two hander [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: two hander

02-07-2005, 07:11 PM
Iam looking at getting into this and would like to know what kind of rod,reel, and line to use for great lakes steelhead. I like sage rods and ross reels, so this might help you guys out.

02-07-2005, 08:13 PM
First, I'll put my answer into perspective. I'm a huge fan of Sage single handers and I've owned more Sages than any other brand of rod. I have never owned a Sage two-hander (though I've casted many) and it's doubtful I ever will.

You fish the Catt and I've fished it enough times to have some feel for the creek. Except for a few places like the bridge at Gowanda, distance is not an issue. We need a rod that'll handle short to medium distances plus one that will handle a range of lines and terminal rig. The best rod I've found to meet that set of criteria is the Loop Blue 8124. I also own the the lighter version, the 7116, and it would be a good choice too for the narrower stretches but the 8124 is the more overall versatile rod.

There are other excellent rods in this category, the CND Custom 1308, the T&T rods in the same range, etc. -- I'm just recommending the Blue 8124 as it's a rod I own and I know what it can and can't do. Black Francis inhabits this spot too and he's a local store owner of yours. I'm sure he can point you in the right direction. However, before you lay down serious cash, I strongly suggest that you extend your search criteria beyond Sage.

02-08-2005, 08:19 AM
Have to agree with Peter on this one. Sage has a very limited selection of rods for the kind of fishing and casting you will be doing on the Catt. and for that matter most of the tribs in the area. I use the Sage 12’ 5wt. In the early fall when the weather is good and the fish are small, but as the season progresses the weather gets worse, the fish get bigger and the 5wt. Is a bit out classed. I would look for a rod in the 11 – 13 foot range in a 7/8wt.


02-08-2005, 09:36 AM

I would agree that Sage are not the greatest rods for the region. Especially for someone who is entering the spey arena. Unless you are fishing the bigger rivers, which for me means the Niagara, Genesee, Oswego, and Salmon, 12-13'6" 7-8 weight is probably a good range to be in. This will also cover a lot of the fishing in the aforementioned rivers also.

I noticed that your home page is for Buffalo Outfitters. You should have access to Orvis rods then ? The 12'6" 7 weight and 12'6" 8 weight are both nice rods. I should clarify that my 8 weight is the old Trident. I have not cast the newer line but understand the action is similair. My 8 weight does very well with a WC 7/8/9 for casts in the 65 - 70 foot range. This covers most fishing situations in the area. If you have good technique you can push these rods out to 90 ft plus. I have not cast the 7 but would imagine a 6/7/8 WC to be a good starting position. These rods really come to life when there is a light reel under them so don't put too big of a monster under them. I am very disappointed that Orvis stopped the Trident spey, they were much more pleasing to the eye. If you want a more detailed review of these rods Dana did a review of the Orvis on the spey pages.

T+T, Winston, CND and Loomis (just to name a few) all have rods that are nice for the area and some are tuly more capable rods than the Orvis. I chose to encourage you to try the orvis only because of your association with Buffalo Outfitters which I believe is an Orvis dealer and because it is an under appreciated rod. The Orvis line is also very nicley priced for the starter or someone who wants an additional rod at a good price.

Good Luck

Sorry, just notice that Orvis has redone their line a little this year. I would reccomend the 12'6" 7/8. They no longer have two different 12'6" rods. I'm guessing that this rod is closer to my 8 weight than the old 7.


02-08-2005, 03:37 PM
i would have to disagree at least a little. i think sage makes at least two darn nice rods for this area. the first would be the 12.5' 8 wt euro. which i like a lot and is not too much rod for the catt and not too little for the niagara. if you like med action rods it is really a nice casting rod. the other which i learned to cast on is the 13.5' 7 weight. i think the existing one is a little different than the old (7-8 years?) one that i borrowed from a friend. this rod is slow but it is actualy a great rod to learn on as it really lets you know what's going on. definitly not a weight rod but for the catt lots of people use it. it loads on short casts very well and is darn near impossilbe to break a fish off on. the distances here don't usually require a cannon of any sort and if there is one area sage can cover it's here. btw i don't own or regularly fish any two handed sage rods, but i have cast the mentioned rods quite a bit. i am a T&T fan myself but i like the faster rods.

02-08-2005, 04:30 PM

Those rods would certainly do the job, and probably do it well. The reality is that almost any manufacturer makes a decent spey rod these days. It really comes down to preference and casting stroke.

I know that for me it took a little bit to get used to how fast my T+T is but now I absolutely love it.


02-08-2005, 04:56 PM
BF, it's not whether or not these rods will "do the job OK" but at what price? There are rods on the market at half the price that will do the job better. Why pay more to get less? I'd choose a St. Croix 13' 7/8 over a Sage 7136 brownie at the same money, so why pay two to three times as much? I've spent time with both rods and the St. Croix is a better all around rod, IMHO. The best Sage Catt rod is the 6126 -- that's a decent rod. Stick a 6/7 on it and you're away to the races, but you could spend half as much and still get a rod that is just as good if not better. If somebody is bound and determined to toss $700.00 USD on a rod, then get them to buy a T&T or GLX.

02-08-2005, 05:42 PM
I'm curious if you have had the chance to try any of the Orvis rods ?


02-08-2005, 06:12 PM
I owned the new 13'6" 8/9 briefly as it transitioned from payment for work performed into another Daiwa (a new blue 13'6" - 9 wt.). At the time, my biggest problem with it concerned it being a three piece instead of four. I found the rod to be moderately stiff, but not overly fast on the recovery, and a bit 'numb' as far as response and transmission of info to the casters hands. It felt middle of the pack as far as weight-in-the-hand goes. Casting effort was moderate. Not overly powerful but very serviceable. It was a decent performer for the price and better than some of the high priced rods out there. I'd rate it well in the medium priced brands, ahead of the St. Croix, but behind a Loop Blue. I'd buy it in a heart beat vs. a 7136 brownie or 7141 at even money. I found it equivalent to the new Sage 8136.

Compared to my new blue Daiwa 9 wt., it ain't close -- but then I prefer my sticks on the fast recovery, light & stiff side. You have to be a Loop Green, GLX, or T&T fan to like these new Daiwas.

I think anyone who would buy these new Orvis rods will get value for money and will have a rod that will perform well across a broad spectrum of fishing situations.

02-08-2005, 08:28 PM
Peter, with all due respect to you, especialy on rods and actions, i was merely suggesting some sage's i liked as per spock's preference in manufacturers. there are undoubtedly many cheaper, arguably better rods on the market and i think some fine examples were mentioned by all.

Gillie, all these rods mentioned can certainly cast better than the people holding them (myself included) can make them cast. we have many choices these days and should be thankful for it. the research is more enjoyable than most.

02-09-2005, 06:22 AM
Don't mind me, I just get a bit carried away when the subject of Sage two-handers arises.

02-10-2005, 09:29 PM
you have a very interesting search in front of you. The spey market has exploded in the past few years and there are so many wonderful rods available. A great deal will depend on what you want from your rod. Do you like fast rods or slower? Do you tend to fish very heavy tips or lighter ones? Do you like to shoot line with a short head or do you want a longer belly? As you will see mentioned on here and other sites you need to take a bunch of rods and lines for some test drives to determine what fits you best. If you haven't cast a two hander before I would recommend you hook up with your local spey guy or find a good casting instructor. Trust me it will save you lots of money and frustration in the long run.
While I now live in BC, I grew up fly fishing the Great Lakes and have some experience with the rivers there. I would agree that you want a rod between 12-14ft that casts a line weight between 6-8wt. If I had to have one rod for the GLs it would be the sage 8136. This rod has some guts and will cover most situations you will encounter. BF mentioned the 7136 which is one of my favourite rods. Unfortunately sage discontinued that rod for this year. If you like slower action rods like me then thats an awesome rod and there are still some around.
All my spey rods are sage. Yes there are tons of rods that are just as good if not better depending on taste but there are many that aren't even close. The reason I buy sage is the incredible customer service that they have given me. Just last fall I broke my 7136 two weeks before a big trip to the Nass. I shipped the rod and called them to explain my situation. For no extra cost they had my rod rebuilt and returned intime for my trip. That and several other experiences like it have made me a sage fan for life. The warranty is not the only reason I use these rods. I think my rods cast very well...and they'd cast even better if I was a more proficient caster.
One direction I would recommend you investigate is the Skagit style. Rio and Airflow are comming out with Skagit lines this year. If you spend most of your time with tips its an amazing way to go. While I have not cast them yet I've been told the new GLoomis rods are amazing. They allow you to throw heavy tips while using sporty little rods that are a blast to fight fish on.
I wish you luck in your search. You will encounter many different opinons that are all very valid. You need to see what fits you.

02-11-2005, 01:36 PM
Out of curiosity, regarding your 7136 -- is it a brownie, greenie, or the new IIIe? What lines do you use on it? What casts do you use? Continuous water loading (Skagit) or conventional D-Loops? Do you tend to use a lot of top hand in your casts with a lot of arm motion?

I'm asking the questions as I'm trying to understand what people see in that rod. The new IIIe isn't a bad rod and if it wasn't so pricey, I might be interested. I find it to be like the new Loomis Dredger series and I've already ordered the Kispiox 7/8. However, I've tried the other two 7136s and found them to be weak, wobbly noodles that have to be underlined before they begin to cast more like a conventional rod. I realize that they were optimized for shooting head work, Skagit style, but apparently, not every 7136 owner uses them this way. Some guys really crank the grains on these rods and I can't figure out how they're able to cast them this way.

To me, a 7136 brownie is a 300 grain rod, max. Last time out with the 7136 brownie, the owner had an SA 7/8 short head on it that just folded it over. We backed it off to a 6/7 short head and we could cast it if we gently feathered it out there, but the 6/7 was maxing it out. If I owned that rod, I'd probably fish it with a 5/6.

Love to see a 7136 affecionado cast the rod properly -- maybe then I'd understand.

02-11-2005, 02:27 PM
I also like the traditional Sages. While I don't have any experience with the 7136 (I do have one for sale in my experienced rod rack), I have fished a lot with the much maligned Sage 9140. This is a greenie and I can cast it better and farther then any rod I've ever fished, I think even better then my much beloved CND Expert 1409 which I really, really, really like. For me the line that makes both the 9140 and the Expert 1409 sing is a Delta 7/8. I am doing normal spey casting (or at least my "wham/bam" version of it) using mostly the Circle C and the Double Spey casts and flies up to 1/0 (mostly #2s). To me both of these 14' rods are a joy to cast and fish.

02-11-2005, 07:31 PM
my 7136 is the older softer version. It is a very soft noodle that is a blast to fish with. I do not launch huge casts off this rod. I would say it is effective out to 80 feet or so. In the hands of a better caster it could probably fish farther.
I tried a mastery spey 8/9 on it but that was overkill. Now I'm fishing the Midspey 6/7 w tips. This line is a great match for this rod. The only comment I would have is that the type VIII tip is actually an 8 wt. Thus it is a tad too heavy and you can feel it when you cast. This is the line I use for summer fishing. If I was back home in Ont I would consider using a windcutter as I would be fishing more tips.
Although this rod is soft, don't think it has no guts. Last winter I brought some nice winter runs to hand and this summer it subdued a surprise spring that attacted my fly while fishing summer runs.
From my understanding the 7136 was not designed as a shooting head rod. It came out well before that. It is a rod designed for light dry line fishing. The 7136 green (2001) and the following lt brown model were of the same action just a different colour.
When fishing my rod with a midspey I cast in a traditional style using both my upper and lower hands (probably using too much upper hand but I'm working on that). I use a mix of casts: single, double, circle, and spiral speys.
One of my friends Mark McAneeley is a guide here in BC. He was pictured holding a 26lb steelie in the last issue of Flyfisherman. The fish was caught by Lani Waller using Mark's 7136. Mark has the newer 7136 and he was using an Airflow line. He says the newer 7136 launches the Airflow Delta(can't remember the weight).
Like MJC I own a 9140 green that I built. I really like this rod. An 8/9 midspey fishes well on it. This winter I've been using an 8/9/10 windcutter modified to Ed Ward's instructions to create a Skagit line. I have been blown away by the way this outfit fishes. I can only imagine the new GLoomis rods matched up to proper Skagit lines! The 9140 will do it all from summer to winter. Again like the 7136 it is a softer rod. The 9150 is a completely different beast that is much faster. While still considered slow by many it is much faster than most traditional sages. When it comes to big water I love my 9150 but I can see few uses for this rod on the GLs besides the Niagra.
My point is not that Sage rods are the best out there. There are lots of great rods and lots that are cheaper. Just don't rule the Sages out. If I was moving back to Ontario tomorrow my rod of choice would be my 7136. I really wish Sage hadn't discontinued them.


02-12-2005, 08:16 AM

I suppose my first problem with Sages came from their use of "Traditional" to describe their soft rods. I don't consider that action to be traditional at all, unless of course, you're referring to a PNW tradition. I think that in the minds of most people, Sage is trying to evoke a connection to Scottish two-handers. A bogus connection as far as I’m concerned.

I've owned two rods (both Lamiglas) that I would consider traditional in action. Very full flexing, slow recovery, but also smoothly progressive. Both these rods were powerful for their line class and supported a wide range of lines -- a characteristic of progressive rods. In contrast, the old 7136 seemed to fold over in the mid-section. In fact all of the soft Sages I've casted, except for the latest IIIe versions, seemed to have this soft middle perched on a semi-stiff butt. A characteristic suited for the short head style of casting in the PNW but hardly in the same class as what we would think of as a traditional UK-style rod designed to lift and cast long lengths of line. Some people are successfully using these rods like UK-style rods, by dropping down in line weights so that the spongy middle is not overwhelmed. This is hardly an endorsement of these rods as being “traditional”.

So this is the sore point for me -- these rods are suited for the fishing style they were designed for, but Sage marketing portrays them as something they're most definitely not. If these rods carried the label of a less well-known company, they'd be roundly criticised outside of their home turf if they were portrayed in this manner. I suppose I’d be far less critical of them had they not been marketed in this way.

My second concern involves the linkage of casting skill with these rods. This is just a suspicion on my part, not backed up by much evidence – however, we know that a lot of beginners start out with these rods because of the allure of the Sage name. I’ve seen a couple of guys flog these rods using over-weight short heads and a lot of arm strength to flop out casts. These guys haven’t had the opportunity to learn proper casting technique on a rod that loads conventionally. When I tried my first 7136 around ’97 or early ‘98, I was a rank beginner spey caster with a Lamiglas and a St. Croix, and I couldn’t feel the load on the 7136 so I was just flopping it around. To try and get the feel for it, I went overhead and discovered that I couldn’t get it to behave there either despite being able to spey and overhead cast both of my other rods with somewhat decent proficiency for a beginner. Today I wonder how my casting progression would’ve gone (ignoring my shoulder issues of a few years back) had I owned the 7136 instead of the other two rods.

I've ordered the Kispiox as a winter GL rod for basically the same reasons as why you’d like the 7136 for these waters, and it should do quite a nice job in our smaller tribs. To Loomis’ credit, they’re marketing these rods appropriately and they’re not trying to delude the angler into thinking they’re something they’re not. There isn’t a whole lot of difference between a Kispiox and a 7136 yet I’ll buy the former and roundly condemn the latter. An inconsistency on my part? Not when I add the marketing behaviour of these two companies to my buying decision.

02-12-2005, 08:54 AM
I am not directing this at anyone else's post, but it's meant to express where I am with Sage rods. I've had a great experience with Sage rods throughout my flyfishing years and am proud to have their support as a sponsor on the Forum. Sage rods have been a critical part of my flyfishing experience. As I wasted time with sub-standard rods of lesser price as a young fool, the day finally came when I bought an RPL. WOW

Now tell me folks, was that a rod or was that a rod! Whether 4wt or 10wt, that rod was the perfect marriage of flex, power and durability. It had soul, and balls too. I still have a few of them and with all the newfangled stuff out there I put a line on them and say WOW still. Funny how I try all of the new whizbang singlehanders at all the shows and they just don't seem to give me the love that my old RPL's do. They might have more power, be lighter, be prettier, etc - but that casting soul is hard to duplicate. Maybe it's just me, and I need to get modern but there were lots of happy campers during the RPL days across the whole range of line weights.

Then came the RPLXi, which at first was harder to tune into, but once you took that 5pc 8wt out onto a bonefish flat for the day... WOW. Then after using them for years in a 9wt for striper, the castability is as automatic as could be when a fish cruised in from an unexpected angle -or- when the wind kicked up from the wrong side and you had to cast backwards. Eventually got that love again.

With spey, like many I was weaned on lesser quality rods with overhead tapers until I bought the 10150-4 and the 7136-4 mostly with meal allowances from a contract position where I starved myself for the 27.50 per day, some days eating a snickers bar for dinner to get closer to the goal. It was worth it. I eventually hopped onto the 8126-3 euro as well, rumored to be designed by Goran Anderson. I went through the entire gamut of two-handed rods for fishing the beach and this was clearly the best at the time for the job, not to mention it was among the best Scandinavian fishing tools and well ahead of it's time.

These two rods were very different but I came to love them both. I fished the 9140-4 for a while as well but it was not mine so had a short fling with it, all before a CND touched my hands.

I caught a lot of winter fish on the Sage 10wt and a lot of summer fish on the 7wt, I even lost a good number of big winter fish on the 7wt when I shouldn't have been using it. The big rod covered the Skagit, Skykomish, Hoh, and other big rivers in winter conditions, and the 7136 did a fine job of putting flies over steelhead through the summer and fall.

I can see how some folks would not like the action of the 7136, however it's like a temperamental woman. You can fight her to act the way you want, or you can give in and act the way it wants. If you gave in, she had a sweet heart. Well I eventually fell in love and had a hard time putting her down when the river rose and the big natives came to town. As fate would have it, I would hook up and get thoroughly spanked by these big Cascade or Olympic peninsula fish because of my love for her. It was hard, but I eventually started to fish the right rod in winter.

The 10150 would put a 15ft sinktip past the main chute on the Chapel run on the Skagit with a flick. It would tame a 25# Hoh buck, if I could only hook one :D With the right lines, it could overhead cast almost as far as Kush could snake roll, on a good day (for me that is). It was a cannon and has been bent hard by some big winter fish in it's day.

Today we are blessed with so many good choices as the Spey phenomenon blossoms on the flyfishing scene. But let's not forget that Sage really ignited this fire with the 7136, 9140, and 10150's. So in a sense, they are a part of the new tradition, a north american rennaissance of spey.

Spey, although just a fraction of the overall industry, is probably the biggest growth area in FF. With Loomis, Loop, T&T, and of course CND also in the scene the choices have grown from the old brownie days. Who knows what the situation will be tomorrow - but for today there are lots of choices, rapid evolution, and the winners are us. Enjoy the ride as they say.

02-12-2005, 10:07 AM
As I wasted time with sub-standard rods of lesser price as a young fool, the day finally came when I bought an RPL. WOW

Now tell me folks, was that a rod or was that a rod! Whether 4wt or 10wt, that rod was the perfect marriage of flex, power and durability. It had soul, and balls too. I still have a few of them and with all the newfangled stuff out there I put a line on them and say WOW still.

I still think my RPL 8100 2pc is the smoothest, sweetest casting salmon/steelhead single-hander out there. I can cast it all day, day after day and never get tired. So scared something might happen to mine, I bought another used as a backup. And if either of these break, I'll have Kerry Burkheimer make me something as close as he can.

02-12-2005, 03:33 PM
Just so we're all on the same page, I've owned a number of Sage single handers and loved them all: RP896, RP789, RP490, LL389, LL586, LL590, RPL686, and SP490. Being a Sage fanatic, I lusted after their two-handers, but I was very disappointed with them once I got my hands on a few.

Having bought the St. Croix and built the Lamiglas before trying the Sage two-handers, I had a different frame of reference to someone who only had a Sage.

Muckle Salmon
02-12-2005, 06:21 PM
I will keep it simple. To my mind Sage has yet to beat the RPL.

02-14-2005, 08:38 AM
8126-3 sage is my choice after talking to our spey casting instructor here in buffalo, he asked me what i wanted to do with it and guided me to this choice after picking his brain. first off i want to thank all that replied and gave my so much info. now what kind of line should i use as iam going to use sink tips to fish the surf and over hand cast.

02-14-2005, 11:51 AM
Iam looking at getting into this and would like to know what kind of rod,reel, and line to use for great lakes steelhead. I like sage rods and ross reels, so this might help you guys out.

what kind of line should i use as iam going to use sink tips to fish the surf and over hand cast.

Not that I find anything wrong with your choice, had you stated the intended use upfront I at least would have suggested something different. I guess we should have ask more questions, as I thought you were talking about spey casting or some variation thereof.

The Windcutter Versi Tip is one of the most versatile lines around. You can pull the center section for overhead and should decide to spey cast you still have a great line for that.

Not to be a "smarty pants" but when you had your spey casting instructor cornered for a rod recommendation why didn't you pick his brain for a line choice?

02-14-2005, 02:52 PM
i did pick his brain about lines also, he picked the windcutter as my best choice. when you are looking to buy anything do you take one person's advice or do you get more from other sources, thanks again all that replied you all have helped out alot

02-14-2005, 03:12 PM
I can see how some folks would not like the action of the 7136, however it's like a temperamental woman. You can fight her to act the way you want, or you can give in and act the way it wants. If you gave in, she had a sweet heart.

or you could opt for divorce :lildevl: At least with spey divorce, you get cash back via ebay.

Actually, I can read that sentence as -- "I spent big $$$$s on a crappy rod but because I busted my gut to buy it, I'd better learn to love it." :razz: (Of course, I've never done that . . . . :rolleyes: )

About our Mr. Spock -- well, a Sage and a Windcutter -- that's a surprise. :cool: Kinda like bread and butter, eh?

02-14-2005, 08:46 PM

My impression is that you have a particular style of casting and demand any rod you cast must match your individual style. Everything rod that does not is poorly designed?

Fred Krow

02-14-2005, 11:36 PM

My impression is that you have a particular style of casting and demand any rod you cast must match your individual style. Everything rod that does not is poorly designed?

Fred Krow

Interesting conclusion, especially considering that I have a classic UK-style rod currently on route, a trouter being built, and I've just ordered a slow, Loomis Kispiox Skagit rod. When these arrive, I'll have traditional, Scandinavian, Skagit, and overhead rods in my arsenal. My Scandinavian casting is OK, the Skagit casting is coming along nicely, my overhead isn't bad, and the traditional is a work-in-progress. Please tell me which one of these I'm not supposed to like.

Let me try explain my POV with an example.

Imagine you have received a two-handed rod for testing. It has no identifying marks or cosmetics. As rods go, it's pretty mediocre and you know that. You attend a clave with a large group of anglers with the intent of having all of them try and comment on the rod. To half the group, you tell them that this is a prototype rod about to go into production. It's made by a famous rod company using the latest super-dooper graphite and exotic tapers. To the other half, you inform them that it is a first attempt at a two-hander by a company better known for making cheap bait rods sold at department stores.

Remember that this is a mediocre rod. How many of the first group will say something bad about it? How many in the second group will say anything good about it? Probably the number of people in the first group with something bad to say will be roughly the same as the number in the second group with something good to say. That's the power of marketing; the power of image. We're all susceptible to it; we've all been victimized by it.

The message I was trying to get across to Mr. Spock was to look beyond the marketing hype. Instead, his ultimate choice -- a Sage and a Windcutter -- is damn near a spey cliché. Obviously, he was determined to buy a Sage from the get-go and he was looking for support for his pre-determined choice. He was in effect, wasting our time with his question as his mind appeared to be already made up. By and large, he didn't get much support for his choice but he bought the rod anyway. It's his choice of course. It's his money after all, and I truly hope he is happy with it. I would not wish him ill luck just because he didn't take our advice.

and my comment to Juro was strictly TIC -- just giving him the needle -- as my ample use of smilies should've indicated to you.

and as somebody recently said to me so I'll pass along the advice, "Lighten up."

02-15-2005, 07:48 AM

I'll pass along the advice, "Lighten up."

02-15-2005, 09:43 AM

I'll pass along the advice, "Lighten up."

Oh don't worry, I've already decided to do just that. I've also decided that it's not worth the effort to get in these discussions. If somebody wants to pay a premium price for a middle-of-the-road rod, why should I care? Nobody appointed me the protector of other people's wallets. Hell, I have enough trouble with my own.

So, enjoy your rod.

BTW, the next time you ask for opinions, trying being more upfront about your agenda. I for one, don't like being played for a sucker.