Upon Switch...

I have Winston BIIX 7110 Switch and love it. I want to toss streamers into another zip code and I need a line for it. Is the Rio Skagit 350 with a T8 and T14 tips the best plan. Whats your thoughts? Currently I'm using 8wt 555 Dyna Tip for cold water and it's an awsome line, great vis and floating properties for single handing it (.6 spec. gravity (H20 is 1.0)). Your thoughts on the Skag line?


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I like the Airflo 40+ 9wt, cut back 10-12' and looped for polyleaders. Or left whole as a dryline. I also used chunks of windcutter belly with t-10 & polys. I would definatly stay under 400grs total (tip+belly) with that rod. 350grs is about what it likes. I also have the Sage 5120 which I run 400grs on and the Winston struggles with the same lines. The biggest fly that I cast consistently was a conehead muddler. It was a stretch, but I'm picky about matching flies to lines. Beadhead wolly buggers or unweighted, lightly tied muddlers are a better match. It's awesome with decent sized beaded soft hackles, nymphs, egg patterns, etc... You can hardly feel them come out of the water. Very smooth casting.
I have the same rod but a Sage ZA. Rio advised the Skagit 400 gr. which I love.
There is a study which states you can put a 650 gr on switch rods! I wouldn't go that high but would not go below 400 gr.
Ya, I saw the same 650 gr. but I've been reading about the different line capabilities. I still think the Skag 400 gr is going to be the ticket...


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If it's a true "7 weight" switch rod, meaning that it'll actually throw a 7 weight line overhead singlehanded, going into those astronomical grain weights is absolutely unnecessary. Seems like the new bragging point on rods is the "grain window" it'll handle. Get over it! I use the belly (back end only) of a 10/11/12 windcutter multitip line on my 7 weight switch (not a winston) and easily pop out casts to my maximum fishable distances with big assed intruders and it's so easy you literally don't feel the rod load, there's no hesitation after the casting stroke, the line just jumps out there. I could be off on my grain weights, but I'd guess it's around 320 to 350 without tips... Using a line that light also allows you to overhead cast with no worries of breakage. It'll fly like brick, but it'll go far as long as you don't expect grace. So once again, if it's a "true 7 weight", see if you can borrow a 350 skagit...

Or heck, if you want to go cheap, just score a 12 weight shooting head, cut 4 or so feet off it, put a loop on it, and you're done... You'd have a 27 foot head that weighs in around 350 (once again if my memory hasn't deteriorated that much). You can always find cheap lines for experimentation on Sierra Trading Post or places like that. But I don't feel it's an experimentation situation. It should work quite well.


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That rod was concieved as a single-hander for overhead casting first and foremost. I don't know if Winston offers it as a "switch" rod now, but when I bought it, right after they released it, it was offered as part of the BIIX single-handed lineup. As with all of those rods, it has a nice soft tip that makes it more 'caster friendly' than, say, the Sage XP being sold at that time. That soft tip is the limiting factor when it comes to spey casting that rod. I put 6 or 7 different lines on that rod. Grain-wise, the highest would have been an Airflo Skagit 430gr that had been cut back to 400grs with 8' of t-10 for a total of 480grs. The lightest would have been an 8wt SA Steelhead taper. I was able to cast 480grs OK, but I had to alter my forward stroke quite a bit, slowing down and digging deeper into the butt. That's all fine if your goal is to figure out what the largest fly that rod is capable of casting. It comes at a loss of recovery speed at the tip, though. One can make the argument that the heavier head is going to fly just as far, even at a lower line speed, because it isn't as affected by air resistence. The real problem I have with loading a rod that heavy is the loss of finesse. That may not be a word long-liners associate with Skagit casting, but that's mostly a matter of prejudice and lack of exposure. That rod is a lot of fun and gives the caster great hand feel for what the developing d-loop wants, but at too high a load, all you feel is that soft tip begging for mercy. Set it free with the right load and she'll make flat, beautiful loops at surprising line speed. The Z-axis is a totally different rod. It's a monster of a 7wt compared to the Winston. I'm sure it responds well to being loaded up.


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I would also say this. I like tapered skagit lines. I know the rio's have the 'best' turnover, but I think the problem of casting large things is better solved by a sturdier rod and higher total grains, than by pushing 25grs/ft into the back of a max 14gr/ft sinktip.

Jeremy Floyd

fly fishing my way through life
Mike Dickson custom makes a great line for that rod that is easily capable of throwing a type 6 sink tip and winter sized flies.

I have a client who hates to fish by himself so he always brings me that same rod and I love it. One of my top 5 rods on the market right now.
I don't use the Skagit 400 line to overhead cast my 7110. I switch over to the Sage Indy 290 gr line. It just makes sense to me to use a line designed for a particular style of casting.

Jeremy Floyd

fly fishing my way through life
The Yancy should fix it because it was specifically designed for switch casting 10 years ago which gives us a lot of time for feedback and improvement. It was based around the Sage DS2 and Rainshadow blanks because they are full flex and spey well when lined correctly.

As far as I know there isn't another dedicated switch line in the world with that long of R&D and service.

Good luck finding a nice closeout line that doesnt hinge, or takes as much work out of casting.