Originally posted by DFix
Jay- by request

Would you also touch on the aspects of physical ability vs. limitation we talked about a bit ago - I can't talk to it except to have agreed with you on physiology/principle. Thanks.

Dave, I would gladly do that if only I could remember what you are talking about?????

10-30-2003, 08:49 AM
Not to jump in but... :p

Casting with two hands is different in that you don't haul with the other hand and power + steer with the main hand as most are accustomed. Instead, both hands are on the rod and they share the power and steering of the cast. The bottom hand pulls while the top hand pushes. The bottom hand does a lot of the steering by coming in straight to the body. If the stroke path is straight, it's hard not to cast a long way because of the doubling of forces that load the rod, hence create the loop, thus throw the fly.

When I show someone how to use a 2hd rod, I first get them to relax completely and see if a very low power loop can be kept straight in both directions. If so, then a little slip of the line into the backcast and a tightened grip before the forward stroke and yer' off to the races with really only a slight increase in power from the easy loop warm-up. Once tuned into this stroke, add a little more power (but not a lot) and the whole line is out there in a hurry. One of the biggest problems is over-powering a two-handed rod.

This easy casting stroke is especially easy with shooting heads, which are great for striper fishing because we strip the line very close to shore with each cast, and the shooting heads are perfect for that kind of delivery - hence the popularity of the QD, Teeny, Rio Deep Sea, and other shooting head configurations under a different name.

The recently discussed LC13 head is an example of reaching 145' with no effort at all, the next step will be to adapt that configuration to shooting lines that are manageable and heads that are practical while reaching similar distances with equal ease.

In addition to shooting heads, longer belly lines handle nicely as well because the two-handed stroke can roll, switch and spey significantly easier than a single hander all things considered. My point is there is a finesse angle to these rods as well, I found them a pleasure to fish on the flats all summer long. If finesse and mending, long line manipulation is your bag, then a spey rod might be better. But for all-purpose, slam bang surf and rip action the faster, more aggressive taper is the way to go. This also allows for a shorter rod, which makes it great to strip the fly - it's not much different from a single hander once in the fly strip position, and both two-handed stripping and single handed stripping techniques are comfortable to use.

The single handed flyfishing approach is not invalidated, but it's one-dimensional. We don't always face conditions where it's the right tool for the job. For those bigger, badder, situations, one could go to a bigger single hander - and you will pay for it with bursitis bigtime.

Or you could use less effort for more distance and bigger flies, bigger fish handling, and a whole new world of exploration for line systems that will make staggering casts simple for the average disciple.

With spring the herring runs will come again. Each year, the biggest bass shun small flies while live-liners score on every drift. With enough interest and energy, the fly guys will figure out the lines, flies and presentations needed to go hand in hand with the live-liners in this fishery.

In my honest opinion, the ocean two-hander is an important part of this advance in coastal flyfishing ability.

And we haven't even begun to talk about subtropical opportunities...

10-30-2003, 08:55 AM
Jay - arthritis and war wounds and your comments to me on the ability for people who suffer chronic shoulders/joints/pain to maybe learn to use and enjoy casting/fishing with two-handers and less pain.

10-30-2003, 09:05 AM
Dave, I think Bob Meiser is the best guy to speak to that as I know he has dealt with these issues with a number of his customers.

My personal experience is that despite a herniated disc in my neck all this season, I was able to fish the two-handers all I wanted with no ill-effect whatsoever.

Last season, I had tennis elbow on my right side, and fished the T & T DH 1212-3 all season.

In my opinon, they are definitely easier on the body, even with big lines and flies.

10-30-2003, 09:13 AM
I'd agree with Jay, once the caster learns to relax and keep the energy wave (wedge in the loop) in the same imaginary cylinder on both sides of the cast. Given that, it's cake to cast these rods. That's not force, that's just alignment and timing. Most males try to overcome inefficiencies with force, thus making things seem difficult and tiring. Observing the women I've taught to cast is very revealing, they never try to overpower deficiencies but instead stop, think and learn. This type of approach will lead to a casting technique that is both easy and effective, you should never come home sore once you get in the groove.

10-30-2003, 09:15 AM
Yep, I am sure there will be a bandwagon effect. It's certainly not the lonely world it was for me in 1995!

Originally posted by 2HandTheSalt
Coincidentally, I am just in from testing yet ANOTHER new two-handed surf fly rod. This one is lightweight and powerful and best of all: Very reasonably priced!

That is three surf-specific two-handers that I am aware of, and a couple more that I hear rumored. Maybe there is something to this two-handed surf thingie???

10-30-2003, 10:10 AM
I understand the mechanics and advantages of a two hander in the surf in comparison with a 9ft. Do any of you fish these long rods from boat?? I'm asking because from experience in using a 9ft rod from BOAT, I would think that you would have a bit more control with a 9ft. I hear alot about gaining distance with minimal effort using a long rod and I realize that physics do come into play. However, with a proper balanced shooting head and a fast action 9ft a well seasoned caster can easily throw 100+ft line with small or big flies using minimal effort if done correctly. I don't mean to sound bias and I respect your promoting this style of fly fishing. I am very interested in the casting aspect of both styles. Thanks, KC

10-30-2003, 10:48 AM
KC, I am not a fan of longer rods from a boat-More disadvantages than advantages, I think.

The exception to that is heavy fly rods, like with 8 1/2' 15-weights, I can cast them a mile all day long with no effort with two-hands. With one-hand, I can barely lift them, let alone cast them.

Regardless of your skill or line system, you will gain 20-40% in casting distance with a longer two-handed rod over a 9' one-hander and you will do it with less effort.

Almost anyone can put a puny fly and HD head on a braided mono line and cast a hundred feet. But I am talking about real fishing, with floating and intermediate lines, big flies and wind. I am talking about being able to fish side-by side with surf casters in conditions when all the other fly fishermen are out golfing.

Did I mention how much fun it is to fish with these two-handed fly rods?

10-30-2003, 10:53 AM
We have specified and will soon be field testing a two-handed rod made specifically for fishing from a boat... but the beach rods will come first.

That being said I recently had the pleasure of fishing with Mike Mayo on his boat and used the two-handers the whole time. What I found was:

- The ease of casting for distance was just as good from a deck as it is from the beach, one backcast and the whole line's out there.

- stripping the fly, if the rod is short enough (11' or less) is no problem at all

- I was able to cast off either shoulder depending on wind for solid distances with a single backcast, much easier than a single hander in a crossing wind

- the beefier blank comes in handy for fighting tough fish

- it's easier to set up rod holders for two-handed rods than single handed rods on board

On the down side (until the specialized rod designs for boats are completed):

- the additional 2' length doesn't make it any easier to get alongside the gunwhale to release the fish. Keep in mind that even with the single hander, the other angler had to assist for releasing big blues so there was no logistic difference, just that the angler felt a little more removed from the fish at 11' verses 9' at the end of the fight

That's about the only real downside I can think of. I am speaking wholly on behalf of the Atlantis 1111, which is only 11' long. Most two-handed rods today are 12'-15' or even longer. Clearly on a boat the shorter the better IMHO; I wouldn't want to have a longer rod on board a boat.

We are developing a shorter two-handed rod that handles pretty much the same grain weights (325-350) as the single handers we all know and love. With the handle under the arm this rod is hard to tell apart from a single hander. BUT... it's not the boat version we plan to deliver in 2004.

In summary, I enjoyed fishing the 11'11/12wt Atlantis as much as any single hander I own (of several) and the trade-off between the ease of casting, power advantage for strong fish, and the loss of control boatside were on the plus side for me, your results may vary.

I think you'll agree that with any singlehander landing big fish boatside is a concern. Whether single or double, we had to assist each other with fish at boatside. I won't sugar coat it in that there's a couple more feet of rod to worry about.

10-30-2003, 11:33 AM
Two hander,

I would beg to differ that almost anyone can cast a puny fly 100 feet with a shooting head. I find it interesting that you were talking about "REAL FISHING" with floating and intermediate lines and casting big flies using a two hander in the wind. How long are your floating and intermediate full flylines? What kind of distance using the long rod can you achieve with intermediate and floating line casting big flies? When you refer to big flies, how big do you mean? These are just a few questions I am interested in. Thanks, KC

10-30-2003, 11:52 AM
KC -

The size of fly you can throw is a function of the size of line, meaning grains and diameter over length. Let's say you have 450 grains on your side, you will be able to throw a 10-12" bunker fly with relative ease at least 80 feet using that line. This is regardless of the rod you use, as long as the rod can throw that line.

The two-hander deals with 450 grains over 30 feet like nothing because you are sharing the energy across both hands. In fact the right two-hander can throw 500, 600 or more grains without much ado, all day and with an easy casting stroke.

So, the fly is cast by the line. The rod's job is to throw the line, the casters job is to swing the rod. If the caster can cast the rod which throws the line comfortably, then that triad can push a very large fly a long way repeatedly and without much wear and tear on the body.

Just for giggles, I set up 35' of LC-13 on 100' braided line (not a fishing line I know) with a 10' leader. The result... just about anyone can throw 145' or more with an easy stroke.

I am still working on a more polished equivalent of this experimental configuration, it will be forthcoming soon I imagine. To be able to reach that with a flick for floating, intermediate, and hi-density lines is the goal. I am confident it's only a few trials away from accomplishment, and that over time people will concoct line systems that are mind-boggling.

Just my guess,


10-30-2003, 11:55 AM
The more I follow this topic, the more interesting it becomes. It is especially relevent to me in light of my whinning in other posts about giving up the flyrod for the surf rod in order to meet the requirements of the hardcore surf action I crave. I really regret leaving the demo last week before you took out the blaster Juro. Had I known it was coming, I might have stuck around.

Since my season is firmly and totally finished for the year, I'll get no more chances in the surf. If there are ever mid-winter casting claves, count me in. Otherwise, next season I'll maybe have to venture outside my normal travel routes and check out Juro in action on South Beach. Either that, or coax him out onto the jetty in a howlin Sw with six foot surf!:hehe:

10-30-2003, 12:52 PM
My apologies KC, I did not mean that the way it sounded.

What I mean is that you and everybody else will be able to cast a two-hander 20-40% further than you can a one-hander.

Braided mono running line creates such little resistance, that I truly believe that anyone with even moderate casting skills can cast such a setup over a hundred feet, but it is such a poor fishing system, that I don't feel it is a very accurate measure of real world fishability.

The only limit to how far you can throw such a system, is really how long the braided mono line is. With Juro's eleven-footer, even beginners were casting it 145'.

I fish shooting head systems with heads of 30-45' and running lines of 100-120'. I don't rig them for distance, I rig them for fishing. I rarely fish more than a hundred feet of combined length, but it can be fished in more adverse conditions and with larger flies. I have on occasion cast 120' to fish, and once hit 145' with a popper in a tailwind.

By larger flies, I am talking about big deceivers on hooks to 5/0 and 2/0 Offshore poppers about 8" in length. For anything much bigger than that, I am going to need a bigger fly line.

This is not about casting distance, it is about how much water can you effectively cover in given surf and wind conditions.

Every year I hear from guys who claim to be able to work a hundred feet of fly line in the surf with floating lines in any conditions, but I have not actually met any of these guys yet.

Except maybe for Bob Pop, but he is using a 10-10 1/2' rod although he is casting it with one hand.

10-30-2003, 01:21 PM
Again (and again) the braided running line was never intended to be a fishing setup, the store simply did not have the running line I wanted so I decided not to waste money on a floating running line. It's only 8 bucks for 100'.

What it is however is a proof of concept that an optimized shooting line system can make it easy as pie to reach ridiculous distances with grain weights that are downright comfy to cast on two-handed rods.

Let's defer the conclusion to what this experiment might yield until after (a) the proper running line is determined and (b) the range of heads in grains/length is thoroughly investigated for the rods.

I will crank up the speed on this testing as the season is not getting any younger.

Doc Duprey
10-30-2003, 01:24 PM
...and have you seen the size of Bob P.' hands...and arms?


10-30-2003, 01:30 PM
2Hand, What type of running line do you use with your heads?

10-30-2003, 02:04 PM
Originally posted by K.C.
2Hand, What type of running line do you use with your heads?

Mostly, I use Rio's new clear intermediate, but have also had good luck with AirFlo PolyShoot. Have used SA Floating shooting line, and intend to try the new Rio Floater next. These are all running lines that feel and behave like ordinary fly line.

10-30-2003, 03:11 PM
2Hand, How do you like Rio's clear intermediate? Out of all the running lines, which do you think behaves and shoots the best?

10-30-2003, 04:06 PM
Floating line doesn't hold it's own in surf; clear running line does not accomodate a color change with a clear shooting head (the head color is much more important). I've used many shooting lines but am yet to find "the one"... search continues...


10-30-2003, 05:34 PM
I am pretty much with Juro there-The Rio clear feels and shoots great, but I am not a fan of clear lines. I don't even want clear heads, but that is pretty much all you can buy these days, isn't it?

I can tell where the head ends just fine, but I can't mark my running line to know how much line I am working.

The AirFlo is a tad thinner and might shoot a tad better, and has the advantage of being bright orange. It is an entirely different construction though, and I was never 100% confident of it's strength after it had a few miles on it. Never had it fail me though.

I will stick with the Rio until this, " Clear fad," passes over.....

10-31-2003, 06:32 PM
Who's this K.C. guy anyway??? Stirring up the pot a little hey K.C.??? Spey cast ing is the wave of the future get with the times buddy:hehe:

Mike M.

11-01-2003, 12:13 PM
Originally posted by Doc Duprey
...and have you seen the size of Bob P.' hands...and arms?

-Doc Have you tried throwing one of those 10 1/2 footers? I've been thinking of replacing the butt with a longer one and trying the rod as a 2-hander. It seems to want 2 hands to cast well. Ron

Doc Duprey
11-01-2003, 02:04 PM
Tried it and did not care for it personally. Much too stiff for my taste, but might be just right for yours? I like a slower action...The 10 1/2 foot St. Croix that Bob P. designed is very fast. I think it might be tamed by a two hand configuration, but am not certain. Interesting idea, though. Maybe St. Croix will sell you a blank to test?

Good luck and best regards,


11-05-2003, 07:34 PM
Wave of the FUTURE!! That's funny!!

11-06-2003, 11:28 AM
:D :D :eyecrazy: :tsk_tsk:

11-06-2003, 11:29 AM
We tend to forget that two-handed rods have been around for about 400 years! Just haven't really made the striper scene... yet! :devil: