Switch rods? are they better then Spey rods? - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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Switch rods? are they better then Spey rods?

Been having a big debate with my friend
a while back i was asked about what to get to get into this spey thing!!
i told Ron ( Steelheaden ) to get a spey rod! i do not own a switch rod so i could not give no advice on this except from what i
have read
So my friend gets the weekends of i do not so he has been Hanging?? fishing with someone he meet on the river
that only uses a switch rod and a spinning rod but i guess mostly a switch rod from what Ron say this guy has said is that he can use a switch rod
better then a spey rod and a switch rod can do more and be better at it
and i put my two cents in and found a sage rod for him and kind of told him it was way better and a good deal at that
this was from Ron Post Year Round Steelhead Switch Rod recommendation? that kind of turned into a mess

Now he is wishing he took his new friends advice and got a switch rod

So my question is this from those of you that have both a spey rod and a switch rod are switch rods better??

from what i have read a switch rod is good for short in spots and for nymph fishing but i have seen guys use spey rods to do the same thing
smaller and lighter yes i guess
more maneuverable ? could be
for big fish ???

anything i am missing here?

Bill



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post #2 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 08:25 PM
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In my opinion, it's just a convention for terminology. A switch rod is just a shorter spey rod. Some have different tapers, I gather, and cast differently. I own an NRX 12' "switch." I don't love it, but it is a spey rod as far as I can tell. I've played around with two of my friends Sage One 7116, and that stick is great. I think it casts just as well as a "spey rod." In tighter quarters maybe it is better? I dunno. At one point in time a 13' rod was considered short, I think. Now, it is kind of normal. Maybe an 11.5'er will be the norm in a few years. They can still bomb casts. Most people I know who spey fish prefer to use 12.5-14'ers over < 12' (a switch rod).
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post #3 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 08:31 PM
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Get the right tool for the job. I don't own a switch, but would purchase one if I fished smaller water w/ lots of overhanging trees. Otherwise, the length is great for making longer casts and line control.

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post #4 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 08:44 PM
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I don’t own a “switch rod” I have casted a few. From what I understand a switch rod has a shorter bottom handle and a single hand line weight designation. I could be way off. But one thing I do. Know and for me if there’s a bottom handle there I’m gonna use it! If I want to cast single hand I fish a single hand. Spey rods can be short. Just because a rod is shorter I don’t think that makes it a switch rod. I’ve never found myself in a situation where I was wanting to single hand cast my 11’3 spey rod. I do over head cast it but use two hands. Seems like a silly thing! Is my 11’5 5wt spey just a 7wt switch rod then? Sure isn’t because at the end of the day I don’t really think a switch is a real thing. It’s like Bigfoot you either believe in them or you don’t. I choose not to believe. Just my opinions not trying to offend anyone here.
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post #5 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 10:51 PM
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I wouldn’t be without an 11’ 7 wt, ....but I also wouldn’t be without a ~13’ 7wt, and also something a bit larger. If you end up dead drifting with indicators then a switch would be better. It really does depend upon the size of the stream and the type of presentation.

It seems like the 11.5 to 12’ short speys are pretty handy rods.

Hope that helps a bit.

Harlan
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post #6 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 11:38 PM
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Discussed to death the first round. Many of us also suggested to your friend to learn on a more medium action rod FIRST. Far being from me to recommend someone turn down a good deal on a sage one, but that is a more VARSITY action rod. It’s not the worst action to learn on, just over in that camp, but it had the benefit of being a great rod for a one-off-and-done, one of the thing he said he wanted. There is an “I told ya’so” welling up, but as we already discussed, learning is the first prerequisite to “easy”.

Patiently working on things will help as there is no substitute for basics skills. I’m also sure there are plenty of people in the area that might volunteer part of an afternoon to help, and even bring some more appropriate rods to try out that might make it easier to get over the initial hump. Seeing the ease of casting, and of fishing, of a spey rod in the hands of someone who has the basics down will also be a huge motivation, and should ease his mind greatly on the issue. But I’m %100 sure the fundamental problem in this particular case is NOT his rod choice. You can either shop around to find an opinion to match your initial uninformed one, or have faith and follow the process through to the end before blaming the gear itself.

But rest assured in time and with a little practice he should be very happy with that rod. It is exactly the right tool for what he described as the situations he wants to fish, and will eventually be ease incarnate in his hands if he take a little time to develop the fundamentals.

Also if he finally decides to give up on that rod (not recommended) he should have VERY little trouble unloading it for the price he originally payed. In fact I’m sure many people on here would line up at the chance.
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Last edited by Botsari; 03-06-2019 at 12:16 AM.
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post #7 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 11:51 PM
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I have some short Spey rods made by Hardy, they are the old Swift 11 1/2 foot with full Spey rod handles. They are nice for smaller rivers where a 14 foot rod seems a bit much. Those rods will cast out to 80 feet with very little effort and I really like them.

I vote short Spey and what the h e ll is an indicator
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post #8 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 12:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VI Snorkeler View Post
I wouldn’t be without an 11’ 7 wt, ....but I also wouldn’t be without a ~13’ 7wt, and also something a bit larger. If you end up dead drifting with indicators then a switch would be better. It really does depend upon the size of the stream and the type of presentation.

It seems like the 11.5 to 12’ short speys are pretty handy rods.

Hope that helps a bit.

Harlan
I agree.
I fish mostly on the North Umpqua.
I favor a Meiser 11' 7wt "Switch" in Summer.
In winter, I go with a Burkie 13' 4" 7wt.
Occasionally, I have fished a small Oregon coastal river for winter runs
using indicators with the Switch rod.
The Switch can be handy under certain circumstances.
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post #9 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Hardyreels View Post
...
and what the h e ll is an indicator
A spey rod can be used as a flag pole as well. I’m not sure it is is better or worse than a switch rod for that.

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post #10 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 01:31 AM
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Yeah fair enough....bobber fishing with a short Spey or switch rod is kindof cheesy.
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post #11 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 01:43 AM
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Originally Posted by VI Snorkeler View Post
Yeah fair enough....bobber fishing with a short Spey or switch rod is kindof cheesy.
Naw, we kid, but it is fine.

Indicator fishing is more about lobbing and water loading than “casting”. In fact serious casting with an indicator rig can just get you in trouble as often as not. So that is probably more why we joke. You don’t need an elegant, specialized or expensive rod for it - probably just as good a solution, and maybe with less buyers remorse potential, is to buy a $70 medium actioned rod on amazon for that. I do get that “serious indicator fishermen” may take a more nuanced view of things, but I think that probably catches the general flavor of the humor involved there. That, and the maybe fact that indicator fishing is evil incarnate.

But a longer rod can certainly help on the mending! No faults there.
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post #12 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 01:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merlin View Post
Been having a big debate with my friend [....] so he has been Hanging?? fishing with someone he meet on the river
that only uses a switch rod and a spinning rod but i guess mostly a switch rod from what Ron say this guy has said is that he can use a switch rod
better then a spey rod and a switch rod can do more and be better at it

[...]

So my question is this from those of you that have both a spey rod and a switch rod are switch rods better??
When there is a 3rd party involved with what appears to be very strong, fixed, and not entirely informed opinions, and who I'm guessing is not a very good speycaster, I'm not sure it's worth debating the point. Like everything else in tackle, rod length is a lot personal preferences, but, there are definitely some differences/tradeoffs rooted in physics, and if you're talking to someone in denial about these tradeoffs, in my experience it's an argument that goes nowhere. Long rods have more reach, more lifting ability, work longer lines easier, and can generate higher line speed. Physics. They are also heavier and more awkward in really tight spots, say under a tree. Which is better depends on your definition of better. I prefer longer rods as I have no desire whatsoever to nymph with one, appreciate the greater capabilities of them, and have been doing this long enough to be able to manage -- within reason -- in most tighter spots on rivers I fish.


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Originally Posted by Botsari View Post
Seeing the ease of casting, and of fishing, of a spey rod in the hands of someone who has the basics down will also be a huge motivation, and should ease his mind greatly on the issue.
This.
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post #13 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 02:23 AM
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Whether switch rods or longer spey rods are "better" is a pointless question, absent some external references. Start with the water you're wanting to fish. If its width (normal wading position to far side lies) is less than a comfortable cast length, a switch rod may be appropriate. (And so might a single handed rod.)

There's another issue, practically taboo in the spey community, but real: the spey caster's physical comfort. Physical strength, conditioning, and age make spey rods (and reels, and lines) above some weight threshold uncomfortably heavy to cast over the course of a day, even if they are powerful, great line menders, and not-bad phallic symbols.

There's less difference in distance potential. Between rods of 11 vs. 14+ feet, of the same line weight, the repeatable maximum cast difference may be around 10-15 feet, but the ease of casting the switch rod is striking.

P.S. The earlier switch rods were sometimes labeled for single hand line weights, sometimes for spey line weights, which was too dumb to endure. Now, switch rods are labeled as spey line casters, which they are. (Optimum lines for switch rods are often shorter than lines for longer speys.)
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post #14 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 02:37 AM
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I originally learned on a very short switch rod, the Beulah 10'4" 6wt. It was a great rod, but like many have said here on Spey Pages and in person it's not the easiest to learn to spey cast on. Luckily I'm quite stubborn and kept at it until I got the hang of making halfway decent snap Ts and double speys. Plus the action is noticeably different as it's meant to do exactly what the name indicates; switch between using it for spey and overhead casts.

Once I got my first spey rod I was pretty much hooked after my first session of casting. The action, feel and style of casting spey rods just became my preferred method and felt that it was much easier to learn the various spey casts as you can feel the rod load with the more moderate actions and deeper load into the butt of the rod. Now with the addition of short speys like the Winston Microspey and Loomis IMX I get that sweet action of a spey rod in a smaller form factor that allows me to cast in smaller/tighter spaces.

In the end it's probably up to whoever is casting the rod to decide which is best. Both have their purpose and place, but as far as spey casting goes I feel that starting on a spey rod, as others had suggested, would have gotten me farther on the learning curve at a much faster pace.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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post #15 of 48 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 02:53 AM
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Ron, the original guy in question, wanted as I recall to get a rod for swinging for Steelhead on Oregon rivers - I think he specifically mentioned the Rogue and Coastal Rivers. Can’t remember if he mentioned the Deschutes or N. Umpqua, but I think he might have. He said he wanted just one two-handed rod for both summer and winter Steelhead, and hoped the first rod would be his last. He had not spey cast before if I recall, but someone had told him switch rods were “easier”. Merlin and some people on here convinced hm that both for learning and as a one-rod-does-it-all that a 7 wt spey lenght rod 12’ and up would be best, and not a switch lenght rod. He got a pretty good deal on 2nd hand 7wt sage one spey rod, but I herd from Merlin that using it has initially been frustrating for him.

My advice to Ron would be to stick with it a bit longer and maybe find someone to help him initially get over the hump which is admittedly not always simple when first starting out. The ease of use should come in time - if approached right, especially with a little help getting started, much of it very quickly. The rest keeps coming over a long time, but practical ease of use pretty quickly, so plenty of reason NOT to give up after the first frustrating attempt. At least give it a fair shake first. Like we have been saying, probably just seeing someone, anyone, doing it right and fishing that way will convince him at the very least it can be relaxing and easy to fish this way. But swinging a fly, spey or switch or single hand rod, is probably provablely NOT the easiest way to catch a LOT of fish, even if it can be relaxing a fun, so that much up front.

On the other hand my fishing buddy and I ran into some gear guys on the Smith last week and talked to them. One in particular really put us to shame. He lived in the area and obviously loved fishing spoons and really appeared to know his s**t. He said he caught tons of Steelhead and salmon on his 7’ rod and talked about it being the best $70 rod ever. I think we felt like posers by comparison with our trunk full of spey rods. So find your bliss and follow it. But don’t be afraid of a little bit of learning curve, regardless.
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Last edited by Botsari; 03-06-2019 at 03:33 AM.
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