Probably been covered before, but . . . spey or switch?

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by Denny, Dec 17, 2010.

  1. Denny

    Denny Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Messages:
    4,097
    Media:
    100
    Likes Received:
    58
    Location:
    Seattle, WA, USA.
    First, I'm not a spey person. I've done it once before, but no skills yet in the spey casting department. I'm a very proficient single handed caster and although the casts are a different with spey, I hoping that many concepts carry over to help me get up the learning curve.

    Now, my objective would be acquire a long(er) rod than I typically use single-handed casting (mostly 9') and the related long-rod casting skills to more efficiently cover water like the Deschutes, Methow, etc. I would plan to employ whatever techniques are going to work at the time, whether it be swinging or nymphing (the latter is heresy, I understand, but I just like fishin'). I would probably be more inclined to be a 'shoot line' kind of guy, which sounds like it lends itself to more of a Skagit setup (again, limited knowledge here about spey and switch).

    So, I'm thinkin' a 12-6 or 13' 7/8 spey or a 10-5. to 11.5' 7 wt. switch might be the fit for me. But, again, that's a guy with lack of knowledge and experience in this arena just putting numbers together.

    Any input from you all would be greatly appreciated!!

    Thanks in advance for your input.
     
  2. Jergens

    Jergens AKA Joe Willauer

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2004
    Messages:
    2,141
    Media:
    190
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    Twin Bridges, MT
    Home Page:
    I'd get a 13' 7wt Echo, TR's are faster, Decho's are slower, go try them and decide what you want. It's a little big for the Met, but perfect for most other 509 steelhead rivers, and if you're going to nymph, just use a 9-9 1/2' rod. I personally think nymphing on a rod over 10' long is over rated, and for swinging you'll like a real spey rod. My .02. If you want to jump up in the $ area, I have been fishing a 13.5 7wt Scott t2h and really like it with a 500 grain skagit head. That size range (13-13.5 7wt) will also work on the coast and s rivers, pretty much the 9' 5wt of spey rods.
     
  3. speyfisher

    speyfisher Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    1,089
    Likes Received:
    135
    Location:
    State of Jefferson U.S.A.
    Ditto the above. I am not a big fan of switch rods. Not that they don't have their place. But from what I see on the river. Guys that can't make them work with spey techniques, give up and over hand cast them. Or plain just expect too much from a "not quite a real spey" rod.
     
  4. Steve Call

    Steve Call Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    Messages:
    1,586
    Likes Received:
    187
    Location:
    Wetside, WA
    Denny, I'm also a single hander who for now fishes 75% of my time for trout. I've been doing more salmon and steelhead fishing, but with a single handed set up. I'm trying to figure out whether to step up to a switch or a spey rod. I'm leaning toward a switch rod, but will be interested in reading the responses you get. (My preference is to fish medium to smaller rivers, which is pulling me toward a switch rod.)

    Steve
     
  5. docstash

    docstash Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    345
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    selah, wa.
    I am with Mr. Willauer on this subject, a two handed rod 12' 6" to 13' 6" in 6 or 7 weight will handle most anything in the NW. A 6 wt. spey is the same about as an 8wt single hander.Single handing a switch will wear you out if nymphing and nymphing takes a lot of line manipulation if fishing on the bank. Distance comes from practice with any rod and a two handed rod is just a longer lever so easier to get more distance. Any rod will spey cast, be it a 7' 3" 3 wt. or a two hander, really the only thing that changes with the short lever is the number of earrings you are going to be wearing. Listening to the dead chicken go whizzing by is a real rush.

    Craig
     
  6. Big Tuna

    Big Tuna Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2004
    Messages:
    1,984
    Media:
    73
    Likes Received:
    51
    Location:
    Wenatchee, Washington
    Agreed. I would add that I think switch rods are less forgiving when making spey casts. I think a lot of folks buy switch rods thinking they will actually "switch" between spey casts and normal single-hand casts. I own a switch and it sucks for single hand casting. There may be some switches that are okay as single hand rods, but none that equal a good single-hand rod.
     
  7. Mark Speer

    Mark Speer It's all good.....

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2007
    Messages:
    393
    Media:
    91
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Clarkston,WA
    TR is a great do everything rod, scandi, skagit, delta... while I mainly fish with Spey rods I have found a switch rod to be a lot of fun on smaller rivers. I have TFO DC and ALLEN switch rods and use mainly Spey cast with them but love the fact I can single hand cast them when I need to. I think one would be suprised how much line you can shoot with a Scandi doing a single hand cast.

    To each thier own but switch rods have a place in my quiver that is mainly dominated by the SPEY rods!

    Good luck on your journey.....it's a fun one!
     
  8. Dustin Bise

    Dustin Bise Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2007
    Messages:
    3,088
    Media:
    79
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    509
    im usint the 8wt raindshadow switch and it casts overhand wonderfull with the 8wt ambush line. i was practicing today and i was shooting all the running line with a good double haul. the only advantage a single hander has over it is weight. i think the switch is all around a better tool for northwest steelhead then a single hander.
     
  9. soundflycaster

    soundflycaster Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    191
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Mossyrock, WA
    12'6" or a 13' rods are going to be a better all around two handed tools because you can still fish small water but have some length for the bigger waters as well. Switches are great rods but I have found that I don't like to single hand anything larger than a 5 and spend most of my time with them two hand casting. As stated above "Spey" is a technique not just a rod and can be used with any fly rod made. if you are going with a skagit set up I would also get a scandi or short belly line to use without sink tips for summer fish. These line combinations will allow you to fish many different types if waters and flies.
     
  10. fredaevans

    fredaevans Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Messages:
    3,159
    Likes Received:
    137
    Location:
    White City, Oregon, USA.
    I note that you live in the Seattle area. There are two free spey casting clinics (per month if memory serves) in your area. Someone will have to chime in with the details on the when/where but Aaron Reimer had one just a week or so ago. The good thing about these is you get to try out several rod/line combos and see what works best for you.
    fae
     
  11. DocDoc

    DocDoc Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2003
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Walla Walla, WA, United States.
    Aaron at River Run Anglers puts one on Saturday morning at Fall River Bridge. All about the Fly does something similar on Sunday mornings at Ben Howard by Monroe. Check them out and see what works best for you
     
  12. Steve Call

    Steve Call Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    Messages:
    1,586
    Likes Received:
    187
    Location:
    Wetside, WA
    I visited the Fall City session a couple of weeks ago and got to practice with an Orvis switch rod. I definitely plan to return and try a spey rod in January.

    I have a simple question. It looks like all switch rods are around 11' and that anything longer than 12' is called a spey rod. Am I right? Is there more to it than just the length of the rod?

    Steve
     
  13. Bob Jones

    Bob Jones Still truckless now farther away

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Messages:
    1,764
    Media:
    168
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Last seen in Portland Or. via Tacoma,Puyallup, Wa.
    We were at fall city today It was kind of nasty with wind and showers and a little snow. Steve, Aaron had me using the helios switch Orvis 11ft since I didn't have my spey rod with me. Was very nice but I do like my spey rod , mine is 14 ft 8-9wt. I rode out with Steve Saville and we left a little early this time and went to lunch. There is no gathering next week because of Christmas so we'll be back the following week. Maybe we'll meet first out there instead of the BBQ. Depending. I don't have an answer for you because of being too new at Spey casting my self. But there are plenty of guys that could answer out there somewhere. good luck See you then. Happy fishin!! Bob Jones
     
  14. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    Messages:
    17,870
    Media:
    283
    Likes Received:
    1,683
    Location:
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Today when the wind was blowing upriver at 20mph and the rain was blasting me in the face I watched four fly anglers below me casting their spey rods. Two were scary looking, chaps I don't know. Two were pretty good, one was OrangeRadish. His loops were getting wind blown, but the line was getting out there. Today, I was using my switch rod. When the wind died down I was not doing too badly with the spey casts. When the wind was at its worst I was confidently two handed overhead casting the rod, about 3/4 overhead actually. Today on the river, this was the best presentation of the fly in my highly unskilled opinion.

    As my buddy OrangeRadish suggested, go with the spey, longer lever makes for easier work. I had a pretty good day with the 12'9" spey rod the day before. I was not in disagreement with him, but I brough the switch and thought it might treat me well in the wind. I was not disappointed that I had it on the trip. I was not disappointed to have had a couple of years of two handed overhead casting of switch rods off the Puget Sound beaches to make this cast available to me today.
     
  15. fredaevans

    fredaevans Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Messages:
    3,159
    Likes Received:
    137
    Location:
    White City, Oregon, USA.
    Good question Steve, but from what I've seen a 'switch rod' could be as short as 10 feet (just an extra handle below the reel seat) to 12'ish foot. Once (personal opinion here only) get above 12' you're talking 'spey rod' even if its on the 'short side.'
    fae
     
  16. shotgunner

    shotgunner Anywhere ~ Anytime

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2008
    Messages:
    567
    Media:
    16
    Likes Received:
    53
    Location:
    45th Parallel NW Michigan
    In my opinion, the difference in a short spey and a switch are grip configurations. Short speys have fuller / longer corks, upper and lower. Some switch rods I've tried have been pretty pinched up in that area, hands closely spaced by default.. like it or not. You may also see slight variation in actions.
     
  17. Nooksack Mac

    Nooksack Mac Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Messages:
    2,004
    Likes Received:
    134
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA, USA.
    As a philosopher would tell us, concepts are devices that we invent to order and clarify our thinking. However, some concepts are less useful than others; in fact, they're often misleading. "Arch-conservative," "mulatto," "terrorism," etc. As a concept, "switch rod" may confuse more than it clarifies.

    I agree that switch rods are usually under 12 feet, with handles more or less designed for two hands. (These handles are often uncomfortably cramped. My switch rods are built with handles closer to full size: slender, but long enough for normal hands and arms.) As for the dual function, I think that switch rods are too heavy for normal folks to use one-handed. I rarely see one used single-handed.

    An additional problem, for the present, is that some switch rods are "sized" by their maker for single-hand lines; others are sized for spey lines. As most of us know, spey lines of a given size designation are roughly twice as heavy as a single-hand line of the same numerical size. Switch rod and line standards are still being developed. Fitting a line to any spey rod can be tricky; the present state of flux makes properly lining a switch rod even more problematic. That's not the rod's fault, just a problem of a time of transition.

    For most practical purposes, switch rods are nothing more or less than short, light spey rods. Their utility depends on where and how they're used - just like single-hand rods. A 7-foot 3-weight is delightful and practical on the right size water; too short and overtaxed on big water. Switch rods are no different.

    This thread began with reference to "rivers like the Methow and the Deschutes." That's confusing, since those streams are different in size, and are best fished with different tackle. Let me give a few examples in terms of well-known Washington streams (ratings are my own opinions, not those of the Management):

    The North Fork of the Stillaguamish, above Deer Creek: either a single-hander or a switch rod
    The North Stilly, below Deer Creek: a switch rod or medium spey rod, up to about 14 feet
    The Methow River: perfect for a switch rod
    The Wenatchee and Grand Ronde Rivers: medium spey rod
    The Skagit; the Clearwater; the Deschutes (OR): a medium rod at minimum, up to the biggest, longest lever you care to play with

    And as we've done for the last century, you can sort of manage with a single-handed rod almost everywhere, with some degree of handicap on big streams.
     
  18. Panhandle

    Panhandle Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2005
    Messages:
    4,103
    Media:
    50
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Selkirk Mountains, Idaho Panhandle
    If you want to spey cast, why not just use a real two-hander, like a 13/7? I don't see how this is any less practicle than a 11 or 12 footer on a river like the Klick, Met, or Ronde. I think my opinion on switches is pretty well stated. Using a switch will vastly limit your ease of use as many have pointed out on this thread. By adding one foot and making a switch a spey, you open up your arsenal in a big way. Where is the overkill rational when the purpose of spey casting is to make things easier? Now Oregon coastal rivers are the only application my mind sees in the world of a switch. Having said that, I would be far more effective with a 9.8 ft 8wt single hander over there. Anyone want to buy a Redington CPX switch rod? :D
     
  19. Rick Sharp

    Rick Sharp Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Messages:
    373
    Media:
    4
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    West Richland, WA 99353
    I have to agree after trying the switch rods I settled on a spey 13' 7wt and then built a 14' 9wt, I really like the 13' for most of the areas I fish and in my opinion the speyrod was easier to learn on than a switch rod.
     
  20. Steve Call

    Steve Call Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    Messages:
    1,586
    Likes Received:
    187
    Location:
    Wetside, WA
    I really appreciate all the input. As stated before, I've only tried a switch rod once and have yet to pick-up a spey rod - hoping to do so in the near future. I'm eager to get into two handed rods, but don't want to waste time and $ blindly buying and learning to cast a bunch of different rods. The joy is being able to ask questions, get advice and ultimately learn something entirely new.

    The forum is a great place to benefit from the knowledge and experience of others.

    Thanks again.

    Steve
     

Share This Page