Switch vs. Spey vs. Overhead 2 hndrs [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Switch vs. Spey vs. Overhead 2 hndrs


juro
04-24-2009, 11:19 AM
I've noticed that the chatter across the various forums is increasing on the topic of two-handed rods. I thought I would chime in to refresh this often discussed topic since times have changed and people are realizing the benefits more than ever before.

Two-handed flyrods have distinct advantages and disadvantages. Just as a spin afficionado uses a surf rod (analogous to 2hndr) and a sluggo rod (~ single) for different situations, each flyrod will excel in their element.

I'm FFF cert as Spey / two-hand and lived in the pacific northwest for a decade as well as guide for stripers in Chatham where I live now so hopefully I can get away with saying I am somewhat qualified to make the comparison between Spey and two-handed surf fly. But as angler's exploration grows it's the collective knowledge of people on the beach that will shape the products and techniques in the years to come.

Techniques

SPEY casting is a technique where the extended backcast is replaced by a folded backcast, tucked underneath alongside you. The end of the line grips the water just in front and to one side like an elongated roll cast, or what others have called a "power roll cast" in the past. The bottom hand pulls while the upper hand pushes, which 'turbocharges' the cast.

The standard fly cast extends the line all the way behind, then uses that force and mass to load the forward cast. The free hand is able to pull (haul) to 'turbocharge' the cast.

A Spey cast never unfolds the line all the way back, it keeps the line tucked under the rod tip leaving the leader and end of flyline in the water to grip the water. This loads the rod adequately to make casts exceeding 150 ft in the hands of experts. Thus - less backcasting room, less overhead room and longer pickup. Add specific maneuvers to the equation (snake roll for instance) and it adds another most critical thing... change of direction in one single move.

All this amounts to a perfect weapon for fishing rivers with steep banks - like the type you find in salmon and steelhead fisheries. In some cases, this lends itself to currents and banks in striper country - but certainly to a much smaller scale.

It works best with long rods that load deeper and hold the load during the change of direction maneuvers. Overhead casting does not...

OVERHEAD casting with a 2hndr is like a single hand cast sans double-hauling using a more powerful rod, almost double the grain weights with less effort.

More grains = bigger flies, faster rips... while standing back further from the surf. I do not like them at all from a boat or while sight fishing flats in summer.

SINGLE hand rods allow fast tight reactions on the flats. Shorter rods allow easier landing of fish on boats and when deep wading. BUT in big surf conditions, a single hand rod is like a toy and inadequate for the task. I've fished next to very frustrated single handers over the years throwing further than they can into fish from the dry sand of the beach while they take waves in the face and still can't reach them.

SWITCH rods are designed to be the middle ground - typically in the shorter range and a great compromise for those who fish 'both ways' whether in striper or steelhead/salmon situations. I like the Beulah rods a lot and Jim Shaunessy is the kind of guy who flew out from Oregon to fish with me to test his rod designs. Some of you came to his clave last year - wow that little rocket launcher was sweet with the Rio line.

After decades of experimentation, I don't like anything longer than 11 ft for striper fishing (overhead or switch) and use 9 ft single handers for all other striper situations. I will however gladly fish rods over 16 ft for steelhead and salmon (Spey). Your preferences may differ.

PERSONALLY I will always have single handers, true two-hander 'sticks' and since seeing the light with Beulah a 'switch rod' on the striper rod rack. When the situation calls, I will use the right tool for the job that day.

My (many) Spey rods stay with my travel gear for those precious trips to fish for salmon and steelhead in rivers somewhere far away.

Good to see that two-handed fly gear is no longer ridiculed on the many FF forums :)

JR SPEY
04-25-2009, 08:52 AM
Just a small, technical point to address. The rods that James brought out to you last summer were his Surf/Beach rods and are not technically considered Switch rods. I know you know that, but the way it was worded was confusing. Beulah also has a whole series of Switch rods, of which the largest two or three sizes would also work well in the surf, and perhaps he had a few of these along as well. The 11' rod you were testing, though, is the Surf/Beach series that's along the lines of the CND Oceana rods. By the way, your post hit the nail on the head, and I agree with all of it. You probably are reading the same guy I am that tells everyone on that board to ignore all of those guys telling you to use 11'-12' rods for beach/surf fishing. He feels everything one of those sticks can do can be better done with a 15 footer. Or the guys promoting using spey rods on a flats' boat. I agree with you, almost anything can be made to work, but that doesn't make it the correct tool for the job at hand.

juro
04-25-2009, 11:52 AM
Thanks - you make an excellent point, I stand corrected on the Switch vs. the Beulah Beach rods.

I am savoring the winter's sculpting job on the national seashore and what it will do to influence the migratory routes. I scout the changes out daily in anticipation and Jim's rods will take an active niche as will my old ATLANTIS 11wt :lildevl:

hnl
04-28-2009, 11:29 PM
Just some observations from someone with limied experiance with TH rods.

My first try was with a Sage Z Axis 8110-4 and a Z Axis 8129-4 on the Cape last year. While the 8110 is called a switch rod I don't think I would wish to cast one handed beyond getting some line off the reel at the start of the day.
Normally, for the past 11 yrs, I fish the area with 9' rods from 6-10wts.

The 8129-4 was too much rod for me for OH casting and not a pleasure at all carrying around.

However, I enjoyed the 8110-4 experiance last year so this year I have been busy building a few TH.

A #8, 10, 12 on the CTS affinity-X blank. The 8 and 10 are 11'. The #12 is 10'6".

The 11' length seems to be my sweet spot. I also have an 11' #7 blank but that will wait until next year. The #12 is a beast that has trouble loading even with a #14 RIO OB.

The #10 loads with a #13 and can even handle the #14 RIO.

I have not turned the #8 grip but I think it will load with a #12 Wulff whole line or a RIO #11 or 12.

I love my 9' rods and I have built 5 for the June trip but it will be difficult leaving the 11''s in the motel. They are very sweet to cast. And - as a bonus - fish feel bigger on the long rod since they have more leverage.

I think the challange for the new-comer to the TH rod is getting the correct wt rod and a line to match. If I had it to over again I would not have built the #12 - except for a beach rod. But I fish mostly quiet water. Also, I never dreamed that I would need a RIO #13 - 14 to load the #10.
Herb

PEC54
04-29-2009, 10:41 AM
After many,many and probably more manys that I want to think about, years of casting single hand rods incorrectly no doubt, I have developed a bad case of tendinitis in my right elbow. Casting a single hand rod is no longer enjoyable, other than maybe 3 -5 wts in small trout streams I just can't do it anymore. I have gone to all 2 hand rods. I have transformed a few of my single handers to 2 handers, I've removed the guides from the butt section, removed the handle and fighting butt and installed spey grips, upper and lower and then re wrapped the guides. The double haul is a thing of the past as is false casting, for example ;one rod I switched over is a fast action 10' 7wt. matched with a Rio 8 wt. Outbound casts like a rocket:hihi: . I am presently redoing a 10' 10 wt that is a ultra fast action that I can't wait to launch. I can honestly say if it weren't for the break through of 2handers over the past years I most likely would not be fly fishing anymore.:frown:

jyeomanssr
10-02-2009, 03:35 PM
Thanks - you make an excellent point, I stand corrected on the Switch vs. the Beulah Beach rods.

I am savoring the winter's sculpting job on the national seashore and what it will do to influence the migratory routes. I scout the changes out daily in anticipation and Jim's rods will take an active niche as will my old ATLANTIS 11wt :lildevl:
I am interested in a switch rod,probably the beulah, my question is can a switch rod be used as a overhand rod (stripers) & a spey rod (steelhead). Where can I get info on the beulah rods. Thankyou John.

PopnesetBay
10-02-2009, 08:49 PM
John, go to top of page and click on SPONSORS, then BEULAH, then SURF RODS. I think that the Bears Den, also a sponsor, handles Beulah. I am sure that a call to Scott at the Bears Den would answer most of your questions. Don't have a Beulah myself but do have both CND's and TFO conversion. Two-hand overhead is the one thing that has allowed me to continue salt water fly fishing. Check it out!!
Pete Readel
PopnesetBay

FishHawk
10-03-2009, 08:09 AM
For me I use a T&T 13' Overhand rod that booms out the line in the surf and is also a good Spey casting rod. It has taken me about a season to get the full potential out of this rod. Those who have tried the rod marvel at how smooth casting and powerful this rod is.
I contacted RIO about line choice and Simon commented that he owns this very same rod. FishHawk

JR SPEY
10-03-2009, 10:49 AM
I am interested in a switch rod,probably the beulah, my question is can a switch rod be used as a overhand rod (stripers) & a spey rod (steelhead). Where can I get info on the beulah rods. Thankyou John.

You have to buy the right switch rod. If you prefer a fairly fast action rod when single-handed casting, you'll want a switch rod that comes close. I haven't fished a lot of them, but the Beulah is one I have and it works fine. Mind you, I prefer their Beach/Surf rod, but their heavier switch rods will do the job quite well.