ryc72

Two handed rod retrieve...

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For those who throw two handed rods in the surf, what’s your primary retrieve?  Two handed retrieve?  Is single handed stripping common?  Or the rods typically used too long and heavy to make single hand stripping practical?  

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All depends on the situation. Sometimes I'll just swing the fly in current, sometimes hard jerks one-handed, sometimes steady (slow or fast) two-handed. Go by what the water is doing and what the fish'll bite.

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ry

 

A decent modern TH is not really heavy. One handed retrieve with rod hand up the fore grip is no problem. Hand over hand is a piece of cake to. If your rod has a well designed rear grip At least six inches long and plain taper you can stick this under your arm pit and do hand over hand. Doing it this way you can lift the rod tip over the tops of oncoming waves. In flat water you can use the water to support most of the weight of your rod.

Then there is the spey type drifts and mends you can make also. Mending with a TH is a joy.

 

Mike

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For walleye I use single handed retrieve, not much success with steady retrieve.

For stripers, two handed retrieve works best for me, unless I use a popper...

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Interesting question.

 

Personally I rarely use the two-handed retrieve with the rod under the armpit, and that includes when on the Outer Banks fishing for False Albacore.   That is a fish notorious for wanting a fast moving fly.  But when I was fishing there, since he is a contrarian, my partner would just let his fly (clouser) sink and trail behind the wind-drifting boat and he caught a LOT of fish that way.  The long-time FA guides were astounded.

 

Many times on Cape cod, when furiously stripping with a striper tracking behind the fly fly-to-nose the guide will yell, "stop !", and the fish will take the fly.  One particular guide was convinced that the fish (stripers at least) ALWAYS take the fly in the pauses, even the mini-pauses. And at times when I was thinking about it and watching carefully, I could see that often it was clear that that was true.

 

At the same time, I am sure that we all would be rich if we had a penny for the times when we stopped the retrieve and the fish just turned away and swam off.

 

Here is how I view this question now from the perspective of my fly fishing career:

 

Different fish have different feeding/attack strategies.  Barracuda are notorious for wanting a fast, constant retrieve.  But the biggest barri I ever set the hook on took the fly after the first simple strip and stop.  Too bad I didn't have a bite guard.

 

Different things are going on in different places within the geography of a feeding frenzy.  Often stripers will corral and attack a bait school and spend more time initially killing and injuring the fast, healthy prey-fish than actually eating them one by one.  The dead and maimed fish then drift down below or away from the killing zone and another class of fish altogether just cruise around picking off the still or slow moving survivors.  So, there are really different fish wanting different presentations in roughly the same place at the same time.

 

Additionally, hooked fish during the fight often disgorge their stomach contents of fresh or partially digested fish.  I am convinced that one of the reasons other school fish follow and hound a hooked fish is that, while they may not understand what that fish is fighting, they are well aware that the distressed fish may empty it's stomach, and they want to be right there when it happens.  When dorado fishing in Baja I slowly became aware of how often, after the hooked fish was landed, that if I looked around I would spot floating baitfish carcasses disgorged by the now caught and released fish.  AND.......if I kept watching.......even though it seemed that the school had moved on.......that "floater" would be ALWAYS be taken off the surface by a seemingly lone dorado playing "clean up".

 

Sooooo......in my mind, the correct answer is......as always....IT DEPENDS.  And you never really know what all the variables are.  When the guide yells, "STOP" in the middle of a frantic retrieve after the fish has caught up to and followed THAT presentation without taking, he is signaling THAT presentation is not working and the chances of a take are dwindling and it is time to try something else.  AND, if it is a striper....chasing a clouser in shallow water.....on a long leader, STOP-ing causes the head-weighted fly to suddenly dive straight for the bottom......which is in fact the classic sand eel escape strategy.....to burrow instantly into the sand and disappear.  In the right setting, that STOP can result in the most outrageous takes I have ever seen.

 

Sometimes the best thing to be said about longer casting, rather than shorter casting, for stripers, is that you have more try-this, try-that time with a following, unconvinced fish.

 

Luckily, it is not a single, rigid choice between doing A versus doing B.  Because, inevitably if you do A, and it doesn't work, then someone will tell you you should have done B.  And then if at the next opportunity you try B, and it doesn't work, someone will tell you you should have done A.  NOTHING works all the time.  As was suggested above, give them a choice and let them tell you.

Edited by Peter Patricelli

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I prefer two hand with rod tucked under my armpit and use this most of the time.  No right or wrong way just personal preference.

With TH you can replicate everything you can do with single hand but not vise-versa.

 

HT

Edited by HillTop

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I love the rare occasions when Peter comes out of hiding to respond to a topic.  Always a ton of good, hard earned information given out.  Back when I joined this used to happen a lot more, I hope people are paying attention.

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Oakman,

 

Wow, thanks for the compliment. I guess I AM in hiding, but only from the virus. But it sure has thrown a monkey wrench in my travel-fishing schedule, for over a year now. Assuming vaccination success, we will be back on the Cape this June.

 

Hilltop,

 

I totally agree that this is hair splitting to the nth degree. And, given the differences in individual dexterity, what works and feels best is more depending on individual skills.....and history.....than intrinsic to the techniques themselves.

 

However, I would disagree with your last statement. The THR CANNOT do everything that the SHR does.....just as the reverse is true as well. There are significant differences, which translates into trade-offs......as with most things in life. Just for example, one can take a much longer stroke, with a solid grip on the line with a single-handed retrieve. That has positives....sometimes....and negatives. Another difference is.....where does the line go? One retrieve throws it off to the side in longer loops, the other right in front with smaller loops. In different environments, on a boat or casting deck, rocks on a jetty, with or without a shooting basket, etc., etc., that can be an important difference. Not arguing better or worse.....just different.......trade-offs. Both retrieves have their favored moments and environments.

 

I could make a rather interesting list of things one CAN”T do with a THR, if anyone needs further examples.

 

We must remember that the THR was NEVER even contemplated until the last 40 years or so when SW flyfishing exploded. Original ff'ing was almost exclusively TH'ed rods on fresh water rivers for salmon and trout. SH'ed rods were an American novelty beginning in the late 1800's. It wasn't until ff'ing was applied widely in SW that the species and environment suggested the need for a faster retrieve. And, the first suggestions of the THR was in conjunction with the SH'ed rods.....in SW..... back in the '70's. And, then whole reason was the assumption that the retrieve was faster. A thought on that below.

 

Longer and heavier TH rods introduced another variable......arm fatigue from weight and wrist fatigue from fulcrum effect while manipulating the longer rod with a single hand. Solution? Tuck it under your armpit. In this case the dynamic is....rod choice dictates retrieve choice.....which doesn't feel quite right to me. Retrieve choice favoring a species affinity for speed, constancy, whatever seems like the proper dynamic.

 

Lately I have begun to even question that initial justification. IS a THR really faster than a SHR? Has anyone actually measured/timed it? I'm now curious, since I was never impressed that, in my hands, there was much, if any, difference. When the weather allows, I will and report back here.

 

But I agree, there is no simple right or wrong. But there are times and situations where the differences do favor one versus the other.

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Peter

 

Good stuff as always. In terms of fishing retrieves the single hander pees all over the TH. It’s not much fun with a TH retrieving the fly to the tip. If fish want to follow right up to the shore and often they do before committing the single hander regimes supreme. There is in my view a degree more sensitivity when fishing the single hander.

The hand over hand retrieve is pretty useful when the fish won’t accept a pause and turn away if there is one.

Peter you need to get hold of a modern TH they are not heavy these days. If you hold the top handle around the middle it balances ok. Or you can rest the rod tip in the water to support some of its weight. I detest compromise to and being forced to do things we don’t want to because of gear choice.

Where the TH does rise above the single hander is line management. When the shore break is strong and the sweep viscous it’s tough for short rods.

I see line mends as part of my retrieve wether it is hand over hand, single hand or no line hand manipulation at all.

Popping retrieves I prefer single hand over hand over hand and on single hand rods to. Same for gurglers and sliders.

 

oly

 

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