Winter Plan - Use two hands - Fly Fishing Forum
Art of Casting Analysis, refinement of the cast

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Old 10-10-2006, 02:38 PM
Sean Juan's Avatar
Sean Juan Sean Juan is offline
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Winter Plan - Use two hands

One thing I really like doing over the winter is practicing my casting especially when I am planning to pick up a new fishing style or situation.

I have decided that '07 will be the year of the big fly, the two handed rod, and hopefully big stripers.

Trying to get my list of rods to test cast for the comming months and I must admit I am terribly confused. Please correct me where I am wrong.

Two-handed rods come in a few main formats. The Spey rod, A Skagit, Scandinavian, and Two-handed Overhead. I assume that there is some carry-over style to style.

I am looking primarily for a rod for Northeast Surf, to cast heavy shooting heads, in heavy winds, large flies, a considerable distance. Which of those styles is worth looking into? I am planning on using a two-handed overhead style - but maybe there is something better.

So far I have only test cast the CND Atlantis, I know I also want to try the LL Bean Orion Wei rod, are there any other rods that I shouldn't miss. I don't mind spending several weekends traveling to cast them - what else is there to do in winter? I also realize that there is only so much to learn from test casting a rod you have very limited experience with.

Finally does anyone know of any fishing shows that specialize or at least feature a variety of two-handed rods. They may be at every show and I've just over-looked them.

Thanks for any help

Sean
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  #2  
Old 10-10-2006, 07:29 PM
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Dble Haul Dble Haul is offline
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Dude, get your butt down here in the winter time and you can test cast my Atlantis all you want. The three minutes that you spent with it are far too little.

We can cast in the back yard over snow, and then watch football with beer and wings to warm up. How can you resist?
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Old 10-13-2006, 10:10 AM
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Sean Juan Sean Juan is offline
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Sounds like a plan to me. Although you might want to warn your neighbors.

I think there is still a dark cloud of obscenities floating above my house from the Denver playoff game.
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Old 11-19-2006, 09:22 AM
2HandTheSalt 2HandTheSalt is offline
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I practice my spey casting at least once a week at Highbank on the Bass River in South Yarmouth/Dennis. I have plenty of rods for you to try out, just drop me an e-mail and we will set up a date & time.

jhorton(at)haydenreels.com
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Old 11-20-2006, 08:17 AM
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You've made it pretty clear that you are interested in overhead casting with two-hands, but yes there is carry over between all of the styles to an extent. Even with the single hand rod any known spey casts will be used regularly as opportunites present themselves.

Two-handed overhead casting is a much different course of study than Spey casting proper, and is often just a matter of adding a dose of discipline to what you already know for eye-popping returns on that investment.

Single handed casting allows a large degree of freedom where bad habits are not very apparent. Two-handed casting requires proper application of power, truer path and a high strong stop to send the line sailing much further with mininal effort but there is a learning curve. BTW once you get it your single handed casting improves dramatically since the same concepts apply.

Spey casting on the other hand is a whole different means of generating energy with a rod and line and it's very easy to develop bad habits while hacking out casts on your own. I should know

I started out working real hard to figure it out on my own, got some helpful instruction from friends, but over the first three years the biggest challenge was to overcome the bad habits I established starting out. 15 or so years later I've cleaned it up a lot, but I remember what a revelation it was to get some direct advice from Simon Gawesworth, Ian Gordon, Mike Kinney, the Carron boys, Nobuo and Tak, or the no-name hardcore spey casters you'd meet out west by happenstance and end up exchanging ideas about casting technique with when the fish were down.

The mechanics of efficient Spey casting are best learned from an interactive observer, meaning an experienced instructor. Video and books all may offer some component of your learning curve that is important as well.

But keep in mind that much of what an instructor can teach you in person is contrary to what you teach yourself. If not, great. But if you have a lot of muscle memory to fight, well not so great.

An instructor with an experienced eye can see quickly what you are doing or not doing and will help you recognize tendencies that you yourself would have a very hard time detecting, never mind correcting. And the more muscle memory you establish the harder it will be to change it later when you get good solid instruction.

Even if the class is only a day long you should walk away knowing that you over-rotated on that cast or that you trunked the bottom hand right then, etc. If you can't recognize what you did wrong from cast to cast then you will be establishing habits that become increasingly difficult to eliminate over time.

Anyway some of the keys to overhead casting rods like the rod formerly known as the Atlantis are path of acceleration, proper application of power with both hands, and where to stop the rod (read: higher).

But the best thing you can do IMHO is get interactive feedback to observe and transition you from what you are currently doing into an effective and efficient two-handed cast technique.
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Old 11-21-2006, 02:54 PM
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Juro,

I was planning on getting some help - fly fishing school did wonders for my single handed cast and I continue to take lessons for the fun of it and because you tend to learn different things from different instructors.

Do you think its better to not start by teaching yourself a bit by trial and error and then have an instructor refine the cast? Or is it better to be completely green? I'm asking because as an instructor I'm sure you have seen both. I was thinking of getting a rod and becoming familiar with it first at least to the point where I'm making my mistakes consistently, so they would be easier to indentify and clean up.

I'm a competent single hand fly caster, mainly looking to expand the territory that I can successfully fish and secondly I'm just looking to learn something new because its more fun that way.

To start I'm looking for a rod that can perform a double overhead cast with power to cast a heavy head and a large fly. The rod "styles" that seem to be best suited for lack of the proper terms, I apologize, are the CND (and a few other companies which make a rod approximately 11' long) and a Scandinavian style (again several companies rods tend to be approximately 13' long). Asking around I've heard arguments for and against both styles - most centered on what else you can do with the rod - traditional spey cast most notably. Assuming that the only thing I want to do for starters is cast a really big fly and really far distance on a fast sinking head, which is better?

Sean
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Old 11-21-2006, 10:28 PM
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24 inches of extra graphite makes a big difference when strip retrieving a fly. Also the handle configurations of most rods designed for Spey casting will not accomodate the more common nor'easter style fishing primarily because the short bottom handle puts the reel behind you and the line falls backward out of the stripping basket into the surf. This is one of the design elements I came up with when designing the Atlantis.

Also the action of a Spey casting tool differs greatly from the action of an overhead casting tool where a Spey casting rod is designed to hold on to the load while the caster changes direction where an overhead rod is made to abruptly reverse direction in the same plane. Holding a load is not necessary, the load and unload timing should be what the overhead caster is used to for easiest transition from what he/she already knows.

A spey cast, for instance a 90 degree change single spey, requires that the rod flex to 'keep' the load intact while the body is rotated to bring the load state from dangle to cross-river angle and then create a d-loop which is then released. That's a whole different sequence of events than overhead and the rod should correspond to these differences to be comfortable to use.

Any experienced two-hander will tell you that the line is just as important to each style of casting. The line configuration chosen can make or break one's efficiency and returns on investment with a 2hd rod. In fact some lines make a broad range of rods feel great.
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Old 11-24-2006, 06:04 AM
jhicks jhicks is offline
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Juro,

Very good explanation of the differences between spey and overhand. I can only add that once one decides to go down the road of casting with a two handed rod one is immediately thrust into a world of learning that will never end. Another thing I have learned is that if I ask 20 spey enthusiests how to cast they will give me 10 different styles. Simon is different from Cook, is different from Kinney.

Juro one day I would love to get a group of guys together and we could gleen some of that vast knowledge from you in a group casting lesson.


John
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Old 11-24-2006, 07:00 AM
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good that you said 10 from 20 or we'd be in trouble

Thanks for the kind words, but much of what I know comes from knowning guys like those you mentioned and as many here have I've benefited from their wisdom for many years. While delivery is unique they rely on the same foundations of good casting technique.

Simon is the quintessential Spey messiah and is precise, crisp and enlightening to learn from. Mike always reveals secrets from the mystical realm of Spey casting and fishing with his Sage advice. George has been there since Dec and the boys found out that 'chicks dig it' and he knows how to drive a point home.

Style may differ broadly but substance less and less as we approach fundamentals.

I look forward to a get together in the near future
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