single handed vs double handed...

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by francis james hunnycut, Jul 9, 2012.

  1. Okay, so I am a bit of a newb to steelhead. I've only been swinging for them for the past couple of seasons, and the more I swing with other cats the more spey rods I see. Seems like everyone is swinging the "big stick". So really, why? What are the benefits? It looks to me like maybe it is less work, but in all honesty if I wanted to do things the easy way I would be throwing a baitcaster. Is that the only benefit to swinging a spey? it's an awful lot of money for a guy like me to get setup to fish in this fashion, and I need to be able to present a solid argument to myself as to why I would spend that kind of cheddar. It sure looks cool, I'll say that much. The guys in the fly shop totally recommend that I go spey, but of course they are gonna do that, it is their job to sell me stuff! I was just hoping for some solid feedback on the pros and cons of the big stick to help me decide whether or not spey casting is for me. I will tell you that I enjoy slangin my single handed 8w, and as I have yet to catch a chromer on it, I am reticent to just jump to the next fad because everyone else is doing it. Any advice/info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys. Keep em tight.
  2. It has more to do with the water you're fishing. If you can swing a run or nymph a hole with the single hander, then by all means, stick with it. If you're fishing out of a boat, stick with the single. A lot of steelhead rivers are wide and don't lend themselves to a big back cast...enter the spey rod. I fished single handers for 2 season before I picked up a spey. I leave my single handers at home now. If I want to nymph, I use a switch rod. Plus, I don't care what anybody says, nymphing for steelhead is a lot of work and takes a lot of time to be good at it, that is. Without going into all the finer details, teaching a newbie to wade fish and nymph for steelhead and actually have them be "fishing" is damn hard. Teaching a newbie to swing a fly and actually be "fishing" is much easier.

    So, for me, I use a spey rod because it's easier, it's way more fun, and the take is AWESOME!
    SCARBOO likes this.
  3. It is way more fun!

    If you're going to make a thousand cast (or thousands for some of us), why not enjoy the casting?
  4. thanks guys. "It's way more fun" is probably the best argument one could give to get me all over that. One could argue that I am a glutton for punishment or I wouldn't be fishing steelhead in the first place, but I am indeed out there to have fun. Maybe I should take one of those free spey clinics and give it a shot, just to see if it blows my skirt up...Luckily my old lady couldnt tell the difference between a spey rod and every other rod in my rack, so slippin one past her wouldnt be that hard...Just have to make $600 bucks on the sly that she never finds out about...Maybe I should start selling crack to support my fishing addiction...;)
  5. I've been saying for a couple of years now that I'm going to get a switch rod and learn to spey cast. The advantage for me would be in places with no room for a back cast.
  6. okay, here goes. At the risk of sounding like a total moron....what is a switch rod?
  7. You'll like it noodle. A lot. It opens up a lot of water where normally you couldn't fish for lack of room.
  8. It's a shorter spey rod that's marketed under a fancy name
    Blake Harmon likes this.
  9. If you have a good sized reel that will accomodate a spey line then you don't need $600 to get into the game. Find a used rod or you can go with something like an ECHO for about $375 new. I went a long time without jumping into spey rods. What eventually brought me to try it was wanting to fish areas where backcasts were not possible and fishing runs where I couldn't achieve the line control was after. Going to a spey rod has opened up much more water that I am able to fish effectively. That has translated to many more fish hooked and landed. I can also cast and handle heavy sink tips and larger flies much easier which gives me more confidence fishing high water conditions. I enjoy casting a spey rod very much and find it very relaxing (when I'm doing well :)). Landing a large fish alone has taken some practice and still feels awkward because I like to land them in the water and don't just back them up onto the bank.

    The free clinics are a good introduction. If you are fishing with guys that are spey casting then hit them up for some help and practice. Most of us end up with multiple setups and have an extra rod or 2 laying around. I started with a switch rod and quicky realized that is what not what I wanted. I still use my switch rod but not as I had envisioned. My suggestion would be go with a Spey rod.
    troutpounder likes this.
  10. My advice is to learn how to spey cast on a full spey rod. Once you've got that down, pick up a switch and modify your cast. It's harder to learn on a switch and go to a spey from what I've seen. Also, once you learn how to spey cast...I mean really get it down, you'll use it EVERYWHERE...even with your single hander. False casting will become a thing of the past.
    JesseCFowl likes this.
  11. Completely agree!
  12. I read an excellent article in the WSC's newsletter about how steelheading has become a bunch of "single malt drinking spey rod guys" I guess I fit that mold...

    I dig my single handers but unless I'm fishing back sloughs or water where I WANT to strip the fly in...or if I want to dead drift dry flies for trouties (or lakes) I find I just don't use um that much anymore..

    Two biggest reasons are

    1. Fly in water...learn to single spey effectively and your fly is in the water a lot more then the air and you won't spook fish like the Ripppppppers doing the double...

    2. Fish um just about anywhere...up tight to a bank...under tree's to some degree...spots where a single can be a bitch...With the high water we've been having I was on a bank into the bush this sat. but able to use either left hand high or cack handed single spey to skate my bug in under some tree's...

    I think arguments can be had both ways...but I held out awhile before I went to a spey rod...Learning to cast a single hand rod effectively takes time and skill as well....I hated those dickheads with their yellow rods casting across river at me...thinking that the spey rod gave them a reason to not use the etiquette that fly guys would normally use....I can double haul like a mother so would put my fly in their waders and ask if they enjoyed that?
    I eventually decided to get "One" spey rod and that would be it...To say I've since become a total whore would be an understatement....

    Gone through a few stages with them...from the "buy my cast with equipment" mistake..To learning, getting better, then decent, then long and confusing casting with fishing.
    Back to where I ended with the single hander...a great tool that allows you to fish just about anywhere and still enjoy the dynamics of making a cast that others might find impossible...

    I enjoy the hell of it....but it can be an ugly journey LoL
  13. I started out with a 7wt throwing a type VI sink tip for winter fish. It's a lot of work. What I found was that by going to a spey rod I spent a lot more time fishing and a lot less time casting. With my fly in the water longer my sucess rate went up.

  14. FJH,

    There are several benefits to using a Spey rod. First, it gives me a place to squander all my disposable income so that I don't have rich investments upon which to retire. Second, I look way cooler than you and all those other yokels waving their single hand fairy wands around the river. Third, as a fellow encroaching on senior moments, if not senior years, penis envy has taken on new meaning. Having one of the longer rods on the river yields tremendous emotional satisfaction. Fourth, and of course this is just a minor thing, the Spey rod also allows me to fish water that I cannot fish using a single hand rod. Imagine that, opening up more holding water that I used to have to just walk by, leaving it to the bait thugs to search out any steelhead that may lie there.

    There are other small points. The fly spends more minutes per hour actually fishing, especially if you're one of those single hand twits who makes more than one false cast per fishing cast. Less line to strip in, easing the wear and tear on aging elbows and shoulders. And carrying my Spey rod around the river camp sites gets me lots of invitations to chat and sip single malt more expensive than I would ever buy myself.

    Now, for a word of advice. You write that you have yet to catch a single "chromer" on your single hand 8 wt. I assume that also means you've caught no boots, steelies, steelface, or ironheads either. If so, I sagely suggest that you don't go and piss away good money on a Spey rig just yet. Learn to use what you got, and get a few steelhead under your belt first. Make the rod you got earn its keep. Otherwise your wife will have valid grounds for dumping you and taking it all, not just half. Stupidity should hurt, you know.

    A Spey rod will not magically make you a steelheader. Knowing how to fish for steelhead, that and a ton of shithouse luck in this day of diminished steelhead runs, will make you a steelheader. At that point, investing in a Spey fishing rig won't be a total waste of your money. Obviously, if I had a shop or were a guide or otherwise made a dime in the fishing bizz, I could offer different advice from a different perspective, but the end result, in terms of steelhead to your name, would still be the same.

  15. I nominate Sg for Steelhead Forum post of the decade.
    bennysbuddy likes this.
  16. Two words: gear rod.


    I sold my two switch rods and have settled for two full-on Spey rods a 7 and 9 weight. I'm still getting the casting down. I can get the bugs out there well enough but I'm no Simon Gawesworth yet.

    In BC I have had good luck getting fish on the strip using a floating line. That is the only real advantage I have found over a 2-hand rod as it is easier to strip with a single-hand rod. That and the initial cost of the outfit. The two-hand rod cost more and you have to get a larger reel to balance it out, which usually costs more too.

    Sg is correct, as always. If you are not catching fish on a single hand rod, a two-hander is not suddenly going to make them magically jump on your hook.

    As an old mentor used to say, the guy with rusty hooks, leaky waders, crappy flies, and poor wading skills but who can read water will out-fish a guy with all the modern gear but don't know where they live and why.
  17. Don't worry. I fish gear more than flies for steelhead and salmon. Spoons, spoons, and more spoons. It's very efficient. Most of my summer runs still get the fly. And there's one particular river that screams for a switch or spey.
  18. Everything Salmo said and the main reason to fish a two handed rod;

    Chicks dig a two hander...............
    bennysbuddy likes this.
  19. There is one application I prefer a single over the two hander: dead drifting dries in close...way too cool to forsake...I guess a switch would do that job but I have the singles so they get used for that...
  20. these guys are all giving you bad advice, if you want to catch some chromers, you got to look and act the part. Get a spey rod, divorce your wife, buy some good cigars, get a good single malt, quit your job, buy a good camp rig, go on unemployment and enjoy the good life. Being a Steelheader requires dedication......;)

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