Two-Handed Rods for Fall Fishing

Thirty-some years ago, Mike Maxwell, the Canadian steelhead guide and fly-casting instructor, demonstrated the use of two-handed (spey) rods while visiting the Yellowstone area for a Federation of Flyfishermen conclave.  A few local anglers watching his demonstration were immediately struck by the utility of such rods for fishing the “swinging fly” during the fall run of fish out of Hebgen and Quake Lakes.  For those of us interested in pursuing this kind of fishing, there weren’t many options at that time when it came to choosing a rod.  Orvis was the only American company building two-handed models; they made them principally for Atlantic salmon fishing.  Our choice for the Madison ended up being their 15’ 11-weight model—a beast of a rod by today’s standards, though one which was certainly fishable.

Fast forward to now and almost every rod company offers two-handed models, most in a wide range of lengths and line weights.  It’s become ever more common to see these rods in use by anglers plying the waters of the Madison in the fall, and why not?  They offer unparalleled advantages over single-handed rods—less tiring to use, easier to cast long distances when necessary, no need for stripping in line before making another cast, no need for false casting or for maintaining backcast space behind you, superb control of the fly swing, and an ability to fight fish more efficiently.  Not only that, but they’re just a heck of a lot of fun to fish with, too.

If you’re a fisherman that enjoys swinging flies for fall-run fish (or if you’re a steelhead or salmon angler) you owe it to yourself to try a two-handed rod, if you haven’t already done so.  Once you discover the pleasures and efficiency of fishing with two hands, I doubt you’ll ever revert to a single-handed rod.  I sure haven’t, and I don’t know anyone else that has either!

—John

Choice Requires Judgment

Yield Who Will To Autumn

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The Pale Light Of Possibility

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The Spirit of Flyfishing Exhibit—Photographs

The last group of photographs from the West Yellowstone Library exhibit.  Click photos to enlarge.

 

“The Capacity To Be Alone”

 

“An Hour Only The Young Should Sleep Through”

 

“A Passing Moment Lingers”

 

“When All The Essentials Have Been Decided”

 

“She Remembers The Old Stories”

The Spirit Of Flyfishing Exhibit—Photographs

The third of four groups of photographs from the West Yellowstone Library exhibit.  Click photos to enlarge.

 

“Straw Yellow Is All There Is Now”

 

“Choice Under Uncertainty”

 

“Harvesting The Meaning Of Life”

 

“First Snow, Then Silence”

 

“A Reckoning With Time”

The Spirit Of Flyfishing Exhibit—Photographs

The second of four groups of photographs from the West Yellowstone library exhibit.  Click photos to enlarge.

 

“Where An Analog Life Is Still Possible”

 

“On The Evidence Of Our Senses”

 

“The Velocity Of Mayfly Lives”

 

“The Soul Is Born And Renewed In Nature”

 

“Everyone Has A Personal Equation”

The Spirit of Flyfishing Exhibit—Photographs

Here’s the first group of photographs from the West Yellowstone library exhibit.  Click photos to enlarge and view on black.

 

“In The Silence Of Her Thoughts”

 

“Hijacking The Old Code”

 

“Fish Rise First In Our Hearts, And Then To Our Eyes”

 

“Not Everything Has To Be Said”

 

“Free From The Tyranny Of Accomplishment”

 

“By Necessity, We Fish”

The Spirit Of Flyfishing Exhibit—Reception

The Spirit Of Flyfishing Exhibit—a joint photography show by Ken Takata, Chris Daniel and me—opened at the West Yellowstone Public Library on August 9th.  It hangs through October of this year.  I’ve had a number of requests to put my part of the exhibit online, for all the folks that can’t make it to West Yellowstone before the show ends.  I’m happy to comply, with the caveat that viewing images on-screen is a far cry from looking at prints first hand.  If you can make it to the show, I think you’ll see the difference. Here are a few shots of the opening reception, taken by librarian Steve Takata and posted here with his permission.  My photographs will follow in ensuing posts.  (Click photos to enlarge.)

 

Mike Aderhold, head of the West Yellowstone Library Foundation, delivers some opening remarks.

 

Briefly discussing my work and saying thank you to some of the people that have wielded profound influence on me over the years.

 

Attendees looking over the installation of my photographs.

 

A view of one group of pictures.

 

The opening was well attended by locals, visitors, anglers and non-anglers.  Seemed to me that everyone had a good time.

 

John Juracek, Chris Daniel, Ken Takata (l to r).  Photo by Mary Juracek.

Setting Our Minds To The Right Problem

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