Two Handed Question [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Two Handed Question


h2o
11-29-2005, 09:48 AM
As my right shoulder pain progress's into a constant state after a day's flyfishing, I am seriously considering two hands. At first I thought it was the sink tips, shooting heads etc. But, it is still there when fishing floaters these day's. Before I purchased stock in Tylenol, I decided to try more roll cast's. It did help but did not solve the pain after fishing issue.
So my question is : Will two hands really help as is stated so often ?
I am looking into one of Robert Meiser's fine switch rod's(always have had a soft spot for custom work) in 10' 6" 6/7 wt. for use on Cattaraugus size local waters along with slightly smaller regional tribs and possibly a very large Trout tailwater where the Trout are fond of swung soft hackles and buggers.
I realize that spey cast's will be limited for this type rod and would appreciate a nod towards a couple of the appropriate type advanced roll, spey, two handed over head cast's (keep it simple please) that would be a good fit.
I am sure some will say "longer" rod. I don't see a need for the waters I fish and I don't fish the Niagara.
Lines used most often - floater and traditional sink tips 7' - 12' type 3 and 5. Fly sizes used most often - 6 -12 lightly weighted. At times I will add a couple size B or BB to a leader on a floater.
Thanks, it's good to see some familiar faces active on here. Like many my fall Steelheading has been a bit slower than usual. But, fresh fish continue to trickle in, rather than stampede (even in low water) as in some past years only to be slaughtered. I did C & R a large bright hen Sunday afternoon from a smaller "puckerbush" trib in the 33" range, which was nice to admire for a moment. :)

peter-s-c
11-29-2005, 10:51 AM
Speaking as someone who has gone through his own set of shoulder problems -- stay away from the broad stroking methods: Skagit and traditional Spey. The broader the stroke, the more stress, particularly on the hard stop. Skagit is also bad on the lift thanks to the weight of the lines.

Go Underhand Cast as the belly is used to stop the rod, taking all that shocking off of the shoulder. The cast is made with a bent top arm so there's no shocking the shoulder when the arm hits full extension as in the other styles. The lines are comparatively light so lift loads and powerstroke loads are low. The top hand acts mostly as a guide and pivot point, plus the hands are never held high up in th air, creating fatigue.

Properly done, the body provides much of the power as the cast is made "goofy" foot forward (same side as the top hand) and the cast is made while facing the target. As a result, the upper body must be torqued in order to place the anchor and form the D-Loop. That body twist incorporates a lot of the power and begins a smooth powerstroke that the arms complete. This process lets you fish a 15 footer all day without excessive fatigue. The sharing of the load between arms and body really saves the shoulders and the belly slap hard stop with the lower hand is especially good at preventing injury (or worsening an existing one).

As an added benefit, the body twist keeps the lumbar area muscles moving and prevents them from cramping up. Anybody who has spent an hour or so standing in one spot, casting with arms only, knows the pain that hits the lower back after a while. I've never had back pain when Underhand casting.

To test whether this will work for you, try this at home with the butt section of one of your single handers.


face the imagined target
top hand foot forward (goofy foot)
bottom hand on the butt of the rod resting on your belt buckle
top hand a comfortable distance up that allows you to hold the rod at about a 45 degree angle and your top hand elbow comfortably bent at a right angle.
rotate your body on the top hand side as if you're casting the D-Loop and at the same time raise your hands toward the top hand shoulder as if you're trying to poke the rod up and back into the ceiling.
now imagine that the anchor has landed, rotate your body back to face the target and at the same time, drop your hands back into the original resting position, letting the butt slap into your gut for a nice crsip stop.


Voila, the Underhand Cast.

The Underhand Cast is an adaptation of the Single Spey. The Snake Roll with an Underhand Cast finish can be used in downstream wind situations. The Underhand Snake Roll is identical to what I've described above with the addition of the roll during the lift. With a 90 degree change of direction the body really twists to face the target so the power generation is considerable. 90 degree change of direction is easy with the standard Underhand Cast when dealing with upstream winds.

sean
11-29-2005, 11:58 AM
Underhand is the way to go IMHO. I am an underhand caster but use long bellies so I have more hand travel than your typical short head scando caster. Still it is alot better on my shoulder which is why I switched. I wanted to keep casting long belly lines and adapting the underhnad to long bellies solved my sore shoulder problems.


Only thing I would add Peter is the skagit is not a broad stroke method and uses a ton of underhand. As you know it was adapted from the underhand style and is remarkably similar when you see the Wards , Mcclunes, and Odonnells go at it. I do not care for the style but good to have in the bag of tricks.

-sean

peter-s-c
11-29-2005, 12:33 PM
Only thing I would add Peter is the skagit is not a broad stroke method and uses a ton of underhand. As you know it was adapted from the underhand style and is remarkably similar when you see the Wards , Mcclunes, and Odonnells go at it. I do not care for the style but good to have in the bag of tricks.

-sean

I'm well aware of the bottom hand pull -- I use exactly that when I Skagit cast. Since I also Underhand cast, it's a natural thing for me to do.

I'm also well aware of the links to Underhand casting. You may recall my "Convergence" post that elicited such a hostile reaction when I dared to suggest exactly those links?

I'm talking about the totality of the Skagit cast, not just the last few moments during the powerstroke. Because of my Underhand experience, I tend to have a relatively compact and low effort Skagit stroke, yet it can't help but be much broader than my Underhand Cast. Using the same rod, unsticking on the lift 900 grains of a Skagit line, then sweeping it into position takes a much broader stroke and much more effort than lifting 500 grains of a Scandinavian head and sweeping that into the Underhand Cast. The last little bit of the Skagit cast may be compact but the rest of it isn't. Don't take my word for it, compare the videos of the experts.

During the Brantford clave, the only time I felt any stress in the shoulder was when trying to lift and sweep a 900 grain Skagit line on the end of a 14' - 9 wt. I was using the opportunity to have my Skagit technique checked out by a West Coast expert and I was using his rig. I put in far less effort than he did and maintained a compact stroke, yet I still felt the strain (he was a young stud, not an old fart like me). The rotator cuff / deltoid area really took a pounding lifting that short, heavy line. Compounding the weight, the thick floater belly is really "sticky" when trying to free it from the surface film. After that Skagit rig, my buddy's St. Croix 10/11 wt. 15 footer with a DT-11-F felt like a 2 wt.

I should add that though the Skagit experts may have compact powerstrokes, a lot of guys I've seen at claves out here, attempting to Skagit cast, have very broad powerstrokes that would make them prone to injury. Remember that there precious few well-schooled Skagit casters out here so the chances are good we will learn bad Skagit casting habits. A lot of the GL two-handed casters I've seen at claves, are big top hand pushers.

sean
11-29-2005, 01:37 PM
Here is some video to compare:

http://www.speypages.com/tylerskagit.mpg

http://www.speypages.com/tydblskagit.mpg

Tylers stroke is very close to the body and the only movement is a little on the vertical plane.

It depends what casts you are using as well. The double spey takes no effort no matter what line system you are using. Unsticking full sunk scando lines is work as well and it could be argued that since the whole line is under water even if it weighs less grains it has more stick than a skagit line would as the majority of the line is floating.

My only point is that when skagit work is done correctly I think it can be just as compact as a scando caster. You just need to be sure to use the rod to do the unsticking as Tyler demonstrates very well. If you are feeling it with a skagit rig it is most likely you are using too much arm to get the line unstuck. I kow alot of 65+ guys who use the skagit style as it is the only method they can use due to shoulder problems so it is not as high impact as you are making it sound.

There probably are as few underhand casters as there are skagit casters in the GL region. The long top stroke is what we all seem to learn first and it is a pain to get rid of. As long as all the styles are spoke of and taught correctly people will get it.

Both styles still use too short of lines though :)

-sean

sean
11-29-2005, 01:59 PM
Sorry H20 for not answering your question about rod choice. The meiser will be a great choice for the waters you describe. I would suggest maybe the 7/8 if you ever throw heavy stuff.

Your best bet if you are considering one of his rods is to give him a call or email to discuss. Bob is a great guy and 10 minutes spent on the phone with him will get you headed in the right direction. Just describe your fishing situations to him and he will get you the right rod. With Bob you can also set up a trial and he will send you out a rod to test drive before you buy which is the way to go with two handed rods.

-sean

peter-s-c
11-29-2005, 03:56 PM
Sean

Put up the Goran Andersen video as well. :tsk_tsk:

One can be compact casting any style 50' or 60'. Cast over a 100' and we'll see which one remains compact. Note that in the Tyler video, his top arm goes to full extension or close to full extension in a number of places during the cast. I don't consider that to be particularly compact. Just got the Systrad brothers DVD from Jack Cook and you should see the distance those boys cast without ever going close to full extension. I highly recommend these DVDs and the Mortensen one to really illustrate how compact and powerful the Underhand Cast really is.

About my Skagit lift being wrong -- let's put it this way. I don't have any difficulty pulling 38' of PT S4/5 out of the water so there's nothing wrong with my lift. :tongue: I use a scissors motion between my top and bottom hand, so when completing the upstream lift of the double, my forearms are crossed over. Same thing with the Circle. So I'm using the rod to lift, not my arms. My hands stay very close to my body no big arcing, arm tiring movements. On Saturday on the Niagara, I was using a 28' Type 7 shooting head on a Blue 8124 and I was consistently hanging up in 20' of water -- ya, I was getting that deep and I have the gaps in my fly boxes to prove it. I had absolutely no problem with the lift despite at times the Type 7 full sink head was coming out of the water almost vertically. I constantly fish full sinking heads, so believe it or not, I do know how to lift a line. :razz:

Sean, it's simply weight -- 500 grains is lighter than 900, even on the Left Coast in the hands of Skagit Magicians. ;) To compare apples to apples in terms of depths reached, let's put a BigBoy on the end of a Skagit head (been there, done that quite a few times) and compare it to a PT S2/3 or S3/4 in lifting and casting effort. No comparison.

sean
11-29-2005, 04:16 PM
Goran is casting a floater so it does not count as are the syrstads in that video. Neither are they throwing a 5 inch lead eye intruder.

I use a scissors motion between my top and bottom hand, so when completing the upstream lift of the double, my forearms are crossed over.

So you should have no trouble with a skagit head lift. It should not hurt your shoulders.

I have watched the Systads cast in person and it depends. For big distance there is a lot of extending which one would expect when you are casting 160'with a 60' shooting head.'

The other issues to compare if you want apples to apples is you can use 6/7 wt rods with skagit casting to cast much larger bugs than a comparable scando rod can handle. The scando setup is always going to be a heavier rod size than what you can get away with while scando casting. Case in point for some of the bugs I throw I must use my 10/11 snowbee rod to throw them. Put them on a skagit line on the cnd solstice 6/7/8 and out they go. My guideline 13'7"7 wt would not even be capable of lifting the fly out of the water that I can use on the solstice with a skagit line.

Another consideration H20 when considering lighter rods like the 6/7 meiser. Skagit casting will get you more bang for the bug concerning fly size.

20' down for steelhead. No thanks.

-sean

peter-s-c
11-29-2005, 04:38 PM
Sean

To be fair, I should add that the quality of the rod has a great deal to do with ease of lifting. The rod I used at the clave with the 900 grain head was a lousy lifter, a club of a caster, and has been on my very short, personal "loath list" for a long time. In comparison last year on the Saugeen, I was casting a 50' - 925 grain head composed of 26' of 11/12 SSH and a Rio BigBoy 400 using my 14' 6" - 10 Wt. Daiwa and I had no difficulty at all lifting and casting it using a Skagit Double. But then the Daiwa is significantly superior to that "other" rod.

Making short casts up to 70' was very easy and low effort for with all that weight. If you simply got it moving, away it went. Just a slow, easy stroke and there went 70'. But the casting effort went way up when I added 30' to 40' to the cast. To get distance, decent line speed has to be generated and then the weight really came home to roost.

To put all of my comments into proper pespective, I'm looking at a full spectrum of fishing envirnonments when I talk about these casts, not just the easy 50' lob into a slow pool with a light rod. When I make statements like, "Skagit is a broad stroke method", I'm referring to average casters, not experts. Expert casters are not representative of the general, spey casting population. While "so 'n' so" expert may be compact and efficient, even out to long distances, that doesn't mean that Joe Average will be. When you're reading my comments, always keep in mind that I am referring to Joe Average, not Spey Gods.

peter-s-c
11-29-2005, 06:15 PM
Sean

This discussion is not about casting heavy flies so what's the point of bringing that up? And for the record, you've obviously never held a 4" Norwegian brass conehead tube fly. And keeping apples to apples, when we're talking equivalent line weights, they're move the same size fly.

Also for the record, Skagit does an excellent job of casting big flies, it works really well in confined spaces, and it presents the fly at a constant depth. Those are its undeniable strengths. Nobody's arguing that, least of all me. I own two Skagit rigs and use them fairly often. I bought them and use them precisely because of these strengths.

Unlike a lot of people who frequent the other forum, I fish Scandinavian heads, Skagit heads, and I cast but not fish, long bellies. That puts me in a better position to compare one to another than someone who only ever uses just one method. I've also been checked out by expert Scandinavian casters and an expert Skagit caster. Guess what, I ain't doin' nuthin' wrong with neither. I've actually been complimented on my Underhand and Skagit casting. So, contrary to what some would have you believe, yes, I actually have some idea of what I'm talking about.

So that said, there's not a snowball's chance in hell that Skagit is a more compact, more efficient method than the Underhand. It has it's strengths, I'm not denying that in the least, but it isn't the end-all, be-all that some would have you believe.

And BTW, if I don't change my stroke for a full sinker vs. a floater, Goren sure as hell won't. :devil:

And BTW(#2), I was after lakers, not steelhead. I hooked a big one but didn't land it.

And BTW(#3), fishing 20' down with a full sink head isn't a big deal. Certainly less effort than 900 grains of Skagit head and T-14 on "that" rod. :chuckle:

sean
11-29-2005, 06:51 PM
Your are funny Pete. Why do you get so worked up? If someone has a slight disagreement with you take it personal. Well it aint personal and I could care less how you cast or what kudos you get. It really does not matter. I feel the styles need to be represently correctly and not tailored to the flavor of the week casting style. You changed styles countless times over the past year (remember how double tapers were the best 12 months ago? ) .

You started out by saying scando was the end all, at least you made it sound that way and discredited skagit casting in your post with what I and others feel was a little misinformation about casting ease. I never made out to make you look bad , I just disgree with your assesment on skagit casting.

As for strengths I see you have glossed over the relative light rods one can use when skagit casting. There can be a 2-3 ounce difference (that is alot of grains :) ) in the rods one would need to cast a comparable fly. I brought up the big fly thing for H20s benefit in case he was looking for one rod to use in a summer/winter role. This fact in my mind is the best benefit of skagit casting. I can fish a lot lighter rod in the winter if I choose to fish skagit instead of scando. I can use 900 grains, use a 7/8 weight rod and throw a wider range of flies than you ever could on a scando 500 grain rig. Then I can take the same rod and throw a 7 SA short head on the rod and fish delicately in summer. A huge benefit in my mind.

I fish guideline heads, skagit heads, and long bellies as do most of the guys I know on speypages so I am not sure where you info comes from on that front. The guy I run the site with happens to probably be the best underhand caster in north america. Now that I am away from steelhead fishing and can pick steelhead vacations I choose when/where I fish. I am only going to do the long belly thing as that is what I prefer to do. When I was back home I fished the lines best suited to the situation and skagit casting came up a lot.

Who was that skagit master anyway at the gl thing?

-sean

peter-s-c
11-29-2005, 06:59 PM
Your are funny Pete. Why do you get so worked up?
-sean

Who's worked up? I thought you were worked up? Weren't the smilies a hint? I'm just havin' fun.

juro
11-29-2005, 07:53 PM
As my right shoulder pain progress's into a constant state after a day's flyfishing, I am seriously considering two hands. At first I thought it was the sink tips, shooting heads etc. But, it is still there when fishing floaters these day's. Before I purchased stock in Tylenol, I decided to try more roll cast's. It did help but did not solve the pain after fishing issue.
So my question is : Will two hands really help as is stated so often ?

Most certainly the potential is there to dramatically reduce the burden on your shoulder. In fact an accomplished two-hand caster, regardless of style, can fish with a level of efficiency that is beyond compare.

But first a few things about shoulder pain...

While guiding full time a few years back I got to fish with a lot of interesting people. One was an orthopedic surgeon, who really opened my eyes to the physical aspects of casting. A high percentage of shoulder ailments from fly casting is due to a high elbow position during the stroke.

Try this - make a single hand casting stroke with the elbow at your shoulder level. Feel that? Now raise it above your shoulder level, even by a couple of inches. Talk about shoulder stress!

Alternatively, a stroke with the elbow pointing toward the ground and a slight swivel of the hips to accomodate the motion of the arms and the shoulder hardly knows it's working.

OK - back to two-handed casting... most testosterone pumping manly men take the second hand thing far to physically when learning, so it may appear as if (or in fact be) much harder to do at first. Kind of like someone playing a guitar while learning verses a lifetime player picking, strumming and ringing tones a beginner never even knew existed in between those strings. Over time the two-handed (Spey or overhead) caster learns to cooperate with what the two-handed rod has to offer, which in simple terms is a lot more energy in return for the amount invested.



I am looking into one of Robert Meiser's fine switch rod's(always have had a soft spot for custom work) in 10' 6" 6/7 wt. for use on Cattaraugus size local waters along with slightly smaller regional tribs and possibly a very large Trout tailwater where the Trout are fond of swung soft hackles and buggers.
I realize that spey cast's will be limited for this type rod and would appreciate a nod towards a couple of the appropriate type advanced roll, spey, two handed over head cast's (keep it simple please) that would be a good fit.
I am sure some will say "longer" rod. I don't see a need for the waters I fish and I don't fish the Niagara.
Lines used most often - floater and traditional sink tips 7' - 12' type 3 and 5. Fly sizes used most often - 6 -12 lightly weighted. At times I will add a couple size B or BB to a leader on a floater.
Thanks, it's good to see some familiar faces active on here. Like many my fall Steelheading has been a bit slower than usual. But, fresh fish continue to trickle in, rather than stampede (even in low water) as in some past years only to be slaughtered. I did C & R a large bright hen Sunday afternoon from a smaller "puckerbush" trib in the 33" range, which was nice to admire for a moment. :)


more later

peter-s-c
11-29-2005, 08:12 PM
BTW, I've finished the Bill McMillan book and I'll get it in the mail to you in a couple of days. Really enjoyed it -- your crack about my love affair with DT lines reminded me. I still love casting them but I don't fish them much, however, McMillan's book is making me take a second look at them.

I like all forms of two-handed casting and all types of lines but when I go fishing these days, it's usually a Scando or a Skagit head. The Muskegon this past spring was the final nail in the coffin for my conventional sinktip lines -- I knew I had to make changes even though I really loved fishing them. I had to decide whether I wanted to be an angler or a caster. With conventional lines, I was doing way more casting than catching.

Toni Karuvaara at Muskegon got me turned around on understanding the fishing efficiency of the full sinking head. With a decent selection of heads, you can fish a greater range of depths and distances, than any other method.

I think a lot of people get intimidated at the thought of casting these full sink heads but they're really not a big deal if they're properly matched to the rod. They're not really the work to cast that some people think.

greenbutt
11-29-2005, 10:40 PM
Peter,
I didn't see an answer to Seans question. Who was this Skagit master :rolleyes: who saw your casting ?

juro
11-29-2005, 10:44 PM
I am looking into one of Robert Meiser's fine switch rod's(always have had a soft spot for custom work) in 10' 6" 6/7 wt. for use on Cattaraugus size local waters along with slightly smaller regional tribs and possibly a very large Trout tailwater where the Trout are fond of swung soft hackles and buggers.
I realize that spey cast's will be limited for this type rod and would appreciate a nod towards a couple of the appropriate type advanced roll, spey, two handed over head cast's (keep it simple please) that would be a good fit.

I can't say enough about Bob Meiser's work, and he is a first class gentleman as well. As far as this length (10.5') I would say that Sean and Peter have provided much food for thought - the shorter heads and abrupt casting strokes sound good for your shoulder as well as the rod in this case.

One thing I would advise against is to to short-change your intention... meaning don't hesitate to really Spey cast. These casts work wonders even on 9ft single handers once the mechanics are understood, and they really have more to do with what you make the line do than the rod's design.

For instance a roll cast is a fairly burdensome cast if any distance or change of direction is expected where a practiced Spey cast is effortless and goes twice as far with a full angle change.

Find a line that matches it and learn the technique, because that's where the economy of effort lies not in the rod itself.


I am sure some will say "longer" rod. I don't see a need for the waters I fish and I don't fish the Niagara.
Lines used most often - floater and traditional sink tips 7' - 12' type 3 and 5. Fly sizes used most often - 6 -12 lightly weighted. At times I will add a couple size B or BB to a leader on a floater.

No problem, either a skagit, skandi line should cover the spectrum for you. Try them both if you can. Find the easy 'waltz' timing that makes working a river so pleasant. Not to mention you will be covering the water much more efficiently and with greater line control.

best of luck!

h2o
11-30-2005, 01:56 AM
Thank you much..........

Bob has a 11 foot.....something 567 wt that I will also consider.

shotgunner
11-30-2005, 11:32 AM
h20, good to see you back on the board.


Bob has a 11 foot.....something 567 wt that I will also consider. h20-11/23

this rod, the 11'7" meiser, would get my vote. these compact DBL hand rods are sweet on our medium szd tribs here in the GL region.

plenty of fans for that length. 1107 T&T, 1107 winston BIIx, Loop blue 7116, and the meiser 11'7 [prob missed a couple] . these rods are all out there seeing plenty of use.

don't be a stranger, let us know how things are going occasionally. nice to hear from a GL's angler thats been here a while.

SSPey
11-30-2005, 10:09 PM
http://www.cherwell.org/images/articles/2004-10-08-1782.jpg

Greg Pavlov
12-01-2005, 01:10 AM
..... Try this - make a single hand casting stroke with the elbow at your shoulder level. Feel that? Now raise it above your shoulder level, even by a couple of inches. Talk about shoulder stress! ....
I accidentally discovered this last summer casting clousers with a 10 wt. And I also realized that the additional stress caused me to push harder, which increased the stress & resulted in poorer casts (than usual...). The problem feeds on itself.

chromedome
12-01-2005, 11:55 PM
I had a bad right shoulder injury (main casting shoulder) about 15 months ago. Prior to that I had gotten into spey casting and was doing very little single hand casting. After recovery from surgery/rehab, I found I could pretty much resume spey casting where I left off. But one day a special situation caused me to get out the single hand rod. To my surprise, I had a lot of difficulty doing a single hand overhead cast. I think if I worked on it I could get that back. But there's really no need since with both hands doing the work, as in spey, enough burden is taken off my right shoulder that I can perform well enough for all I need to do. I haven't waded thru all the previous comments, and maybe all I'm saying here has been covered, but I think you will be very pleasantly surprised at how much more you can do with spey casting.