Steelhead swinging question

I am wondering how most people get their line out when they are swinging for steelhead using a single handed rod. I have a 9 wt and the Rio versitip system. I can only get line out if I backcast and load the line to shoot it out. Sometimes I can't backcast (trees) and I can barely roll cast the line out (40ft). Any tips or do I need to work on my roll casting. Also how far do you think I should be able to cast with a single handed rod. I can cast out 80ft pretty consistently. I tried to watch other people on the D but EVERYBODY fly fishing had a spey rod.

Thank You,
You could go with a stripping basket, or learn how to coil line on your hand and wrist... the drag of 9 wt line on the water is gonna kill a third of your line speed while shooting... also the 9 is a heavy rod, probably needs quite a bit of line out to load it enough to shoot, you could try using a 9' 7-8 wt which will load better with less line out and should roll cast better. the casts I would recomend youtubing are, aerial roll cast, right angle cast (not a good distance cast) and the side roll cast, and the near vertical cast.
as for distance... does your rod have enough spine to set a hook at over 80 feet? you also can just find water that allows you to fish.. unless your a god, fly fishermen just don't get to fish the whole river... Good luck-Brad
get a spey rod... haha... or just get a med fast 7 wt and line it with an 8. then you can semi roll-spey cast it, but that is ridiculous :D no seriously if you can throw it 40 ft out you're in the strike zone in most rivers... don't overlook the spey
I got a steel on the McKenzie with a was sweet...the distance is awesome cuz I have that same problem with distance.
since you've invested so much into the versitips... i'd suggest upgrading your setup to a switch or spey - double handed rods punch a whole lot more with very little back cast room - 65ft with minimum effort. and you have much better line control with a longer rod especially when you're swinging.

if you're on a budget, start with the rods from angler's roost. they make good gear for very decent price. since you're lined for a single hand 9 wt, get a 7wt double handed rod, and you can use the same line. you can always upgrade later and use the first rod as a backup.
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Thank you guys for the suggestions. My friend gave me the rod, mainly because I wanted a rod to fish pike, bass, steelhead, and salmon. He mainly used it for fall chinooks and coho, but then bought another 9wt and 10wt. I like the idea of the 7wt double hander and I can use the same system. Now I just need to spend more time fishing and getting used to the rod.
I second what ninja said, The coastal river I fish for steelhead has very limited backcasting room in a lot of spots.
I bought a 10'6" beulah 7 wt switch and lined it with a 450 grain compact skagit, a wallet of sink tips for swinging and when I want to indi fish I spool up the 9 weight floating line and it works well.
I went and swung yesterday and I really liked being on the left side of the river (looking downstream). That way I could backcast upstream to get the line off of the water and then cast down and across. The tips for roll casting really helped. I was pretty constantly getting my line out 40 feet roll casting. I think my biggest problem was to quote halibut man "the drag of 9 wt line on the water is gonna kill a third of your line speed while shooting". With a little adventerous wading I could fish most of the seams, but nothing like the guys spey casting half way across the river. I even could psuedo spey cast with my mini fightingbutt. I think most of the rivers I fish I will be able to cover most of the water (besides the Deschutes). I ended up catching a 18" trout on the Deschutes, but it didn't put up much of a fight with the 9wt. Fishing for steelhead is probably the only time you get disappointed when an 18" trout leaps out of the water after a hook up. I think a 7wt spey would sweet if I could use the same line for two rods.
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