Switch Cast - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-17-2001, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
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Originator: Eddie RobinsonDate: 11/17/2001 6:32 PM
Does anyone know the origin of the term 'switch cast'?  I'm not talking about the cast itself, I'm just wondering of how it came to be known as the 'switch cast'. 
Eddie Robinson
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-18-2001, 12:06 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: cootDate: 11/17/2001 8:06 PM
At 10:32 AM 11/17/2001 -0800, you wrote:
> New Message on International Spey Casting
>> Switch Cast
Hi: As far as I know this cast preceeded the spey cast and was called the
switch cast because it basically switched the line direction from straight
downstream to across stream. Basicaly a powered roll cast with a change in
direction. Was the main cast used by Wee Grantee. He acieved great distance
with it. 156feet with a 20'rod
Bud Smithers
Kelowna BC

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-18-2001, 05:30 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: Fred EvansDate: 11/18/2001 1:30 AM
Bud, no add on to your response, but great name for some one who lives that close to the "other" Smithers, BC. A Canuk by birth, learned the steelheading trade in that area of the world, then to Washington State, mostly "pre-Bolt." Times were good if the river was your main focus.
Mom didn't need to worry where I was; just how deep (actually I'm a chicken-wader) I was wondering around in a river.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-19-2001, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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Originator: AndreDate: 11/19/2001 4:20 PM
The cast is the Grant Switch,

Developed by Alexander Grant, and he used a Square Pliat (sp?), I believe he used a 18ft greenheart rod to cast 57 yrds. The premise is for a fine and far off presentation.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-20-2001, 01:11 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: Mr.ShanksDate: 11/19/2001 9:11 PM
Hi Eddie
Do you have access to Geo.M. Kelson's book The Salmon Fly. Origanly written in 1895, ( re written 1979) It has a chapter on the Switch Cast.
Here is something of  interest, Kelson write's: Say what we can of the Switch, the cast will never hold it's own in a race with the Spey.
The Spey would give the Switch a beating ; that is to say, as far as the matter of distance is concerned, the former would cut out the
latter in competition by at least twenty-four feet without being extended.  He goes on to say; The great advantage which this old-fashion cast has over the Spey and all others is particularly its own, and counterbalances all its failing in those places where the Switch only is suitable - when trees, shrubs, or other immediate obstructions handicap the different, and more water-covering modes of propelling a fly.
He goes on to say by adding another component to the cast called the Peter , it becomes a much more dynamic cast.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-03-2001, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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Originator: Mr.ShanksDate: 12/3/2001 2:22 PM
Hi Eddie
I've got some more information for you on Switch Casting :
Why'll looking through; A Book on Angling by Francis Francis  (First ed. 1867)
I found this in the Trout section: page: 116;
 In very windy weather, or in difficult places, midst trees and bushes, the angler will often have to employ other ways of casting. When the wind is blowing heavily down-stream or he has trees at his back, he will have to switch his line*. 
* This plan is more often adopted in Salmon fishing with the double-handed rod than in trouting, though in the the latter it may at times be used with advantage.-FF.
He then goes on to explain the cast.
Later on page 237 titled, The Spey Cast, FF writes:
I have mentioned switching* in trout-fishing, but it is chiefly used in salmon-fishing. It is a species of cast that is made when there are high banks or rocks at at the angler's back so he cannot send his line behind him. And it is one that requires some practice to make from the right shoulder, and a good deal more to accomplished neatly from the left.
Again he goes on to explain the cast in detail.
At the bottom of the page he writes. (What I found most interesting)
* This cast is called by various names;  sometimes "Welsh or Spey cast",  or according to the name of some other river where it is practised.- FF.
This information was taken from a later ed. (1920)
It is interesting to note that most of what we now know about casting and salmon flies, was gathered from wealthy Englishmen like FF. in a time when travel was mostly horse and buggy. I'm sure that the "same cast" had different names from region to region, this I've found many times when doing history on salmon flies.  
Hope this helps
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-04-2001, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
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Originator: Steven MDate: 12/4/2001 6:14 PM
Hi Eddie,
Have wondered about that myself, and also wondered whether with the silk lines that used to be in use, and which had a tendency to sink, the action of raising the sunken line to the surface in order to commence any cast was a "switching action"?
Anyway, have looked at 3 of my books and will let you know what they say about Switch Casting. My own deduction is that the Switch Cast of yesteryear was the cast that we know as today as the Roll Cast - and that whilst Grant's Switch is more dynamic, this cast was probably unknown by that name to the majority who fished south of the England/Scotland border during the the period from 1890's onwards. Indeed, one of my books, 'Fishing Dreams' by T.T Phelps, refers to the "Planet Cast" and the Vibration rod that Alexander Grant designed specifically for performing this cast!
Book 1 ' The Angler's Cast by Captain T.L Edwards and E.Horsfall Turner. (1960) (Capt Edwards was very active in international competition casting and ran a casting school in in Scotland.
On Roll Casts: Spey and Double Spey  - Chapter 10:
"The first thing that the angler must do, before trying to change direction, is to master the roll cast.
The confusion (about Spey Casting and suitable rods) is caused by the insistence that there is a difference between the Roll Cast and the "Switch" Cast.  We have never been able to see this distinction as a difference. The actions in the cast, whether the line is lifted clear of the water or not, are exactly the same; if an additional twirl is put into the action, and the cast is called after the name of a Scottish river, it does not, in  our opinion, cease to be our old friend the roll cast........
Basically, "Spey", "Switch" and "Roll" are all the same cast and, as they are classed in the terminology of the International Casting Federation as simply "The Roll Cast"......"
Book 2: Fine and Far Off - by Jock Scott (The book about Alexander Grant's Switch Cast & recommended to me by Derek Brown - to whom I'm grateful!)
Chapter 3 - The Switch Cast. Page 87
"The switch of the southron (southerner) - as used in tournaments - is not of much use for practical fishing, since it delivers the line at nearly the same angle to the stream as that from which it was picked up. ...... It consists of drawing the line slowly back towards your body and then driving it away by main force.  During the the slow pull- back the fly drags along the surface, it does not jump off the water as in the case of the Spey".
Note: That definition of the Switch Cast - with regards to the fly - differs from the definition that instructors in the UK now think of describing the Switch Cast, and which I think is known in the USA as "Forward Spey" or alternatively in the UK as a "Live Line Roll Cast".
Book 3 - Fishing Dreams by T.T. Phelps (1949)
Chapter 3 - On Casting
"The water casts are the 'Switch' and the single and the double 'Spey', and although there are many variations, such as the 'Planet' (read Grant's Switch Cast - although the description of this differs from the above book!) and the 'Loop'........     They are all based on the Switch which is, fundamentally the simple turning over of the line in the water, a movement that most of us make when getting our line out".
Again, the Switch must have been performed in one plane as Phelps goes on to describe 'The Lærdal Switch' (from the ill-fated river of that name in Norway), which consisted of several movements repeated over and over again with the idea of movign the fly and line higher upstream.
OK. Was that of any assistance?
Steven M.
PS. I have asked countless fellow UK instructors if they know of the 'Planet Cast' - have yet to find one that knows Grant's Switch Cast under that name.
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