I wanted to see if there is a commercial rod that is what I am looking for that I might not have seen so please let me know if that is the case.
All this talk about light trout two handers has made me want to post my experience. The only person I have read is Riveraddict that is coming close to what I think there needs to be.
Commercial two handers are still two handers. They are mini spey rods. The grips are too large and the lower handles too big. Also for my fishing the rods are too long. I think Riveraddict has it nailed with rods between 10 and 11 but honestly my needs are even smaller.
I was once in the PNW spending my time chasing steelhead with many rods. I landed on rods in the 7wt range from 12-13 ft. Perfect for my needs. Back then anyway.
Now I live in Colorado and spend my time swinging flies for tiny fish on tiny rivers. Water that might allow 10-20 swings before it is time to move on. And often times water that with 40-50 ft of line you have it covered bank to bank.
I have tinkered with building my own rods. Currently I have a 9'6" 5wt. I put on a lower handle that is only 2.5 inches. Top grip is the standard half wells grip. Works perfect but best of all if conditions call for it I can switch my line and use the rod like a normal 5wt and it also works perfect.
This is what I want from a true factory rod. Only change would be a full wells grip but a normal one. It does not need to be longer then normal. And a factory rod that is sub 10ft would be great. I have not found anything shorter then 10ft with the exception of a custom build.
My 5wt casts a 225 rio
skagit short with light mow tips or some custom cut tips I made out of poly leaders. It can cast a 3" weighted fly or fish size 18 soft hackles. But best of all if I choose to use it as a single handed rod it still functions great without the handle getting in the way.
Does this exist yet? A true switch rod? Just like Riveraddict said a rod built just like a normal single hand rod but with a small lower handle? Don't get me wrong my conversions gets the job done but it would be cool to see a factory version.
When I head to Wyoming I sometimes fish a longer rod, 12'6" 5wt, works great. I also fish my conversion 5wt and it works great too. It can punch out a 70-80ft cast if needed but most water can be fished with a shorter line. Only issue with the converted 5wt is wind, it sucks.
Really on many trout rivers you don't need a 12' rod. Only exception might be on large rivers in Wyoming or Montana. On small rivers with bush lined banks a sub 10ft rod works like a charm.
I have already bugged a few people I know at one rod manufacturer and they are not into it. I want a REAL switch rod. Basically a single hander with a glorified fighting butt.