Two Handed Rod Mysteries

Spey fishing with Two Handed Rods is fun, effective and sometimes very confusing. Here is a simple approach to the game.

Two handed rods are very different than conventional fly rods in a few ways. First it takes both hands to cast them, they are longer than conventional fly rods and for the most part we cast and fish them very differently.

The idea of fishing the Two Hander is a technique called "swing fishing". (swinging the fly in the currents of a river) The long rod and the casts used allow the angler to achieve long distances with little or no back cast. The no back cast part is where lots of confusion comes in. Casts called "single spey, double spey, snap T and snake roll are common terms in this world but very foreign to most fly anglers. There are lots of YouTube videos out there to show you each of these casts so I won't attempt to explain them here. YouTube it!

Most folks get confused with what rod/reel/line to start with. Ask yourself these questions. What species of fish are you intending to pursue. How large are the rivers I'm going to be fishing. How far must I cast to be effective. Will I be fishing near the surface or dredging bottom. How much money can I spend.

Two handed rods are available in line sizes 2-10, vary in length from 10'6" to 16' and are available is several actions that include slow, medium and fast action. Wow!

Let's assume for this time you want to fish Steelhead, Salmon other than Kings or Atlantics, large Rainbows, Browns or Brook Trout of the far North. My rod choice is a 7 or 8 wt, 13' to 13'6". This size gives me the power to handle these kinds of big fish and the ability to cast long distances.

My reel must be large enough to accommodate Spey fly lines. Let's approach the lines first. Line types are...full spey long belly lines, scandi and skagit. My choice is skagit as it allows me flexibility and will accommodate many different kinds of tips from floating to fast sinking. I like quick change flexibility. Spey lines are generally sold as grain weights 200gr thru 800gr for example. does grain weight convert to rod line sizes? Here's a quick study. 200 gr fly line is a 6wt, 7wt a 250, 8 wt a 300 gr, graduating 50 grains per line size as an example.

Spey rod manufacturers have now started to put the grain weight accommodation window on the rods. This may still be confusing because they also label the rods with a line weight, 8wt for example. In the grain window on the same rod it will say 500-700 gr capacity? I just said in the above paragraph a 8wt was 300 grains, what gives? Spey rods are long and powerful and to have them perform as prescribed lines must be 2 line sizes heavy to make them work properly. Ok.

So let's say you buy a 13'6", 8wt spey rod with a grain window of 500 gr to 700gr and want to use a skagit line, what line size do I buy? Not so fast! If you put a sinking tip on the end of the skagit line you must take into consideration the weight of that tip. 10' of sinking T-14 (14 grains per foot) equals 140 grains that you will be adding to the skagit line for example. Total wight now should be in the grain weight window of the rod. Back out the 140 from the 700 and you will arrive at 560 grains maximum for the skagit line. My Skagit is 520 grain as I frequently use 12 to 14'' of T-14 sinking line for a tip.

Now, let's look at fly reels for spey. We know lines are two line sizes heavier for spey. They are short and fat but we also must accommodate for the backing, shooting line, skagit line and tip. So a reel for a 8 wt spey rod is not the same as a reel for a 8wt single hand rod. It must be at least 2 line sizes bigger, but I like to go 3-4 line sizes bigger so I have faster retrieve speeds and lots of room on the reel. So buy a size 10-12 for a 8wt spey rod.

Ok, now you can get yourself going on the right track with equipment. Spending your dollars is next. Here's links to our spey rods, reels and lines.,,

Hope this helps you along the way, call us to get going, we have the gear and will put it all together for you and ship it at no charge for shipping costs.


Double SS Outdoors

12713 Pine Lane

Bear Lake MI 49614 USA

Tel: 231.404.0100

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