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BrianBM

2-hand surf rods at Somerset

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Serendipity dipitied nicely at Somerset today, so I have some thoughts and inquiries to hang up for the board's comment.

 

I was walking from the hotel to the conference center when I saw a gent demonstrating casting to a small group. This turned out to be Ed Jaroworski, whose book "The Cast" is insanely wonderful. The demo was informal - nothing on the schedule - and he was demonstrating the use of a switch rod, with one and two hands.

 

I listened with interest and talked to him about two-handed rods for the surf. He suggested that an ordinary line was fine for surf use, as opposed to the long length and slow taper of a classic Spey line, and recommended the Rio Outbound; and he sent me off to talk to Simon Gawesworthy at the Rio booth. That worthy gentleman agreed, and suggested that for surf use, a fast action rod would be much preferable to classic Spey actions or Skagit - optimized actions.

 

This is where things got really interesting .... because there aren't many such rods on the market. The gents manning the booths for Scott and St. Croix very honorably said that they didn't really have such a rod in the current lineup. BobPop's rod is no longer in the St. Croix catalog, and that was apparently a switch rod rather than a two handed rod in the first place. Their two-handers are really oriented for Spey casting, or possibly for Skagit use; no fast action rod for the overhead cast that Jaroworski and Gawesworthy both felt appropriate in the salt wash.

 

I didn't check with TFO, but two rod manufacturers who do have such rods are Beulah and Hardy. Stuart Warren, a pleasant rep at the Beulah booth, took me outside with one of them, the Beulah Surf 8/9 (11' long, list price of $475 and priced that way at Bear's Den) and gave me a tutorial on how to cast. I was hilariously bad, but I can certainly see the benefits of a two-handed approach. The Hardy rods that compare are the Marksman 2S Double Hand Rod, starting at an 11'6" for 7wt lines at $599 and going up to a 15'8" for #11wt lines at $949. (That last one might make a good substitute for your home gym.) There are three rods in the Beulah Surf Series, and six in the Marksman series.

 

First, has anyone here cast and/or fished with any of these rods? If so, speak up.

 

Second, is there a consensus here, from the two-hand cognoscenti, that a fast action is optimal for the surf?

 

 

 

 

 

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Further thought. The bigger Hardy rods might be well suited for very heavy sinking lines, TS 650 and so on. Of those of us who practice chuck-and-duck with heavy lines, how many are doing so with two-handed rods now?

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Brian,

I would ask our friend Herb what he has to offer on this subject. Sounds like your wife was right on the money, but of course, you already knew that.

JC

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ive had a chance to play around with the tfo 2 handed it felt ok but i wasnt used to it and i sucked. i built a 11'er tried to go 2 handed but ended up turning it into a switch.

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Brian this is my 5th attempt to post to this thread so I will make it short and sweet... Use our search engine on SOL fly forum: we have way more info on TH rods for the surf since 1999 than any 5 sites on the web.

 

Ed J promoting TH rods out front puts my shorts in a bind. Hope I never see that ... I have a long memory and remember him bad mouthing TH rods back in the past at ASWF and elsewhere. The only NAME who spoke up for TH rods back then was Lefty and he recommended the 14' 9 wt Sage. Guys like Ed J thought of them as the tools of the devil.

 

Anyway, I wish you well with this.....

 

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I think any fast action rod in the 12-14 ft 8/9/10 wt is ideal for Jersey salt.

Beulah Platinum 12'4" 8 wt

TFO Pandion 13'3" 8wt

Loomis 13-14 ft Stinger and NRX

TCX 7126 (Death Star)

Winston 12'3" 7/8 BIIMX

 

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Oakman, the early TH community could of used his support back then rather than his verbal "rod blocking!"

 

I need to let this go, huh? I keep telling myself NOT to participate in TH Fly Fishing the surf topics but it's like a crackhead seeing a smoking Pepsi can ;)

 

 

OK my name is Jim and I am a TH surf fly fishing addict.......;)

 

Step 1: step back from the keyboard and go do something else .....

 

I'm done ... Take care all ... Brian enjoy the ride!

 

 

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Hey Jon,

Just stumbled on this thread.

Yes - I am currently testing TH beach rod blanks from CTS - as well as their switch rods. Again - switch rods are not designed for one handed or two-handed use. They are designed for either overhead casting or anchor-point casting (Spey). I have switch blanks up to 13'6" – and it is impossible to one-hand.

 

I ordered and built a number of designes - some stock and some one-offs that I "designed" by tweaking some of their stock blanks.

 

I built the following in what I would call a beach rod - stiff butt section and soft(ish) tip. They were mostly 11'. I have them in #8, #9, #10 and #12.

Then I had CTS build me the same blank in a #8 and a #9 with the same butt, but with a 20% stiffer tip.

 

Then I had them build what they call switch blanks in #6, #8, a 12' #10 and a 13'6" #11. They have softer butts than the beach rods and a more progressive tip.

 

In order of stiffness ("fastness") it would be the beach rod with the 20% stiffer tip, the stock "beach" rod. And then the switch rods. All are much faster than a Scandinavian or Skagit rod.

 

The (stiffer) beach rods load down to a little past the midpoint of the rod. The switch rods load further down to the grip but are still firm. Much more so than Scandi or Skagit rods.

 

The challenge is not to get a blank suitable for a fast beach rod, because CTS will build whatever I wish - but to get suitable intermediate lines to load them properly. I know people like them - but I do not like Spey lines.

 

I was lucky enough to get two each of the discontinued RIO outbound (37'6" heads) # 13 and #14 - as well as the slighter lighter discontinued Airflo TH beach lines.

 

Both the stock and 20% stiffer tip # 9 beach rods need the RIO #14 to load them.

 

The #8 switch rod needs the RIO #13.

 

I am not looking for great distance. My objective is to be able to place the fly 80' in a breeze with good line speed and a good turnover.

 

Interestingly the #10, 12'' switch rod also loads well with the RIO #14.

 

All these rods are very easy to cast. The trick, I think, is pairing it with the correct line.

 

My favorite for a breezy beach are the 12' switch #10, and the 11' beach #9 with the stiffer tip. Both with the RIO 14.

For less wind the 11' switch #8 is a dream to use.

 

Next order that I am going to place is for either a 11'6" or 12' - one beach rod and one switch rod. Hopefully they will both load with the #14 RiO OB.

 

As a comparison - I have tried or owned a number of Sage, Loomis and Eco TH up to 13'6". None can compare to the CTS - with the right line.

 

BTW - CTS also has blanks suitable for Skagit and Scandi casting. - which is what most of the factory TH rods are built for.

 

Regards,

Herb

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Brian,

 

Where have you been the last three years. The fly forum has had countless of TH debates. It is interesting that you are coming up against the same brick wall that most of us have and continue to do so. I can't know and cast every dammed TH out there but I have yet to be told about or find a dedicated fit for purpose TH for surf and by that I don't mean some gay stick that casts ok in a back bay or out front when the wind is not blowing. I want a TH that is the equivalent of the 10 wt SH beast. A rod with balls one that can cast small and big flies in real snotty conditions. Now the reality is that most Fly Boys do not have a liking for conditions like this so why would a rod maker spend money develpoing a rod fit for purpose? Now if they did,do they have anyone on their staff who has any idea at all what surf fishing on the NE coast is all about and actually does it and in all weathers. Unless they do we will get crap sticks to cast if they try and do it say on a FW lake as the surf is too far away from their factory..

I tried to develop my own blank with an overseas blank maker and got quite close but not close enough. I ran out of money. Old story. My rod is 14 feet very fast and can cast around 650 grains. Not enough poke. My Sage 14 foot TCR no 9. Is okish but does not deliver in a big wind and that is the main criteria. Its why I want a TH well the main reason there are other like they are great fun to use.

If you are serious think 14 foot minimum. No false casting it is wham bam thank you Mam. You need in a TH rod length to develop high line speed and the ability to put a long head into the air. Where makers get the idea of 11 footers beats me. Whats the point. Switch rods for high winds and surf forget it. They are not designed for this. Apart from finding what does not exist easily it is very important that you can cast these big sticks well. OH with high line speed big fly and very heavy line casting can be very very dangerous. If you can't cast them well and achieve high line speed whats the point. TH are not the silver bullet. I think some SH guys think the TH will get them out of jail as their SH casting is not up to much.

I am thinking in terms of 750 to 1000g. You tell me where you can find a rod currently that can cast that load and is a std product offering. A certain Gentleman who comes on here casts a 20 footer.

I got so peed off I have put my own TH ambitions away for the past two years. But I can feel a strong resurgence coming on to continue the quest. But it will impact very severely on my normal fishing plans for the year as it will not be cheap.

Yea I guess I can get a bit passionate at times.:D

 

Mikey. O.

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TH rod length has bigger influence to casting distance than SH rod because when DH casting it is not possible to haul. The haul when SH casting is significant aid to increase line speed and haul reduces rod counter flex too which seems to reduce line loop size.

 

But if TH rod is used to cast the same short head lines which we use with SH rods the longer length does not have much positive effect. And IMHO when the casting is done in windy conditions and especially to head wind a shorter rod becomes better because of less wind drag. I can not say what is the best length but it looks to me that with12ft TH rod it is possible to achieve the same line speed than with hauled SH cast with 9ft rod.

 

But with DH casting it is possible to cast heavier line and it looks like increased line weight has much more effect to casting distance than higher line speed has. Especially when casting to head wind and when rod is powerful enough. Then perhaps 11ft TH rod with 600gr line has the same or even better performance than 9ft 10wt SH rod. At least when very big fly is used.

 

A 15ft TH rod with 60ft and longer 840gr shooting head is very powerful OH casting machine but I would not take it to fishing anymore but I practice with it to distance casting competition. However a 15ft with Scandi Spey shooting head is very fun to fish with when it is not too windy and there are no breaking waves.

 

Esa

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This has been my first season using a TH rod. This is a Scott Shooting Head rod. 12 1/2 feet for a "nine weight". I fitted it with a 580 grain 40 foot shooting head. There is a learning curve but after a few dozen casts I was able to cast with ease and comfort. Of course the wind is always a problem but I'm satisfied that this outfit will be a good option when the conditions warrant it. When the fish are in close I have my 9 footers. This late fall at IBSP I found that I was practically the only one throwing a TH. It can be a pain in the ass when a dopey spin fisherman moves 30 feet to your right and he thinks he has given you enough room. I had to tell one guy not to worry because I bent the barb down . He didn't think that was very funny but if he took 5 minutes to watch me cast he wouldn't have crowded me or maybe he did it on purpose. I like the idea of booming out a cast with one back cast. I got one 26 inch fish which was no match for my rod. I really like the option that I have with this set up.

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I bought the TFO 9' 8wt blank and built it out and then bought the separate pre-built add ons that make it an 11' 3" surf rod.The action is much like a 9' TFO but in ann 11' rod.Stout,powerful rod that can throw 5-600 gr but functioned well w/ a RIO OBS 10 wt(425gr I believe).I'm not an accomplished caster w/ the TH but could knock 80' out w/ some regularity but throw the whole line+ w/ my SH 10' 9wt w/o much effort so can't justify the TH yet.


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There are three rods in the Beulah Surf Series, and six in the Marksman series.

First, has anyone here cast and/or fished with any of these rods? If so, speak up.

Second, is there a consensus here, from the two-hand cognoscenti, that a fast action is optimal for the surf?

 

I have a feeling that Hardy Marksman TH rods are basic Spey rods. Once I briefly casted Beulah Surf 7/8 or 8/9 and it did not feel powerful for its weight and felt sluggish.

 

So far the best TH surf rod I know is discontinued Sage TCR 12'9'' 9wt which is very underrated rod and easily casts 600gr line. It has got some "fame" so its resale value is high but someone who does not have time or skill to tame it might sell it cheap.

 

If you mean tip or full action there is no consensus among TH rod experts. Tip action rod allows wider casting stroke to be used but full action rod lever stays longer when it bends which therefore accelerates line better.

 

Esa

 

 

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Hi,

Fast action - yes. Tip action - meaning that the rod will cast on its tip - definitely no.

You do want a fast action blank that will load far down into the blank at FULL LOAD. That is where all the power is. A full, or midflex, blank will load down to the butt but not carry enough grains.

My CTS 11', #9 with Boosted power in the tip needs all of 600gr to load it. I could handle more butI can't find an intermediate line above 600gr.

Mike, I know that you want a rod as long as possible - but I will give up fishing is crazy conditions for the pleasure of how a shorter TH rod.

Saying that, I am having CTS build me a 12', # 9 in a souped- up beach rod. 12' is my limit for comfort.

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