Switch/spey rods, the difference?


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Thanks Steve, you bring up a point that I have been running through my mind and that is ... why not spey cast with a single handed rod?
Please note the minor handle extensions on the pictured rods. There is enough space for me to wrap three fingers of my left hand around the extension, especially on the 1st three rods. Which means to me that I have rods that can be cast using two hands. What say ye?

You can spey cast with one hand if you want, you don't even need to use your bottom hand. You might need to change the line for maximum results but a lot of folks use spey techniques with one hand.
"Please note the minor handle extensions on the pictured rods. There is enough space for me to wrap three fingers of my left hand around the extension, especially on the 1st three rods. Which means to me that I have rods that can be cast using two hands. What say ye?"

Beautiful rods. I have an older (1987) Powell with a 2-1/2" extension on the seat that I SH spey cast with an Ambush line. Two handed has not worked well for me, I think the hands are too close together. One handed works fine for Double Spey and other casts, I can do alright with an Atlantic Salmon/Steelhead taper as well, just need more line out to properly load the rod.


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Just a personal observation here only. Once you hit a 7wt at 9.5 'thing' doesn't care how you build it out. For 1handers you do need to use '1hander' lines for 2hander casting. They weren't designed to handle the heavier 2hander lines unless you drop down at least two line sizes. Fiddly, but it will work.


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9' is pretty short for a switch, 10 (imho) is the minimum. 11' 6/7 is GOLD! Line that with about 430 grains @ 26 - 28 foot and you have magic in you hands.


What are your thoughts on a 6 wt. 9' rod and say a 7 wt or 8 wt. line?
It would work fine and if you have it, try it before you buy anything. but for spey casting one handed I would want an ambush line or similar. It would make roll casting and spey style casts much easier imo. The only problem with using spey style casts with a one handed rod for me is that it wore my right hand out in a big hurry. That little 4 inch butt section is a life saver.

You can add a butt section to a one hander also. Check out the Skagitmaster forum for details. Look for micro spey.
Well, the rod casts really great with a 400 gr Scandi and I use both hands. I took it out to my fly shop and we played around with lines and settled on the 400. I have several other 8 wt. including a Helios and an RPLXi 9'6" that I would use for single handing. This was simply an experiment. The kit was about $50 five years ago and the line was relatively inconsequential. I was merely satisfying a whim and practicing my rod wrapping so I can refinish the two bamboo rods I have had laying around for 35+ years. It actually works well on grass. I'll try it on the water pretty quickly and if the line doesn't work as well, then I'll find something else until I get what really works. For the time being, when I go to the river, I'll take that rod along in case I get to that really tight narrow spot and then break it out.


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Steve, that's good news. I am also looking for a line and I plan on hitting one of the fly shops in February when I'm in Tacoma.
Puget Sound Fly Company is in Tacoma. Anil, the owner, is one of the most knowledgable guys around and great to work with. Intimate shop but full of good stuff, too. Check it out on line or use the search function here. He's one of the sponsors.


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I’m pretty sure that my first attempt to spey cast in the Puget Sound will be with my Sage 8 wt. RPLX or Sage 9 wt. rods. Both have been used in the salt for bonefish and baby Tarpon. I only want to buy one Spey line until I’m sure of my direction and I’m leaning heavily towards the 8 wt. as my rod of choice. There are many spey lines available ranging in price from a high of $140 to $48. XWadecalvin and Robert both recommend Ambush. My research indicates that Ambush is designed for single handed rods, which is what I want and priced at $75.
Based on the above, what do you think about arming either the 8 or 9 wt. with Ambush spey line and using it the sound for all available species?
I'm no expert spey caster having just started with a 2H rod this fall and have no experince with it on lakes or PS type waters, but there may be better lines for that than the Ambush. I was saying it works for ME; that's in rivers where I utilize a double spey (or variant of) to change direction with limited room to (arealize) backcast 40-60' or more of line. From discussions I've seen, an Outcast or 40+ might better suit your needs. A thought; both the Ambush and Outcast can be bought as a head only. Rig up some running line and try the head(s). you could have several that way with one spool and less cost. i.e. a full floating line, intermediate sink or sink tip, etc.
I have been building 9' two handed rods for close to 15 years. I use screw in removable handles to allow me all the flexibility I need for various situations. I carry a 2" and a 5" with me depending on how much two handing I intend to do. When if first started there were no lines available to fit these rods when used in a two handed configuration. I made my own. I did alot of experimentation and came up with a formula that works well for me. I found that the head weight for two handing needed to be about 30% -40%more than the rod would be rated for a single hand application. For example with my 5wt which is rated for 140 grains I would make a head between 190 and 200 grains. Obviously I was cutting down and or splicing much bigger lines. As to length I like about 26' feet max (2.5 to 3 times rod length). Normal single hand head is usually + or - 35'. Running line of your choice but I would consider using some of the modern floating mono lines made for this purpose. If you do not want to cut, measure, weigh and make your own lines the Ambush is hands down the best out of the box line going.

As much as I love using the longer spey rods to about 14' and switches 10'6" to 11', the 9' two hander is a very valuable tool on smaller streams that are surrounded with lots of trees and brush tight to the edge of the water. Also where you find areas where overhanging trees are interfering with your cast on a classic switch rod the 9 footer might be the ticket for you. With my 5 wt I fish alot of waters that were much more difficult using a classic single handed overhead style. You can cast a single hand type spey cast but I found myself always looking to grip that bottom handle that was not there, thus my gravitation to building 9' two handers.