Switch rods???

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by Nathan M Daines, Jun 6, 2008.

  1. SpeySpaz

    SpeySpaz still an authority on nothing

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    Les, what's the grain window on that rod? sounds like it might be a good Kalama stick.

    oops, I got it- it's 350-550 grains, (same window as the 5/6 deer Creek spey).
     
  2. Nooksack Mac

    Nooksack Mac Active Member

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    Nathan,

    You've asked some entirely reasonable questions for a beginner. The answers have to be put into proper context. Here's a brief try:

    For a beginner asking what spey/switch rod to buy, the answer is the same as for single-handed rods: It depends. First, on what size streams you plan to fish first, and regularly. You absolutely can't do it all with one rod.

    Spey casting is not a proper skill-set for do-it-yourself. You may not get your initial instruction from a certified Jedi master, but it should be from an experienced spey caster who can articulate, not just demonstrate.

    Spey rods are very line-particular. The line size written on the rod is hardly any help to a beginner. Both the rod, and you, will be happy only with a certain belly/head length, and weight range; only experience and guidance will provide it - it's either that or a very expensive process of trial-and-error line purchases.:beathead:

    Size matters - a lot. Just as with single-hand fly rods, it's joy to spey fish with a rod whose length and line weight matches the water you're fishing, frustration if they don't fit. Spey rods as practical fishing tools range from about 10 1/2 feet to 16 feet, spey lines from 4 -12. (And all of these spey lines follow sizing standards that have nothing to do with single-hand line standards.) The most common spey rods these days are 13 feet (I took a poll recently). The advice to start with a 13 - 13.5' 8-weight is just about right. Such a rod/line is like a 9-foot 6-weight one-hander, or a .30-06 for a hunting rifle: at least useable over a broad spectrum of uses. (Note: the fad of the moment is to explore the use of spey rods for trout and other smaller fish; hence, there's a lot of interest in shorter spey rods for 4-7-weight lines. That doesn't obviate the utility of larger spey tackle for most uses.)

    The solution for most of these questions is to concentrate on getting instruction, during which you get to try a range of spey rods and lines. A few hours at Aaron Reimer's Saturday gatherings, or another of the spey gatherings that break out from time to time, will be valuable to your education beyond measure. Try before you buy; try a lot.

    Spey lines - all of them, but especially the long belly varieties - are much heavier and bulkier than single-hand lines. They usually need a honkin' big reel. If you think that a Pflueger Medalist 1498 is a big reel: trust me, that's barely a medium in spey line capacity terms. When in doubt, buy bigger and heavier. Fortunately, balance is seldom a factor, since the reel is carried between your two hands.

    About switch rods: We use the term a lot these days, but it's seldom precisely defined. "Switch rod" may even be a misleading concept. The fact is, we seldom use switch rods with one hand; they're unpleasantly heavy when we do so. And the short overall handle length is something of a handicap for spey casting. Let's say that rods from 10.5' to less than twelve feet are switch rods, if we even need that distinction. I think it's more sensible to say that modern spey rods start at about 10.5 feet.
     
  3. HauntedByWaters

    HauntedByWaters Active Member

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    Great post Nooksack Mac!

    I just wanted to confuse the poster even more by pointing out that spey rods, single handers, and switch rods, are all fly rods and can all do the exact same casts with varying degrees of difficulty and energy.

    When I learned to spey cast, I started using the cast all the time in all kinds of fishing scenarios with all my fly rods. That was the biggest plus to me.

    The reason a spey rod is a great thing is because you can make some long casts with heavy lines and flies for long distances with much less effort.

    I say this because it is important to remember that there really isn't any difference between a spey rod and and single hander on the fundamental level. Just think of a spey rod as a long rod that you can roll cast reeeeeaaaaalllllly far with surprising ease.

    Of course it is more complicated than that, but not by much.
     
  4. Runejl

    Runejl Josh

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    Yea,

    Thanks Mac, also thanks for the short spey casting lesson you gave me this winter on the Suak.

    I know that I use some spey style casting with my single hander at times just like Jason.

    I was able to cast a 13 foot 4 or 5 weight Decho a couple of weeks ago on the Stilly and found that having so much rod on a small summertime flow felt very awkward to me. Guess I just dont know how to handle a big stick ha ha. I have thought that perhaps a switch(shorter spey) would be the way to go for most of our NW summer time steelhead applications?

    Anyone elses thoughts?

    Josh
     
  5. HauntedByWaters

    HauntedByWaters Active Member

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    I agree. I have cast the smaller Decho on the Stilly and it was WAY too big.

    My 8wt has a lighter presentation than that rod and I can spey cast plenty far to fish the Stilly with it as well. I do wish the fighting butt was a little longer though.
     
  6. Will Atlas

    Will Atlas Guest

    nothing wrong with fishing with a single hander when the water calls for it. I love spey casting, but I'm not so hooked on it that I wont pick up a single handed for when the water is low and clear. I actually think a single hander is a better rod for dry fly fishing. I can more consistently place the fly where is needs to land and the false casting allows the fly to dry a little before it touches down again.
     

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