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two-handed fly rods for the surf

3620 Views 9 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  peter-s-c
This message is to Juro or anyone with experience with this type of fly rod. I always considered buying these two handed fly rods. I live on the south shore of long island where a 10wt fly rod does not cut the mustard to flyfish from the shoreline. On certain days you can fly fish but you just don't get the distance. The problem I see with these flyrods is the expense. I see the 14ft gl3 euro(1689/10-3) retails for $370.00. Is that equivalent to sage 14ft #10 euro (9141-4) that retails for $745.00?
I also see that Thomas and Thomas put out a 12ft, 12 weight out ment for surf flyfishing but it retails at $680.00. Should I spend the money for a quality rod or would the GL3 euro 9/10 do the job.

Thank-you in advance for your help.

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Rudy -

One of my favorite subjects!

I've always felt that the shorter (relative term) two-handers are more appropriate for surf applications all-around. This will not necessarily mean you'll get the outlandish casting distances of 15 foot rods, but then again you will be able to strip retrieve without the tip sagging into the breakers and you will get close enough to unhook that fish when you need to.

I believe the ideal place for two-handers is big surf; second best being fast current rips with horizontal flow. In either case being at the level of the water (not a jetty) is best. Estuaries and shallow spooky flats don't make me feel like I need the big rod. On the other hand, other places make me feel like the single hander is a toy, like the Cape's outer beaches.

Before I go off on a sermon unnecessarily, let me get back to the question... the answer is "I don't know". I own the IMX (now called GLX) Loomis in a 9wt 15'long. It is a great Spey rod, casts overhand OK but not a Euro. I have fished the GL3 Spey rods as well - but neither are 2hnd / overhand rods. I will be all over these at the show in January, so keep in touch thru the winter.

Sage does not offer a mid/lower end Euro 2hander. I have three Sage Euro rods and I like them, but yes they are pricey. Since you are asking about value, I would recommend trying one of mine before making the investment, or looking into blanks to save money.

I like the idea of the new T&T 12x12. Jay Horton and others will tell you I have been dreaming of an 11x11 for quite some time, even cut blanks trying to get there. Once again, the price point doesn't answer your question.

My best advice to you would be to somehow find the Sage discontinued 12'6" for 9wt Euro overhand RPL two-handed rod. These rods are around and can be discounted as deeply as 50% off since they are no longer marketed. Sage has plenty of stock to maintain their warranty so there's no crisis there in case of breakage. If there was a problem they'd probably send you their new 8wt 12' 4" euro with which I have been able to throw a whole 12wt intermediate line (although not yet consistently). I even had my son catch it on video, much to his chagrin. He didn't like being caught in broad daylight at the park filming his dad casting on the soccer field. My point is it's not too light.

I know a Sage dealer with one and you might get it for the GL3 price if you like it better. I'd have to try the Loomis before saying for sure which you should buy.

Summary -

Discontinued Sage Euro's are discounted deeply if you can find them... 12' 6" for a 9wt but throws 11 weight line easily. (Euro 2hand casters cast the whole line so the 30 foot grains rating is out the window)

GL3 sounds like a good deal, have to try before I advise further. My experience w/ Loomis has been 50/50, love the action but I tend to break them.

Everything beyond that is full price upper echalon 600 plus investment. I would not be too comfy with that unless I fished them first.

Ever get up to Cape Cod?
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To Juro,
Thanks for your reply, I have two sage rods and I think it would be worth to invest into a two hand flyrod by Sage because of the quality so I will shop around. I would consider the new rod by Thomas and Thomas since it was designed for surf flyfishing.

I have not fished cape cod it is on the list of things to do though. I have fished mostly on LI. The fish are still around here I just was down at the beach and I could see the birds off the shoreline.

When are you thinking of making the purchase? If you can wait, maybe we can get something to test in your hands.

As you know the subject of a 2-hander on the Cape is becoming one of my favourite topics as well. My question concerns why the 12 wt? Is it necessary for the fish? My intention is to bring a short (12') Euro rod, probably a Loop that will throw an 8 wt line.

As for the line it will likely be a Scandinavian-style shooting head - either a Loop or the new Airflo. Since I gather I will be using a stripping basket I anticipate no issues with the running line. With this set-up, I will expect to be able to cast significant distances overhead casting (which is fairly common in Scandinavian circles) or with a modified Jim Green style cast - which is a short dump spey cast - where the short head is placed in front of you, which is then picked up with an overhead back-cast. After this single back-cast, which is now terrifically loaded by being anchored on the water in front of you, the whole thing is launched towards the horizon.

As for Sage rods, I think the 9140-3 piece is a decent overhead rod - especially with a shooting head. If one could find a 9140-3 Discovery model, which was Sage's entry rod and is an unsanded Graphite II - you would have a great rod at a very good price! As well, one might look for Euro action rods in the form of the old Loop Adventure series which is now being marketed I think by Reddington (I'm not sure on the company - I recall a thread a while back on Dana's Speypages about it). These are excellent rods and the prices are quite good.
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My humble observations:

IMO the GL3 is not much of an overhead caster, it is a tad on the slow side. Others with more experience with it may disagree. The GLX's are nice but big$$$. Isn't GL3 the new name for the IMX?? Maybe not, I am not sure.

Sage DS2'? I doubt it. You can eat a sandwich waiting for that thing to load on the back-cast. DS2 is Graphite II. Juro's Sage seems pretty good, is that Graphite III or IV? Anyways, I will defer to the Sage guys out there on that one, but I do not find even the Sage Euro's to be as fast as the T & T's. Am I wrong here? If so, could someone please educate me on which of the recent Sage's are best at overhead casting? Lefty prefers the Sage Euro 14' 10-weight for surf fishing for stripers, but I believe this model is discontinued???

Loop Adventure/Redington? Bingo! I think you have hit the nail on the head here. Redington RedFly two-handers are the result of the purchase of the designs and I believe some tooling, ( I am guessing the mandrels?) from the Loop fly rods. I have a 12'6" 7/8 weight which adequately casts big heads overhead. Noticeably not as fast or powerful as the big money rods, but it definitely works and at around $ 250 USD, quite the bargain. I am so keen to try out the newer Loops, but they are scarcer than striper teeth here in America. They keep threatening to get a rod in my hands to try out, but it never materializes....

Regarding the 12-weight thing: The DH 1212-3 was not actually intended to be a real 12-weight rod, rather it was designed for overhead casting short 12-weight shooting heads. There was some discussion about how to name the rod for the catalog and a decision was made to name it similarly as the rest of the rods to avoid confusion. Not being a spey guy, I can not tell you if it will actually cast a 12-weight spey line, but I think that Simon G. recommends a 10/11/12 with it.

Why was it designed around 12-weight heads? My idea was this: For a number of reasons, I favor short heads for fishing the surf. One is the high berm which is usually behind you. It is easier to keep a short head out of the dirt. The second is that striped bass will often eat the fly right in the wash, requiring you to retrieve most of the head before you cast again. Short head is a big advantage here, especially if you are repeatedly blind casting. Lastly, fishing as I do, mostly at night, the shorter heads are just plain easier for me to handle. 30' of twelve-weight head is similar in weight to a full-length head of 10-weight fly line, but is much easier to cast and will more easily deliver a bigger fly.

Since this rig is really intended for blind-casting with sinking lines, it did not seem to me that spooking the fish when the line hit the water would really be much of an issue.

Juro had proposed the idea of an 11' 11-weight for this kind of fishing far in advance of my proposing the 1212 to T & T. Personally, after doing a lot of fishing with a lot of different rods, I chose the 1212 configuration because, for one thing, I found that I was very comfortable with the 12' length. It balances nicely for one-handed retrieves, not feeling tip-heavy, and where I fish, the length is not really a problem when landing the fish. I opted for the 12-weight head because it is the largest head which is readily available from a number of different manufacturers, without jumping up to 15, which seems to me, very much like a clothesline in thickness & handling. The 12-weight head really handles big flies nicely. It is barely affected by a 1/0 deceiver, you hardly know it is on there.

If you want to throw a lighter line, the T & T DH1208 the RedFly mentioned above and other similar rods will throw a short, 10-weight head very nicely, but they tend to get bogged down quickly if you want to throw really big flies, or if the wind comes up.

I do not mean to say that the DH1212-3 is the final word for this kind of fishing, but rather I hope that it is the first of a new category of fly rods designed for overhead casting in the surf. I still do believe that it is the best rod I have found for my very specific needs, but then it should be, because Tom Dorsey designed it to be that way.

Try as many as you can get your hands on, and pick the one you like best!

Good Luck.
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Don't be too quick to write off graphite II, my friend Per Stadigh of Sweden speaks in reverential terms of the old 9140-3 Graphite II (not the Discovery). I cast his pride and joy one afternoon and he told me of guys trading brand new 10151's for this rod. As you probably know shooting heads and overhead casting are a way of life in Scandinavia - so if Per tells me the Graphite II 9140-3 is the best - then it probably is.
Thanks Kush, I am glad I deferred to the Sage experts on that one.

Aer you saying that there is a DS2 model that works well for overhead casting??

I have never cast the DS2, however, if Per's Graphite II 9140-3 and my graphite III 9140-3 are decent overhead sticks then it follows that the the unsanded DS2 would also do a credible job.
I've had a couple of opportunities to fish a two-hander for stripers (a St. Croix 14' 9 wt.) on the Coast Guard Beach on Cape Cod. I currently have two Lochmor X Daiwa's that I'm sure will work great in the salt - a 13' 6" 9 wt. and a 15' 6" 11 wt. According to their write-up these Scottish made rods are optimized for overhead casting. I find that they have worked well all-round, spey and overhead. They're medium-fast with the 9 wt. being progressive and the 11 wt. oriented slightly more to the tip.

I just rigged up the 11 wt. this week with an Airflo shooting head system (45' head, 100' running line.) Took it to the park and on the fourth cast, managed to shoot the entire thing.

The Daiwa 9 wt. runs about $200.00 US, the 11 wt. around $230.00 without tubes - very affordable and *very* powerful.
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