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Maine Fly Fish
theflyguy

Switch rods

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So I have been looking at switch rods and am wondering what wieght would be good for Maine for lakes ponds and our bigger rivers want to learn the different Spey casting styles so I can practice also looking for good set up ideas I also want a steelhead switch rod for New York that would possibly work for our coastal fishing 

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I build three types of switch rods.  The first is the common style that is in the 11' range.  They are weights starting a 3 and as strong as 8.  A real switch blank, depending on maker, will be one to two weights heavier in actual single hand bend.  I also build on standard single hand blanks so that the rod can be used for nymphing as well as on the swing.  They come as grip flex for the angler who will mostly nymph with light tippet as well as medium fast for those who split time between swinging and nymphing.  Common lengths are 10', 10'4", 11' and 11'4" and range from true 2 weight to 8 weight.  The blank compositions I use are very light weight employing high modulus standards.   My go to rods for fishing ME, NH nd VT are an 11', 4 weight PRO Series Switch, 10'4" true 4 weight High Stick Switch and an 11' 3 weight High Stick Nymph rod.  These three cover every fresh water situation I have fished so far.  For steelhead I use a true 6 weight High Stick Switch and will nymph or swing in the upper Salmon River.  Down DSR I use a 12'6" Fast 7 weight strictly on the swing.  The 7 weight is also a go to rod for striped bass.  All these rods are built with elongated fore grip and 4" bottom grip.  Any questions?  603-501-9511.  Remember the greatest variable you can have is the line and casting style you choose and learn.    Check out some photos of my builds at this link.  FlySpoke Custom Fly Rods & Certified Casting Instruction    I also have available Sage, Orvis, Winston, Beulah, Thomas & Thomas, Lamiglas and TFO blanks

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Wow you build all those yourself? Some really cool looking rods what would the best all around switch rod for Maine fresh water. I am thinking when I get my steelhead rod I want like a 7 wieght so I can also fish for stripers with it. 

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A 7 would be a good choice and would have the power of an 8 or 9 weight single hand rod.  In a fast action you will use it for steelhead on the swing with Skagit and what ever overhead line you like for bass in an 8 or 9 weight.  I build these rods with salt water components and they work well for steelhead.  This rod could also be your medium to smaller sized river Atlantic Salmon set up.

For a swinging switch rod you will find that a 5 weight will cover medium to larger Maine rivers well.  Magalloway size to Andro size could be covered.  I run an 11' 4 weight fast  switch for most medium size rivers on the swing and an 11 foot 3 weight when nymphing.   The weight and recovery of the rod is determined by the tippet required hence the swing rod can be fast and the nymphing rod slower because of angling style.

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Manufacturer Model          weight          length
Mystic Switch 3          11' 3"
Redington CPX 5          10' 6"
Orvis Clearwater 5          12' 0"
Redington CPX 7          11' 3"
Redington Dually 7          11' 3"
Sage VPS 9          14' 0"

 

This covers everything for me

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I have a Echo 10'10" (sr1010 6 wt.) Switch that i will put in the classified section soon. ( $175). I bought a Beulah 10'6" 3/4 that I will be using this year.

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On 4/3/2016 at 9:37 AM, theflyguy said:

 what wieght would be good for Maine for lakes ponds and our bigger rivers

You can go as light as you want. I'd probably recommend a 3wt trout spey or microspey. Using the rule of 3, these translate into roughly 6wt single hand rods.

 

 

On 4/3/2016 at 9:37 AM, theflyguy said:

I also want a steelhead switch rod for New York that would possibly work for our coastal fishing 

You'll probably want a 7wt for this. It's pretty much the standard spey rod for all salmon and steelhead fishing. I also use my 7 for stripers.

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My favorite Switch for steelies is a Scott L2H 11' #6 with a Skagit Short line. Covers everything but indicator fishing. For trout check out the Echo Sr in a 10'6" #3 or #4. Really impressive rods for the $$$. I know a several of forum members here who have them. My 2 cents.

 

jim

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I use an echo in 2 sizes for steelhead, the 7wt for both indicator fishing steelhead and in the surf for stripers, at $80 or so you cannot go wrong. A friend of mine started Shu Fly rods, I use his 7wt 11.3 for everything, and its 99-109 and warrantied for life!!!!!

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Thanks for the input still haven't got one but my next rod will be a switch rod and probably a 7 wt then maybe a smaller one for trout

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$80 that must just be rod what would be decent reel to go with it. And are the reels the same as one handers on videos they seem to look like wider spools

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Two handed lines of whatever taper and flavor from switch to Skagit, Scandi, scandit, long belly, medium belly etc., and etc., usually have a considerably larger diameter between the belly and head than most single hand line tapers of the same weight.  This necessitates higher line capacity for whatever reel you choose.  For the heaviest two handed rods, say 10 weight and above, you'd need a reel about the size of a dinner plate to hold backing and line if you kept a traditional, narrow spool width.  Since that's not realistic, you will find those rods paired with reels sporting wider spools.  This is especially important if your river has lots of fish capable of showing you lots of backing.  (Not a huge problem here in Maine, alas.) If you are purchasing a two handed rod in the 8 or maybe 9 weight class or smaller, a standard reel "up-sized" by a couple or so sizes will do you just fine.  That is, if you buy a 7 weight two handed rod, a reel that you would normally pair with a 9-10 weight single hander will do the trick nicely.

One thing to consider is the weight of the reel and how it will affect the balance point of your whole set up.  Though less an issue with the shorter switch rods (under 12') than their longer cousins, it's something you don't want to ignore completely.  In the single handed world, light reels are good reels.  Not necessarily so in the two handed world, however.  You need to balance the extra mass out there in front of your hands with a little more mass down behind your hands. (This is why the longest two handers get built with down locking reel seats.)  Ideally, the balance point should be about the middle of the upper grip.  A reel that's too light will force you to hold your top hand too high on the upper grip, which will affect your casting stroke and decrease casting efficiency.  A reel that's too heavy will be fighting you all day long as you mend and try to follow your swing.  Thankfully, the solution is pretty easy; take your rod with you when you shop for your reel, strap the reel on, and see where it all balances.  If it's very slightly tip heavy when you hold the rod at the mid point of the upper grip, you're in business.  Spooling up a line and backing should bring it right into balance and make for a fatigue free day of casting bliss.

Good luck and have fun!

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Yeah it is thank you one more question on the reel thing are there reels made specifically for switch/ Spey rods if so how could I find some to look at or if I were to by a combo I would assume the reel would be one of these wider ones

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There are many makers out there who identify their product as "spey" reels, but IMHO, it's largely a lot of marketing and aesthetics.  Really, any reel that with ample capacity is going to work just fine.  That said, there are some cult favorites among switch rod users and other two handed lunatics. Among them are the Ross CLA (entry level), and the Speyco Switch (a bit pricier, but bench made and worth every nickel).  You can certainly spend more if you want to buy an heirloom piece, and lots of two handed junkies do on high end mass produced reels like the Hardy Bougle, Hardy Perfect, Loop Classic, and the like.  The truly fanatical (or maybe just really wealthy) get handmade stuff from craftsmen like Saracione and Olsen, among others.  For now, I have to be content to just envy those.

To me, reels are kind of like music, food, and books - much of your satisfaction depends on your personal taste, if not your budget.  As well, we're lucky to be living at a time when there are LOADS of really solid brands and models out there that don't require a second mortgage, so I'm hesitant to recommend anything too specific (with one exception below).  I'd say look for a quality used or closeout reel from a brand you trust, as this lets you buy up a class or two for less money. Or, invest in a Speyco.  Not sure how you feel about plunking down 400 bills on a reel, but Tim Pantzlaff is an old school craftsman who loves his products like they were his own children.  I'd put his work up against any mass produced reels costing 2 times more, and his warranty / service is second to none.  (And no, I do not not have any personal or financial connections to Tim or Speyco.)  If the reel you choose is a bit too light to balance your rod, put a few yards of lead core line on before you spool your backing, and you'll be all set.  You might also have a look at the classifieds at the Speypages website.  It will give you an idea of what the two handed crowd is fishing (and selling), and how much various used models and brands go for.

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Thanks Aldo for the valuable advice.

 I especially like your suggestion of adding some lead core line under the backing to balance out a light reel.  Great idea!

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Thank very much aldo you seem like you would be a great person to sit down and have a conversation with sometime. It really sounds like you know the two hand game pretty well I really appreciate all your info it is definitely helping me make a decision as I want two rods one for steelhead and stripers and one for smaller fish around spending a little extra coin doesn't bother me as long as it's a product worth spending it on and your info is helping clear up a few things as I have never had a two hander. I have 8 on handers so I thought it was time to get a two hander as it looks like a fun way to cast and many advantages in some circumstances. Thank you again

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Beware - once you start fishing with two hands, you may never go back....

 

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Lol I have heard that. I have been fishing the salt hard this year and my casting arm is pretty junk atm but I still go out and just deal with the pain hoping maybe the two handers may make it not as hard on it

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Learning to cast in a tight to the body fulcrum style is very helpful for upper body issues.  Using the bottom hand as the engine and the top as the steering wheel offers greater power with less negative effect especially on elbow and shoulder.   The key factor is stopping our mind from pushing with the top hand.  I call it Singlehandcastitis.

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In relation to rod balance Aldo has made many good points.  I will add that the true balance is determined by line type.  Short head = Short Stroke and the stroke is primarily determined by the distance between bottom and top hand positions.  A 12 1/2 foot rod can have different balance points based on line type.   Removing the head out the tip of the rod is the only way to offer true balance.  Removing the head offers both true casting and swinging balance.  This is especially true with Skagit and Scandi.  For traditional lines I remove to a point half the belly length.  

This should have you setting it up correctly - http://flyspoke.blogspot.com/2016/07/proper-two-hand-rod-balance.html

The ability to start and stop has as much to do with balance as when on the swing and not having the rod toe or heel.  

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Thanks William

Good points as well.  

There are so many variables with these rods and only makes sense after a lot of trial and error.  The human factor i.e.: casting stroke and what feels right due to casting style of the individual is hard to measure.  I guess that is why there is so little response from those new to the two hand rod.

Thanks to all who offer advice on these topics. 

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