Friday, May 27, 2011


I've got an eight weight switch rod that I bought for this summer's adventure in Alaska. I cast it once up in Pulaski for Steelhead this past winter and will definitely get out in the coming weeks to practice some more on the Housy.

The whole Switch Rod thing can be a bit confusing, especially with regards to putting line on the thing. Gary W. sent me the article below written by George Cook that defines the rod and types of lines you may need depending on the application. A very succinct primer on the subject.

George Cook the Northwest Sales Representative for Sage, Rio, Redington, Sarcione and more brings us this great “ramble” on Switch Rods as only he can. Thanks George.

Fresh off the famous Sandy River Spey Clave I can tell you that there is No Doubt that the Switch Rod Evolution has Landed Big Time in the Pacific Northwest. However, this game has a fair level of confusion amongst it’s enthusiastic following. The following ramble should help clear a path to the river with better Angling ahead…….

Switch Rods “A users Guide” By George Cook
10’ 6” to 11’ 9” in 5 to 8 Weights are the most commonly found Switch rods. Within this, a useful breakdown would show that the 10’ 6” to 11’ 3” range of rods serve as “True Switch Rods”. This as the Name Switch would apply, provides BOTH a Single Handed and two Handed Spey Tool to the Angler’s disposal. In this regard the Switch rod here can really “Get After” a lot of varied Fisheries and methods. Examples Would include: Single handed Nymph/Indicator Fishing (Switch Line),
Bomb Shot beach Puget Sound) or lake fishing (Central Oregon-Eastern Washington) use(Outbound Line), Steelhead and/or Streamer swinging game (Skagit Short), Dry Line Steelhead fishing (Deschutes-Steelhead Scandi Line). These fisheries/methods can and will employee both single handed overhead as well as common roll and progressive Spey cast. Two handed “True” Spey cast will also take place with these rods. Again, this class of Rods are the true meaning of” Switch”. It is KEY to understand that the likelihood of utilizing/owning more than ONE Fly line here as there is no “Do it all” line is high (Study usage “above” to see Line Strategy).

Switch Rods: 11’ 6” to 11’ 9” 5 to 8 Weights. These are the “Baby Spey” Switchies Folks. These are truly Fabalous Tools! Now 6-9 inches might not sound like a Big Difference but in these tools it is. The bridge from 11’ to say 11’ 9” is a big GAP as far as useage as a single hander goes (other than Pure OVERHEAD) without some Advil and /or a Tommy John Surgeon Specialist nearby. But when it comes to Baby Spey WOW, these are something else (Sage TCX Series are the foremost example of this). At 11’ the performing of MOST Spey cast with 2 hands will require a conscious adjustment on the part of the caster, at 11’9” Simply make the move, make the cast Badda Bing Badda Boom out she flies-BIG TIME. Lines here will consist of Skagit Short (20’), Skagit Flights ( 22’-24’) for sink tip work and the New vaunted Steelhead Scandi lines from Rio with Poly-Spey Versi-leaders (10’) connected to provide a really “Polished Rig”.

Selecting the Right Line Weight: remember a 5 weight switch Rod regardless of length is NOT a 9’ 5 weight as we all are super familiar with that size of common trout Rod here in the west. A 5 Weight Switch rod in terms of “Power ratio” is more like a 7 Weight Single hander. Given this the 5 Weight Switch Rod is a Trout and LIGHT Summer steelhead Rod. The 6 Weight switch sticks move a step closer to favoring steelhead while still holding onto Trout usage and are Killer Beach/Lake sticks. The 7 weights are “The .30-06 Of Switch’ Trout/Steelhead/light salmon (Silvers/Chums/Pinks) along with Sea Run Browns all fit here. Eight weight Switch Rods are a Focused Steelhead/Salmon tool.

George Cook may 25th 2011

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