Observations of a Newbie: The benefits of using two hands - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 01-14-2000, 01:38 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3,411
Originator: AndreDate: 1/13/2000 10:38 PM
Observations of a Newbie: The benefits of using two hands

These are my observations, just as with most things, everyone provides an individual perspective on what these benefits are (not looking to be the first flamed on this site). I will use the terms Two Hander vs Spey rod for what I have learned are the "traditional" or Spey casting rod and the "European" overhead casting rod interchangeably. I have been flyfishing for steelhead using the speycast(s) with a "Two Handed" rod for 3 ¬Ĺ years. During this time I have cast a number of rods, some I could cast some and some I couldn't. One thing that I know and acknowledge, I am not an expert. Time has not allowed attendance at one of the speycasting classes locally and hopefully the projected increase to $675-750 for the DB class on the Deschutes will not happen.

Booming it out there
Many flyfishers considering the purchase of a Two Hander/Spey Rod are overcome by the potential distance they have see or heard can be cast. The "magical" 100' casts appears continuously in print articles associated with Spey casting and rods. While accomplished spey casters can boom out extremely long lines well beyond that "magical" 100'. Long casts can be either beneficial or detrimental depending on the situation. Without question it is a lot of fun and presents a great challenge to boom the very long line, it can also be a challenge to fish the short line. My case, has come to over thinking the cast (not the action of casting) and not concentrating on the presentation of the fly. Just as in match play the longest drive doesn't mean you'll win the hole. I may have become drunk with the potential of distance, I may have become lazy, I am hoping this realization is the first step (one of many) to increasing my future success in "speyfishing". My first four times fishing with the two hander I caught winter fish. The largest was a 15-16lb "nate" on the Sandy in March, fishing 36 degree water, on a size 2/0 traditional skunk. I couldn't cast far with my "launcher" line 40-50' was about it, I did however have acceptable presentation. The next was 12LB mercury bright hen on the Satsop that taught my finger the value of not having too much slack line.

My first true experience fishing a dry line came on the Thompson the following November. I changed lines to Wulff TT and could cast out to the running line 60'+, I nailed a 16-17 LB hen in the Graveyard on a "Pet's ladybug". I loved the casting, was having a blast, and catching steelhead, all while using both hands to cast. Shortly after things started to slip, I began casting not fishing. The recognition of this casting euphoria has heightened what in my mind what is the major benefit to the two handed rod. What forced this awareness? Number of fish I hooked declined, the length of my casts increased slightly, and the froth on the water increased to point where the river below me looked like latte (ok, only when the river was going out).

Presentation Control
I feel the greatest advantage I've received from fishing long rods is the improved presentation and my increased awareness of the importance presentation, this is simply due to increased line control. It is easy to talk about presentation I want to begin living presentation. Presentation while fishing the short lines is relatively simple, the long line really make ones flaws albeit subtle they become apparent in the reduced catch.

Personally I believe the line control advantage is compounded when using sink tips. Long rods are able to mend (depending on the line) tips beyond the magical 100 ft, you (some) can still mend a heavy dense tip all the way to the fly. This provides those accomplished speyfishers who can effectively mend a decided advantage, they can now productively fish water previously covered but not fished. The additional length provides the tool required that provide the increased control needed to lead the fly properly through the distant lies and allows it to swim vs drag through our quarries lair.

Fish Fighting Leverage
I'm a firm believer that fish should not the pressured to the point of exhaustion. The additional length two handers provide, supplies the additional leverage required to apply adequate pressure from the proper angles to quickly and effectively land fish. Although more effective than a single hander in the traditional keep the tip up school. The greatest benefit in fish fighting comes from applying the pressure with the rod parallel to the water. Pressuring the fish toward the bank as opposed to raising it within the water column.

I hope these observations change with time as I learn how to use this tools more effectively.


Portland, OR
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