Pro Tip: How to Carry Two Rigged Rods on the Water

Written by: Travis Young

By sliding the butt section of the second rod through the sling-pack strap, Travis can cover water more quickly.
Photo courtesy Travis Young

I’ve been carrying two fully rigged rods with me while I fish—a nymphing set up and a streamer setup. Which rods I carry depends on the time of year, of course. Now the trick I’ve found is to use my sling pack to secure the rod not in use. I slide rod between the sling and my chest while I fish.

Once you’ve become accustomed to the second rod being there, casting is a snap.
Photo by Tim Robinson

I am left-handed, so I’m used to doing things different than “normal people”. One helpful hint doing this is to loop your line around the reel and hook the fly to a guide at least halfway up the rod (within arm’s reach). This keeps the fly from getting snagged in you or the sling pack. It does take time getting used to casting with a second rod sticking up off your chest, but you can cover water a lot more quickly this way, rather than having to walk all the way back upstream to get the second rod.

Travis Young lives in Greencastle, Pennsylvania. A former Marine, he found that fly fishing helped him get through some rough patches, and the love of the fly grew stronger.

36 thoughts on “Pro Tip: How to Carry Two Rigged Rods on the Water”

  1. Why not just set your rod on the bank while you fish a hole? When your done move holes and grab your second rod. I’m pretty sure people would break there rods this way.

    1. deffo worth a try. i ve tried with one rod on the bank but on some rivers it is as bad as walking back to the car on others

    2. I cover a lot of water and I’ve found this isn’t that hard to do and enables me to move quicker. I don’t generally camp out on holes. There are a few times that I set it on the bank along with the sling pack to get out to the runs to fish. Generally because the water flow is really fast and/or deep. The only issue I’ve come across is when a fish spits the hook and depending on the angle it the line ends up on the other rod.

  2. Haha! Always a challenge. Leaving one rod stream side invariably leads to wading upstream (or down). If you are chasing rising fish thru a run or riffle, and depending on time of year, finding your rod can be a task.
    I like Travis’ technique and definitely worth trying.
    Thanks for the tip!
    Also, thank you for your service.

  3. Wow, seen a lot of teeth grabs of the rod (always bad form fellas), but this is my first look at a beard rod grab! WTG Travis!
    Seriously though, I keep a second 4 piece rod fully rigged but broken down and stored in a Dan Blanton’s Rigged and Ready Bag which I stuff into the back of a jacket or the pouch in my vest. It only takes a minute to switch rods and the second rod is completely out of my way and travels with me.

  4. I would give my old 9wt T3 to my 8 year-old son and together we would head for the Florida Keys to cast for bones.

  5. I would cherish the moment I took that 8ft rod to the West Canada Creek, NY – Trout season opening day!

  6. Hey Travis, I like your two rodded system. I’m a lefty too. Do you find that the Orvis sling pack doesn’t work conveniently for lefties?
    Eric aka Kingfisher

    1. I don’t think it’s that bad. I had one of the earlier ones until it became too small. Therefore I got the guide SP and it’s great. You know how it is getting used to doing things different that it becomes natural to do them that way.

  7. I always carry 2 rods when on the water. I like to break the second one down in half and stick the inside my wading belt. It makes it easy when walking through the woods and its out of the way when casting.

  8. Would love a 9ft 4wt to chase some wild Browns in the headwaters of the upper reaches of the wild and scenic Chattooga River.

  9. I have never fly fished, so first I’d practice, and practice some more. I’d be in Florida searching for the redfish blowup. Then I’d find me my first Tarpon. Not sure on the size but I’d sure be extremely thankful.

    Tight lines

  10. I’m going to need a heavy rod for when I retire to Florida. So the 9 wt would be good. But then, I’m not retiring for 7+ years. I’d better say 8’4″ 4 weight for Iowa streams!

  11. I would take the 8’4″ 3wt fishing in the high mountain streams of the Pacific Northwest and throughout the other clear water rivers in Washington state.

  12. Well, I just have to comment here. There is a product out there which is a flyrod holder on a belt with a stripping basket and it keeps stripping line ready to cast in the bucket and locks the line and leader line tight to a line lock that releases when you grab the rod. It is for solo sightcasters, primarily kayak or paddleboard and so it has a paddle holder as well because when sight casting to fish, redfish for example, you have a paddle in hand and you need to quietly stow the paddle without jiggling or bumping the boat. When you grab the rod the line is tight, keeping eyes on the fish, you feel for the fly on the fly pad and pull it loose and cast. See the video in the post “See the Fish, Catch the Fish” at Though it is for sight casters, it certainly would accommodate carrying a second rod, with the rod ready, to boot. The rod is worn on the back of the hip, so it is out of the way of paddling, but obviously out of the way for this kind of fishing too.

  13. Well, I once left a nice Orvis rod on the bank and when I came back to get it, it was gone. Consequently, I like this pro tip a lot!

  14. I mostly wade fish Montana rivers, and I use this method. While I’m happy to dump all my gear on the bank when working a short run, if I’m moving through ‘in between’ water, I just can’t help making a few streamer casts as I go. I keep two rods because one is dedicated to sink lines/streamers, the other is ready with a dry fly; I’ll keep an eye on the water as I swing streamers and therefore be ready to go when risers are around. It takes some getting used to, and I don’t love having a rod sticking off to the side when fighting a large fish/when close to snagable branches, but it does help me cover more water.

  15. I’ve carried two rods at all times for 20 some years. I’m right handed, and I rig one rod with floating line for dries or nymphs and the other with sinking or sinking tip for streamers. With my old canvas vest, I put the rod butt into the loop at the bottom of the vest front on the right side (near my belt), and then attached the rod to my chest with the velcro strap near the sheepskin fly patch. Both the loop and the velcro were put there for this purpose. The extra rod then stays close to my chest and sticks up near my left ear, so I can cast easily on the right and even back handed. My newer vest has a similar loop at the bottom and a plastic clasp instead of the velcro. Works the same. That way I can switch rods back and forth from streamer fishing to a dry fly when I see a rising fish. Travis is right, you need to hook your fly farther up the rod so it doesn’t catch on your vest.

    1. My vest has the same loop and velcro strap, and that’s what I do too. It works well, unless I really need to backcast over my left shoulder.

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