Monday, June 26, 2017

Two Hand Tactics For Striped Bass

There are some basic fundamentals in casting a two hand rod that carry over to salt water angling.   The first is understanding how the make casting loops of various sizes.   The reason I mention this first is because this aspect has a direct consequence in safety.  

When we cast a heavy weighted fly with tight loops it's like a 75 pound dog running at top speed that gets to the end of their rope and then bounces back from the shock of it's own weight.  Bang and slack is the result.  For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  If the fly bounced to the right or left there is a strong possibility that your heavily weighted Clouser is headed for the back of your head or even causing a broken fly rod after a collision. By making our back cast in a lower plane and the forward cast in a slightly higher plain we can keep the rod moving without full stop under constant tension to make long and fluid casts in complete safety.   The canted angle of the rod is always used on the down wind shoulder side.  Never do we cast on the side the wind is coming from.  Think of the tip of your rod making the shape of a horse shoe at the end of the back stroke.  Round and fluid under constant tension.  No hard stop.  The greater the distance between the back and forward plains, or the horse shoe size,  the wider the loop.  This is the concept of what is called the Belgian Cast.  It is a very power cast that works well in most wind conditions.

Notice in the upper photo of Bass Guru Alan Lindberg that he is in the key position and the line is pointing down in the back even though his forward cast is at the start of full tension.  He completed a drawing jump roll cast to get the heavy fly and T17 up and forward, then made a low plain back cast to get to the forward stroke position under constant tension power. Dominant arm is bent to 90 degrees.  Off hand and dominant hand will move forward together for a very short distance and the power stroke is made using bottom hand pull around a dominant hand fulcrum.

I like to use a slight slide at the end of my forward stroke to clear the rod tip.  This is a move I learned from watching Henrik Mortensen when using Scandinavian shooting heads.  It translates very well when using shooting heads in the salt.

I am so very convinced that using a two hand rod for salt water increases the number of total fishing minutes per tide.  Al Buhr says that the perfect cast is the one that gets our fly from the time it stops fishing till fishing again in the shortest amount of time.

The last thought I will leave you with is to not under size the weight of the rod you use.  Striped Bass are not leader shy and you can use fifteen to twenty pound test and not have to worry should you be fortunate to hook a really big screamer.   Fast Action rods between 11 and 13 feet that are rated as 7 to 8 weight will make your salt water angling a real casting pleasure.

Please check out my PRO Salt Two Hand Collection at