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

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

  1. I'm getting the feeling I'd be right at home on Oregon coastal rivers.

    Some plus points for me and a short double hand.

    Ease of maneuverability, both casting and travel, on smaller waters.

    Ability to fish heavier heads / tips / bigger flies.. ie handle more grains comfortably. The lightest Skagit I fish is 400gr, with tip your at 500 'ish'.. not in the comfort zone of a single hand stick.

    It's WAY easier for me to combat heavy wind and obstacles with more casts available.

    Less physical wear and tear over a full day with heavy winds / extreme weather.

    All that said, I really enjoy fishing a single hand rod when conditions cooporate. With low water and livable breeze [better yet, none] it's a joy.
  2. Some very good input above, and I'll only add a bit. For the most part .... 'switch rods' will be a 'Ho-Hum' for most folks in real world application. But there are times where they're the equipment of choice. That, from personal experience, is where casting room is at a bare minimum, and I do mean 'tight.' An example would be a full on 2-hander needs about twice its length to operate (form cast/D Loop/etc). Two places this may well not be the case: Over hanging tree limbs or heavy brush/rock wall/what-ever right up against your Butt. There the shorter rod will shine. You could possible add that the shorter rod is far less 'physically taxing' over a long days casting.

    The term (not the rod concept) started here in Southern Oregon (R B Meiser Rods) and a lot of them are sold to folks. Seen lots of them on the river, but never once have I actually seen one 'over-hand' cast.

  3. I picked up a switch at a fly fishing outfit, and made a few overhead casts. I'm not a little weak fella, and I could tell single casting that stick would get old pretty quick. It was something like a 10'6" rod, and it sure seemed like it was a lot heavier and much more awkward than a single hand 10' rod.
  4. I know one fellow that can cast his switch rod single handed all day long. He is one big fellow that could pound me like a nail and his rod is the lightest on the market. On the beach they are a two handed overhead cast dream for more distance, wind cutting and longer current drifts or stripping, be it out toward where the gear and downrigger crowd are marking fish or angled along a beach where the near shore feeding frenzies might be taking place.

    This weekend I was standing in the woods alongside a swollen OP river in a location where a true spey rod would have been banging on the limbs around me. A single hander would have been impossible to back cast (but single handed speys with short shooting head systems could have been fine). My switch rod was not booming out huge casts, but I was getting 40-50' out into fishable water with no effort. I put in a couple dozen casts at this spot before my spey rod armed pal decided that upon his inspection of the area that there was no way to fish this spot.

    Again, I'm a fan, but obviously there are others, perhaps many others, who are not. It is a tool, not for every job and not for every craftsman. I'll strongly urge anyone to try before you buy, but don't avoid them just because it is not what the cool kids are using. A pocket protector can keep ink of the shirt pocket when used properly by the geek who's got one.
  5. I'd totally agree with you. The term 'Switch' has been reduced to a catch market phrase. Originally coined by Mr. Meiser many years ago, his rods were engineered with a removable lower grip so the term was accurate with these.. and eventually became slang for any short two handed rod.

    Not many are physically light enough for extended single hand casting.. Winstons BIIx and Orvis Helios are exceptions [I don't own either] Most others are primarily two hand sticks. Two handed overhead casts are a viable 'all the live long day' option though :)
  6. As I indicated in my earlier post on this thread, I know nothing about switch rods and even less about spey rods. The comments here have been great. Mumble's/Ed's description of fishing an OP river with trees/brush behind him and with no back casting room reflects my potential use. I like to fish small and medium size rivers, and since I rarely get the opportunity to fish from a boat, back casting with a single handed rod is limited when wading. Hence my interest in switch rods.

    Thanks again to everyone for sharing.

  7. Yikes, I'm glad this thread wasn't written years ago. If it had been, I might not have given switch rods a try and I would have missed out on some of my most joyful and productive flyfishing.

    I have many spey rods that I love to cast, but when I'm 'fishing' I use a switch rod 90% of the time. And rarely, if ever, do I single hand cast them. These are tactical, double-handed casting weapons for me.

    Denny, I do recommend you learn how to double-hand speycast with a true spey rod, but after you have the mechanics down, consider giving switch rods a try.

    Switch rods provide me the best of both worlds. I can cast the way I prefer (double-handed), but when I have a fish on, it still feels like a single-handed rod. I'm sorry, but fighting a fish with a 13-15' rod is just not as enjoyable for me. And with the right lines, I can easily cast farther than than I should be fishing.

    For steelhead/salmon I prefer Bob Meiser 7/8/9 switch rods matched to 480/500 grain compact skagit lines.

    For trout, I built a switch rod from a Dan Craft 4wt 10' FT blank that is a dream to spey cast with a 280 grain single handed spey line.

    Best of luck to you Denny.
  8. The only caveat to going with a full-on spey is river size. I fish smaller rivers more often than big ones like the Sky or Skagit, so I got a Meiser 11'0" Switch in 7/8 weight. It's a "switch" in name only. Talking with Bob Meiser by phone before purchasing it a few years ago, he made clear that the rod is not at all suited for single-hand casts beyond the odd close-in plunk. He's right. Anyway, that rod is a great spey caster in the 30'-60' range in the small streams I fish. I'll bet a more proficient spey caster with a scandi line could manage 70' or more.
  9. hving just got a switch rod, im surprised at the hate for single handing them. I have it "underlined" a bit for the spey game, but it overhands very nice and has increased my distance with overhand casting. I have lawn cast it for a few hours and it did not seem more harder then my single hander. I had to work less to achieve the same distance, even though the rod is is a little heavier. both 8wts
  10. Dustin, have you got a chance to single hand it all day in real fishing conditions?
  11. I don't think anyone is hating on switch rods. I have one and fish it. It's not as easy to execute spey casts as a longer rod. I can single hand it, but much prefer my XP for single hand casting. There have been some great points made on the conditions where a switch rod makes sense. Make sure you buy a rod that matches your needs and make an educated purchase. If you hope to make spey casts, the learning curve will be a little steeper, but it's obviously not insurmountable. Which ever rod you choose to buy, enjoy it!
  12. I hope to introduce it to steelhead for a late xmas gift. I think I will ever cast it single handed all day though, thats what's nice. The abilty to cast overhand and spey with relative ease, as each fishing situation dictates. Its a little easier to spey then the single hander. I have takin it out on the spokane a bit, but not for a full day yet. Will report back though how it goes.
  13. areas where I can imagine the benefits of a switch over a spey or single hander:
    The hwy 112 rivers. little rivers with tree ceilings and no back cast room. a big spey might be a pain in the ass here,but a switch could be awesome to get the job done. A good single hnder can definitely cover all the water with roll casts, but roll casting heavy tips sucks

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