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spruce

Two handed rods in the surf......why?

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Been a member on here for a while and generally "lurk" rather than submit endless posts/threads. However, with all the recent activity on the forum regarding double handed rods I feel compelled to comment. Now, I realise that this is the fly fishing section so I apologise in advance for what is to come...I started off chucking flies in the salt only fairly recently after many, many years of fresh water fly fishing. This encompassed still water, rivers and lakes/loughs. Have fished for everything from tiny wild brownies to stocked rainbows and wild sea trout/salmon. Decided about eight or nine years ago I would like to try the salt. At the time, here in the U.K., bass on the fly was considered to be the "holy grail" of this branch of fly fishing. Went out and got myself a standard set up for this type of fishing for our waters. A 9' #9 rod and a couple of lines to match, Airflo cold saltwater lines in floating and intermediate forms. Immediately loved this type of fishing so started to visit Ireland where there were far more fish, and of a better stamp. After a few visits I was beginning to see the limitations of my set up. Fine for those days when the wind was favourable for casting but more often than not I was "blown off" the marks I wanted to fish. Went and thought about it and decided I had to up both my game AND the tackle I was using. This coincided with the explosion in popularity of the switch rod. Finally decided on a Sage TCX 11' 9" #8 rod. Went through the usual shenanigans before finally choosing lines I felt were right for the rod. Even though I had fly fished for more years than I care to remember, I invested in a few lessons from a well respected instructor, Jim Curry, in the art of double handed overhead casting.

It was about this time I joined this forum and was delighted to see that here was a place I could learn from. Some of you guys had been doing this for years and I avidly read and re-read all the posts to see what I could learn. Went back to Ireland with the new set up and put in to practise all I had learned. Yes, the rod was a delight to cast/fish with and if conditions were right I could cast at least as far as the single hander but with far less effort. Retrieve, lift, one false cast to get the head out and whooosh. Loved using the set up and whats more could use the rod for a spot of salmon fishing to boot! But, and it's a big BUT, I was still getting "blown off" marks I knew contained fish.

Back to the forum and began reading about heavier set ups. Got out some of my salmon rods and again began experimenting with different lines etc. After spending/wasting not inconsiderable amounts of both time and money I headed back to Ireland eager for the challenge. Sound familiar, Mike Oliver, Herb, Crunch, et al? To cut a long story short it was better but only slightly, I was still unable to fish marks due to unfavourable conditions.

It was at this point I decided enough was enough. People like Mike had obviously reached this point a long time before me but ploughed on in the search for the "Holy Grail" and I tip my hat to them for having the will and persevearance to carry on. I hope they find it but I have my doubts. Me, all I could see was heavier and heavier outfits and poker like rods needed to cast them. Not my idea of fly fishing. So, I did the sensible thing,and here is why my apology was added at the opening of my post, I got myself some spinning tackle.

Now I can reach the fish when the wind is blowing and I am enjoying it as much as anything I have ever done. The modern lure rods are fantastic, match with a class reel/braid and a lure weighing only 15-20 grams and it's at least as satisfying to the senses as casting a fly. I still carry my Sage and use it whenever I can but if the wind blows then out comes the spinning gear and no regrets. It's fishing and catching fish I enjoy, not the masochistic struggle to present a fly whatever the conditions. Again, sorry in advance if this offends anybody on this part of the forum.

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Spruce,

 

No not at all. I enjoyed reading your post. But dare I say it not surprised that you gave in as the rods you were using were not designed for what you, me and a few other Guys are seeking. You made a pragmatic sensible fishing based decision.

Herb and myself after much angst and frustrtaion and personal cost have now rods that will allow us to fish happily in conditions previously thought not do able with the fly rod.

A simple analogy would be comparing a FW fly rod to a salt water single hand fly rod. The FW can cut it to a degree but gets overwhelmed way before the salt water rod. Same situation with Switch and Salmon Type Spey Rods they cope up to a point and then just plain run out of steam. These are the drivers that motivated myself and Herb to develop a rang of surf specific TH fly rods. Market size, well it is less than tiny. Is there a genuine appetite by Fly guys to even want to fish a fly in pretty tough conditions, mostly no. Until that changes me and Herb will sell diddly squat.

But this was never about making a business as the main objective if it was we would have stopped a few years back it was about solving a fishing problem and enabling us at least to enjoy surf fly fishing in pretty bad conditons if we wanted to. But it is not just about bad conditions these rods make surf fly casting easier and more pleasurable when conditions are pretty nice to. The comparison to std Switch and Spey is huge with our rods. I have a quiver of FW Switch and std Spey rods and they are never going to see salt water ever again. Our rods are light and responsive to, we don't have to pay a weight penalty to get the required performance characteristics.

One or two of us have been actively trying to promote the use of TH surf fly rods for quite a few years. Trying to transfer our enthusiasm and sharing our experiences with others so they to get to engage with the surf in such an enjoyabel and exciting way has been a huge challange. The Surf TH adds a whole new dimension to your fishing and is you would think no different all those years ago when the early Pioneers were promoting SH fly rods for the surf.

But we have met with strong critisism and few of the Names most of whome will have made their names with SH rods have got behind TH fly rods for the surf. Not in their interests to do so. Ok TH rods were not that great for the surf a few years back but these Names could have helped develop the sport and get major rod makers to produce decent rods.

 

But it has not happened yet. Its a journey and I am Bulldogish and so is Herb so we are in it for the long haul.

 

If we can arrange to fish in the Uk together or even S. Ireland where I have just come back from casting the TH on the surf Strands of Inch that would be great. I get over now at least once a year and plan on two trips. Who knows I may be able to change your thinking just a little.:)

 

mike

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Mike, glad to hear you have developed a rod capable of dealing with the vagaries of the surf. But can you honestly say you can use it to successfully present a fly even in strong head winds? If so then I salute you. Yes, you are right, my rods were not ideal for what I/you wanted but I just thought where do I draw the line? At least even if the winds are blowing strongly I can present a lure to the fish with the spinning gear.

I too try to get to Ireland a couple of times a year. Last October/November the sport was fantastic. First trip is booked for 21st June but this cold weather is alarming me slightly. Just hope the water temperature has risen enough for there to be bass close inshore at that time in the usual numbers.

Did you fish with Malcolm Gilbert as I know he was out around that area recently?

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spruce,

 

Yes I can honestly state let alone say that I can cast into some pretty fierce headwinds with my TH rods. That was the design brief I set myself and the drivers. Now it depends on wind speed as there will always be limits but they are way higher than most Guys ever imagine. Also range will be cut but essentially I can carry on fishing meaningfully for longer and in worse conditions than my SH rod. But as I said it is not all about hard conditions. The TH in clement conditions is a shear joy to use and it makes for much safer casting at night. It is a hard rod to beat when fishing Inlets and esturaries due to its ability to mend line so well. It also excels in big heavy surfs which have a fast lateral current.

 

I fished the Brandon Beaches in Kerry for two weeks over Xmas and had wonderful fishing but the week I have just had from the 23rd March to the 30th March was difficult due to the extreeme cold and east winds. Just two fish on bait from a weak surf. Malcolm Gilbert was out about a month ago and did okish.

 

By the time you arrive in June the fishing should be back to normal I would not worry about this cold snap too much. Winters are nothing new to the fish. There was plenty of sand eel on the Brandon Beaches with Gannets diving for them. We could see the big eels hanging from their beaks.

 

I wish I could make Ireland more often but that would mean dropping one of my USA trips and thats kinda of a hard thing to even contemplate. Ok I get a win on the lottery no probs. I am now time rich and cash poor but I still get to fish quite a bit.

 

Mike

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Sometimes head wind is so strong that line shooting becomes useless because line loop collapses almost immediately when it forms. Then changing to line which has longer head can keep you fishing and a DT line becomes better than normal shooting heads and short head fly lines. Of course when it is so windy that casts are only 50ft or so there is no difference.

 

Actually casting to head wind is technically easy because wind helps straightening back cast so it can be done slowly yet keep slack minimum (which is important in any cast). Also "the Drift" is essential to achieve high line speed and narrow line loop. Launch cast should straighten line just to water surface which is difficult because of accompanying waves and mutually back cast trajectory needs to be slightly up. Also a slim and appropriately weighted fly lands farther than light and big.fly.

 

Spruce, did you know you can haul to launch cast when fishing with SH spinning tackle? :D

 

Esa

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No Crunch, I didn't know that and please don't take this the wrong way but it doesn't interest me in the slightest :D

 

Can't be having with guys who have a sense of humour on here.:D

 

Esa,

 

Are you sorted yet with your Employer. Can you make the Cape or is it still up in the air?

 

Mike

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Right, a question to Mike and the rest of the double handed die-hards. Do you take a spinning/bait rod with you on your striper fishing excursions or are you prepared to be "blown offf" the water when conditions are bad?

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No Crunch, I didn't know that and please don't take this the wrong way but it doesn't interest me in the slightest :D

 

I know usually with spinning gear haul is not needed but someday there might be a need to reach extra 50ft ;)

 

Mike, the "change" is still not clear but so far there's only my elbow which could prevent me coming. I try to heal it but it went bad again with only one hour session with a TH rod.

 

Esa

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Spruce, I too have taken a large liking to the Sage TCX 8119-4. If i can't do it with this rod I go to a spinning rod. I have been fishing more than 55 years now and am not adverse to using what it take for me to catch fish.

 

Spig :wave:

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Right, a question to Mike and the rest of the double handed die-hards. Do you take a spinning/bait rod with you on your striper fishing excursions or are you prepared to be "blown offf" the water when conditions are bad?

 

spruce,

 

Cape Cod 2012 Fly Only for 14 days . Herbs 12 foot Swich Rod fished with two hands never one which is pants.

 

Montauk 2012 19 days. First hour of trip spent plugging South Shore. Thereafater TH Surf Fly Rod every day /night. No compromise irrespective of surf or wind. Fished every day. You can always find somewhere to meanigfully fish a fly except for a Hurricane.

 

Cape Cod 2013. Only fly tackle will be taken across the pond for 21 days.

 

Montauk 2013 will spin for small part of trip as introducing a new Brit who does not fly fish also have promised to fish with American Buddies who do not fly fish and we will fish where fly is not possible as in Under The Light., Vast majority of time it will be TH fly rod very little SH fly even.

 

If you are serious about fly you have to be prepered to struggle at times with bad conditions that a Spin Guy can tackle and often haul fish whilst we struggle. Its part of the game. You only get better if you battle it out.

I never take a spin rod and a fly rod on a session. It is one or the other but more and more I elect for fly. Sure in the fall I often catch less as a result but that does not figure in how I measure the day or night anymore.

 

I know plenty of Guys who only fish the fly for Stripers so I am very non unique.

 

Don't forget I also wet suit which also helps keep you in the game compared to stumbling around in leaking chest waders.

 

Mike

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I know usually with spinning gear haul is not needed but someday there might be a need to reach extra 50ft ;)

 

Mike, the "change" is still not clear but so far there's only my elbow which could prevent me coming. I try to heal it but it went bad again with only one hour session with a TH rod.

 

Esa

 

Esa ,

 

Ok how about physio for your elbow. I have the dreaded tennis elbow now to caused by playing badminton way too often. Can you manage your litte 7 foot 6 inch rods? Maybe my TH which are very light will suit you and let you fish. It will not be the same without you for another year. Slow train is coming for me.

I had about 6 weeks of very aggressive physio which was painful but it worked. Can you do this? It cost me $45 a session twice a week . National Health Service could not do diddly squat. You don't have to elect for Cortisone injections which can have nasty side effects even if they work very well short term. look up Tennis elbow on the Google and Cortisone is not good and has no proven long term benifits. The treatment is rest, Physio or in rare cases surgery.

I have my fingers crossed Buddy.

 

mike

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I did practice to SH rod distance casting competition in February although my elbow was not healed when something did snap there May last year. I know I should start lighter at first to learn better technique and less frequent, perhaps only once a week and then advance slowly. I have meet a physio and know how to heal it but as you know it takes time.

 

Two weeks ago I went testing lines with (only) 11ft TH rod and casting was great. I think because of short rod I was able to make fast casting stroke but my elbow did not like it and got sore again. Next time I take it easy use longer rod. I have planned to concentrate to Spey casting with TH rod but I really like casting SH rod and there are places to practice in walking distance from home.

 

Esa

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spruce,

 

Cape Cod 2012 Fly Only for 14 days . Herbs 12 foot Swich Rod fished with two hands never one which is pants.

 

Montauk 2012 19 days. First hour of trip spent plugging South Shore. Thereafater TH Surf Fly Rod every day /night. No compromise irrespective of surf or wind. Fished every day. You can always find somewhere to meanigfully fish a fly except for a Hurricane.

 

Cape Cod 2013. Only fly tackle will be taken across the pond for 21 days.

 

Montauk 2013 will spin for small part of trip as introducing a new Brit who does not fly fish also have promised to fish with American Buddies who do not fly fish and we will fish where fly is not possible as in Under The Light., Vast majority of time it will be TH fly rod very little SH fly even.

 

If you are serious about fly you have to be prepered to struggle at times with bad conditions that a Spin Guy can tackle and often haul fish whilst we struggle. Its part of the game. You only get better if you battle it out.

I never take a spin rod and a fly rod on a session. It is one or the other but more and more I elect for fly. Sure in the fall I often catch less as a result but that does not figure in how I measure the day or night anymore.

 

I know plenty of Guys who only fish the fly for Stripers so I am very non unique.

 

Don't forget I also wet suit which also helps keep you in the game compared to stumbling around in leaking chest waders.

 

Mike

 

To add to this, I believe it is very possible to outfish or in the very least, contend with spin fishermen using artificial lures. We have at our disposable the same types of "lures" as the spin guys. 4/0 pole dancers in the water are remarkable similar to the walk the dog technique used in plugs, for one example.

 

The only time I believe it is not possible to fish 1:1 with spin fishermen is when they are using live bait. There is simply no fly alternative to drifting a big eel through a Block Island rip at night. That's a recipe for 10 fish nights over 40", when a fly fishermen would be lucky to land one. Even the most well tied, action filled eel flies are simply useless when the real, slimy, scared prey is available.

 

Stay committed to the fly rod, regardless of conditions (unless you are truly unable to fish) and you will soon be outfishing the spin guys. Albie season, flats fishing, etc we all have the upper hand being able to throw tiny patterns at these fish. It's not any different than presenting just the right dry fly that trout are sipping when the baitcaster next to you has been fishless for hours.

 

Oh, and if I want to just get a non-fishing friend on fish, I'll troll a tube and worm. That is a technique so deadly it should just be considered cheating. You could troll a tube and worm through a puddle and still catch a striper... :D

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Esa,

 

I sure do know that time is one of the essential components of healing tennis elbow. The painful and aggressive physio I received shorted the time to a heal but elbow has broken down again about 6 months after fixing it. It is frustrating. Be careful with your elbow and hopefully you can make it over yet. My experince was I had to stop casting SH fly rods and move over to TH rods 100% even for Trout fishing. You may have a different experience.

You can work marvels in 7 weeks.

 

Mike

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