I want to tell you why I returned to two-handed rods, that is, something about how I experience single-handed vs. two-handed fly fishing. First, just shortly, I left two-handed fishing temporarily because the future of salmon fishing looked bleak (no pun intended). I do not want to go into details, but I will just say that salmon fishing is a very limited resource.
The reason I am back is two-handed casting. Single-handed casting is amazing, but there is something magical about casting a long rod. In a successful cast, elegance meets a bit of power with effortless results. Because I often fish large rivers, in two-handed casting I am constantly exploring and experimenting with different movements to obtain the desired result in highly varying conditions. The possibility to push the boundary one way or the other is the norm. There is therefore a natural tendency to empty the mind of distractions - zen, if you like. Once you learn to cast with either hand up, there is also a natural symmetry of the body.
I thrive in horrible fishing conditions. The windier it is, the better, because then the outside of the envelope gets smaller. Furthermore, even the most popular pools can suddenly become inviting.
While casting is the primary reason I fish with a fly, two-handed fishing also has its own magic when it comes to the quarry. At the other end of the spectrum, I greatly enjoy exploring a small stream with a tiny 3wt rod. The potential locations of the fish are usually known, and I am excited to see whether something willing will emerge from these spots. (This type of fishing also has its own natural envelope when it comes to casting.)
In two-handed fishing some of my favourite pools are long and featureless. Zen takes over for extensive periods of time. And the take, if it happens this week, is unexpected. A meditative state of mind is suddenly interrupted by a very rare event. Like an unconscious answer to a question that has been troubling me for long, or a sudden opportunity to achieve something valuable I had almost given up on, the fish is there. That is actually a decent way of putting it, so it became my new signature.
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