Posted: Tue 11/25/08 9:10 am Post subject: "Switch" Fly Fishing Rods - Review
So I was really turned away from spey rods when I first tried one out. I did not understand the casting styles and it wasn't somthing that I was going to be willing to learn. Then once I saw a few of my friends using switch rods, i was stunned by how much further they could cast to reach a perfect steelhead lie on the opposite bank, a hole that I would never be able to reach in a million lifetimes with a single handed rod. So, once I realized that a switch rod could improve the numbers of fish that I could hook, I started researching switch rods. I would like to purchase a switch rod rather than a spey rod because I will be using this rod mostly to tangle with steelhead using nymph rigs, rather than swinging flies. I'm sure if I had this switch rod I would eventually use it for swinging flies at some point, but the majority of its use will be for nymphing.
So, I did some research and came up with a couple of switch rods that I could hopefully squeeze into my price range during steelhead season. Through some research, it seems like the Beulah switch rods are some of the best. But the Beulah switch rods only come in a 10'6'' model. I know of some switch rods that have a little extra leingh of 11', such as sage models. Will this extra 6" help me reach that opposite bank easier? Thanks for all the help.
Posted: Tue 11/25/08 10:16 am Post subject: Thomas and Thomas
Austin - I have both a 13' spey rod and a switch rod. For atlantic salmon in Maine and Canada, I used the spey rod because nymphing isn't an option and on many rivers sinking lines and all that stuff is not an option either. So, there is no "switching" going on whatsoever. In those cases for Atlantic Salmon where swinging flies on floating lines is the only way to go and the only options are "single" or "double" handed rods .. I enjoy fishing the double handed rod. Not always, but a good part of the time. Like any other form of fly fishing .. nothing, is practical all the time. I was on the cains river in new brunswick canada a month ago because the miramichi river was high .. so, it would be foolish to fish a 13' double handed rod on a smaller river like that. So, in that case I fished my single handed rod (although, i wish I had a switch rod with me for that day .. as it would have been a nice balance/compromise). In my opinion you might want to consider the following.
1. This "spey" thing is kind of a fad right now
2. Might not be wise to fish a big 13' cannon all the time, just because
3. There is absolutely no correlation between swinging flies, the flies you use and the type of rod. To be honest, many of the old time and very good atlantic salmon fisherman I have met use single handed rods to swing flies.
4. All "spey" casts can be done on a single, switch or double handed rod .. "spey" has nothing to do with the type of rod.. it is more relational to the casts.
5. So, learn to make a few key spey casts on a single handed rod first (which I think you have done)
6. Then, THINK of what is the MOST type of fishing you are personally going to be doing. You are from Maine. So, just speaking locally and nearby eastern canada, you are looking at Atlantic Salmon (Landlocked and Searun).
7. Once a year you make a trip to the great lakes to fish steelhead, where you both nymph and swing.
8. So, does a 13' double handed rod make sense for you? Does even a 10'6 or 11' switch rod make sense for you? or should you just save the money and spey cast on a single handed rod? Or maybe you want a 10' 7 weight rod .. which isn't technically a "switch rod" (at least from a marketing perspective." .. Only you know the answer.
BOTTOM LINE: To be totally honest. I know you are 18 and don't have a ton of money. I also know that you are a talented fly fisherman and fly tier with a goodt casting skills of all kinds. I propose, the following. Forget about a 13' double handed rod. Forget about a 11' (switch rod) .. Save yourself the time of walking around with a giant rod that is more of a novelty than a practicality (in most instances). Consider a 10' 7 weight fly rod that you can use for swinging flies in maine and canada to brook trout, sea run trout, landlocked salmon and sea run atlantic salmon .. you can use it for saltwater applications here in Maine (stripers, bluefish and bluefin tuna) (ok maybe not the bluefin, just wanted to see if you were paying attention ) .. you can take it to the salmon river and nymph/swing for steelhead and get a little more of the rod than the 9' 9wt. that you currently use. .... Point being is this. If you were retired, had a ton of money sitting around and wanted fly rods to add to your collection .. than, you might be at a point where a custom made bamboo double handed/spey rod with a Bogdan Salmon Reel makes sense. You are not at that point. not even close. so, consider a 10' 7 weight .. that's actually what I am in the market for these days .. why? simple. i can use it for "everything" (within reason) and its practical to do so .. and, I like simplicity and practical.
So - why don't you do some research for us .. and find out what our options are for 10' 7 weights? I'd like to get one too .. as, for the reasons above, that would be the best "switch rod" for me. I can "SWITCH" from brook trout, salmon, stripers, steelhead etc.. without "switching" rods
PS. As austin researches some affordable and nice 10' 7 weight options .. does anyone use these and have any recommendations? Again, affordable is key .. Austin is 18 .. on his way to college and bussing tables ... And, at this point and time, affordable is very important to me too. Thanks.
I considered doing the same thing, buying a switch or a spey rod and decided on a 10' 7wt. To be totally honest it is very difficult to cast all day. The rod has an extended butt section so it could be used as a spey/switch rod,, but after trying many times to make spey casts the line doesn't turn over well. I even bought a spare spool with spey line thinking that it might make a difference but it did not. So, I gave up on it as a switch rod and started using it as an overhand and after casting it for one day My shoulder felt like it was going to pop. I was on a steelhead trip and had 2 more days left so I switched back to a 9' 8wt and what a difference. I cast the 8wt for 2 more days and never got as worn out as I did casting that 10 fotter. Now maybe it is just the rod because I have cast 10' 8wts and did not have as much trouble. Actually the 10' 8wt was a cannon and could launch line.
I would consider this.
- Cast the rod before you buy, multiple times.
- Might want to spend a little more $$ for a 10' rod, rather then go middle of the line like I did.
- Maybe go up a line weight for the rod (8wt line for 7wt rod)
So from my experience the 10 foot rod can be a bear to cast all day. Especially over hand.
Posted: Tue 11/25/08 11:59 am Post subject: Good points
Valid points. Thanks joey. There is a big difference between me and you though .. You are kind of a puss and I am not .. Just kidding bro. I like the idea of an 8 wt. 10' ... or maybe?????? it WAS just the 10' 7 wt rod that you had, that "didn't turn over the line well etc.." .. Although, if we are taking "switch rod " for salmon, stripers, bluefish, bonefish, albies,, bonito steelhead (again, with SWITCH referrring to using the same rod effectively for these same species) .. I like the idea of bumping up the weight to an 8 weight and keeping the lenght at 10' ... are there "alot" of rods available in the option of 8wt/10' .. if so what? .. and, I would imagine that the difference of "flex" associated with each rod/manufacturer would play a roll. But, my end result goal still remains the same ...to be able to "switch" the species .. but not the fly rod ... of course certain species this would not apply (tiny little brook trout, marlin, bluefin tuna, panfish etc..) .. but IN GENERAL or at least the most common species that i fish for .. this rod would work. austin or anyone else, what do you think? 8wt/10ft on the stiffer side for "everything"? .. or maybe stick with 7wt/10' and find out if it might have just been the rod joey was using? ..
Posted: Tue 11/25/08 12:17 pm Post subject: I'm looking at Switch Rods too
I am looking at Switch Rods also, and was pleased to see a thread started on the topic. My reasons are that a Switch rod would give me a bit better line control, and the obvious ability to reach more water. I also am interested because fishing a 9ft single-handed rod all day is taking a toll on my shoulder. The idea of casting two handed appeals to me as a means to reduce wear and tear. (There's only so much tread on a tire.) Joey's comments about the muscle ache from a 10footer concern me though. Casting the extra length as a single handed rod would certainly be more tiring, so I wonder whether the Switch Rod just wasn't easy to cast as a two handed rod, or whether he just prefered to cast it single-handed.
I had been looking at Beaulah rods as well, and understand that the folks there are extremely helpful. As a complete newbie when it comes to spey casting, it would be very important to me to have the rig set up properly from the start. Beaulah seems to have a system aproach to this. As for rod weight, I fished a 6wt Orvis saltwater T3 the past two Steelhead trips. That may sound under-gunned, but that particular rod is so stiff that I have to overline it to 7 or 8 to get it to load much on anything other than 50ft casts. It is easily as stiff as my 8wt, but has the advantage of larger diameter guides, so it doesn't freeze up as quickly. I would think that a Switch rod would have a softer action, and thus a 7 or 8 would be best for Steelhead in New York. Any thoughts on this? Anyone fish a Beaulah rod?
Outside of the affordability options (that are different for different people) and austins needs vs. your personal needs (thast also differ from person to person) .. as far as a straight up switch rod goes .. 11'7 is very nice, in my opinion .. and i don't think anyone would argue that "Beaulah rods" has it dialed in .. in terms of matching up the lines with their rods etc... I could be wrong, but i think they were pretty much first to market with the "switch rod" ... a couple of my friends use Beaulah rods .. and love them. so, if someone were considering a "switch" rod for great lakes steelheading .. .. based on what they have told me and kind of a "general concensus" from casual discussions about "switch rods" .. i don't think you would find many steelheaders that would disagree to the point that .. you can't go wrong with Beaulah rods as a switch rod of choice ...
Cool comments jeremy. As you mentioned, I am tight on cash, and I think the biggest thing that the longer switch rods would do for me is help out with line management when casting across pools and "high sticking." But, with the switch rods, your right, I can't fish for a number of species because of the 2 handles, unlike a single handed rod which I could use for many fly fishing applications. The longer leingh of a single handed rod could really help me with my line management when high sticking.
Autin, FYIW I have the Beulah 8/9 switch and love it for all around SR fishing. It is great at indicator fishing and can handle sink tips well for swinging flies, plus I've used it in the salt for overhead casting from shore where it excells. It isn't good at single handed casting as it is too heavy to do over and over but for a short period of time its fine. I just got a spey rod for swinging flies because I can't reach water and throw heavy tips ie T-14 with the switch, well I have but its work, that my buddies with spey rods do. If I weren't so into swinging flies for steel all of a sudden I would totally go for the switch. If you're not carefull in a year or I'm sure you will also have a spey rod such is the nature of many of us flyfisherman.
Just bought a Beulah 6/7 Switch and it is, without a doubt, the best rod for Great Lakes Steelheading. Period. It is dialed in for every situation you could face in the Great Lakes. It can LAUNCH line while casting overhead on beaches or at the mouths. It is a high-sticking macine. It swings like a 13'er...... The 6/7 is noticably softer than the other models, perfect for protecting light tippet.
I know it must sound like I am trying to sell you this rod, but that's because I am. Not for Beulah's benefit, but for your's. You'll never look back.
Hey, I've got a BMA, with Beulah's Elixer line on there. All nymphing for me right now. The fish aren't very aggressive in 34 degree water, ya know? So I won't be swinging 'till Spring. Bought it locally. Lake Erie Ultimate Angler in Erie, PA.
Spey Rods, Single Handed Rods and Switch Rods all are made for the same purpose – getting a fly to the fish. All do it differently yet they all have to follow the same laws of physics to get the job done.
Spey Rods have traditionally been a softer action rod – open loops – slow sweeping motions – casting fixed lengths of line swinging flies and not much need of backcast room.
Single Handed Rods have run the gambit from the first soft full-flex rods to almost broomstick stiff. For overhead casting all require backcast room and most all are designed to cast variable lengths of line.
Switch Rods are the new kid on the block (Jeremy, if any of these are a fad it’s the Switch Rod – remember Spey Rods have been around since the mid-1800s). Born from the union of Spey and Single Handed Rods they have inherited some of characteristics of both.
So when you’ve got a situation like Austin’s where you don’t feel Single Handed Rods are getting the job done but a full grown Spey seems like overkill the likely candidate is a Switch Rod. Good solid logic but the devil is in the details.
As it is in many fields when you meld two techniques you increase the variables. With Switch Rods you can get fast or slow, shorter or longer, long bottom grips or short bottom grips, big eyes or small eyes. You can use long head lines, short head lines or double tapers and you can cast either Single or Double-handed – it just plain gets complicated. But it all boils down to this what are you going to use the rod for?
In Austin’s case he said,
“I will be using this rod mostly to tangle with steelhead using nymph rigs, rather than swinging flies. I'm sure if I had this switch rod I would eventually use it for swinging flies at some point, but the majority of its use will be for nymphing.”
With any of these rods Spey Single or Switch if nymphing is your game I say go for a mid to soft action rod which by nature lends itself to the open loops needed to keep split-shot, strike indicators and flies from tangling. Tight loops are hard on a nymph caster.
Fast action rods almost always force one to use the downstream dangle – sling it upstream cast. False casting to change direction with tight loops is a snarl waiting to happen. So, whichever rod style you select if the rod is primarily for nymphing don’t get caught up in the fast action, tight loop mantra that the ad campaigns promote.
That said I’d go with a 12 to 13 foot Spey over a Switch Rod. My reason is that most Switch Rods are just that – rods with which you can switch from Single Handed casting to Double Handed casting. Because of that unless you are a very disciplined person you’ll find yourself Single Handed casting all the time because that is what you know.
Many people have come to our Spey Casting class with Switch Rods and if you watch them even when they are suppose to be practicing the Single Spey they don’t. What happens is they make a Single Spey or two – don’t get perfect results – and then throw a Single Handed cast – then another – then another – then another and when they see you looking at them shaking your head they make a Single Spey. It’s human nature you do what you’re comfortable doing and Switch Rods allow you to get away with it.
It’s the same reason I like a 20’ wood and canvas canoe. I damm well know I can’t put that 125lbs onto the roof rack after a hard day’s fishing; so I trailer it. If that canoe weighed 98lbs I’d ruin my back trying to roof rack it because until I got a canoe that was just too heavy roof racking was what I did.
So Austin, for what it worth get yourself a 12 to 13-foot Spey and take a lesson or get Simon Gawesworth’s book or DVD or the Spey to Z, DVD and learn to Spey Cast on a rod that will do the job nicely and be just a bit to heavy for you to blow out a shoulder trying to Single Handed cast an 11-foot Switch Rod. You’ll learn the Spey Casts quicker and without realizing it once you know them you’ll be using them no matter what rod you have in your hand.
Ps – you can always come up with Jeremy and we can practice some Spey together
Great points. Just for the record. When I referred to spey rods as a 'fad' ... I was referring to the possibly over-exagerated use of them in instances that don't seem practical. I am aware that 'spey' has a long history ... and like you said, 'need is the mother of all invention' ... so, to use a spey rod on whaters such as small eddy on the west branch of the penobscott .. Which is huge water with cliffs literally at your back ... it makes perfect sense. On the contrary, using a 13' spey rod on small tributaries that could easily be fished with a single handed rod using roll casts, spey casts and overhead casts ..... seems a bit overkill. And, those are the applications that I was referring to as being a fad. For example. Many steelhead tributaries on the great lakes including many sections of the salmon river ... are just not that big and don't seem practical for a 13' spey rod .... and the amount of fisherman wielding 13to 15 foot rods seems more a result of a fad, than a true need. I mean, if you're into swinging flies and if 'the tug is the drug' ... you can swing flies and get 'the tug' on a tiny brook trout stream as well as with stripers on reefs or atlantic salmon on giant rivers or steelhead on big waters etc.... my point was that, swinging flies and spey casting has nothing to do with the rod .... and a spey rod definately makes sense and is not a fad on the river spey or other similar rivers ... but to use a 13' spey/double handed rod on a relatively small river systems where a giant rod is not practical for a varieyt of reasons ... seems to me to be somewhat of a 'fad' .... that's all.
Jeremy, Got it.
You’d be surprised how many people do think Spey is a fad or new. People come into the shop and ask – “what can you tell me about that new method everyone’s talking about – Spey Casting I think they call it.” I guess when you think about it Spey is new here in the States except for the Northwest and East Coast Salmon rivers.
Edited to add - Hey what time is it?
Christ I should be in bed
Posted: Sat 11/29/08 12:25 pm Post subject: switch rod
I just switched over to a switch rod and love it for certain types of water not all. I see people make a bunch of errors when fishing the bigger rods.
1. Remember not to walk right into the water most fish are at your feet.
2. High water days are not the days you need to cast as far as you can the fish on those days usually are found hugging the bank.
3. Do not let the length of rod change the way you fish. Let the rod just help you fish spots that you normally cannot reach.
4. Bigger rod means you also need to be respectful of the fisherman around you....
Good things with the switch rod
1. Longer rod will allow you to fish more by keeping the fly in the water, with longer drag free drifts.
2. You will not be as tired at the end of the day.
3. You will land more fish...
4. You will become a better caster because it drives you to learn more casts.
Do your research.. I bought a Hardy 11'6 and it is awesome it is lighter than my 10' 7 wt. I bought it at Adams flyfishing outlet for Half the price that they normally sell for.
Posted: Sat 11/29/08 12:58 pm Post subject: Great Points
Fishgolf, great points.
PS. Hey Mike ... been a couple years now since you first showed me how to spey cast on the single handed rod and on the double handed rod. I practice spey casting virtually every time I am on the water these days .. sometimes with a single handed 9' rod, sometimes with a 11' switch rod and sometimes with a 13' double handed rod ... Funny to look back and see this post with the videos of your teaching me ..[
http://www.fliesandfins.com/postt668.html ... I look forward to getting to fish with you soon or taking the spey class that you hold with Jim Rusher in Maine every year ... and showing you how I have improved since then (i think) .. and learning more casts and refining techniques based on where my cast(s) is at these days ... As a side not, i have gotten a few notes from people that said that these 2 videos helped them with their spey casting (especially when starting out) ... i think probably because its easy for a beginner to learn through another beginner; and at that time i was about as beginner as a beginner could be ...
Posted: Sat 11/29/08 1:14 pm Post subject: careful
"I" am not qualified to do anything but ask "stupid" questions and be tought ... if that is what you are referring to as "you should do another video" .. than i am in ... especially if it was done as a follow up to those 2 videos .. where i can show mike how i have improved (or atleast think i have improved), he could analyze what i am doing right/wrong .. give me some pointers and maybe show me a few new tricks of the trade. I don't mind being the guinea pig for others to learn through and the one to ask the "stupid" questions ... kinda fun actually.... i think those videos were good because they were real and unscripted and simply 1 guy (me) who had no clue what he was doing, getting advice from another guy (mike) who does have a clue what he is doing. mike, how long have you been spey casting? who did you learn from?
Long time since I watched those videos – both were fun to make. As I remember the one with you casting was taken on your first day with a Spey Rod and after that lesson you went to Madison and caught fish. Not bad for a first day.
I, like you, still feel bad about the additional video footage we lost when your camcorder went swimming. For those of you that weren’t there we had Jeremy’s camcorder on a tripod behind us and I caught the whole rig, camcorder and tripod, in a D-loop and tossed both into the water. That was a big Oops.
As for how long I’ve been Spey Casting………….must be 8-years now. We’ve had Jim Rusher doing a class each summer for 6-years and I started a couple of years before that. I picked it up using Jim Vincent’s VHS tape titled “Basic Spey & Two Handed Fly Rod Casting.”
That tape and “Spey Master Class” by Derek Brown were just about worn out by the end of my first summer with Spey. I’d run down to the dock make a few mistakes – ah, I mean casts and run back to the VCR to see what the next thing to try or adjust was. I was some glad when I found Jim Rusher for classes. If it weren’t for him I’d still be running back and forth between the dock and the VCR – well – DVD player now.
Jeremy - you really should take a spot in Jim's next class - you would really enjoy it.
Posted: Sun 12/07/08 8:16 am Post subject: Interesting Korea made rods from UK
just to made it even more complicated there are very nice rods in UK (and, thanks to one our tackle shop, in Czech rep. too...), Partridge S series.
They exist in many variations, DH and Switch too (just now I've purchased light Switch 12' wt 7/8 4 parts), but they are in few 10' version too, with add-on second handle for all rods longer than 9' - I got to my hands also 10' (without this second - bottom handle) wt 8, 3 sections - VERY nice rod, it felt very lightweight for such long rod, even if it would be 6-7 wt...
But there are so much nice rods, we can't have anything.
Posted: Sun 12/07/08 4:43 pm Post subject: You Guys Done Yet!
So Austin, my boy, maybe you could borrow my spey casting A - Z from Jeremy, good DVD. I have a 10' 7 WT. that I use for nymphing mostly for Steelies, good rod for that. I have a 12'6 Orvis Spey rod and a 14'6 Orvis Spey. The first is a 7-8 Wt. and the latter is a 10 -11 WT. All three rods have specific purpose and the function in casting and which rod depends on the size and nature of the species I'm targeting. Atlantic Salmon I use the biggest rod but you could successfully use any of the above 3 size rods. I prefer the 14' 6" rod, how much water must I cover and do I want to get the fish to hand in reasonable amount of time. I suppose you could land a Salmon on a 5 WT. depending on how far you want to run! The above are my personal selections with which I have caught many fish. Line control, species and water coverage without a lot of shoulder pain at the end of the day.
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