How Versatile Are Spey Rods?

Jake

Active Member
WFF Supporter
Having watched with envy as folks with two-hander rods cast with little worries about their back casts, I'm considering joining their ranks. I'm a long-time single hand user, so I am aware I've got some unlearning to do (such as the power on the forward stroke coming from my lower hand pulling), but if the benefits outweigh the learning curve I'm happy to jump in with both feet.

If I were to pick up a spey rod, is it pretty much just an Alaskan salmon and an everywhere steelhead thing, or are people out there chasing tarpon, bones, permit, and the like with spey rods? I searched this site and the internet, but can't find much information.
 
Last edited:

Mark Kadoshima

Active Member
There's a two hand beach rod thread you might want to check out. Involves the uses of a switch rod as an overhead rod.
I use my little 2 wt spey ( I use for high tide src) with a 4 wt single hand intermediate as a lake rod and have no problems single hand casting it. Seems to work great....at least any limitations aren't the rod's fault. I know there are a couple guys in Hawaii that use switch rods to go after surf fish, including Ono.
 

Jake

Active Member
WFF Supporter
There's a two hand beach rod thread you might want to check out. Involves the uses of a switch rod as an overhead rod.
I use my little 2 wt spey ( I use for high tide src) with a 4 wt single hand intermediate as a lake rod and have no problems single hand casting it. Seems to work great....at least any limitations aren't the rod's fault. I know there are a couple guys in Hawaii that use switch rods to go after surf fish, including Ono.
Thanks, Mark. I'm pretty set with a single hand quiver for trouts so am thinking of bigger game for the spey rod. Interesting to hear about overhead casting with switch rods but in my ignorance I'm not sure how that's much different from using a single-hand rod.
 

Uncle Stu

Active Member
Jake, I'm still taking baby steps in my two-hand casting game so I can't give much advice on gear or techniques, but I can say that I'm awful glad I switched up to an 11' 2-hander a couple years ago. I had a serious shoulder issue (at age 63) after working it too hard for a week in Alaska with a single hander. The two-hander makes it possible for me to fly-fish. I use it for surf casting down here in CA and for coho in SE AK. I cant cast any further than I could before, but its way easier on my shoulder. I'm a very low-budget angler, I use an Echo Classic 6w 11' switch lined with an Airflo 8w Sniper Extreme. Recently I also got a Ross Reach 6w 12'6" rod and I'm still trying lines for that one. So, in my case, the 2-hand rods saved my fly game. (PS: spey pages is another good forum)

I'm not doing any spey casts yet, just the two hand overhead as illustrated in this youtube "Andrew Moy: Two Handed Rods in the Salt."

Also be sure to read that other two hand thread mentioned above.
 

herkileez

Active Member
WFF Supporter
I use 2-handers and sh rods regularly...each has its advantages. I find 2-handers easier on the shoulder and better where backcast room is limited. I generally use a 2-hander on the beach, for both o/head and waterborne casts. When fishing beach coho, I sometimes prefer a sh, as it allows me to strip the head right inside the guides, and coho will sometimes follow the fly right in w/in the rod length. It's easy to get the full head back out by false casting with a sh. This is more difficult with a 2-hander, as you normally strip in only to the start of the head to the rod tip, thereby missing many follow-ins by the fish. I still prefer my 2-handers for the beach, being easier on my bad shoulder, but, to be honest, the top 2 or 3 beach fishers I know all use sh for the reasons mentioned above.
I asked my guide in Cuba if anyone ever uses a switch for bonefish and tarpon...His eyeroll answered my question.
 

Chucker

Chucking a dead parrot on a piece of string!
2 hand rods are not good for accurate, fast, casts, so no serious people use them for flats fishing.

For blind casting applications in saltwater - sure, they work, but most of the time a single hand rod is more fun.

For me, with a mere 40 years of two handed rod experience, they come out occasionally for salmon and steelhead in rivers, and that’s it.
 

miyawaki

Active Member
Tarpon, bones, permit, and the like is no. The basic rule on the flats is "short and fast." Many times you drop your fly and make a quick back cast, one false to load your rod, then shoot on your next forward cast. You cannot do this with a two-handed waterload cast.

Leland.
 

Jake

Active Member
WFF Supporter
Tarpon, bones, permit, and the like is no. The basic rule on the flats is "short and fast." Many times you drop your fly and make a quick back cast, one false to load your rod, then shoot on your next forward cast. You cannot do this with a two-handed waterload cast.

Leland.
Hi Leland,

Glad to hear from you on this. It’s much like I’d guessed, then. Makes it harder to justify the purchase, but doesn’t take it off the table.
 

Jake

Active Member
WFF Supporter
Thank you, everyone. I’ve a lot more information than I started today with.
 

theTastyPlecopteran

Active Member
Spey is the way when swinging flies in current. I would also argue it is an extremely effective tool for nymph/indicator fishing as well. Best thing about spey is damn fun to cast. Once you start to spey, usually you stick with it. Versatility - not its strong suit, but one spey rod can cover you in many situations - like a 9'5wt for trout.

No good for bones or flats fishing as leland says. really would be a disadvantage.

Switch rod is just long singlehanded. A short switch rod is good for saltwater beach casting/blind casting. although attention needs to be paid to line choice as certain lines do not allow for stripping the fly completely in. For the puget sound where many fish are caught close in, normal single handers are my preferred.

Spey on beach i think probably not, but hell i don't care what anybody uses.

As far as backcast room that depends on line choice and technique. If you want to eliminate your backcast room you could easily get an OPST head or similar for your singlehanded and solve any issues there. For spey, its more about efficiency covering water and mending line. Lines can be anywhere from 20 to 70 feet long and usually the angler is wading, sometimes up to their nipples.

Disclaimer I don't know any of this stuff, just shooting from the hip.
 

2kayaker

Active Member
Another place I've enjoyed employing sp casts with a long rod is in tropical beach situations where there is some shorebreak , say 1 to 4 feet on the front side, which is really common.
 

Mark Kadoshima

Active Member
I used my 3 wt spey at Kihei a couple years ago just to see if it'd help at a beach I had good luck catch Papio. Problem was it was also a popular beach as people got up in the morning. People jogging along the beach are oblivious to a fly line (and truly have just as much right to that beach as I do) so I was paranoid about nailing them. Didn't have to worry about it with an anchored cast and you can cast it a mile over the surf. Timing the anchor was a little fun but it turns into a sort of rhythm. I'd switch out to a 6 wt single hand line and use that from the rocks with a stripping basket in both cases. I made a spectacle of myself a few times when the line would miss the basket on the strip and get thoroughly tangled around my legs in the surf. Great way to spend a morning.
 

Steve Saville

Active Member
WFF Supporter
Interesting, in my feeble opinion. We always talk about cobbled beaches, oyster beds, and eel grass. Those are not the type beached that non-fishers frequent. Mostly people flock to sandy beaches which are not traditionally the best areas where sea runs hang out. That being said, I've tried both switch rods and single handed rods and I much prefer the single hand rod with a stripping basket. I also like them because a single or double haul help when there is a slight wind that might well complicate a two handed cast. The two hand anchor can create an issue with sea weed, drift wood and any other stuff that might be in the water. A two hand overhead cast might give you a bit more distance but what's behind may not be conducive to that cast. I find that shorter casts fanned out work better than trying to bomb a cast out to a rising fish. I guess you have to find what works best in your own little world.
 

Josh

dead in the water
WFF Moderator
Best thing about spey is damn fun to cast.
This is an under-rated aspect of spey in my opinion. Not only is it fun, but it's so much faster. No false casts, no trying to work line out or get line speed for a long cast. I have my fly in the water at least 2-3 times as often (100% non-scientific guess) when fishing with a two hander. Plus, even my crap ass casts go out to where I want them to be far more easily then I can reach with a single hand cast.

If I were to pick up a spey rod, is it pretty much just an Alaskan salmon and an everywhere steelhead thing,
For me, around here, I really only use my spey/switch rods for bigger river salmon/steel. I think if I lived somewhere that had decent sized trout in bigger rivers, I'd give the trout game more of a try. I've heard they are a blast on jacks down on the Rogue, for example. I can think of places on the Deschutes that would be neat to have a two hander with a wide stretch and bushes at your back. And I have been meaning to try out the two hander on some of our salt beaches during one of my very infrequent salt fishing attempts. But mostly, I just use mine with heavy tips for salmon/steel/etc in the fall/winter.

I will say that you can get a taste of the two handed casting game with your single hand rods using an OPST Commando head (or the similar offerings from other companies). Not quite the same, but with some practice, you can make some pretty cool spey casts without the spey rod itself.
 

Support WFF | Remove the Ads

Support WFF by upgrading your account. Site supporters benefits include no ads and access to some additional features, few now, more in the works. Info

Latest posts

Top