Scandinavian Style Double Hand Rods

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Scandinavian Style Double Hand Rods & Lines
VikingLand Technique in the Pacific Northwest!

Pete Gadd tests a Loop Grey Line Rod & shooting head.
Mark tries out an Echo2 Rod Scandinavian Spey Rod.  Pete tails his fish.

The word Viking conjures up images of hardy men living out doors on the water for extended periods.  It was true in the days of broad swards and long ships.  And it is still true today. Viking lands; Norway, Sweden and Denmark tend to be a bit on the cold side.  Most are swathed in sub-arctic conifer forests.  Northern parts are in tundra.  Many rivers flow into the sea through long fjords that were cut by successive glacial epics. Most have runs of Atlantic Salmon. And of course where there are salmon, there are also salmon anglers.  Sportsmen from the British Isles came to Norway and Sweden around the turn

of the century and set up salmon camps on some of the best rivers. With these sportsmen came their fly fishing gear.  Most of these anglers used two hand fly rods which had evolve on their home waters to the south.  As one would expect these rods, were made from bamboo.  They averaged 15' to 18' long and were very heavy.  This kind of tackle remained very popular until the 1970's. When graphite fly rods were introduced to Scandinavian rivers, a new breed of tackle started to emerge.  Lines

Patty puts the load on an Echo2 rod.
Mark lands a steelhead with a Sage 8123-4 TCR rod.

turned from double taper configuration to sinking shooting heads.  Rods became shorter, lighter and radically faster.  Swedish angler Göran Andersson is well regarded as the father of the present style from this region. It is now recognized as the Scandinavian Style of spey casting.  Göran was working for the Sage rod company when the basic design was worked out.  It incorporated a relatively short, stiff rod with relatively short, heavy shooting head attached to slick, small diameter shooting line.  With this system line speeds can be phenomenal.  The average Scandinavian two-hander is 12' to 13' long and throws a 9 weight

line which has a head length of 38' to 45'.  A short fast taper rod is inherently more stable than a longer, slower one.  Fast rods are more accurate casting tools because they have less wobble and bounce during the stroke. Eventually Göran left Sage and founded the Loop company.  Now there were two companies promoting the Scandinavian Style of casting and fishing.  During this period, G. Loomis was also building short, fast two-hand rods.  The first two-hander I owned in about 1990 was a 13' 9-weight Loomis IMX.  I used it a lot for a while with a short head line incorporating lead core

Pete tries the Sage TCR with a big steelhead.

tips. It was especially handy for fishing off the deep sides of runs where often you are fishing under overhanging tree limbs. Short, fast rods are not very forgiving to bad casters and I didn't have the skills at the time to appreciate this outfit, and it fell out of favor.  Last fall Patty and I spent a couple of days on the Klickitat with Pete Gadd, who has been experimenting with a variety of Scandinavian style rod and line combinations. 
You might remember the Sage 8123-4 TCR story from our October 9 Newsletter.  Our next trip was a couple weeks later and we used an Echo2-9126fa-4x and a Loop 9130-4 Grey Line.  Last winter I used a G. Loomis FR1508/9-3 GLX Stinger for a day on the Sandy.  All of the rods mentioned are of the Scandinavian variety. 

Along with this new tackle has evolved a different nuance to the casting stroke.  The Scandinavians call it "Under-hand Casting".  A pull from the bottom hand has always been important when casting with two-hand rods. The under-hand style incorporates a drop of the casting plane as the bottom hand is pulled back.  This move results in very tight, high speed loops. 

Will the Scandinavian style of tackle and casting style replace all other styles on the rivers of the Pacific Northwest?  My prediction is, "not entirely".  However, I do believe it has already heavily influenced the way our rivers are fished.  Scandinavian style rods and lines have an advantage on certain types of water.  Moderate size rivers with vegetation close to the water are most easily fished with a shorter, faster rod because of the relatively short D-loop extended behind the caster with the short belly of the Scandinavian shooting head line.  Fact is, short compact heads are very efficient in generating rod load. Short fast rods can unload energy quicker than long supple ones do. This becomes very apparent when the short, fast Scandinavian rod is matched with the right compact shooting head and shooting line. With this system fly lines can become bullets. Short fast rods don't work as well with long belly lines.  Short heads are difficult to cast with a long supple rods.  The short rod and short belly system is pleasant if you don't mind stripping back shooting line between casts.    

I have often heard that these types of rod and line combinations are poor for mending and controlling the speed of the fly.  This is true if you intend to fish with certain presentations.  But, this kind of tackle is superb for fishing on a steep angle down stream.  With this type of presentation there is little mending to be done, if the fly line lands on the water straight.  Normally this type of presentation brings the fly across at a slow, steady speed that can be nearly irresistible to most steelhead.  A tight straight line is the key.  Any humps, bumps, slack or mending detracts from the perfect effect.  This presentation is most effective when the whole width of a river can be covered.  The fly fishes from edge to edge, landing in the cushion of slow water next to the opposite edge.  There it will start sinking and moving slow.  As it is towed into the faster current the sinking tip has already made its initial penetration and continues to sink because the belly of the line is already below the skin of fast water at the surface.  The further downstream the cast, the slower the fly moves across the river toward your side. The wider the river, the more difficult the task. Being able to throw long isn't the only criteria.  Extreme accuracy is also required.  Many times the cushion along the opposite shore is fairly narrow and overhanging vegetation can cause further complications.  Short, fast rods are inherently accurate because there is less chance for tip wobble.  A shorter fulcrum magnifies your casting mistakes less. The tip decelerates quickly when you reach the end of your stroke.  Blazing line speed can be attained.  So why doesn't everyone use the Scandinavian approach?  There are several possible reasons.  First, the shorter the rod, the shorter the line, the more critical the casting stroke becomes.  These rods are often hard on beginning casters.  The next reason is that your success becomes not only how well you cast, but how well you are able to manage your running line.  If you want to cast 80' with a 40' head, you have to manage 40' of running line.  When you cast 100', you have to manage 60' of running line.  About 25' of running line is all the average angler will ever be able to handle without constant tangles.  That cuts the effective range down to about 65' if you are wading crotch deep.  Casting range might increase if you are very experienced or are wading shallow. 

The most appealing trait of the Scandinavian style is that short rods are lightweight and and are easily maneuvered around obstacles.  I have landed several steelhead in the 7-12 pound range with a variety of Scandinavian style rods and each was a very pleasant experience; pleasant enough to want more.  My current interest is integrating my two favorite Scandinavian style rods with Rio's Skagit Spey systems.  This gives the line a head length of 42', 47' or 52' instead of the 38' to 44.5' of the Scandinavian Shooting head system.  So far forty seven feet seems to fit me and my Sage 8123-4 TCR the best, but the search continues.  MB

Rio Scandinavian Shooting Head Fly Lines For Two-Hand Rods
Clackamas River
F/F     F/I     F/I/S3     F/I/S6     F/VersiTip   

Head Length: 44.5ft
Color: Yellow Head/Green Running Line

Rio Scandinavian Shooting Head Demo Video
 Windows Media Format
QuickTime Format

Shooting heads have been used for many years in Scandinavian countries for spey casting. The short heads make casting a long line very easy, with minimal effort. RIO's new shooting heads are available in floating, floating with 15 ft intermediate tip and RIO's unique tricolor, which has a shooting head with a floating body for easy mending, intermediate sinking middle section and 15 ft Type 3 DC sinking tip. Or you can get this same line with a Type 6 DC sinking tip.
The fifth line is the Scandinavian Shooting Head VersiTip, which is an interchangeable tip shooting head with floating body for easy mending and intermediate sinking middle section with a loop on the end.  Included with this line is a shooting head wallet with four looped 15 ft DC sinking tips: a clear intermediate (1.5 ips, 3.7 cm/s), a Type 3 tip (3 ips, 7.6 cm/s), a Type 6 tip (6 ips, 15.2 cm/s) and a Type 8 tip (8 ips, 20.3 cm/s).Attach these heads to RIO's 0.035in Powerflex core shooting line for perfect results.   
Buy Now!

Simms Freestone Jacket
The Freestone offers waterproof protection, breathability and outstanding Simms quality - all for a great price

This is very reliable wading jacket that has found favor with several prominent local fishing guides.

Simms Freestone Jacket.



  • 100% waterproof, breathable 3-layer TriLam™ fabric

  • Two large bellowed chest pockets for fly boxes

  • Durable, lightweight

  • Adjustable stretch cuffs keep water out when casting

  • Patented built-in retractors

  • Simms Fish fly patch

Color: Freestone Slate


Item Description Size Price To Top
FR-JKT-SM Simms Freestone Jacket Small $199

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FR-JKT-MD Simms Freestone Jacket Medium $199

Current Simms Jackets

FR-JKT-LG Simms Freestone Jacket Large $199

Current Simms Jackets

FR-JKT-XL Simms Freestone Jacket X-Large $199

Current Simms Jackets

FR-JKT-2X Simms Freestone Jacket 2X-Large $199

Current Simms Jackets

"Elementary Spey Casting School"
Saturday, January 14, 2006

This class is for right or left handed casters, and will deal with the most efficient methods of casting from the river left position. 
It will cover Single Spey, Snake Roll & Snap-T casts with both
 floating and sinking tip lines.  Each class is 4-hours.

The instructors are: George Cook, Mark Bachmann & Brian Silvey.
No other spey casting school features a two student per instructor ratio
with instructors of this caliber.  
You will get maximum help and nearly constant personal attention.
Spey casters of all experience levels are welcome. However this class 
focuses on the basics and is designed to give each student a 
solid foundation to build on.  Each class lasts 3 1/2-hours.
What our customers say.
Spaces are limited to (6) students per class.  Book now!

Meet your instructors:
George Cook is the guy in the Sage "Tight Loops" poster of the 1990's.  He taught the "Sage Fly Fishing Schools" in the 1980's and has great casting and communication skills. 
He is an instructor's instructor.  We are fortunate to be able to offer this in depth problem solving class.   
George Cook
Mark Bachmann with a spey caught steelhead. Mark Bachmann has 25 years experience guiding fly fishing trips for steelhead.  He is an ardent spey fisher, experienced communicator 
& very patient instructor.  
Brian Silvey is naturally left handed and and casts either left or right.  He has 20 years guiding for steelhead and has helped hundreds of anglers catch steelhead while fly fishing. Brian Silvey teaching & guiding.
Item Description Price  
ETESCH-M Elementary Spey Casting School
January 14, 200
6 - Morning
ETESCH-A Elementary Spey Casting School
January 14, 200
6 - After Noon


Free Fly Tying Party
Jan. 21 -  3:00 pm to 6:00 pm Saturday Afternoon.
Tying Winter Steelhead Flies
(the guides deadly ˝ dozen).
This program is for new tiers and experienced tiers alike.
Group leaders: Mark Bachmann, Marty Sheppard.
Instructional demonstrations with big-screen TV,
and all tying materials & hooks are free.
A custom made fly tying room with perfect lighting
and special teaching aides are provided.
You get to keep all the flies you tie.  
Please bring your own tools & tying thread if you have them.
If you don't have them, we will provide them.
Try ANY VISE we have in stock FOR FREE !!!
Refreshments will be served.  Bring snacks if you want to.
Everyone is welcome!

The Fly Fishing Shop HOME. The Fly Fishing Shop, Welches, OR

1(800) 266-3971

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Fish long & prosper,
Mark Bachmann, Patty Barnes


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