Recommended "first" rod for New England Saltwater Fishing [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Recommended "first" rod for New England Saltwater Fishing

02-19-2007, 02:00 PM
In the past, I've done some occasional flyfishing for stripers and blues with an 8 wt Sage steelhead rod, but I'm thinking about getting more serious this season and want to get a real saltwater rod.

My question: would I be better off getting a one-handed rod (9wt, probably) or a two-hander? I know how to spey cast (have done it for salmon in fresh water), but I'm thinking those two-handers designed specifically for saltwater overhead casting (like the CND Oceanas) might be a good choice. Any opinions? Is the two-hander a good all-round saltwater rod, or would I be better off sticking with a more conventional one-hander? I'll be fishing primarily for stripers and blues from the shore.

Thanks for any advice.

02-19-2007, 03:53 PM
While I do think there are situations where the two-handers excel I would argue they are certainly not a replacement for the single handers. Now if you think you will mostly blind cast big beaches or have an ailment that the two hander will help with go that route. But if you are going to sight fish, hit the estuaries etc...than the 9 for 9 will be the most versatile setup IMO.


Mike Oliver
02-20-2007, 02:05 PM
I have to go with Sean. The TH is a very nice tool to have but personally I am glad I learnt my way in the surf with a single hander first. The TH is not going to be the silver bullet casting wise and will need as much practice and maybe tuition as the single hander. Spey casting in the surf will be limited mainly to inlets where you have lateral currents to position the fly in order to make true spey casts. I agree that a fast action TH is the way to go as these will alow powerful overhead casting and the ability to unplug your lines from the surf make one back cast and then deliver. No hauling with the TH . It is also very important to get the correct grain loading for the rod, the std AFTM system just does not work with TH. For eg a 9wt Sage TCR 12 foot 9 inch rod will probably work best with a std format line of around no 12 or 13. You are looking at around 550+ grains. You need that big payload to load the rod with one back cast.

Some rods out there have been labeled with std fly line formats. If I am correct I believe the TFO and the T+T 12 12 are such rods. So you match them with your std WF profile line and are then good to go.

Back to single handers I would prefer to have a 10 wt in my arsenal as well as the 9 wt. For Cape Cod the excepted weapon is the 9 wt if that helps more.

Sean Juan
02-20-2007, 03:36 PM
There is a pretty big difference between fishing the shore and fishing the surf, especially when learning.

Casting distance with heavy heads is an incredible asset, but accuracy and line control are probably more important when fishing the actual surf. It may just be my inexperience with TH rods but I find line control to be much easier with a single handed rods.

So for a Sound or Bay side beach where there is little if any surf - I think the TH is better longer casts, longer retrieves, line control less of an issue. For a beach facing the open ocean, shorter casts, line control is a greater issue, the single handed rod has the advantage.

02-20-2007, 04:09 PM
When I was'nt throwing the spey rod on the canal last year I was throwing a 7wt rod with a 9wt line in the surf and beach fronts and loving every minute of it.It had plenty of back bone to throw large flies and land some big girls.:chuckle: :hihi:

02-20-2007, 04:13 PM
I would agree with all of the above- Hi Mike- (small planet!) If I had one rod it would be a SH but like most keen fishers I dont just have the one rod , actually I have too many!! So like many spend life confused :roll:

I became a devout disciple of the Church of the Double handed SW rod. These days after much therapy Im normal (ish)

From my experience a good fast scandanavian influenced rod will spey cast and over head without any issues. I have used the Talon and had a play with the CND (it felt rather floppy for my taste)

Ive owned and would reccomend- All are fast actioned style DH rods

Loomis GLX Stinger 12. 6'' 9/10 #
Guideline LPXE 12 6 '' 8/9 #
Sage TCR 12 foot - 8 #

Have fun making your mind up

02-20-2007, 04:31 PM
Thanks for all the info! Looks like the one-hander makes the most sense to start with . . . and also gives me yet another rod to look forward to in the future when I'll no doubt decide I need the two-hander for those big beaches . . .

02-20-2007, 06:24 PM

9ft 9wt

Second? Well we could debate that one now couldn't we hehe

Greg Pavlov
03-09-2007, 11:10 PM
I use the Atlantis the majority of the time but I enjoy fishing with a one-hander more.

03-10-2007, 09:00 AM
Tried to send PM but "Your basket is full"

Pete Readel

03-10-2007, 11:51 AM
I think if I were starting a collection of salt rods I'd go the 6, 8, 10, 12 wgt route with the 8 and 10 being the first priority. You have the 8 wgt (I assume a 9'6") so you may want to consider going up to a 10.

03-10-2007, 06:22 PM
I'd have to vote for a one hand 7, 9, and 11 wt...:eek:

When I die there is going to be a land rush not seen since Oklahoma to stake claim on toyz of distinction but...the guy who gets the 9 wt will have dibs on the most seasoned/used rod in the locker...:Eyecrazy:

Two handers are nice but, I'd start with a 9 single and go from there...
and go and go and...:roll:

03-10-2007, 07:21 PM
Old habits are hard to break. Casting a two-hander is not as much of a learning curve as the single from scratch but typically the expectation of single-handed casters is that there is no learning curve.

Worse yet what is known about single hand casting is applied to two-hands which just won't work until we evolve a third arm for hauling.

Riding a unicycle is very different from riding a bicycle is different from riding a tricycle. Perhaps the force comes from the same motion, but virtually everything else is different in how the force is applied and directed.

Advantages of two-handed rods become clear in certain situations, and most of these situations are beyond the suitable range of single-handed rods. I am not alone in finding a calm sense of joy on surfside beaches, fast deep rips and challenging cast situations while standing among very frustrated single hand practitioners.

Likewise I have been happy as the clams under my feet with a single hand rod while some tried to apply two-handers to the wrong scenario around me.

There is an added realm of capabilities available to the two-hand practitioner but not all will reach a comfort level with it even if they learn the mechanics. Some will attain that ability and gain these advantages, but most will be quite content to forfeit that realm for comfort with what has become second nature already.

Flyfishing in itself is a bit of a hassle when compared to flicking a bail over and heaving an object into the next area code. Reaching both single and two-handed mastery is not for everyone perhaps. Some like to climb to new casting plateaus and those who do will find there are real advantages in the right situations just as they will find that a single handed rod is better in others.

Stepping back, I find it amazing that the only variance in the single handed rod is the stiffness and grain rating where looking at conventional rods the variation is extremely diverse even within the same rooftop rack.

Greg Pavlov
03-11-2007, 10:32 PM
Old habits are hard to break. Casting a two-hander is not as much of a learning curve as the single from scratch but typically the expectation of single-handed casters is that there is no learning curve. ....
I am not sure who this is directed at, but it's gratuitous at best. The bottom
line is to *enjoy* fishing, and strange as it may seem, there *are* folks out
there who can cast two-handers adequately - probably better than they can
cast a single-hander - who still enjoy fishing a single-hander more. It's really
a very simple proposition that should not need explanation.

03-12-2007, 01:59 AM
Greg -

It's an observation from real people who have said to me something like "I expected there would be no learning curve since I have been casting a single handed rod since I was a kid".

I don't think we can judge enjoyment for others, nor would I try. In fact there are many who enjoy two-handers so much they would rather fish them even when a single-hander is more adequate for the job (in adept hands), perhaps increasingly in saltwater scenarios but in a very large scale worldwide in the anadramous salmonid fisheries of North America, Scandinavia, British Isles, the South American seatrout fishery, etc.

In fact in striperland many more enjoy throwing a spinning rod with a hunk of clam or an eel than both single and two-hand flyrodders combined. My philosophy is fish what you like, how you like within the confines of the law and if the laws don't protect the fisheries enough fight to change them.

My point is virtually all who pick up a two-handed rod have already achieved the single-hand casting learning curve. Just as in my cycle example, the tricyle rider has to become accustomed to the bicycle, and again to a unicycle to master the three. I believe that familiar aspects of seemingly similar things are more detrement than help in learning how to operate each of these three very different mechanisms.

I hope that's clearer.

Greg Pavlov
03-12-2007, 11:49 AM
Greg -
I hope that's clearer.
Thanks, Juro, it is.
Before I headed for the Cape to try flyfishing in the salt for the first time - I'd
been a confirmed spin/casting gear fisherman all my life - I looked for a two-
handed rod since that made a lot more sense to me, especially for the Nauset
Beach surf where I did most of my sw fishing time back then (and for the lower
Niagara River, where I was fishing 30-35 days a year).

There weren't any two-handers around, so I had the proprietor of a small rod
company called East Branch build one for me: I wanted a 10.5 ft 9 wt, and that
is what I got, more or less, and that was what I caught my first ff striper on.
The rod didn't last - the blank design was fundamentally weak - but he built
another, slightly lighter one for me that I used for several years, in both salt and
in the Niagara River, until the Atlantis came out.

The Atlantis was exciting ! It is an incredible rod, IMO perhaps the most effective
casting blank I've ever used in any form. And I use it about 80-85 percent of the
(too-short) time I spend on the Cape each year. But what passes through my
mind periodically is that in terms of size & bulk, there isn't a whole heck of a lot of
difference betw the Atlantis, with its 1.2 - 1.5 oz lines casting a 1/16 oz. clouser,
and the spinning rod I used to use in the surf, one I had built for me on an 11 wt
Loomis blank, casting 1 to 1.5 oz deer hair jigs. I *know* that they are not the
same and the former can do all sorts of things quite difficult or impossible with
the latter - and vice versa - but there are significant similarities as well.

When the wind and the surf are down and when we expect to find fish in close,
I take a standard 9' 10 wt when I head for the water. I can't cast it worth a damn,
but there is a feeling of freedom and connection to the water that I get with that
rig that brings back a few of the main reasons I took up ff in the first place, and
that I simply don't get with the two-hander.