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  • Two handed casting.. Steve Rajeff / Guy Manning

    Walter & Group........

    Dermon loaded this cannon, so here goes ! : -


    An answer from Steve Rajeff on questions re. two handed casting with respect to choices of rods and lines:

    Hi Gordon,

    Regarding shooting head length for overhead casting of two handed rods:

    Just like for single hand rods, there is a weight and length that makes for the easiest cast.

    9 foot single hand rods work very well with around a 30 foot shooting head and a weight of two line sizes heavier than the rod is rated. If you use a 10 foot rod, the shooting head that casts the nicest is a bit longer, and some would say around 35 feet. This length of head comes close to matching a casting stroke cycle time that feels good when casting the 10 foot rod.

    Similarly there is a length and weight of head that feels good for overhead two hand casting.

    Using a 14 foot rod, 35 feet will feel short. Around 45 feet will feel like a nice length for timing and stoking the cast. If the rod is much shorter, like the new Cross Current 11’3” two hand rod in either 10/11 or 12/13, the head length that feels nice is around 35 feet, (and was developed around the then prototype Airflo Beach Line

    for two hand rods. For some reason, after the rods were rated 10/11 – 425 grains  my brother Tim decided to lable the line as an 9/10 430 grains.) The suggestion from Simon re a Scandinavian shooting head is not

    a bad suggestion. As produced and available from Rio, they start our longer and heavy, with instructions

    for cutting the butt end to suit various length rods for Scandinavian casting.  They are in the area of 36 to 40

    out of the box. If you find one that matches your rod, without cutting, then you will have a pretty good line for overhead casting. There are three main categories of spey rods, with at least two other sub categories.

    The sub categories include an emerging two hand for salt water, and an all purpose rod group for NW steelhead.  Greased Line rods, designed for the long belly lines, handle the heaviest of all spey lines, and cast the heaviest lines. It is possible to make a very heavy head for say a 9/10 or 10/11 Greased line type rod and cast farther than any other spey action. Scandinavian rod action is the fastest taper, and actually would make a tighter loop in casting, but they are not as stiff as their counterpart in Greased Line rods, and so the GL will handle a heavier line, and still cast farther. The Skagit actions spey rods are generally softer and slower, and will collapse when overhead casting. The all purpose rod, is the typified by the taper and stiffness of graphite spey rods from 15 to 20 years ago used by NW steelhead fisherman.  Usually around 14 feet rated 8/9 or 9/10, they were softer than Greased Line rods, but stiffer than Skagit action rods, and not as fast taper as the Scandi action rods of today.


    Two hand rods will overhead cast easier with about 20% less grain weight than the working weight of the line for which spey casting method, the rod it is rated for. An 8/9 Delta Taper is around 630 grains. To comfortably overhead cast the rod that matches this line, a shooting head, of around 500 grains should feel right.

    Length of head that times well in overhead casting, seems like 3 to 3 ½ rod lengths. A 13 foot rod should cast a head of 39 to 45 feet very nicely. A 15 foot rod should cast a 45 to 52 foot head very well.

    My big gun tournament 17 foot overhead rod is perfect with 58 to 60 foot head, and falls into the 3 – 3.5 factor.


    This is all the ramblings I have patience for.



    From Guy Manning (MCCI)

    The first thing to understand about spey/skagit/scandi lines is that they do not follow the AFTMA standards for singlehanded fly lines.

    See:  http://www.kolumbus.fi/sauli.liukkonen/SpeyLineStandard.pdf for the standards for DH lines. The next thing to understand is that the different types of lines are designed for different fishing conditions (and often different rod actions). Skagit lines are for getting low in the water after Pacific Steelhead and often 90 degree or better casts across stream using slow action rods. Scandi lines are designed for casting across and downstream while swinging flys just subsurface to Atlantic Salmon with fast actioned rods. Many of the mid belly lines have interchangeable heads to allow for fishing at different depths and are often a better choice for an “only” line for those of us who can’t afford one of each to cover every conceivable situation.  These guidelines are generalities and exception can be noted in all cases.



    Scandi lines are usually cut approximately 2.5 times the length of the rod. Scierra has an interactive tool that takes into account line, fly size, leader, height of caster and rod length. See:  http://www.scierra.com/?category=-1  for the tool. Again this is for scandi lines, which are usually floating lines designed for Atlantic Salmon  fishing conditions.  But these heads would also work well in an overhead casting environment and load the rod well. So if using a 12 ½ foot rod you would want a head about 30 feet long. If using a 14 foot rod your head length would be more toward  35 feet long. If you preferred a longer head for a bit more distance then you would follow the shooting head standards in the link above to determine the weight of the shooting head.  It takes longer for a 40 foot head to turn over than a 30 foot head, thus more distance.


    This can all be somewhat confusing, but it is a lot better than before the standards were published. At least now we have some guidelines. Most heavy duty DH casters play with their lines constantly trying to come up with the ideal for the rod and conditions they are fishing in. Al Buhr is a prime example of this.


    If  you now have all of that straightened out, take a poke at understanding Skagit lines. Go to :


    This is an article by Bob Pauli of the Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club. It is a well organized presentation on Skagit lines. It show that much of the research in our sport is still being done by the everyday practitioners.


    Simon writes: “...when you attach a heavy line to a thin shooting line, there's a tremendous difference in weight at the point where the two lines join. This disparity in weights becomes an issue when you're casting long distances. As the line travels out, the rear end of the heavy shooting head pulls down the running line and the back end of the loop, causing the line to land rear-end first, which translates to a loss of distance...”

     I don’t agree with this as written, but I would not want to comment unless I had the whole article in front of me. Dermon may be misreading this. I don’t think Simon is talking about hinging here but possibly overhang.



    Guy Manning

    FFF Master Certified Casting Instructor

    Moderator FFFCCI Yahoo Group



     From Paul Arden  (UK ....Author of Sexyloops)

    Hi Gordy,
    thank you very much, I think your writing will be particularly interesting for the European instructors.
    Point [1] well yes I have argued against [1] (you can begin the cast before the end of the line moves) by
    saying "how does the end of the line more before that then?" I talked to Lefty about this in Denver, and I understand
    what Lefty is saying - that you can't begin the stroke [sustained power application] before the end of the line moves
    and that this is not to be taken literally but is instead, a useful teaching statement.
    "Joan Wulff, for example, takes the position that the cast actually begins before the fly moves and that as the fly leaves the water that the cast is complete"
    I take the position that the cast begins the moment the rod tip moves and finishes the moment the fly lands.
    Must be fun in the Definitions Committee!! :-))
    Point [2] The fly doesn't always go in the direction of the speed up and stop - that's 100%.
    Tailing loops, curved casts and snap casts all break this concept. The fly follows the flyline
    and the flyline can be viewed as lots of smaller pieces joined together - like a chain link.
    When I teach an underpowered hook, I say start the stroke aiming where you want to place the
    fly and finish with the snap aiming where you want to position the hook. This is the complete
    opposite of [2].
    Life is great right now :-))) Will mail the DVD in the morning!
    From Michael Jones:

    Got it! So this suggests that drift relates to a motion in false

    casting, while F/T relates to a motion in the presentation cast.

    O.K., this is better, because, although I agree with what is said

    here, 100%, my notes from earlier conversations led me down a path

    that suggested that maybe drift was exclusive to the backcast, and you

    are saying it is not.




    When dealing with descriptions and definitions, we must remember that at the present state of fly casting lexicon, there is no pure list agreed upon by a significant body of experts.  This is why we have been working with a glossary committee to change that by coming up with a list of definitions agreed upon by the FFF Casting Board of Governors.  We have accomplished a great deal .... but have a long way to go to completion.

    This is why you will hear many, "definitions" for the same term.

    Joan Wulff writes that FOLLOWTHROUGH is performed only on the forward cast, while she calls the repositioning of the rod in the direction of the unrolling loop on the back cast, DRIFT.

    Our committee has not yet formally defined FOLLOWTHROUGH .... so what I have given you, is my personal point of view.