Overhead Two Handed Casting

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by OhioOutdoorsman, Mar 30, 2008.

  1. OhioOutdoorsman

    OhioOutdoorsman New Member

    I built a Batson Switch Rod this winter and have been fishing this spring in Ohio for steelhead. Two handers are a new concept here and I've been learning mostly from books, videos, and trail and error because well, I'm the only person I know doing it here. Haven't been able to find much on 2 handed overhead casting. Any advice on proper technique or where to find info on proper technique?

    I can overhead cast one handed, but it seems two handed would be much less tiring, which is why (along with desire to swing flies when the water gets high and or dirty), I took up a two hander.
  2. Matt Burke

    Matt Burke Active Member

    There are damn few that do it. I've been teaching myself for four years now. As far as I know there isn't a proper technique or info on it. Ask me some questions and I'll give it my best shot. If you googled it, I know you saw my name asking the same questions several years ago.

    SPEYBUM Member

    Over Head Casting Notes
    I teach overhead casting with a Two Handed Fly Rod as a way to install the proper rod track from the key position to the forward stop.
    I had a very hard time with understanding several things so I took a great deal of time to understand the overhead cast as done with a Two Handed Fly Rod. This has helped my Single Hand Fly Rod casting immensely,
    The hardest thing to grasp is this the same things that plague the Single Hand Fly Rod caster with also plague the Two Handed Fly Rod caster.

    The forward casting stroke is the same with a few small changers.
    One you are working with both hands the lower hand will initiate and power the cast and the top hand if need may finish the cast but for the most part you will no need.
    For ease of theaching brake all my cast down into elements.

    The Elements
    I have divided the overhead cast in four elements for the Single Hand Fly Rod
    The initial pickup into the back cast.
    The false cast.
    The double haul
    Final delivery and the lay down
    The three elements for the Two Handed Fly Rod
    The initial pickup into the back cast.
    The false cast.
    Final delivery and the lay down

    Two Handed Fly Rod Overhead Cast

    I stand with an open stance facing the target.
    The Grip
    I grip the rod loosely button hand and for the top hand I make a sign for O.K with just thumb and forefinger grasping the rod. The loose grip with help you from thrusting with the top hand. The top hand should be a fulcrum and lower or underhand should be the power.
    The initial pickup into the back cast.
    Let us start with the beginning with the line laid out in front of you.
    (Start with about 2 to 21/2 rod lengths of line excluding the leader) Like all cast we have to get the line to move before we make our back cast stroke.
    I lift (shotgun) with the lower hand up to about eye level. Up to this point we want to keep the rod tip as flat as passable. Once I get to the eye level I will hinge the rod tip up to about the 10 to 11 o’clock position. (Through the entire casting stroke I try to keep my hands where I can look at them. This is excellent way to trouble shoot you cast.)
    As you hands are coming up I push out away from my body with lower hand in sharp movement while raising rod tip up with the upper hand to the key position at about 2:00.
    The kicking out with the lower hand flips the tip and the line into the back cast.
    Try to just load the tip of the rod in the initial pick part of cast the less I load the rod the tighter the back loop with be. This will allow the line to straight out as the tip unload in a upward direction.

    The prime cause of unsymmetrical casts between the back cast and forward cast is inability to time the lines travel back ward to full extension or just about full.
    This unsymmetrical condition will be multiplied by each of the false casting cycles until the cast is unusable.
    If you keep your where you can see them you will see the line loose tension as the back cast unfurls this visual is good sign to start you forward cast.
    Now that we are at the Key position we will start the forward cast stoke this tip path is from the Key Position to the forward stop is initiated by the pulling the under hand in downward motion letting the top hand follow. While the rod tip is coming down and out we pull the bottom hand with a quick pop using the caster belly to stop the rod butt.

    This downward stokes gives you longer straight line rod path of the rod tip while loading the butt of the rod and then the tip.
    The path is down out and over and length of stoke depends on how much line you are carrying in the air.
    Being we do not have a way of increasing our line speed as we do with a single hand by using a double haul we must be more effective with our casting stoke and use more efficient equipment. The longer the casting stoke we have the more line speed we can carry.
    As the loop of the forward cast unfurls we have to make a decision whether to make a false cast.
    The false cast
    The false backcast is made as the line unfurls but before it forward speed decays.
    The cast begins with the under hand pushing out away from the body as the upper hand raises the rod tip up.
    As the rod tip starts to rise I push out away with lower hand in sharp movement while raising rod tip up with the upper hand to the key position at about 2:00.
    Now that we are at the Key position we will start the forward cast stoke this tip path is from the Key Position to the forward stop is initiated by the pulling the under hand in downward motion letting the top hand follow. While the rod tip is coming down and out we pull the bottom hand with a quick pop using the caster belly to stop the rod butt.
    We now will repeat this as many time, as we need to.
    I suggest that you false cast no more than two to three times. If it not right in two or three put it down.
    Final delivery and the lay down
    The final deliver and the lay down should be made just like any other forward cast. There should be not change in the casting stroke at all you just let the line unfurl and lay the rod tip down.
    Anticipating the final delivery will add all kinds of problems.
    Shooting the line is the same as with a single hand rod except for one thing we should shoot as the rod unloads rather than at the stop.

    This is my way teaching overhead cast with a Two Handed Fly Rod.
    It is relatively easy to do and I have had good success in using the elements to teach not only the veteran Single Hand Fly Rod caster who is transitioning to the Two Handed Fly Rod and the raw beginner who has never cast a fly.
  4. OhioOutdoorsman

    OhioOutdoorsman New Member

    Thank you very much. I will work on digesting that for a while.
  5. herl

    herl Member

    The East coast striper guys do a lot of this type of casting. You could look at some of their boards.

    I've tried a bit here, but haven't found that the benefits outweigh the pain-in-the-ass of line management for me. Or, I haven't put in the time I needed to make it work for me. I can definitely see that it would be worth it under larger surf conditions when a shorter single hander just can't get over the breakers.
  6. Flyborg

    Flyborg Active Member

    If you ever get a chance, go visit Andrew at Tight Lines in Pine Brook, NJ. He's one of the best overhead 2-hand casters on the East Coast.
  7. fredaevans

    fredaevans Active Member


    For 'surf fishing' and a great huge sand beach behind you I can see 'over head' casting bringing something to the party. For river fishing????:confused:
  8. herl

    herl Member


    I meant that I tried it out on our local beaches (puget sound). With a bit more time I may have got it to were the extra distance was worth the extra hassle, but I didn't feel that it made THAT much difference so I'm sticking with what I know, for now.
  9. agent montana

    agent montana This Must be a sickness!! MARINATE!!!

    I love overhead casting and have a CND Oceania that I used last year big time in the salt. You are totally right herl..Gotta have a basket!! I bought the rod to use for east coast surf fishing and have found a lot of use for it since then. I have been out with Burke on several occasions. I will say though that it is not inteneded to substitue for spey casting but as another cast in the toolbox
  10. Steve Buckner

    Steve Buckner Mother Nature's Son

    Here are a couple of thoughts as well:

    Single handed casting and two-handed casting apply the same principles so if you can understand how to load the rod, how to control the path of the rod tip as it travels, and then unload the rod correctly, you'll get a good loop. To steal a phrase from Al Buhr, "Casting is about having constant tension in the fly line."

    There are some things that have to happen for this to work:

    1. Remove slack. Slack needs to be removed from the line before beginning your back cast by performing a roll cast - if there is slack in the line prior to your back cast, a good deal of your backward (or forward motion) is just removing that slack and not getting the line moving. Additionally, if you your forward stroke is too early, you're adding slack to the cast. Slack is the great evil in casting.

    2. Lift the rod and load it. Do this by pointing the rod right at the water and lifting it as Aaron mentions to about the 10:30 or 11:00 position - and without hesitating, accelerate the rod tip back to a stopped position at 2:00.

    3. Accelerate to a stop. Acceleration means to increase velocity constantly - not abuptly. Your maximum velocity will be the instant before the stop on both the back and forward casts.

    4. There has to be a pause long enough for the line to unroll in the air as the loop unrolls - if you wait too long, it will fall, if you go to early, you'll hear the sound of a whip cracking. I suggest watching your line - you'll always know what's going on if you can see it. Once the line has completely unrolled, begin your stroke in the opposite direction.

    5. Watch the path of the line as it unrolls - the top and bottom legs of the unrolling loop needs to stay in plane. If you see the line unroll such that it's not straight, or curves right or left, somewhere your rod tip came out of plane during the cast. The usual suspect is incorrect power application. Because of the length of the two-handed rod, it's very easy to have the tip come out of plane.

    6. The rod tip needs to travel in a straight path from the 10:30/11:00 position to the 2:00 position. If the rod tip path is convex (or like a windshield wiper), you'll throw big ugly loops. If your power application is too abrupt in the early part of your stroke, you'll throw tailing loops because the rod tip will make a concave path - as you know, concave is the inverse of convex.

    7. The forward and backward casts should be mirror images of each other.

    One way to analyze your cast it to turn the cast over on it's side, and cast completely horizontal. I like to teach students to do this trick at a lake. And with each cast, allow the line to land on the water. This will really help you evaluate your power application and see the results of how your rod tip travels.

    8. The 180 Degree Principle Pick two points 180 degrees apart, and try to hit them as you pick up your line, apply power to your rod, and stop it and let the line unroll. If you're line is hitting the targets, you're good to go. If your line doesn't unroll, you're not accelerating correctly, or you're stopping your rod too soon. Likewise, if your line continues on around and beyond the two points, you're stopping your rod too late.

    In the end, how the line travels is a function of how power was applied to the rod, and where the tip of the rod travels. Over time, one can analyze the line itself and determine what went right or wrong during the cast, because the fly line is a function of power application and rod tip travel.