Jump to content
Maine Fly Fish
Sign in to follow this  
Kevin McKay

Small switch rods

Recommended Posts

YES!

If it wasn't for fishing off the rocks and ledges, I would sell all my single hand rods.

I currently have the Echo SR 3wt and a 5wt Ross Reach for the windy days. Eventually gonna' find me a 12' 2/3... :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes.  Both and a few others mixed in.  I feel like Travis.  They are just so darn much fun to cast.  The fish are almost a distraction....almost :D.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Travis and River of Life

It is great to see Kevin has awakened a few of us with that post.

If there is open water no matter the time of year I will be out there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know that is true Alan :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

River of Life set me up with small switch rods like 4 or 5 years ago..there is a pic somewhere in this Forum of one with a Bogdan reel on it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems some here are quite preferable to this rod type.  Anyone care to enlighten a newbie to the draws and advantages of this style of fishing?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, caught_the_fever said:

It seems some here are quite preferable to this rod type.  Anyone care to enlighten a newbie to the draws and advantages of this style of fishing?  

Wow

How much time do you have? :D

Except for very small streams where the single hand rod is preferable, the switch rod is first and foremost just fun to cast.  Aldo and Cap will agree, I am sure. In fact one of these gentlemen went to great lengths about just how much fun they are to use.

If and when you do learn to cast one of these gems, the question you pose will answer itself.

From a neophytes prospective such as myself it isn't a question whether the stream you are looking at is suitable for the two handed rod but more ...... I hope it is large enough that I can use it here. 

Spey casting these little beauties is an art unto itself.  There are so many great spey casters out there!  Learning to cast as well as these individuals almost becomes primary and the fishing part secondary.  I digress.

The biggest reason I like them so much is the ease of the cast.  Getting older only accentuates this fact as the effort to cast for any length of time with a single hand rod becomes more noticeable.  It is not just the distance these rods cast a fly so easily; but how much time is actually spent fishing. False casting if any is cut to a minimum. Here is a pretty good example of what I am talking about. 

Starting in early morning and with the windspeed increasing as the sun moves higher into the sky the two hand rod comes into its own.  The wind is much less of an issue than fishing single handed.  The simplest way to describe the bottom hand on the two hand rod is to think of it as the line hand on a single hand rod when double hauling.  Instead of having to get more aggressive with that line hand as wind conditions dictate more line speed, the bottom hand of the two hand rod with some very little adjustment can accelerate the flyline more quickly with less effort.

The biggest criticism I hear from folks who do not use them have the assumption that the longer rod is less accurate.  This is probably true if he or she isn't a good single hand caster to begin with.  These two hand rods do not make you a better caster just for the sake that you can cast one.  You have to become a proficient single hand caster and develop accuracy with the cast.  Once you have that mastered the final delivery of the cast remains the same.  It does not matter if you are casting single hand or two hand.  The line travels in the same direction as the rod tip is pointing. 

Here is another comment I hear quite commonly. The line lands a fly to hard on the water and spooks the fish! 

Think about the final delivery you make to land that dry fly on the water using a single hand rod.  Under normal conditions if you want to make a delicate presentation you open the loop on the backcast a bit just prior to making the presentation cast and the line with the fly comes down quietly.  

The two hand rod is no exception to this rule.  In fact as two handed casters we use such long leaders when fishing dry flies, that the distance from the flyline to the fly with these leaders is even further than most single handed casters use.   If the fish are rising at the extreme reaches of the single hand cast really long leaders become out of the question.  This not a criticism of anyone but a belief that even I shared until learning to cast these rods.

Changing direction:

The Spey cast is a change of direction cast and requires little or no false casting when moving the fly to a completely different location from where you are fishing. For instance you are fishing downstream to your left and a fish appears ninety degrees to to your right.  Without having to strip but very little line in you are able to pick the line up,reposition the line 180 degrees upstream to your right in a Circle C, or Snap T( same cast different shape do to acceleration when repositioning for the D loop anchor upstream off your right shoulder), one sweep from left to right and fire the line to the new target out and across the river fro you.  

If you were doing a single hand cast you probably would have to strip in more line for the initial pickup, make several false casts and then fire the line to the new location.  With all this extra motion you probably took your eyes off the fishes original position and lost track of where to place the fly.  Most importantly,  if there was any bushes behind you more attention has to be paid to that as well.  The two handed rod because you are forming a D loop close off your right shoulder the bushes behind you are less of an issue.  They are not completely forgotten but less of an issue just the same.

I have to close for now and will continue if you would like tomorrow evening.  I don't want to bore those reading this response.  Others can and hope will chime in.  Thanks for the question though.

 

Here it is almost midnight and the subconscious mind is at work.  Even in sleep there is no rest for the weary mind.  

I would like to clarify the change of direction part.  The C spey or snap T is a type of cast and the relative position of where the line ends up before making the forward cast are only approximate positions.  There are very specific points of where the line leader( or anchor points) of the cast become quite specific in their placement relative to rod position before making the forward cast.  Don't try to make this cast without actually watching a video on the subject or better yet taking a class from Topher Browne, Richard Ostrowski,William Ciaurro, Rick Murphy or River of Life.  They are the experts!  This was meant to be just an example and not specifics on making a certain type of cast.

Now I hope my subconscious mind lets me complete the rest of the nights sleep.  

Color me old and tired.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Alan
Old and tired when making the original post.
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love reading the long posts on Spey/switchstyle fishing. I am gonna get a switch this year for stripers I think I heard a 7 wt would be good I use a 9 wt atm single hand

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alan - incredible post, thank you for taking the time.  The passion you have for it was evidenced by the thorough, and poetic, nature of your response.  I have a long way to go with fly fishing in general but you have my wheels turning.  While age is not quite a factor for casting yet there are more years on this body than there once were and it is noticed during certain activities (ex. just a few years ago I would have had no issue loading my Old Town Predator onto the cartop without human or mechanical assistance...those days are gone). 

I feel I can be accurate with my cast; the challenge I have at times is distance.  Currently unable to double haul, will spend some time working on that this season. This subject started regarding small weight switch, and I do not intend to hijack, but wished to confirm switch/spey may be preferable for surf casting as far as casting distance is concerned if I am properly understanding you?

My apologies to others if this next question is basic:  is there a difference between switch and spey?  I know a google search could provide a quick answer, however, I truly appreciate the insight of who pursue as the subtleties of function as they may apply to certain situations are better conveyed. 

Thanks again - great insight!

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I do know Spey rods are generally 14ft switch are generally 10.6 -12ft and hence the name switch is use able as a one hand or two hand style casting. I have heard switch rods are one of the best for nymph set ups too

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, caught_the_fever said:

Alan - incredible post, thank you for taking the time.  The passion you have for it was evidenced by the thorough, and poetic, nature of your response.  I have a long way to go with fly fishing in general but you have my wheels turning.  While age is not quite a factor for casting yet there are more years on this body than there once were and it is noticed during certain activities (ex. just a few years ago I would have had no issue loading my Old Town Predator onto the cartop without human or mechanical assistance...those days are gone). 

I feel I can be accurate with my cast; the challenge I have at times is distance.  Currently unable to double haul, will spend some time working on that this season. This subject started regarding small weight switch, and I do not intend to hijack, but wished to confirm switch/spey may be preferable for surf casting as far as casting distance is concerned if I am properly understanding you?

My apologies to others if this next question is basic:  is there a difference between switch and spey?  I know a google search could provide a quick answer, however, I truly appreciate the insight of who pursue as the subtleties of function as they may apply to certain situations are better conveyed. 

Thanks again - great insight!

Mike

Mike

If you get the double haul down you will have a better understanding of the feel of the two hand rod specifically the bottom hand.  The load feel on the rod when leveraging the bottom hand against the top hand on a two hand rod pretty much feels like a short  stroke of the line hand on a single hand rod.

The double haul when done correctly will have a rhythm develop between the forward and back casts.  As the line lengthens between each succeeding false cast the frequency (rhythm) will change as you slip line into each false cast.  I slip line on my backstroke and forward stroke to lengthen the line.  At some point the law of diminishing returns comes into play.  Every rod and every fly caster reaches a point where any more line fed into the false cast will start to diminish the load feel on the rod.  Once you find that spot then the only option is to let the line fly on the forward stroke when you reach that maximum load feel. 

As a side note:

When you are just about at the max load, make your final slip of line into the backstroke and let this extra load generate the maximum line speed as you make that final delivery forward.

Spey casts are change of direction casts and Switch casting is pretty much in one direction using a dynamic loop to generate line speed using minimum water contact of line and leader.  I defer to the experts on the correct interpretation and meaning though.  My education with these rods still is at a snails pace and may have the interpretation wrong.

Your question about using a Switch rod or Spey rod when casting in the surf will have many different answers depending on who you talk to.  I can only voice my opinion on the matter.

Generally speaking Switch rods are the shorter cousins of the Spey rods, under twelve feet. Spey rods are twelve feet and longer. Both are two hand rods capable of the same types of casts from Spey to overhead casting. Additionally switch rods can be single handed cast,something I am not a fan of.  If I wanted to do that then I would stay with the single hand rod.  This is just my opinion. 

In the salt all my casting is overhead casting because of the line type I use. I prefer a spey rod because of the additional safety factor of keeping the fly (the missile)  as far away from my head and body as possible when the wind picks up.  Additionally the longer length helps to clear any waves if you are fishing on a beach with breaking waves. The longer rod also gives you a mechanical advantage over its shorter cousin (the switch rod) and in my estimation allows you to make longer casts.  Everything at my age is about making life easier so that I can fish longer.  

I have to take a break now as the brain is starting to get fuzzy.  There isn't much left up there. lol

Hope this helps.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×