Two-handed rods - fact, not fiction [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Two-handed rods - fact, not fiction

06-08-2004, 10:07 AM
Jay Horton and I just had the privilege of watching professional film dudes Tom Eichler and photographer Eddie Howells film Simon Gawesworth for the saltwater segment of a new video to be released sometime down the road. If you are curious about two-handers and their application in the surf and sea, you might keep an eye out for this video when it comes out.

If you have any doubts whatsoever that a two-hander is more suited to the task of dealing with big surf, tidal rips, wind, big flies and conditions than a single hander, those doubts would vanish if you saw what Simon can do with Scandinavian spey/shooting heads on two handed rods on our shores. Just awesome.

Now don't get me wrong I was already perfectly happy with the humble discoveries and advantages I've already gained in fishing the Atlantis on the beach and in the rips but after watching him I've been enlighted to the fact that there is an even "higher plane" to work toward with two-handed rods on the beach.

Even before his first spey casting videos Simon was a tournament caster with two handed rods and it's incredible to watch his casting prowess applied to the striper coast. After withnessing this I have to admit I am excited as hell to study tournament two-handed rod casting techniques for the purposes of incorporating them into my striper fishing. I am already getting a big return on my time but hope to get to the next level to apply it on Nauset, South Beach, the Race, etc.

The horizon is wide open for people to explore all of the possibilities, it's a new frontier on the beach for flyfishermen!

06-08-2004, 10:30 AM
Juro, I called in an order at the Rod workshop and ordered an Atlantis. I hope you can help me cast that thing.

06-08-2004, 10:38 AM

Are you aware of any videos currently available for two-handed casting. I have worked with the rod a little bit but am having trouble with the cross-body casting which is one of the main advantages I want the rod for.


06-08-2004, 11:20 AM
I would definitely like to schedule a two-handed casting session, free for Atlantis owners. Let me figure out when and where and post again.

It would be best to get the max attendance because some have already been developing some skill and experience that would be good to share with the group.

Also the various lines that people chose could be tried by all.

06-08-2004, 11:27 AM
Originally posted by Smcdermott

Are you aware of any videos currently available for two-handed casting. I have worked with the rod a little bit but am having trouble with the cross-body casting which is one of the main advantages I want the rod for.



I have been finding it easier to go left-hand up on the handle lately but it's good to do it both ways. Make sure to give the left-hand up method a try as well.

For reference video I would start with standard spey casting videos that cover the cast - the only difference is the d-loop in spey casting verses the backcast in overhead. has tons of video and anything marked "reverse" is cross-body. Check that all out and in the meantime I will try to get some footage made for the site using beach casting techniques as well.

Basically these are the key points:

stance should allow you to see your backcast, I suggest opposite foot forward
keep the rod at the same angle as a lefty caster would have it, canted outward tp prevent line colllision with rod
make a roll to get the head out and striaght in the water
smooth lift into a backcast, kicking out the butt forward while holding the rod tip hard at 1pm
as the backcast extends, drift the rod back to extend the stroke length you'll have when you come forward
wait for the backcast to straighten, then smoothly accelerate from 1pm to about 11am and pop the top hand elbow out straight like a punch while pulling the bottom hand inward to power the cast forward

In some cases, the top hand may be facing backward, similar to a karate backfist. Here is a pic of Dennis Worley of Kaufmanns making a reverse cast. Check out the hand position:

Doc Duprey
06-08-2004, 11:35 AM

I would make the trip for that sort of clinic for certain! I think that such an event, particularly including the "sharing of experience" aspect that you mention, would be a great benefit to all, plus a lot of fun. The possibility of fish, while always welcome, would be almost secondary...wait a minute...what am I saying?!?!

Obviously, my ratio of work time to fishing time is getting way out of whack. Clearly, a trip to "The Far Side" is urgently needed.

THanks for your efforts and best regards,


06-08-2004, 12:03 PM
Two handed casting clave sounds like a great idea - especially coinciding with striper season. I would really like to try out different lines / heads since my current set is limited.

06-08-2004, 02:28 PM

I very much want to try the Atlantis, especially with a windy place like Nantucket in the fall in mind. But Im disinclined to buy before I test drive. Any chance of expanding the proposed two-hander clinic/clave to the curious as well as to current owners? Seems to me the prospect of new sales lies with the former group rather than the latter.


06-08-2004, 04:14 PM
Since the Two-handed video is not available to the public as of yet. What other resurces are available to study these techniques. As a current Atlantis owner, What type of casts did you see that are worthy of incorporating into your striper fishing techniques.

What casts can we start learning to take our Two-handed striper fishing to the next plane?

Are there any good videos or books illustrating the proper casting techniques you saw demonstated by Simon in the video?


06-08-2004, 04:57 PM
I have a question. Lately if I fish for a while, well 8 hours straight, my wrist starts to hurt. I was wondering if a doublehander would possibly help? Shooting heads actually seem to be less of a problem, maybe it's less false casts. "It's not the meat it's the motion" Maybe that's what that means

06-09-2004, 05:26 AM
Bluefishercat -

If you are fishing a river with a swing presentation for 8 hours, it will almost certainly be better to spey cast whether one handed or two. Spey casts provide fishing distances with necessary changes of direction (e.g. 90 degrees) with as little as one backcast and one forward cast.

If you are fishing overhead casts on the beach, I would say "absolutely". You get most of the power from the bottom hand, so I would have to say your wrist would indeed feel better with a two-hander once you get the feel for the casting stroke. There is a bit of a learning curve but for overhead really not much compared to spey casting.

There are some fisheries, like spring brooks and upriver dries, where the single hander will always rule. But other fisheries, like the pounding surfline where 30 pound bass are crushing foot-long bait, where the conventional tools (9ft / 9wt) are just plain work when compared to an easy-casting two-handed rod.


06-09-2004, 06:14 AM
Greg -

There are many techniques to apply, including what Simon was doing - aerial snake roll to power backcast, then a wicked forward stroke with opposing hands.

I think we need to put together a video, practice regimen, and hold a few get togethers to bring us all into peak form. The spring migration proves what distance and quick presentation can mean to success, now it'll be time for bigger fish to be hunting the shoreline and the ability to throw big flies into marauding fish (poppers, big bait patterns) over the breakers will be a summer staple until the fall migration calls for coverage once again in the surf.

No time to waste! I am guiding both days this weekend, I could do something between 5am to 7am or after 5pm on Sat. Anyone on the Cape this weekend?

Weekday nights in a field in a central location works too.

Arthur Robert
06-09-2004, 09:32 AM
I've fished for 12 days this season in the Chatam area and have used my Atlantis exclusively as I wanted to learn how to use it. I did talk with you briefly as we got off the Rip Rider on Thursday about lines. I started off using Air Flo heads, 45' in intermediate amd type 3 sink. I had a lot of trouble handling the 45' heads so I cut them back to 35'. I hated to cut off the nice loops they had. This puts the weight down to about 460-480 graines, light for the Atlantis. I could cast the type 3 sinker O.K as I was able to cast well over 100'. The Intermediate did not cast wery well at all:lot of work and more false casting. I used it on the flats sight fishing and had a lot of problems getting off quick accurate cast to sighted fish. What line do you reccomend using on the flats? What do you use for running line/ For running line I have tried Cortland braided momo, Rio Slickshooter and Rio Powerflex Core Shootingline. I use the Cortland braded momo most of the time. I just got in the mail yesterday an Air Fow 35' Type 3 sinker. I expect it to cast better than the one I cut down. Any suggestions you might have would be appreciated. THANKS, ART

06-09-2004, 10:16 AM
Art brings up a good question in regards to using the Atlantis on the flats. Juro, I believe you are working on a lighter (shorter ?) version for the flats but do you see the Atlantis as a flats tool? I find that I catch and spot most of my fish from 20-60ft away and use much smaller flies than I would for the surf. For this reason I tend to line up on a 8 or 9wt single hander so I can make those casts and I can't see a way to get that performance from the two hander. I think you have talked about this before but can you elaborate on what you think the advantages of a two handed rod on the flats are and to Art's question what line combinations you find effective.


06-09-2004, 10:29 AM
Hi Art,

It was nice meeting you. I wish I could have stopped to chat longer but had clients with me.

Much of this is figuring out the two-handed casting techniques as well as the lines that go with them. For instance with the 45 ft head...

The secret to handling the 45ft'er is to strip at least half the head into the guides before rolling it back for the next cast. That head is so thin it easily casts back out with a quick roll or one additional false cast. Once in the air, that head will go the distance without much effort. I suspect you were having problems rolling it back up while wading. A sinking long head such as that line is best used for fishing in high surf when you stand back and out of harms way. As you know a shorter length is much easier to roll up for the next cast, but when making big casts the longer head holds it's shape (loop) longer. The 45 has it's place but it's not on the flats.


There are times when the 1111 Surf-tamer is a great tool on the flats, and there are times when a single-hander is better although the 1111 rules the beach all the way in that comparison. Putting preferences aside, the physics of a longer rod with two hands can mean reaching more far swimming pods on the flats and repositioning the line from one cast to another direction very quickly with spey casting moves like the snake roll. But if you are not seeing the fish until they are on your boots, the shorter rod wins (cloudy days, etc).

I have used a few lines with success on the flats:
Wulff 12wt Intermediate Tarpon Line 30ft head
Airflo 12wt Clear Intermediate Line 35ft head
Airflo 12wt Clear 35' Shooting Head (a little light)
Rio 8/9 Scandinavian Floater cut to 38ft with long leader
Hardy Mach I 10/11 Floater with long leader (~50ft head)

I would like to try many more lines as time and money allow. I have some inside dirt on a new line specifically made for this type of rod, or well actually this rod. :smokin: More to come on that.

Again technique is important - hold the head in loops in your hand instead of having it stripped in behind the guides. Drop the head into the water, make a simple roll cast (switch cast) to straighten it out, and complete the cast directly off the first back cast. Or opt for a slightly longer head and the roll itself will go 50-60 ft.

Because of the desire to fish both sides of say... South Beach carrying one rod, we are finalizing a 9/10wt version of the Atlantis currently. By switching from a 10wt shooting head on the beach to a clear 10wt on the flats you can cover a barrier shoal on both sides comfortably.

The 11ft 9/10wt flexes more fully and is fun even with schoolies, but then again who wants schoolies. :devil: These rods are designed to up the ante on the hunt for big fish.

06-09-2004, 07:49 PM
Juro -

I am all for a two handed casting get together sometime. No doubt I still have more to practice and learn at this level, But can't wait to work on more. Saturaday is unfortunately out this weekend, But Thanks for the generous offer! Perhaps Sunday am or Monday night in Bolton. I 'm looking forward to working on reaching the next level with the Atlantis. I really enjoyed seeing the snake roll, not a cast I would be comfortable doing with barbed hooks. :eek: I wonder if some of those casts would work as well in the sandblasting wind we endured at the spring clave.

Not sure I have a good combo for that casting style 12wt Airflo 35ft heads & polyshoot XT as compared to the Hardy Mach 1 for example. I'm also going to pickup a 13wt Airflo head, I like to run alittle heavier lines anyway.

I would think the Wulff would be great on the flats for the quick cast with one backcast. It's a shame Wulff doesn't lengthen their line and add some more grains to it for the Atlantis, it would be something to see and probably sell well. It's such a nice forgiving taper design.

Please do bring along a 9/10 Atlantis too.


06-09-2004, 08:19 PM
I've thought this over and would like to have at least two sessions. The first will be "3 Steps to a Full Line Cast" and the second will be based on whatever I can learn about tournament style overhand casting. Most likely what I will learn is that we need to fly Simon back out to the Cape :)

But the first session focuses on three steps starting with the essentials of two-handed casting (use of hands, rod path, line handling, rolling out the head, loop shapes, cross-body, etc). Then part II "acceleration verses power", and finally part III "extending stroke length" for a longer path of acceleration to get a full line cast to the backing easily.

Greg, I won't be down that way in the evenings for a while but keep an eye out for these get togethers. The 9/10 Atlantis has made a journey to the pacific for a while so it's not likely I will have it for this event. They will be in stock soon though so perhaps by the next event(?)

06-09-2004, 08:53 PM
Two sessions Sounds good, hope we can do it soon. Hopefully when your schedule settles down alittle more. I imagine with the growing number of Atlantis owners there may be quite a a bit of interest depending on when and where those sessions are. Perhaps I can catch you on the weekends on the Cape if not perhaps another time when time allows if there isn't a scheduled group event. Thanks as always for info and offer to help us learn and tap into that next plane with the Atlantis. :smokin: