WHAT IS 2HAND ALASKA
2hand Alaska, what is it? This is a question we are asked all the time. 2hand Alaska is a phrase that we came up with here at the shop to show our desire and support of Spey style fishing in Alaska. What started on the back of a t-shirt has morphed into a phrase we like to use all the time.
2hand rods or Spey fishing originated in the mid 1800’s in Scotland, it was named after the river Spey. While spey casting is far from new, it has grown tremendously over the last five years in Alaska. There are three basic styles people like to use, Long Belly (original style), Scandinavian and Skagit. While all three styles have their place, we here at Mossy’s are Skagit guys. What is Skagit? Skagit casting utilizes shorter, heavier heads that are designed to turn over sink tips and bigger flies as well as cast in tighter areas with little to no back cast room, which is a lot of Alaska.
Why do we like 2handed rods fishing so much? For me personally, it has increased my already huge passion for streamer fishing into a whole new world and perspective. I can cover so much more water and get into areas where I couldn’t get a big enough back cast to reach where the fish lie. Whether I am working a gravel bar or swinging from an anchored vessel, I can present my fly to more areas that hold fish than I could with a single hand rod and with a lot less effort to get it there. Swinging streamers has always been a passion for me but swinging them with a 2hand rod has made it an addiction more than a passion. The term “the tug is the drug” is a true and sincere statement for me.
RODS & EQUIPMENT
2hand rods and lines today have dramatically evolved over the last 5-6 years. When I started this journey 10+ years ago (after watching a video of a guy casting one) there were only a few select rods to choose from and the line choices were were limited and their performance was marginal at best. Guys like Dec Hogan, Ed Ward, Jerry French, Tom Larimer and many others have spent endless hours in pioneering and developing what we know today as Skagit casting.
In Alaska, all our fish will eat a swung fly. Whether you are chasing Grayling, Trout, Steelhead, Dollies/Char or any of our anadromous salmon species. Alaska trout fishing is known for its famous salmon egg drop and huge number days of world class rainbows, but swinging up a once in a life time rainbow is a second to none experience. Salmon, and I mean all salmon, even the pesky sockeye salmon, are eager to please a swing fisherman. While King Salmon would rate as my favorite salmon to swing up, the other four species are a great rodeo.
Rods used in Alaska vary from 6wts to 10wts, and range in length from 10’6” to 13’6” 6wts and 7wts are your typical trout/steelhead sticks and 8-10wts for salmon. 7wts are the most versatile sticks for Alaska. They can handle everything but Kings. While there are many variances in manufacture’s rods and sizing leaves for a lot of debate and opinions (why does this 6wt feel more like a 7wt), one thing holds true, you should match the rod with the fly size and tip selection that you need.
LEARNING TO USE TWO HANDS
This group is growing fast and we are here to help you with your 2hand technique. Over the last few seasons we have brought up a well know casting instructor for a weekend of classes, Dec Hogan and Tom Larimer have been with us since we started this program and we are always looking to expand that list each year. We can also accommodate you with more personal one on one instruction out of the shop as well.
Spey fishing is a culture here at Mossy’s and we want to share our passion and invite you all into our culture we call 2Hand Alaska.