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Stripers and Coastal Gamefish Stripers, Blues, Inshore tuna!

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Old 05-19-2004, 01:13 PM
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sean sean is offline
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Atlantis Report

Up until my trip to the Cape I had only a chance to wiggle this rod but had not cast it. Below are my thoughts in what I think is really a great new tool you guys now have at your disposal for beach casting.

The first day I arrived on the cape I decided to head down to Nauset beach since it was only about 5 miles away from where I was staying. I did not bring the Atlantis down and was really just going down for a quick look at the beach. I did have my 9 footer and on arriving at the beach I saw one guy fishing a single hander. There was a stiff wind coming from the south and what I saw was almost comical. This guy was casting between wave sets and running down the outgoing waves and doing a few false cast and them sending his fly out. This was followed by a scurry back up the beach to get out of the waves while feeding line into the surf. Basically it looked like so much of a pain in the arse I did not even attempt to fish and decided I would return with the atlantis the next day.

My setup was the following:

5' leader
35' Airflow Type 7 head
115' 50lb Rio slickshooter
Ross BG 7 reel

The wind was coming from the south but not strong enough where I needed to cast across my body to make sure I would not impale myself.

My first impression was how light the setup felt compared to my T&T Vector 9wt I had used the previous day. Yes the rod is heavier but with 2 hands it really felt more like my 9wt single hander than an 11' 11wt.

Then came the casting. After a few short casts and getting a feeling for the rod I stripped out all of the running line and loaded the rod up. First try I cast the whole thing and a chirped a couple feet of backing through the guides. Impressive to say the least, I had thought the slickshooter was only 100' but now that I look at the specs it was actually 115'. So that first cast measured out around 155'. Hot damn!

Now I do use double handers 90% of the time in Seattle but overhead casting is new to me. To be able to punch out all that line on my 5th cast is truly a testament to how easy a casting rod this is. You really get a feeling for the rod loading and it really lets you know when it is time to send the line out on the forward cast.

I found that by leaving about a 5' loop of line between your top and bottom hand and releasing your grip on the top hand on the back cast the line really takes off on the forward cast. It took a little practice but I was able to shoot line into the backcast with ease which is the key for long casting just like with single hand work.

Now onto to the fishing properties of the rod. I was able to stand about 5 feet out of the surf on dry sand and get more distance than I could ever achieve if I was using my single hander. This is great because I did not need waders and did not have to do the surf dance I saw being displayed the day before. By tucking the rod under my arm you effectively shorten the rod to that of a single hander and stripping is a piece of cake.

Some guys swear by the longer rods for overhead work but in my limited experience with them I like the fact you do not have a lot of rod out in front of you which can cause a lot of rod tip bounce when you are stripping. Plus how much more than 150' do you need to cast which is all a longer rod really gives you (distance) IMHO.

I was also fairly impressed with the slickshooter as a running line. Really shoots out of the guides and the 50lb was easy to strip in. Plus it only cost $10. If you do like a more fly line feel to the running line go with the Airflo polyshoot XT which will cut down on your distance a little but feels a little nicer in hand.

The only down side I saw was with the shooting heads. At extreme distance the turnover is a little funky. Talked with Juro and this seems to just be a characteristic with super thin shooting heads. You are creating so much casting energy that it actually keeps traveling over the length of the line and travels beyond what the line can handle. So you get a little recoil at the end of a really long cast(almost a bungee effect) and highly accurate casts are hard to achieve. We are only talking being off a target by 5' or so and for beach fishing it is not a problem. I think as double handers grow in popularity we will start seeing some new lines that address this situation. We are already seeing this with the new Airflo 40plus lines they make for single handers. You will immediately notice when looking at this lines (30-35' heads) how much fatter they are compared to traditional lines. I am no line guru but it seems but doing this they have created a line that can handle casting energy at distance. If you get a chance to cast one on a single hander I recommend it. They are truly impressive shooting head lines.

This only seems to happen over 120' and when it comes down to it it really is not an issue. At shorter distances if you see this just slow down your casting stroke and you do not have a problem. This is also more of an issue with how I cast. I like to whack my forward cast much more than someone like Juro who is more relaxed. Also if it really bothers you you can step up to the 45' shooting heads and that helps but I find the 35' head easier to get back out after stripping it all in.

Hats off to Nobuo and Juro for creating an awesome tool. Juro will tell you I call bull**** on a crappy products. Even though he is a good friend I would be the first to tell him I hated the Atlantis if that was the case. This rod rocks but the 5 keepers I caught on it might not agree

I think the picture says it all.

Nauset beach, no waders, 5' out of the surf line, Heman casts.
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  #2  
Old 05-19-2004, 01:59 PM
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flyfisha1 flyfisha1 is offline
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Very informational, Sean, thanks. I'm looking forward to using mine for the first time tomorrow in Florida. I wonder if I might be so lucky as to be the first to hook and land a tarpon with an Atlantis?

I'm using the Airflo braided no-strecth running line with their 35' 12-wt. heads. I haven't cast the sinking line yet, but the intermediate seems to shoot quite well. I know what you mean regarding the turnover of the line at the end of the cast; I noticed the same thing happening and I think it was because I had unwittingly, and unknowingly, sped up my casting stroke and tried to "shoot the moon". Slowing the stroke back down a tad and easing off the power got the loop back in the proper form and enabled me to cast further. I imagine that as my familiarity with the rod grows, I'll be able to apply power correctly and get more out of the cast. I was happy to get 135' casts with consistency and relatively little effort when compared to using a single-hander.

BRING ON THE POONS
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Old 05-21-2004, 06:09 AM
2HandTheSalt 2HandTheSalt is offline
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Sean that is an excellent assessment of the two-handed rod, especially coming from a newbie to the surf.

Your picture also clearly illustrates one of the most important advantages of longer rods in the surf. The ability to stand out of the surf and maintain control over the fly, even when the fish are right in the wash.
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Old 05-21-2004, 07:03 AM
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Good point about standing off and still getting all of the beach.

Last Saturday during the spring kick-off clave the migration graced the beach in front of us for 6 hours solid and showed no signs of stopping when we had to leave.

In addition to the ability to stand off the messy stuff was an advantage to distance due to the way the fish were moving along the beach. My estimates were the following:

75% travelled beyond 100 feet from the top of the wash line
20% travelled beyond 60 feet from the top of the wash line
5% travelled within 60 feet "

(My guestimates, clavers please chime in)

So if I am correct, when the wash is pushing 20 feet up the forebeach, a caster with 60ft distance off the opposite shoulder must stand taking waves in the face to reach 25% of the passing fish.

A caster needs 80ft of offshoulder distance while taking waves in the face to scratch the surface of the majority of passing migrants where I was standing. One could always move, of course. But the question here is "does one really have to move?"

The percentage of pods I could present my fly effectively to (judging by "grabbed_flies/pod" ratio) was well over 70%, possibly 80%. In other words 7 or 8 out of 10 visible passing pods (not counting those that passed while I had a fish on) resulted in a grab for me with the Atlantis due specifically to distance.

Those who could not consistently reach 100'+ were dramatically less successful in terms of hookups per pod.

Here's the kicker - the wind was hard out of the south, making casting absolutely critical off the left shoulder or backwards. Every cast I made was lefthanded (left hand up) or made across my body "cack-handed" as Simon Gawesworth put it.

Another factor is my position - if there wasn't a clave sized crowd I could have moved to another spot to get a closer shot at fish. But for where I was I believe the distances listed above are accurate.

Only a few of the fish were of any size, only one was a legal released fish but maintained a consistent 100'+ cast in a hard crosswind for 6 hours to reach the majority of pods all day long and didn't even get sore - except my thumb
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Old 05-21-2004, 07:52 AM
DickIvers DickIvers is offline
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Juro,

Could you explain the cross-body cast mechanics a little more. I am familiar with how to handle a right to left cross wind with a single-handed rod, but not with a 2-hander.

With a one- hander I first turn my feet and body a little ccw so that the plane of the line will be downwind during the cast and away from my body. Then I make the backcast, using a foward stroke, back toward the beach. Then I send the presentation cast, with a backhand stroke, out into the water. It is very much a backhand sweep just like in tennis.

Do you do the same with a 2-hander? When I watched you on South Beach that fatefull Sat. it seemed that you were turning your top hand so that rod was being pushed forward on the final cast. Whatever you were doing it was impressive. The cast went a long long way.

Dick

Last edited by DickIvers; 05-21-2004 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 05-21-2004, 08:02 AM
Roop Roop is offline
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Between Sean's review & Juro's report, it's easy to see that this is going to greatly change SWFF here in the Northeast.

One of the things that always frustrated me was trying to cast to fish beyond the surfline. So I stopped fishing those conditions.

Nice to see the solution is here, this should open up even more areas to the shorebound flyrodder and a great alternative to when the flats are dry!

Roop
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Old 05-21-2004, 09:08 AM
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Dick -

The cast is popular in the pacific northwest with speyrodders and is often referred to as a "reverse spey". In this case, the line was fully thrown back and thus not a spey cast, but a "reverse overhand".

Aside from all the jargon, it's just taking the rod and tilting it across the body to the other side. With 11ft there's plenty to reach over with, while still being easy to handle for stripping and fishing duties.

You can do it with a 9ft rod but it puts intense pressure on the thumb and tries to use arm muscles in a way they are not designed to do - unless there is a bottom hand power plant to deploy for the task. The top hand steers and the bottom hand drives the cast, unlike the single-handed cross-body cast which tries to do both. For 5wt trout applications a cross-cast is no problem, but in beach conditions it's a different story.

You can even face the upper hand backwards so the palm is facing you since it's just jabbing forward a little while the bottom hand bends the rod hard with an inward pull.

A backcast is simply formed on the other side of the body, making sure it's 180 degrees to target. Once the head is in the air, straight and well formed, the push/pull stroke punches the cast out there with relative ease. The Atlantis taper is designed to cast best with less power and more technique, rewarding the angler with increasing ease as the amount of practice increases. To increase distance the caster simply needs to accelerate the stroke while making sure there is a full load in the rod (straight and fully extended backcast).

You describe the backward casting technique that most singlehand casters use in cross winds in striper country, myself included. It's quite effective with two concerns (1) you turn your back on the surf and (2) you are limited to the number of grains and rod power of one hand. It also takes a lot more energy to accomplish the same results, requiring the grinding of feet and swirling of water in windy flats situations.

Some backhand single-hand casters will fare better than some two-handed reverse casters, but all things being equal the one throwing with two-hands can take advantage of more grains and line speed with less effort and strain.

The Surf-tamer is not a schoolie rod, it's designed for large saltwater gamefish. It makes me seek big fish, which often leads to finding them. Flyfishermen are often type-cast as schoolie seekers, and sometimes I can see why. But with the right gear there is really no reason not to flyfish with the same mentality as someone throwing big wood out there.

I was using the 9/10 prototype Saturday, which makes even smaller fish feel sporty. The feisty spring legals and near legals put up a heck of a battle on it. It's not quite the rod the 11/12wt rod is; it won't necessarily lead you to learn big fish methods. But put a 10wt shooting head on it and it sure makes big casts easy.

These things take a little practice but with the right lines and some tweaking of the differences in casting mechanics there is a big reward in terms of effort for effectiveness.

Roop -

Thanks for the vote of confidence, I am anxious to see how people get on with 2-handers on the beach over the course of the season. If Sean and Paul Cheever (striperstripper) are the norm, they're going to get on quite well! Althought they've been around for centuries they are so new on the scene that most people on the beach are in the exploration stage. I believe that over the next few years the type of learning that went on with singlehanded flyrods in the salt since you and I started to see them showing up on the beach (well within our fishing careers) will also occur for two-handed rods and open up another side of the sport for us shore-shleppers.

Things are moving ahead - new "Striper 2Hnd" lines are being developed by a major manufacturer as we speak, grains matched and 150ft right out of the factory with the designer fully expecting people to hit the backing knot. Virtually no stretch in the running line, heads designed to get down to business. We should expect to have prototypes in hand next month. Tapers designed to go the distance without getting ahead of themselves like today's lines often do at over 100'. Can't wait to try them!

I hope the new lines, rods and most importantly thinking brings out the potential of flyfishing in the big blue ocean.
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Old 05-21-2004, 09:09 AM
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GregD GregD is offline
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I have fished Nausett just the way Sean witnessed someone else scurring between wave sets to get your fly out far enough.
In the big surf with a blasting wind, it seems the only way to get a reasonable distance to fish the area.

Couldn't agree more with Roops thoughts about not fishing in those conditions because of not being able to cast out far enough. I am now looking forward to fishing Nausett or South Beach for that matter again with the Atlantis, I know I'll be able to reach my target areas now instead of falling short and getting soaked in the process. I still enjoy wading in the surf, But it is really nice to be able to cast far enough without taking a wave or running from one.

Tight lines,
Greg.
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Old 05-21-2004, 10:12 AM
DFix DFix is offline
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This whole methodology will work very well on North Shore beaches and their rough surf conditions; I'm hoping to try it some day. All replies in this thread help to understand theory/practice. Thanks.
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Old 05-21-2004, 11:30 AM
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Still working out the kinks in my Technique here - and there are plenty. Actually my best / consistent results so far have come with the Hardy Mach I floater. This line combined with LC13 tips from 2' to 10' covered all of my needs on the Cape last weekend, even in the big wind which blew up Saturday night. Once the mach I head is outside the tip, reaching out beyond the 100ft mark is easy. I think thats because I can see the loop clearly and adjust accordingly. Also with the grains distributed over a longer length, timing is easier. Practicing with dark colored sinking heads in the back yard, its tough to see and everything happens a whole lot faster. My most frequent mistakes include:

- Allowing the right hand to slide down nearer the reel where its used to being.

- Applying power/too much power with the right hand rather than using the left / right combo.

- "Coming over the top" - thats what they call it in golf - basicly coming "around" on the forward delivery and not staying on plane.

- Standing on my running line when I get everything else right

Each day brings more improvements however

I've been doing a lot of experimenting - chopping heads out of unused "bargain box" 13 / 14wts picked up at shows over the years. I haven't found anything that hits the sweetspot quite like the mach I yet but we're getting closer.
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Old 05-21-2004, 11:51 AM
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Adrian,

I also love the Mach I and use it to demo at fly shows, it's real purty to cast with that graceful taper. The head is quite long (50+ ft) so for my style of fishing I tend to work my way through short line hijinks (30-35 ft) in favor of easier strip retrieve / and quick shooting of casts. You're right it all happens very fast, but once the caster (myself) slows down things happen at normal speed and it goes well, especially when the fly is big and slows down the turnover. Some of my lines cast best with huge flies due to the density and line speed. For long swinging flatwing presentations I would imagine the Mach I is like a dream to fish in tidal currents. These lines spey cast quite well on the 11ft'er as well.

Very soon we'll see new production lines that are tuned to short head / long distance casting applications in both clear intermediate and high density sinking.

Per the "hook" - assuming you mean the rod tip comes around in an inward circular fashion... neat trick from Nobuo-san and Tak Shimosawa:

Apply the forward stroke power with a vee-grip (rod in the crotch of the thumb and index finger) instead of the traditional thumbs up or baseball grip, and make sure you can see a little of the back of your hand at the end of the stroke. This makes it very hard to cut inside on the power (or should I say acceleration) stroke.
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Old 05-21-2004, 12:08 PM
striperstripper striperstripper is offline
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My 2 cents

I've had the atlantis for about 2 weeks now ,and everytime I cast it either in a practice session or actually fishing this rod it never ceases to amaze me.I,ve had the opportunity to cast in all wind directions from a strong south wind from behind me to a gale force wind from right to left or a good blow from the north straight in my face like the other day on the bay side,this rod will put it out there.I think it's all in the timing,and not over powering the forward stroke and remembering to hit the wall stop at the 10:00 o'clock position in the back and forward casts,just let the rod and the higher grain line do the work for you.I've been using the wulff 12wt. triangle taper and achieving 115 ft casts with a 10 ft leader consistently in less than desirable conditions.I have ordered airflo shooting heads in floating ,intermidiate,type3 and type7 and can't wait to launch them.The other day at south beach during the clave when we were fighting the strong right to left south wind I found myself approaching the situation like you would with a single hand rod ,standing in the breakers triing to reach the location of the schools,until I realized I didn't have to take the beating with this rod.I can honestly say of all the fishing equipment I've bought over the years,this rod is definitely top of the list of right decisions.Thank you Juro and CND.:hehe:
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Old 05-21-2004, 12:53 PM
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Juro's right about the day on South Beach. I was right next tohim in the afternoon. I was casting left handed and was consistantly falling 10 or more feet short of the fish. Between the wind getting tired and my first long day of fishing this year I did ok. I have to admit it was an eye opener watching Juro put a fly on the back side of the pods.
Larry
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  #14  
Old 05-28-2004, 11:34 PM
davidstrout davidstrout is offline
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y'all are nuts (well.. most of you)

I do not question either...

1-The quality of the product (I own the Atlantis 11 x 11 and have enjoyed practicing with it for 6 months)

2-The effectiveness of it as a fishing and casting tool--leanth versus 14 footers, lightness, responsiveness, ability to handle a wide variety of lines etc...

3-The sheer joy of sending out long casts and its effectiveness in doing so....

I do question however......

The distances proposed as reached by individuals on this board are ridiculous.....

155 feet....come now..

Meant with respect...go measure

Line has curves

David
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Old 05-28-2004, 11:51 PM
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David -

I agree in the sense that all that really matters is whether a caster can do 100-120 with ease and consistency, and do so with bigger flies in adverse conditions. The playtime setups (braided running lines, 625 grain shooting heads) aren't really fishable anyway, although many Jersey guys I met at Somerset swear by braid.

I think I am guilty of making such claims too, and these distance claims were made on the premise that with a good cast a 10ft leader straightens out on a 45ft shooting head (e.g. an Airflo 12wt DI-7 45ft "expert" shooting head at ~630 grains) and the braided running line that goes twang is 100ft long and the backing knot is past the first or even second stripping guide, and the cast is made from a soccer field and the yarn has crossed the goal line, then discounting wiggles it's a clean 145ft (10 ft for wiggles) from the front foot to the yarn.

But few casters can consistently get all that to straighten out cast after cast (myself included) and even fewer care. What's more important is that stepping up to a bigger tool allows anglers to deal with bigger conditions for longer periods of time with little exertion and the additional distance (whatever that may be) puts the fly in the water longer and reaches more fish when needed.

I think it would be fun to have more get togethers with others exploring two-handers this season. We could meet on a football field and see how many yards the fly reaches and multiply by three to get the distance in feet. Then of course we could run to the beach and chase fish.

Do you get up to the cape at all thru the year? How about your neck of the woods, when is the best time?
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