Some Switch Rod Information

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by Ed Call, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    I'll admit I'm a gear whore and I have tried a bunch of switch rods, mostly from the beaches of the Kitsap Peninsula. As such I've touched rods from four different companies and have bought, owned, traded, or demo'd quite a few of them. I'm not very competent casting anything, least of all spey casting, but as progress goes mine is slowly but surely progressing. I have compiled some general technical information about the series of rods that I've touched. Each company seems to have a bit of a different method of line rating them, but confustion is still pretty easy. I've put this list together, not to promote any particular company, rod or otherwise, but to assemble information in one place for potential switch rod users to use as a starting point if they so choose.

    Switch Rod Information and Recommendations (from company or authorized dealers)
    Rod Grain Window("sweet spot") Line Rec. Line Rec. Line Rec.
    Orvis Helios 11-5 240-325 (295) Elixir 5/6 AFS 4/5
    Orvis Helios 11-6 280-375 (335) Elixir 6/7 AFS 5/6
    Orvis Helios 11-7 320-425 (380) Elixir 7/8 AFS 6/7
    Orvis Helios 11-8 360-480 (420) Elixir 8/9 AFS 7/8
    Sage Z Axis 5110-4 250-450 Elixir 5/6 AF Comp. Sc. 300
    Sage Z Axis 6110-4 275-475 Elixir 6/7 AF Comp. Sc. 330
    Sage Z Axis 7110-4 350-550 Elixir 7/8 AF Comp. Sc. 390
    Sage Z Axis 8110-4 400-600 Elixir 8/9 AF Comp. Sc. 420
    TFO Deer Creek 4 200-400 Elixir 4/5 AFS 4/5
    TFO Deer Creek 5 250-450 Elixir 5/6 AFS 5/6
    TFO Deer Creek 6 300-500 Elixir 6/7 AFS 6/7
    TFO Deer Creek 7 350-550 Elixir 7/8 AFS 7/8
    TFO Deer Creek 8 400-600 Elixir 8/9 AFS 8/9
    TFO Deer Creek 9 500-700 Elixir 9/10 AFS 9/10
    Echo 4 210-270 AF 40+ 6 AF Comp. Sc. 240
    Echo 5 270-330 AF 40+ 7 AF Comp. Sc. 300
    Echo 6 330-390 AF 40+ 8 AF Comp. Sc. 360
    Echo 7 390-450 AF 40+ 9 AF Comp. Sc. 420
    Echo 8 450-510 AF 40+ 10AF Comp. Sc. 480

    Sorry the list does not appear so clean in cut and paste above. I can email it to folks if they want it. I find the confusion much less murky when I work based on grain windows and line grain weights and ignore rod/line ratings. Just what I worked on last night while I should have been asleep and post to you while I should be eating lunch.

    Assembled by company sites, dealer sites and by old school calls to customer service, all of which have been super helpful. Over time maybe more line recommendations can be added (compact skagits/tonics etc), single handed lines and spey lines that get suggested by the companies, their dealers or you experimenting casters of equipment. More rod lines can also be added. I for one would like to know more about more switch rod series (Allen Fly Fishing, Beulah, Anderson Custom, Meiser, etc.)

    View attachment 34215
     
  2. Panhandle

    Panhandle Active Member

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    Still not sure is they're good for anything a single hander wouldn't cover as well, or a 12 footer wouldn't cover better. :D
     
  3. Randall Clark

    Randall Clark Active Member

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    I'm most curious about the Scott Fiberhammer...being that I love fishing single hand in anything from 5wt-9wt (I do have an old System 12 that I'm hoping to get on the water next year for tuna), but I'd be very interested to see what folks think of the Fiberhammer.
     
  4. Jim Riggins

    Jim Riggins Member

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    Ed, I just bought an 8wt switch from Justin which is a Batson blank, when I get a chance I will add the specs they gave me. I can say the support from Justin and Batson has been great. Batson custom makes the lines for they're rods and get them out to you promptly. I was suprised that the grain wt is around 390, I thought it might be alittle lite for that rod but when I pared them together it casts like a cannon.I will be fishing with Jason tomorrow and will let him throw with it for awhile as well. The rod feels a bit heavy but so far I give it a thumbs up.
     
  5. Mark Speer

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

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    Pan, we know your thoughts but that's not what this post seems to be about.

    Great start Mumbles. I think its a great idea.

    Justin (AllenFlyFishing) sent this data to me when I got one of his 8wt. Switchrods:

    5wt 140 280
    6wt 160 330
    7wt 185 380
    8wt 210 440

    I went with a little heavier line ranging from 420 to 480, but that's just me. Can you incorporate this data into your spreadsheet to try and keep it all together?

    Thanks,
    Mark
     
  6. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    Will do Mark, thank you. It seems like those Rainshadow switches from Justin are lighter grain weights than many others. The spreadsheet is at my other computer, I'll update it from your post and add it to the file in the first post as soon as I can.
     
  7. Chris Johnson

    Chris Johnson Member: Native Fish Society

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    me too
     
  8. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    Not every tool is for every job or for everyone. I'm not trying to convert anyone. I like them and have done a bit of rod/line experimentation that I'm glad to share. Nothing more.
     
  9. fodf

    fodf Team Umiak

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    Thank you sir for your offering..awesome intel. Looking forward to further input and add-ons to this. That TFO DC 4 is in my wheelhouse..have the AFS 4/5 but not the Elixir. I'll ask Kinney to bring one over next month for our mini clave/class on the Yak and give it a try. Thanx for the post Ed.
     
  10. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    Eric, as I understand them, the AFS and Elixirs are both scandi type tapers of similar design. I'm sure someone really into lines will say how wrong I am, but if you have one and it works...
     
  11. Panhandle

    Panhandle Active Member

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    I'm sorry, I shouldn't of said anything. I meant it more as a long standing joke than I did seriously, though I am serious. :D
     
  12. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    Panhandle, I got the joke, as it was meant for me and I'm well aware that you and I disagree on the switch application. Remember that super windy Yakima day...switch chucking streamers sort of side armed in the 20-40 mph winds. You can probably do that with a true spey, I could not. I know that I could not have casted so effectively in those conditions with an aerialized fly line and a single hander. To each his own and far be it from me to tell a fishy dude he's doing it wrong.
     
  13. Evan Burck

    Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

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    I been hatin on switch rods since I first picked one up a few years ago. I for some reason acquired one a few months ago. Got an Echo SR 7wt, and lined it with the 40+ 9wt floater. It's now the most used rod in my quiver.
     
  14. Steve Saville

    Steve Saville Active Member

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    I bought two 12'6" Rainshadow kits for my nephews earlier this year and Bill Zytkowicz built them for the boys. We took delivery last Saturday and put a 380 gr Scandi on one to see how it would cast. I was amazed at how delicate it felt and how responsive it was. My ten year old was blasting 50 to 60 foot casts almost immediately and he's been casting only about ten times, I was pretty impressed with the rods and Bill's workmanship is really good. Each is done in "Cougar" colors of crimson and silver and he added the personal touch of an inscription for each boy. Pretty nice!
     
  15. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    Great to hear the little guys are rocking nice casts. I've met that fella Bill Z and seen some of his handiwork. Try as I might, I could never sneak away with one of his custom builds. He always kept his eyes on me. Who could blame him, he had heard that I was a gear whore.
     
  16. James Waggoner

    James Waggoner Active Member

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    Just a couple of thoughts:

    For smaller rivers with very limited backcast and overhead branches, the switch rod is a great tool. Yeah sure you can spey cast a single hander, but your wrist may not hold out spey casting an 8wt for a day of steelheading. I will admit it's not always the right tool... for instance, fishing for trout on the Deshutes is best left to an 8'-9' 5wt (At times even a 7' rod may be nice), where fly placement and line control at 15'-30' is the difference in having a good day fishing and being skunked.

    Anyway, they should just let the term "switch rod" fade into the past, it's really just a short spey rod. Aside from just getting line out, when you first step into a run, does anyone really "switch" between single handed and spey casting/two handed overhead casting? If the answer is yes, perhaps I don't understand what the term "switch" means or is in regard too, when applied to a 11' or shorter spey rod. To me my 5wt single hander is more of a swith rod, I often times switch between single handed traditional casting and single handed spey casting throughout a given day...sometimes even using both hands.

    Just a couple of thoughts,

    James.
     
  17. shotgunner

    shotgunner Anywhere ~ Anytime

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    Sorry Ed; Off topic..

    Some interesting observations. To my knowledge, the term 'Switch' was coined, a long time ago, with Bob Meiser's 10'6" rods and the option of a removable lower grip. Through the seasons and still increasing enormous popularity it morphed into a blanket tossed over any shorter double hand rod. I find it comical that latest and greatest 'Switch' rods are now up to 11'9".. with longer heads being promoted..

    Casting is a personal preference that develops from fishing enviroment, conditions and presentation. I like a line balanced for underhand or overhead, to be clear I'm speaking of smallish - medium sized winter water where 70' is seldom exceeded, and by wading, a fixed distance accurate cast of 50' [ballpark] can be utilised. Certain runs I prefer to fish from the bank with a long overhead shot rather than stir the silt with wading.. less disturbance X2

    There are a couple things that define differences in a switch vs light spey [my opinion only] Physical weight, line class weight, and biggest [to me] grip format.. ultra short upper grips suck.

    Personally I think the Brits nailed it. There are two types of fly rods.. Single hand and Double hand.
     
  18. roxnwater

    roxnwater New Member

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    Thanks for the info, Mumbles. I recently purchased a 4wt 11' TFO DeerCreek switch rod and I'm still playing around with lines. Lately I've been using it on the Yak to swing sculpins. Works better for me on the windy days too.
     
  19. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    Roxnwater, I've got that rod and enjoy tossing sculpins or streamers on the Yakima across seams into soft water along the banks. When the belly of the line catches the main seam and gets that streamer racing downstream it can be pretty fun. If you've not yet tried an Ambush line, you might want to seek one out. I have a 7wt ambush that may be a touch heavy, so a 6 might be perfect, but since I have the 7wt I use it and it send it downrange quite nicely from the bank or beach.
     
  20. yuhina

    yuhina Tropical member

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    Very cool info! Ed. I think this will give people a start point to experiment their new rod...

    Only thing I would add is to be aware of head length when using those switch rods. Sometimes a correct gain window but "improper" length of head will still cause casting problems (depends on which style). This is especially true, to me, when cast Skagit style.