surfrat59

Switch Rod Questions

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With the current state of the fishery here in the NE, and the fact I'll have some more free time this season,  thoughts turn to alternatives. I'm thinking night tide back bays and estuaries swinging flatwings, and some trout spey in places I haven't visited in a long time. After dusting off my trout gear and 5wt Orvis Silver Label (yeah that's how long it's been since I've trout fished), I realized the old pfleuger had two spools...one a long belly 5wt F for dries and nymphs, and the other a shorter head 6wtF for streamers or rollcasting from tight banks. So with the popularity of switch rods today and to learn some new technique I picked up a Hardy Demon 5/6 11ft rod. I have zero 2H casting experience, so I'm hoping to find an instructor for a few lessons to speed the learning curve. Meantime I've SH overhead cast it on the lawn to see what kind of grain weight it likes. 325-350 seems to be the sweet spot overhead with a haul into a slight breeze. Stretching it to 380-400 the rod bends deeper and the loop opens a little too much for my liking. First question, with a skagit or scandi head/tip combo would I use more or less grains for water anchored casting, or the OH casting weight would be my combined head/tip weight regardless of casting style. Having read ideally a 3:1 ratio line to rod length is best for spey I'm looking for short heads and tip combo not exceeding 30-32 ft? Any starting point suggestions and advice would be greatly appreciated...

Bobby

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Starting point for that rod overhead would be a standard 6wt weight, weight forward line.  30ft to 35ft head.  No tips.  Integrated line.  Floating or Float/sink or Float/int (ghost tip). A 6 wt Wulff Triangle taper should be about right.

 

Other than that, I'd contact OPST for a trout spey head/tip match for it.  Or a Wulff Ambush 5/6wt plus various lengths of T-8.

 

Rule of thumb for me is to go 2-3 line weights lower for overhead than spey, assuming the rod is rated for spey.  Your rod is probably not rated for spey; most 11ft switch rods are not spey rated but rated for single hand or one line weight up/down.  YMMV.

 

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Switch rods were originally termed such when they were either two hand overhead cast or spey cast. Marketing by some manufacturers started to indicate you can single hand OH cast. Guess I am saying you might want to try two hand overhead casting the rod if you haven't yet. As for lines typically overhead casting calls for a lighter grain than Skagit casting. One option is to track down Steve Godshall and have some custom lines made up for your purposes. A few minutes on the phone and he will probably be able to put something together.

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39 mins ago, JEFFSOD said:

Switch rods were originally termed such when they were either two hand overhead cast or spey cast. Marketing by some manufacturers started to indicate you can single hand OH cast. Guess I am saying you might want to try two hand overhead casting the rod if you haven't yet. As for lines typically overhead casting calls for a lighter grain than Skagit casting. One option is to track down Steve Godshall and have some custom lines made up for your purposes. A few minutes on the phone and he will probably be able to put something together.

JEFF

Thank you!!!

That's my pet peeve.

You are absolutely correct re O/H and Spey.

NO  S/H with a Switch rod.

A Switch rod has a design that allows it to cast O/H and Anchor Point - but - neither perfectly.

I have had many Switch rods from 10'6" to 13'6" (still have the 13'6").  Can you imagine S/H casting a 13'6" rod.  One of my favorites that Mike Oliver now owns in a 12'3" #10.  Great rod - but S/H it??? No way.

Thanks again.

Herb

Edited by HL

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After watching Simon Gaesworth for 2hrs I think I understand the meaning of switch rod now. It's basically a light duty spey rod that can be overhead SH cast in a pinch, not very efficiently but the option is available. Put the 400 grain floater back on and practiced 2H overhead casting stroke without shooting line until I felt comfortable enough that I was reasonably consistent. Very little effort required and very little upper hand movement. A short push/pull with the lower hand, similar to a short SH haul, and it shot a good amount of running line. Hardy has a grain wt window of 390-430 printed on the rod, properly cast it now felt like I was in the grain wt ballpark. SH overhead with that line required a lower line speed and subsequently wider line loop...as a saltwater beach flyrodder those are two cardinal sins, so I need to learn that and make the adjustments. If it stops raining I'd love to get to the beach this afternoon and do some rollcasting and water anchor casts with the 400gn line and see how the rod loads.

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This clip below solve my trout Switch rod  to Spey lines “issues”. I just add 3 to the standard fly line on the actual number weight rated, NOT only on a Switch rod blank, but minuses on all my 8#, 9# and 10#  9’ single hand fly rods with Skagit short heads.


I have a T&T Switch 11’/7#, I can overhead cast or Spey any where, back or up front in NJ with 425g to 450g either is a Skagit or Scandi head setup.

To me, it was a game changer understanding first what to sacrifice on the actual fishing situation in front of me,  once we find the bait, the structure and we decide the best presentation, this lines are the best it happens since I start fly fishing, way more important to me than rod length and distance blind casting, I start to changing my focus over the rod length and casting distance for 100 % fly control, what this lines can do for me once I learn how to control the last 30’ of it.

With Skagit short heads, was the cast-ability on knarly conditions when the presentation calls for heavy tips and patterns, the swing or drift fly deep together with the fly size/weight/profile for a optimal presentation in the right speed deep and angle in the water column, was day and night for me. Scandi heads and the new Rio power are just too sexy to only overhead cast, Scandi are my favorite in early season in the back bay in my local spots.

Figure that part of the game in the same moment in time the Skagit and Scandi heads show in the marke it really change my view on how wide the possibilities are once we only incorporate the Spey in to our technique.
I can’t wait to start the new season here in NJ.

Hope it helps surfrat59, see you out there.


Good luck to you all this 2021 season.

 

best 

Viete

 

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If that rod throws 400g in two hand overhead use, it must be a spey rated "switch" rod. I would have thought 300g to 325g overhead tops.  For comparison I have two 11ft 7wt "switch" rods that throw 350g and 375g overhead well, but are rated for ~440g to 480g if used Skagit style, respectively.

 

What you are basically doing is fine, so if 400g works for you, then that rod can keep using it.  However, I'd still try a lighter line just to see if you can get tighter loops and more distance in calmer conditions.

 

Welcome to the strangely inconsistent world of trying to line a switch rod.  Confusing to say the least...

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50 mins ago, Killiefish said:

If that rod throws 400g in two hand overhead use, it must be a spey rated "switch" rod. I would have thought 300g to 325g overhead tops.it can manage 

325/350 overhead tops SH with a strong haul, obviously not what it was designed to do. If i can manage 375/400 TH and skagit I have a use for it!

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I'm thinking trout when the water is too high.and too fast for for a conventional 5wt, plus back bay stripers drifting streamers on a calm night, maybe even a worm hatch, Get my drift. If I    cant figure it out there's always my 6wt SH...but I'm gonna try and make it work. Thanks everyone...

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6 wt TH  Then Skagit should work in that 375 To 400 grain area. Scandi line maybe a bit less. 

 

For your back bays and nice inlets this rod could be the ticket.

 

You might  want to consider a Skagit head with mono shooting line as these really fly well.

 

Single hand personally I don’t get it never have. No way would us surf rats chose an 11 foot 10 wt rod as a single hander.

 

How this BS started even for short casting periods defeats me.

 

I have never been a fan of Switch rods for the ocean on the NE Coast of the USA Out Front. But on the insides they will be  lovely rods to spey cast be it air borne or water anchored. If you are in tight with no back cast room these rods are a great solution. They will deliver a big fly with Skagit lines. They are about as effortless to cast as one could wish for. It feels great to.

 

On the rivers Steelhead come to mind and big Trout.

 

Enjoy.

 

Mike

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20 hours ago, Mike Oliver said:

6 wt TH  Then Skagit should work in that 375 To 400 grain area. Scandi line maybe a bit less. 

 

For your back bays and nice inlets this rod could be the ticket.

 

You might  want to consider a Skagit head with mono shooting line as these really fly well.

 

Single hand personally I don’t get it never have. No way would us surf rats chose an 11 foot 10 wt rod as a single hander.

 

How this BS started even for short casting periods defeats me.

 

I have never been a fan of Switch rods for the ocean on the NE Coast of the USA Out Front. But on the insides they will be  lovely rods to spey cast be it air borne or water anchored. If you are in tight with no back cast room these rods are a great solution. They will deliver a big fly with Skagit lines. They are about as effortless to cast as one could wish for. It feels great to.

 

On the rivers Steelhead come to mind and big Trout.

 

Enjoy.

 

Mike

Dear Mike ... you stand defeated?

 

It is EASY to cast an 10.5 ft to 11 ft Switch rod when the placement of your casting hand ... makes the long rod lever an actual 10ft single hand fly rod. And you'll cast farther when you can generate higher line speed with a short haul on the forecast. If you go longer than 11 feet on a Switch rod... then yeah it starts getting impractical.

 

It seems Sage has gone for the light and fast in their Switch rod line up. I had and sold a Sage X 5110-4 earlier last year. A nice rod in many respects but at $1000 USD ... way expensive. And I bought mine used for $650. With these Sage Switch rods ... They don't bend as deeply as other rods ... very much optimized for Skagit delivery I think. Chuck & Duck.  

 

Along the way of experimenting, I came across some Hardy Demon rods on the cheap ... and they really are great as Single hand / Over head Switch rods. Trout Spey is the popular term ... but they perform like modern Striper Moon rods. Deep loading but quick recovery ... not a noodle but easy to load. Trident Fly Fishing raved about them as a real alternative to Sage ... as a Trout Spey rod.

 

I've got mine tuned up for Spring Shad & Striper fishing which is now just around the corner / mid April. Below is a new rod & reel for $500 bucks. Super light ... easy to cast single handily. 

 

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Cheers my fly fishing friend ... with that Sage Ignitor,

 

Tony

 

 

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Hi Tony

 

I can never be persuaded that it is a sensible thing to cast an 11 foot rod capable of casting around 300 grains overhead with one hand.  Where does the the rod dangling below the hand go.  There are much better solutions. I really have no wish to cast my 11 9 Ignitor with one hand. It casts so well with two so to me pointless. With two hands so little effort and stress on the shoulders. With one hand and trying to haul not so. I doubt any gains will come from single hand casting by the vast majority of us. 
DH and Skagit lines and sink tips not very compatible. Scandi line better.

So I will take a pass on SH casting a Switch rod. If it works for others that’s good.

Bob Meiser seems to favour rods that bend more deeply into the butt sections for Skagit rather than stiffer blanks.

The X is a much liked rod but the Igniter was an easy choice for me to make.

I agree both are  crazy expensive and not even furnished with modern guides and the stripper  guide really should have been of way higher specification.

I could have saved money and gone the blank route and fitted SL Torzites but I have too many rod  building projects on the go right now and I want to go fishing. I suspect I am a bit older than yourself so I can use age as another justification to self, to buy a ready made. Not easy for me but it had to be done. LOL .

Interesting that Hardy went for a down locking reel seat whereas Sage have opted for an uplocking. Uplocking would be better if single hand is an option.

You got a great deal price wise. I would really love to gear up for Trout Spey but swinging is not my proffered way to fish for Trout and it would not get enough use to justify it. 
The Switch rod when I get it hopefully in April will be used for Salmon on smaller to mid sized rivers. Or for when I get so decrepid I can’t manage to cast a big stick anymore. It will see very little use in the briny but never say never totally.

I have to get the rivers sorted first with big and small rods. From a casting point of view casting long belly spey lines just floats my boat well above the plimsol line.
So if this is defeat it’s not bad at all.

 

cheers

 

Mike

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Not sure I have a whole lot to add, except I an 8 weight switch in saltwater, but I'm strictly doing the overhead casting thing...the spey style thing may be something I do sometime down the road a bit. But not at the moment. While I heard overhead casting was easier on the shoulder to cast, I don't think it was part of my initial consideration when looking to using a switch rod...but in hindsight, that's probably one of the better benefits of what I do with the rod

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Hey Tony that rod looks good with the new Lamson on it, thanks for all the help in choosing the Hardy. OH cast is not my intention with this rod, bends too deeply into the butt to throw tight loops. Primary use will be skagit and spey casting freshwater trout. Been years since I've gone after trout but some of my favorite old haunts i'd be forced to make short roll casts for lack of backcast room, not ideal with a long belly 5wt line. When I get proficient enough a skagit head/tip combo and a dedicated spey head for smaller flies are in order. It will see limited if any saltwater use, drifting flatwings in an outflow on quiet nights maybe.

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Tony

 

Please you have to remove the protective film off your new rods handles.

 

Get some mud, sand and sweat into that nice cork.

 

cheers

 

Mike

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