Switch Rod/Reel - A Buy This, Not That, Post

Skook

New Member
Hello,

I had the opportunity to fish with a switch rod for the first time a few weeks ago for steelhead in NY. The waters I fish very often do not offer much room for a backcast, and I found it much easier to cast the borrowed switch rod as compared to my single-hand rod, although I will say my rod was much lighter. I was fishing an indicator rig with a few decent-sized split shot and a single fly. The rod was a 7wt Echo (something or other) and the reel was a 10/12 Nautilus (don't remember which model). I believe I was casting some sort of floating Skagit head of 420 grains, but I can't say for sure that I am remembering this correctly. The guide talked switch rod line options for a few minutes, and this seems to be the part that I am most unsure about.

The guide who lent me his switch rod for the day did offer some equipment advice, but between casting, checking out his fly selection, fighting a few fish and battling the elements, I just wasn't able to take it all in at the time. I have been doing some reading on the Internet, but there is a lot of info to absorb, especially with regard to the types of line used.

I would like to ask if anyone would help simplify things for me and give me some basic advice on how to narrow things down. I will mostly be fishing nymph rigs during the colder months but might try swinging flies in the fall and spring when the water isn't as cold. With regard to a rod and reel, I am interested in finding the most bang-for-the-buck. High-end gear isn't in my budget right now, but I don't want junk or something I will want to upgrade from quickly, either. I like to find sales or closeout deals when I can, and I am not opposed to buying quality used gear.

I apologize upfront for being the guy with an often-annoying "what to buy" thread, but here we are. Thank you.
 

Robert Engleheart

Robert
WFF Supporter
I’d recommend buying used gear, at least until you get more into the addiction and really know what you want. I’ve bought multiple rods and reels from forums here and elsewhere, never a problem and who doesn’t like saving 40-60%. You don’t need high end gear, chances are the first rod you buy won’t be the last. Echo makes good rods and better warranties, I like Lamson reels, quality, simple and customer service is second to none.
 

Skook

New Member
Thank you, Robert. I fish a 7wt single-hand rod for steelhead. Is a 7wt switch rod similar, or would I maybe want to consider a 6wt switch as a comparable rod with regard to the ability to deliver the payload and fight fish?
 

Bagman

Active Member
Thank you, Robert. I fish a 7wt single-hand rod for steelhead. Is a 7wt switch rod similar, or would I maybe want to consider a 6wt switch as a comparable rod with regard to the ability to deliver the payload and fight fish?
My first question is what kind of casting do you plan on doing? Single hand, over head two handed or Spey?
 

Yard Sale

Huge Member
Skagit lines are great for swinging and terrible for nymphing. Nymphing requires good mending and skagit lines are too short. Don’t try and do both with one line.

A switch rod is generally one line weight heavier than a single hander.

echo switch rods are great and lamsonreels are awesome as well. Robert nailed it.
 

Skook

New Member
Bagman,

I guess my answer is whatever works. I'm OK at casting a single-hand rod, but I only fished a switch rod once. Never fished a Spey rod. I have a lot to learn.

I'm not sure if what I was doing was an "official" style of cast, but I was able to use two hands and sort of complete a fancy roll cast that launched my inventory of indicator, split shot and fly with much less effort than a single-handed roll cast. I guess it was somewhat of a Skagit cast.

The waters I fish aren't all that big and generally flow through wooded areas, making backcasts difficult. My interest in a two-hander is mainly to fish nymphs/egg patterns using a compact casting method. Beyond that, I don't know what I don't know.
 

Skook

New Member
Yard sale,

The guide I fished with had me using a 7wt rod with a 10/11 or 10/12 reel. I asked, and he said he uses the same setup for salmon fishing. That's what had me wondering whether I could drop down to a 6wt switch rod for steelhead. Salmon aren't on my itinerary - at least not intentionally.

Purely for Great Lakes steelhead, should I be looking at a 6wt or 7wt? Fish up to 20 lbs. are a possibility but not much of a reality. 10-12 lb. fish are a real possibility.

What lines do you recommend for nymping and swinging?
 

Yard Sale

Huge Member
Don’t go by the reel. That is to balance the rod. You can use a plastic 10/11 wt reel just the same as a 6/7 wt cast reel. I have the echo 7wt switch and run a lamson #3 on it for reference.
 

ryc72

Active Member
Skook, in the near future I’m going to sell a Beulah platinum 6wt switch rod that’s 10’4”...should be at least as strong as your current single hand 7wt is, probably a little stronger imo. Should be a good rod for your fishing...very versatile, you can two hand cast or single hand cast it pretty comfortably. In general it’s a well liked rod made by a well liked company. Do your diligence first and figure out what rod you want and if you think you’d be interested in this rod, hit me up and we can work something out. Good luck and enjoy your search...it’s almost as fun as the fishing.
 

cmann886

Active Member
For a quick and thorough discussion check out the following link:

I second buying used gear to get started. I would also go to a spey clave if you can and test drive as many different rods and lines as you can. Invest in some casting lessons so you don't pick up bad habits as easily. It is a fantastic way to fish, but does have a bit of a learning curve.
 

Bagman

Active Member
It seems to me that you would be well off with a 6wt I've landed some nice fish on my 11ft 6wt switch rod. Go to the Rio line selector web page it will walk you through which line they suggest for the type of rod and casting. I overhead cast and for my rod they say to go 3 line weights up and that's the Outbound short so for a 6wt rod that's a 375 grain line. Not all switch rods are equal I bought a 5wt Z Axis 11 switch rod from a guy on this forum it was like new he did not like it because the tip had too much flex for his type of casting Spey, or skagit, but for overhead casting it's great. It will also work great for roll casting. So as the guys say try and find some place that will let you try a few different rods, and remember a roll cast needs water to load the rod.
 

Leadeyedbugger

New Member
Like killer Dave said ask the guide what line it was.
I think a 6wt switch is fine for most steelhead. But I like a 7wt better if I’m nymphing due to casting the weight better.
Also. I find that using a Skagit head works very well for most nymphing. It will cast it better with less room. And with a switch rod a nice reach mend sets up the drift just fine. After trying various lines the people I fish and I have found Skagit to be the winner. Especially with lots of weight
 

Mark Moore

Just a Member
WFF Supporter
There are MANY people here with much more experience than me, but that may be and advantage as I answer. The lexicon surrounding Spey/Switch lines is pretty confusing and it seems to me the development curve is pretty steep so things are in what seems to be a constant state of change.
I agree that buying used gear is a good course of action. Echo rods are probably one of the best value/quality options in the market. Reels are a personal preference but again, lots of options.
The one thing I would strongly recommend would be to buy a new line system that is engineered to work together. There are so many different line options that you could easily spend several hundred dollars experimenting. You are going to want a variety of floating/sinking tips, Trying to mix and match different manufacturers was always a bugaboo for me.
An advantage with Echo rods is that Rajeff Sports is the US Distributor for AirFlo lines and you can call them for specific recommendations for your rod, of any brand. The advantage, IMO, with a line system is you get a well matched set of tips that are designed as a system and will give you the ability to fish a wide range of conditions.
One additional bonus with Airflo is their extensive online video instructional library.
 

wetswinger

Active Member
I have a 6 weight Echo SR switch. According to their website it is good for anywhere between 325 to 395 grain weight line. That's a 10 or 11 weight single hand line, plenty for most steelhead or all but the biggest salmon. I use a 11 weight 400 grain Wulff single hand line and feel it's a good fit..
 
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