Like Bill, there are 'horses for courses' for me when it comes to rod choice.
On open pools on small- to moderate-sized rivers, I prefer a single-handed rod. I like the feel of casting with a nice 8-weight outfit and I MUCH prefer to play fish on the single-hander.
Big water, or places where backcasts are not possible (e.g. gorge pools) prompt me to use the two-hander. These days, I do my (poor) version of spey casting any time I'm using big rods and rarely throw them overhand - I need all of the practice that I can get!
If I'm very tired or injured, I'm inclined to use the two hander. If I'm sick or hung over, I need the comfort of the single on those 'delicate' mornings.
Sink tips (which I RARELY use on salmon rivers) = two hander.
After weeks of tossing my four weight on the trout stream, a single-handed salmon rod feels like a telephone pole on the first day. I'll often start a multi-day trip with the big rod. After a day on this weapon, my 8 weight feels nice and light.
There are different 'customs' on different rivers, and I usually try to go with the local 'style' of fishing. For example, you are likely to get some looks (at the least) when you whip out your big rod on many places on the Main SW Miramichi. This river has many large pools that would appear to be suitable for the big rods. However, most local Main SW Miramichi anglers have no problem covering the largish pools with a single hander. They are inclined to think (or say) that you are using inappropriate gear. In particular, my guide does not like all of the ripping of water that takes place when spey-casting a quiet pool. He thinks that it disturbs the salmon - in a bad way.
On the other hand, a very good guide on the Margaree practically insisted that I use my two-hander to cover this moderate-sized river. Once I was guideless, I returned to using my single hander, and had no real problem covering the pools above the Forks. At/below the Forks, a big rod is the ideal weapon!
Hell, most of us are gear freaks anyway. Bring a pile of rods on your trip. This also can save you if you have a multi-rod smash day. I did in TWO rods in a single morning on the Dartmouth last summer, and was mighty happy that I'd packed a pile of gear!
Last edited by Bugman; 01-13-2006 at 12:33 PM.