... that most commercially manufactured switchrods are a bit long and strong for the majority of "average" trouting in the lower 48. "Average trout" are probably closer to being in that 8"-12" range for the majority of anglers and as such, "true" singlehanded 4 and 5 weight rods seem better suited for this type of angling. In my experience, most 8 1/2' to 9' 4 or 5 weight singlehanders cast, in a Skagit capacity, 175-250 grain Skagit heads with tips, floating or sinking, in the 50-80 grain range. Compare that to most commercially manufactured 4 and 5 weight Switches pairing with 250-300 grain heads and you can see that commercial 4 and 5 weight Switches are a couple of steps stronger than their singlehanded counterparts. So, obtaining a "true" average trout doublehander at this time, is for the most part a DYI "conversion" or a custom rod build order. I have been calling such rods "conversion rods" and also "micro Skagit/Spey" rods.
In conjunction with those thoughts, since relocating to the Midwest, I have found that rods in the 8 1/2' - 10' lengths have provided the highest degree of functionality for all different types of my fishing here. That fishing is not just for steelhead/salmon, but also trout, bass, pike, carp, catfish, freshwater drum, and assorted panfish. Typical angling here in my particular neck of the woods is on streams that run from 30'-100' in width and set down into a "gulley" type of environment - in other words, no gravel bars to fish from - both banks of the river are steep and tree-lined and thus a high degree of angling involves wading and casting from under an overhanging latticework of tree branches and 11' and 12'or longer lengthed rods are a disadvantage. Also, it seems that casts of 20' to 70', combined with judicious wading, will cover the majority of flyfishable water, so "longer" rods aren't a real benefit as regards casting distance either. Considering all of the factors just mentioned, "shorter" flyrods (8 1/2' - 10'), that can be both single and double hand cast, do provide the greatest function over any other flyrod configuration. By incorporating a shootinghead approach, one can easily use a conversion rod in its original singlehanded mode, or in a doublehanded mode, just by switching out between "normal" singlehanded-weighted lines and Spey-type lines.
I have now, about a dozen conversion rods, from a 6' 6" fiberglass 4 weight, on up to a 9' 8 weight. They have added on to them, lower handles from 3'' to 5" in length. The upper handles are original, which makes it nice for singlehand casting, plus, I have found that because the conversion rods are so "short", there doesn't seem to be a need for an "abnormally" long upper/front handle. Most of the lower handles are fixed, but recently I have made a couple that are removeable using a screw in/out system. If anyone is interested in making a conversion rod, there is no need to "wreck" a $500+ rod... just pay attention to the online catalogs of "big box stores" and watch for the sales. Most of my conversion rods were had for around $60-75 on sale. My lower handles were constructed from the handles off of broken rods that I literally found on rivers and cost me nothing. With a little imagination and elbow grease, a very functional conversion or Micro Skagit/Spey rod can be put together by pretty much anybody!
As an addendum, one of my absolute favorite "average trouters" is a 9 1/2' 3 weight Czech Nymphing rod from a"big box", converted over to a doublehanded configuration that casts 150 to 175 grain Skagit heads. This one cost a bit more... $125 on sale, but it's an absolute blast with 8" to 15" trout or smallmouth bass in the 6" to 14" range or bluegills and rock bass and it will cast soft hackles out to 70' and a bit over, or 3"-4" Clousers and poppers out to around 65'. Great and I do mean GREAT FUN!!!
Last edited by Riveraddict; 12-31-2014 at 09:05 AM.