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Q:
ATTENTION: Spey Rod folks I've been fly fishing off an on for a long time, but I just bought my first two-handed rod (used and cheap on eBay--I'm on a tight budget), a 8/9 LL Bean. I really don't need a 2-handed rod, but I've always loved the spey casting techniques, and I'm hoping to find more usage for it whenever/wherever possible. I live nowhere near salmon or steelhead waters, so all uses that I have planned for the rod are unusual, so I'd like whatever advice can be given to help with line selection and tactics. I like to fish from a float tube, both for bass and trout, and I'm hoping the extra length will make casting easier. I expect a standard floating 9-wt. shooting head with multiple sink tips to work fine for bass, but is it possible to rig up a leader system with a line this big for topwater trout? I have a lot of old floating trout lines, and I was thinking of making some looped sections to step down the line between head and leader: has anybody done this, and what should I plan around? I know it's obviously not designed for presenting midges in a stillwater situation, but if I'm fishing streamers from a float tube and fish start rising, what could I do to be at least a bit more stealthy? FWIW, I teach overseas, and I'm hoping to talk my wife into a trip to Kamchatka, so maybe I can use this rod for what it's designed to do ... or at least that's what I dreamed about when I put in the bid.

Question by Jan J. Mudder. Uploaded on April 27, 2012

Answers (11)

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

I don't even think what you are talking about is possible. Can't spey cast worth a darn form a float tube with a line that is not grain wt'd properly for a 8/9 two hander anway. You didn't even mention the length.

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from Jan J. Mudder wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

Sorry, Sayfu, I thought that I had listed more info.

I have a 14' LL Bean 2-handed 8/9 wt. A spey shop recommended 610 grain for long casting situations, and I have a lighter set-up (I don't remember the exact grains) for more delicate situations.

What I'm talking about doing is built around the same concept of sink tip add-ons, such as the Depth Charge tips, except that they would be floating instead of sinking. I've seen (but never used) 15' floating add-ons, which basically looked like a section of tapered fly line to add to the end of your shooting head. This was why I was considering cutting up some appropriately sized pieces from retired fly lines with usable parts to try and create a gentler landing. It's NOT meant to be an ideal top-water system; it's intended to be an optional head system for when I'm already in the water in a float tube with a spey rod, and I don't want to trouble with getting/hauling a second rod.

Also, I'm not at all worried about spey casting from a float tube. I'm coming at this from a different perspective, I believe. I think that you're imagining how spey casting will be affected by being set low in the water, etc.; I'm imagining how much better and easier my fly rod casting will be with a longer rod and two hands. Instead of struggling with a 9' rod to make 35-40' casts, I'll have a 14' rod and a better line system, and I'll be perfectly happy to still be making those 35-40' casts. I had already experimented with adding a fighting butt to my 9' 8wt. last summer and simulating some spey casting techniques on a standard fly rod with WF line; even my primitive attempts with this equipment were a big improvement with longer casts and less arm fatigue.

I'd love to hear any suggestions for improving any or all of the above, especially if they don't involve spending a lot of money.

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

I can only visualize total frustration. Creating the right line to load the rod would be extremelydifficult....connections clattering/sticking in the guides playing a fish...carrying a very big, heavy rod in a float tube, not able to swing your body around like you need to do making a spey cast. There would be lots olf thrashing the water trying to get the line out any distance at all. And landing a fish would be a nitemare. 40' casts with a 9' rod with a clean line shouldn't be that hard. If it only goes 32', you can kick away 8 ', and make it 40 ft. Fishing out of a float tube is ackward enough without taking a 14 ft rod along. When you wade out using a well balanced 14' spey rod, anything deeper than your knees becomes restrictive.

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

And I didn't even mention that a 14' 8/9 is a beast of a rod for hooking, and playing trout. I fish in big trout waters fishing the forks of the Snake a lot, and my ll.5' 6/7 spey rod is a beast of a rod for trout fishing. I'd prefer to fish with my one handed 9.5' rod, and spey cast with it. '

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Why no feedback from Jan...?????

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from Jan J. Mudder wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Sayfu, I read your comments, and I appreciate that you responded, but it wasn't really the information that I was looking for. I have found the info that I wanted elsewhere: I downloaded a ton of stuff off Rio's website related to weights, belly lengths, etc., for their various tips, including a floating tip system that looks fairly close to what I'd been envisioning; I found a wonderful short video on YouTube that demonstrated how to create looped sections for Rio-style tips out of old fly lines; and I also found YouTube videos that demonstrated the casts that I hope to try from the float tube. Last summer I was experimenting my 9' 8-weight on the Snap-T cast and variants of it, which allow lots of rapid shooting without backcasts; this doesn't require the body twisting that you were concerned about in a float tube.

I appreciate that you took the time to comment, but I hope you're not offended if I say that a lot of what you said didn't really apply. My arm gets tired if I throw a bunny streamer on a sink tip on my 8-weight all day, which was why I tried the 2-handed casting techniques last summer on a regular rod with a fighting butt. Even on that rod, it was an obvious improvement as I could shoot easier and the two-arms approach was less work. For trout fishing, I agree that this is too big of a rod; I would have preferred to have purchased a 2-handed switch rod in a 6-weight size, but the 8/9 size was the one that was for sale; plus, I like the idea of having a big fish rod available just in case I am able to go salmon fishing this next year. Still, I plan to take it with me this summer when I backpack into the high elevation lakes of the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming, and I plan to use it to work the shorelines with streamers all day from my kick tube. If it looks like this system has potential but the rod is too unwieldy, maybe I can talk my wife into a switch rod next year, or maybe I'll get lucky and find one on eBay as cheap as the rod I got. You mentioned that you don't like using yours, so maybe we can work something out.

I guess that one of the biggest attactions to a 2-handed system is the same attraction that I have for fly fishing in general: I like applying and tinkering with technical tools and concepts to address challenging situations. I've read where you've said that to become a better fly fisherman, you need to leave the spinning rod at home; I agree, but my goal is to be a more effective fishermen, regardless of rod or style or whatever. I do unconventional things all the time to try to address difficult situations. Some days when I go fishing, I take one rod and one small chest pack, and I force myself to make do. Other days, I carry a 4, 5, or 6-wt. (depending on stream size), along with my backpack that is the Swiss Army knife of trout fishing: telescoping 2-wt, telescoping 8-wt, telescoping 16' cheap (and light) Chinese rod that I've been using for something like Tenkara before I'd ever heard of Tenkara (I use it especially for brush-lined tiny streams where I'm basically dapping with a long rod and a long light fly line), and--brace yourself--a cheap Shakespeare telescoping spinning rod that I use for dredging deep pools or for places and times where fly fishing is not practical.

My 2-handed rod is waiting for me back in South Dakota, but I'm still in Kazakhstan for another month+. That was especially frustrating last week as I was fishing an unfamiliar river, which turned out to be spey rod waters: wide open terrain with big water, fast currents, deep pools, and lots of area to cover. I used a sink tip on my 8-weight, then I tried dredging the bottoms with the spinning rod, but I never got a bite. I'm pretty sure that I never put a hook in front of a trout's nose. I'm going back tomorrow with some newly tied, more heavily weighted streamers, a new shorter leader system, and a shorter denser sink tip on my 8-weight: my right arm will be very tired tomorrow night.

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Tube flies have solved my problem of having to throw a big streamer using a one handed rod. Easy to tie. You use a conventional vice, and I create big, flashy marabou streamers that I can throw with a 6wt. And I just drop down a bead of whatever wt. I want down the tippet to add whatever wt I want to my streamer. I tie my tippets to the small "o" rings that come in about that size.

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from Jan J. Mudder wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

I haven't used tube flies. I like bunny strip flies: double bunny, zonker, egg-sucking leech, et al. Do you use these? Have you found a way to more comfortably cast them on smaller rods? I like buggers and other marabou streamers, too, so I usually end up using them for 6 wt. and under, but I'd love to figure out a way to more comfortably throw bunny streamers on lighter rods.

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Using tube flies you sure can. And use marabou instead of rabbit. Rabbit when it soaks up water gets heavy. Marabou has great action, slims down to cast, and opens up when in the water. I can add different colors of marabou around my small tube, add some mylar flash in with it if I want, then a crystal chenille head. Then a thin, strong wire hook gets inserted in the back of the tube. My 4 or 5 wt can easily cast them. And like I said, then a metal bead can be dropped down the tippet to add whatever wt. you want at the head of the tube. With a decent metal bead the tube will move up and down in the water, as you strip.

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from Jan J. Mudder wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

I already use marabou most of the time, but I like arctic fox tail to add volume, and I especially like zonker strips for tails as they look great in the water and hold up well.

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

You can get bulk tying marabou around a small tube. I've got a small plastic box, not a fly box, that has about 20 of my tubes in it, and I have a leader pac with the small "stinger" hooks that are UP-EYED hooks, a short shank #8 size dry fly hook for lightness, and I have them "SNELLED". Snelling the hook is the strongest knot to hook you can tie, and the leader comes directly out of the eye, no knot sliding to the side. Hook a fish, and the tube slides up your leader out of the way.

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Using tube flies you sure can. And use marabou instead of rabbit. Rabbit when it soaks up water gets heavy. Marabou has great action, slims down to cast, and opens up when in the water. I can add different colors of marabou around my small tube, add some mylar flash in with it if I want, then a crystal chenille head. Then a thin, strong wire hook gets inserted in the back of the tube. My 4 or 5 wt can easily cast them. And like I said, then a metal bead can be dropped down the tippet to add whatever wt. you want at the head of the tube. With a decent metal bead the tube will move up and down in the water, as you strip.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

I don't even think what you are talking about is possible. Can't spey cast worth a darn form a float tube with a line that is not grain wt'd properly for a 8/9 two hander anway. You didn't even mention the length.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jan J. Mudder wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

Sorry, Sayfu, I thought that I had listed more info.

I have a 14' LL Bean 2-handed 8/9 wt. A spey shop recommended 610 grain for long casting situations, and I have a lighter set-up (I don't remember the exact grains) for more delicate situations.

What I'm talking about doing is built around the same concept of sink tip add-ons, such as the Depth Charge tips, except that they would be floating instead of sinking. I've seen (but never used) 15' floating add-ons, which basically looked like a section of tapered fly line to add to the end of your shooting head. This was why I was considering cutting up some appropriately sized pieces from retired fly lines with usable parts to try and create a gentler landing. It's NOT meant to be an ideal top-water system; it's intended to be an optional head system for when I'm already in the water in a float tube with a spey rod, and I don't want to trouble with getting/hauling a second rod.

Also, I'm not at all worried about spey casting from a float tube. I'm coming at this from a different perspective, I believe. I think that you're imagining how spey casting will be affected by being set low in the water, etc.; I'm imagining how much better and easier my fly rod casting will be with a longer rod and two hands. Instead of struggling with a 9' rod to make 35-40' casts, I'll have a 14' rod and a better line system, and I'll be perfectly happy to still be making those 35-40' casts. I had already experimented with adding a fighting butt to my 9' 8wt. last summer and simulating some spey casting techniques on a standard fly rod with WF line; even my primitive attempts with this equipment were a big improvement with longer casts and less arm fatigue.

I'd love to hear any suggestions for improving any or all of the above, especially if they don't involve spending a lot of money.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

I can only visualize total frustration. Creating the right line to load the rod would be extremelydifficult....connections clattering/sticking in the guides playing a fish...carrying a very big, heavy rod in a float tube, not able to swing your body around like you need to do making a spey cast. There would be lots olf thrashing the water trying to get the line out any distance at all. And landing a fish would be a nitemare. 40' casts with a 9' rod with a clean line shouldn't be that hard. If it only goes 32', you can kick away 8 ', and make it 40 ft. Fishing out of a float tube is ackward enough without taking a 14 ft rod along. When you wade out using a well balanced 14' spey rod, anything deeper than your knees becomes restrictive.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

And I didn't even mention that a 14' 8/9 is a beast of a rod for hooking, and playing trout. I fish in big trout waters fishing the forks of the Snake a lot, and my ll.5' 6/7 spey rod is a beast of a rod for trout fishing. I'd prefer to fish with my one handed 9.5' rod, and spey cast with it. '

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Why no feedback from Jan...?????

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jan J. Mudder wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Sayfu, I read your comments, and I appreciate that you responded, but it wasn't really the information that I was looking for. I have found the info that I wanted elsewhere: I downloaded a ton of stuff off Rio's website related to weights, belly lengths, etc., for their various tips, including a floating tip system that looks fairly close to what I'd been envisioning; I found a wonderful short video on YouTube that demonstrated how to create looped sections for Rio-style tips out of old fly lines; and I also found YouTube videos that demonstrated the casts that I hope to try from the float tube. Last summer I was experimenting my 9' 8-weight on the Snap-T cast and variants of it, which allow lots of rapid shooting without backcasts; this doesn't require the body twisting that you were concerned about in a float tube.

I appreciate that you took the time to comment, but I hope you're not offended if I say that a lot of what you said didn't really apply. My arm gets tired if I throw a bunny streamer on a sink tip on my 8-weight all day, which was why I tried the 2-handed casting techniques last summer on a regular rod with a fighting butt. Even on that rod, it was an obvious improvement as I could shoot easier and the two-arms approach was less work. For trout fishing, I agree that this is too big of a rod; I would have preferred to have purchased a 2-handed switch rod in a 6-weight size, but the 8/9 size was the one that was for sale; plus, I like the idea of having a big fish rod available just in case I am able to go salmon fishing this next year. Still, I plan to take it with me this summer when I backpack into the high elevation lakes of the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming, and I plan to use it to work the shorelines with streamers all day from my kick tube. If it looks like this system has potential but the rod is too unwieldy, maybe I can talk my wife into a switch rod next year, or maybe I'll get lucky and find one on eBay as cheap as the rod I got. You mentioned that you don't like using yours, so maybe we can work something out.

I guess that one of the biggest attactions to a 2-handed system is the same attraction that I have for fly fishing in general: I like applying and tinkering with technical tools and concepts to address challenging situations. I've read where you've said that to become a better fly fisherman, you need to leave the spinning rod at home; I agree, but my goal is to be a more effective fishermen, regardless of rod or style or whatever. I do unconventional things all the time to try to address difficult situations. Some days when I go fishing, I take one rod and one small chest pack, and I force myself to make do. Other days, I carry a 4, 5, or 6-wt. (depending on stream size), along with my backpack that is the Swiss Army knife of trout fishing: telescoping 2-wt, telescoping 8-wt, telescoping 16' cheap (and light) Chinese rod that I've been using for something like Tenkara before I'd ever heard of Tenkara (I use it especially for brush-lined tiny streams where I'm basically dapping with a long rod and a long light fly line), and--brace yourself--a cheap Shakespeare telescoping spinning rod that I use for dredging deep pools or for places and times where fly fishing is not practical.

My 2-handed rod is waiting for me back in South Dakota, but I'm still in Kazakhstan for another month+. That was especially frustrating last week as I was fishing an unfamiliar river, which turned out to be spey rod waters: wide open terrain with big water, fast currents, deep pools, and lots of area to cover. I used a sink tip on my 8-weight, then I tried dredging the bottoms with the spinning rod, but I never got a bite. I'm pretty sure that I never put a hook in front of a trout's nose. I'm going back tomorrow with some newly tied, more heavily weighted streamers, a new shorter leader system, and a shorter denser sink tip on my 8-weight: my right arm will be very tired tomorrow night.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Tube flies have solved my problem of having to throw a big streamer using a one handed rod. Easy to tie. You use a conventional vice, and I create big, flashy marabou streamers that I can throw with a 6wt. And I just drop down a bead of whatever wt. I want down the tippet to add whatever wt I want to my streamer. I tie my tippets to the small "o" rings that come in about that size.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jan J. Mudder wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

I haven't used tube flies. I like bunny strip flies: double bunny, zonker, egg-sucking leech, et al. Do you use these? Have you found a way to more comfortably cast them on smaller rods? I like buggers and other marabou streamers, too, so I usually end up using them for 6 wt. and under, but I'd love to figure out a way to more comfortably throw bunny streamers on lighter rods.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jan J. Mudder wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

I already use marabou most of the time, but I like arctic fox tail to add volume, and I especially like zonker strips for tails as they look great in the water and hold up well.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

You can get bulk tying marabou around a small tube. I've got a small plastic box, not a fly box, that has about 20 of my tubes in it, and I have a leader pac with the small "stinger" hooks that are UP-EYED hooks, a short shank #8 size dry fly hook for lightness, and I have them "SNELLED". Snelling the hook is the strongest knot to hook you can tie, and the leader comes directly out of the eye, no knot sliding to the side. Hook a fish, and the tube slides up your leader out of the way.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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