True switch rod design. - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-29-2014, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
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True switch rod design.

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.
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-29-2014, 09:18 PM
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The closest thing I've seen is the new Winston 10'6" 3wt Microspey.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-29-2014, 10:00 PM
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Bob Meiser has a whole bunch of rods not listed on his site yet. It would be worth giving him a shout and see it he doesn't have something fitting your bill.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-29-2014, 11:03 PM
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Thats exactly what I was looking for in a rod this past fall. After coming back from a trip to the Bighorn where I fished my 11' 5 weight Redington Dually, I felt it was too much rod for trout fishing. Back home, here in Connecticut we have on average even smaller trout. I did have a Cortland 10' 4 weight Competition Nymph rod that had a very small 1" fighting butt on it and ended up getting a 225 grain Rio Skagit. I cast this with both 1 and 2 hands and saw the potential. I liked the way the rod cast and the way fish put up a nice fight on the rod but I wanted a slightly larger lower grip. I did some research and what I found was no commercial makers making what I wanted. I saw that some 2 handed trout fisherman were adding butt extensions to their fly rods and ordered a 4 3/4' lower grip from Mudhole with the intention of adding it to my 10' Cortland rod. But then I saw the 11' 3/4 weight on the Angler's Roost website and ordered the rod. The rod was described as having a standard size 7' full wells grip with an oversized fighting butt of 3 inches. Picture of what I thought I was getting below:

Perfect I thought and ordered the rod but to my dismay when I received the rod it only had a half wells and no fighting butt. I called John at Angler's Roost and he told me he hadn't updated the picture on his website and they subsequently changed the design. I then ordered the 16" spey handle kit which included a 9 1/2" full wells grip. reel seat and 3" fighting butt. Picture below:

What I ended up doing was taking off the single handed grip on the 11' 3/4 rod and replaced it with the 9 1/2" full wells and reel seat from Anglers Roost and using the 4 3/4" butt from Mudhole. Picture below:

The reason for this was I wanted the lower grip just a tad longer than 3". So I shortened the Mudhole 4 3/4" by about 1 inch and also sanded the butt of the lower handle flush, it had a button shape on the bottom. I felt the full wells was too large in diameter for such a small rod so I sanded it down into a smaller shape. Picture below of finished rod:

It's too bad that more commercial rod makers are not making what you and many of us are asking for. I'm not a rod builder but I ended up having to do the work myself. I'm happy with the way the rod turned out a bit ugly with lots of pits in the cork but she fishes just fine for me. I single hand cast with it and two hand cast with it
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-29-2014, 11:05 PM
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Yes, perhaps you should consult with Bob Meiser, for it was he who first coined the phrase 'switch rod', and built such for his personal customers as far back as 40 years ago...

...rather than...."have for his own the immortal coverlet, the fleece, glowing with matted skeins of gold".....


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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-29-2014, 11:48 PM
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true switch rod Ifisherman Maybe you saw this video b4. You may also find this interesting as Ward talks about his mico Skagit Rods a little lengthy but interesting. slack
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-29-2014, 11:53 PM
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true switch rod Sorry this is what I wanted to send,I think slack
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-30-2014, 01:06 AM Thread Starter
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Yep, watched every video and read every post. Probably spent way more hours on the web reading about this then I want to admit.

I did also talk with Bob over email. That's not really my goal here. A custom rod through bob would be cool but I was more interested to hear if a factory rod in the lower price point like 300ish range existed that I didn't know about. Not because I want to buy it, more interested in if it's out there and if not why nothing like this exists right now(again, factory not custom build). Honestly another point is to maybe grab the attention of anyone on here connected to a rod company so we can maybe plant the seed.

Bob did coin the term switch and credit is due. He also probably built many rods close to what I picture but current factory switch rods are not switch rods in my mind. They are mini spey rods. Great for two handed casts but crap for single hand work. My opinion others might disagree.

I see such potential here it drives me nuts. Also same experience as Rickbjr. So much time drilling holes in end caps and glueing on lower handles. Rods work great but are not exactly pretty. And rather then risk destroying a 500$ rod I normally hack up budget rods. Sounds like a lot but have only converted 4 so far.

Anyway just wishing rods had a true switch style. Ed Ward knows what I am talking about. I guess reality is we are probably only a few years out till it becomes reality.

I want Echo to take there 9ft 4 and 5 wt Echo 3 single hand rods, build them with normal full wells grips and 3" fighting butts. Those would be do it ALL rods. But then again it would mean less need for buying many rods so probably bad for business.

I spent 10 years in Oregon and practically lived on the Clack, Sandy and Deschutes. Spent so much time chasing steelhead I literally lost friends. When I moved to the Rockies I admit I was cocky, thinking I was the **** because I fished for steelhead with two handers. I also thought fishing out hear would be easy. Granted I do catch WAY more fish I really got a slap in the face when it comes to my experiments with swinging. Longer light two handers are just not ideal for small Rocky Mountain rivers. Wyoming sure but it's much more like Oregon, big water. It took some time to dial in a setup that works well on small rivers. Reality a single handed rod works just fine in most cases but when you want to toss large streamers and still have fun catching a 13" fish a micro two hander comes in handy. I really think there is a niche for these rods currently missed by current manufacturers.

Last edited by ifisherman; 12-30-2014 at 01:42 AM.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-30-2014, 08:40 AM
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Just take any used 9ft 4wt and add a 3" lower cork section.

Use as standard WF4F, 4wt for small dry fly presentations single handed.

Change over to TH with a 195gr Ambush line for larger streamers & buggers,,, works fantastic. In addition, the RIO Scandi 200gr is fine for swinging soft hackle flies in the traditional TH presentation.

We set up a prototype with Thomas & Thomas this past fall,,, not certain if it will go into production next year.

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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-30-2014, 11:25 AM
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I understand there are a few fisherman who would be interested in what you are talking about but in the overall market not really big enough for a large manufacturer to pursue. This is the reason for small custom makers who can easily do what you are talking about. Those companies who do price point rods in $300 or less depend on volume. Anyways I was in Meiser's shop about a week ago and saw one of his rods in a rack that is exactly what you are talking about. It was a 9’09er with a handle as you described. He also has a whole new line of micro switches

NEW: Ultra-lite "Switch" <> Single hand/two hand

S2H1024-4 <> 2/4 wt 10'0" 4 pc <> 200 to 300 grains
S2H1035-4 <> 3/5 wt 10'0" 4 pc <> 250 to 350 grains
S2H1046-4 <> 4/6 wt 10'0" 4 pc <> 300 to 400 grains
S2H1057-4 <> 5/7 wt 10'0" 4 pc <> 350 to 450 grains
S2H1068-4 <> 6/8 wt 10'0" 4 pc <> 400 to 500 grains
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-30-2014, 11:46 AM
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As long as the few people who are interested in rods of this type are willing to modify rods themselves (and void their warranty in the process) I don't see too many rod companies stepping in and offering new handle options. I say just contact a custom rod builder and have exactly what you want made for you.

"Perhaps fishing is, for me, only an excuse to be near rivers." - Roderick Haig-Brown
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-30-2014, 05:31 PM
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fwiw, i took my 9ft. 5wt. diamondback rod added a lower handle, lined it with ambush 5wt. (215 gr.) line. casts great,one of the best moves ive ever made! lol
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-30-2014, 07:29 PM
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True Switch design

What is the easiest way to add a functional 3 inch handle to a finished rod to make it a Switch. This group is about 3 years ahead of the curve b4 the masses catch on .I believe this will be the next new market. Just my opinion ,any rod that is longer than 10' for my physical mechanics, needs both hands at my age to last a full day casting. slack
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-30-2014, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by slack View Post
What is the easiest way to add a functional 3 inch handle to a finished rod to make it a Switch. This group is about 3 years ahead of the curve b4 the masses catch on .I believe this will be the next new market. Just my opinion ,any rod that is longer than 10' for my physical mechanics, needs both hands at my age to last a full day casting. slack
Here is a good starting point:
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-30-2014, 11:58 PM
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I agree...

... 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.
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