Handle Length on Conversion Rods - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-02-2015, 10:04 AM Thread Starter
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Handle Length on Conversion Rods

I have had some questions regarding handle lengths on singlehanded rods converted to doublehanded mode and the effect on casting. I stated in another thread here in the Trout Spey Forum that, because of my casting style, I don't find it necessary to add any length onto the upper/front grip when converting singles to doubles. The reason for this "approach" has to do with the "power" of the conversion rods. The "strongest" conversion I have is a 9' 8 weight with which I cast a 250 grain Skagit belly. The rest of my conversions are even lighter in line rating - 3 weight to 7 weight - thus casting even lighter bellies - 150 grains to 225 grains. I have found that it doesn't take much "power" to cast lines of this weight and that in fact these light line/rod combos are very, very easily "overpowered". Instead, a more effective means to cast these light rod/line combos is through the implementation of faster line speed. Faster line speed is produced via faster rod tip speed. I have found that as regards using a two-handed grip, faster rod tip travel is obtained by placing the hands closer together (conversely, a wider grip produces more "power") and using a lower hand "pull", upper hand "push" pivot-type action during the forward casting stroke. Therefore, as regards lighter rod/line combos - 250 grains and under - a very "close" hand grip is the most effective and therefore no additional length is needed on the upper/front grip. In fact, it seems more important to make sure that the bottom/lower grip is of a sufficient size for establishing a firm and positive grip.


Last edited by Riveraddict; 01-02-2015 at 10:05 AM. Reason: punctuation
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-02-2015, 10:38 AM
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I agree, I would also add that with shorter rods and shorter heads you have a smaller casting stoke and casting arc. There is no need for a traditional (spey sized) hand grip. There is a definite evolution as rods and lines get shorter handles and hand spacing do as well.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-02-2015, 06:24 PM
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I love the smaller bottom grip on the Beulah platinum switch. It's much smaller than the speys and feel like it would probably be a good size for the single hand conversion rods. Would love to do a conversion rod like the ones you showcase in your awesome video Riveraddict. Of course I'm waiting to see the OPST skagit heads come out on the market since I'm not sure I'm as skilled with making my own micro skagit heads...
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-02-2015, 07:33 PM
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Bruce Berry did a demonstration at the Sandy River Spey Clave a couple of years ago (IIRC) on performing casts in tight quarters, especially under overhanging trees, using "normal" spey rods. To demonstrate his cast(s) he sat down on the gravel bar and did several casts that were not only sufficient (small d-loop, lowered rod tip to keep under tree branches, etc.) but exhibited rather high line speeds with tight loops. I noticed that he had moved his hands closer together compared to his standing normal casts, something he wasn't even aware of because it was just second nature to him to do this to generate the extra line speed he needed given the more constrained rod path. It stands to reason through demonstration that great minds (casters) think alike! Now if I could just get my mind to be "second nature'd" with this. Good stuff RA. (and BB!)

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 02:27 AM
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How you cast

I find that with the shorter spey rods, choking down between grips will produce high line speed. But I also found that the butt section, when activated sufficiently and working in tandem with a quick releasing upper section, can be a wealth of speed when done right.

Here is a video 10' 5 weight SH I converted to a DH rod long time back, using a 240 grain DIY Scandi head. I have slowed this section down enough where the above statement can be more apparent:


I often try to visualize the sections above the butt section as part of the throwing rig that also contains the line; ie. the butt ferrule is now the new conceptual tip. This is the first release point, followed by the tip releasing from this released point. Speed upon speed.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 12:29 PM
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Interesting. Line speed by way of hauling has worn-out a few lines in the past two years and I've stopped using it with anchored casts. But I don't feel a need to convert a rod in oder to spey cast with two hands. Maybe a slight modification for the metal seat/butt cap - like a cork cap so it doesn't dig into the lower hand and give you the grip needed. I should mention these are 9.5 and 10 foot RPLs with moderate actions. Thumbs and forefingers of each hand on the handle/handles work well in closing the loop and building speed.

Do rods under 9.5 feet in length benefit from a lower handle?
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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Is a lower handle necessary...

... on rods under 9.5' in length. I would say it depends on "how" one casts and that for my style of casting, absolutely yes. I stated in my OP that I use an upper hand push, lower hand pull for the forward casting stroke. However, that action consists of at least 70% power going to the lower hand pull, if not more. That ratio could be higher, I have no way of gauging it precisely. However, I can tell you this... when I cast, the ONLY power application I think of is pulling back on the lower hand. The ONLY function I think of in using the upper hand is as a fulcrum point. Now I know that even though I am thinking only "fulcrum" on the upper hand, some amount of "push" power is getting applied. But, it seems to be very minor in comparison to that "pull" being applied with the lower hand. Another illustration of the lower-hand-to-upper-hand power ratio for me is that often times when I feel that the runningline is trying to foul around my upper hand on the forward casting stroke, I can actually take that upper hand completely off the rod right at that time during the forward casting stroke when the runningline needs to be released. I don't think that act would be possible if push for power with my upperhand was a major player in my casting (I should mention that I hold my runningline with my UPPER hand, this because doing so with my lower hand feels as if it "robs" me of casting power during the runningline release). One more example of lower hand power in my case... my first few conversion rod builds, where I added on the lower handle just by inserting a section of blank up into the reel seat, I snapped off those lower handles during the act of casting. I had to reinforce that section of rod blank with a steel bolt because of all the stress being created just above my lower hand position! So, as I think has been well described, a fully functional lower handle is necessary for me.

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