Switch rod basics - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-29-2015, 02:01 AM Thread Starter
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Switch rod basics

Good day to all,

I am new to the forum and I am looking forward to initially have a brain dump by some experienced in the trade of switch rodding. Hopefully I am able to contribute at a later stage regarding different topics.

Background:
I have converted a very fast conventional 5wt to a switch rod. Although the tapers are somewhat different between the conventional and switch rods, I am still attempting to see the outcome.
Considering that a 5wt conventional is about a 2wt switch rod I need some advice on line choice. The following is my requirements:
1) Will be doing light stillwater fishing on relatively small and shallow ponds.
2) Will be mostly small streamers, small nymphs and nymph suspension under an indicator.
3) Primarily spey casting and very little overhead casting. I am completely fascinated by the grace, ease and calm demeanor this technique brings to my fishing style.

I have studied the RIO guidelines for choosing a switch rod line, however still not certain regarding the correct line.

So what would your choice be, considering the above criteria, skagit or Scandi?

Kind regards,

Pierre
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-29-2015, 02:39 AM
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First a warm welcome to the Board!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierre Wentzel View Post
Good day to all,

I am new to the forum and I am looking forward to initially have a brain dump by some experienced in the trade of switch rodding. Hopefully I am able to contribute at a later stage regarding different topics.

Background:
I have converted a very fast conventional 5wt to a switch rod. Although the tapers are somewhat different between the conventional and switch rods, I am still attempting to see the outcome.
Considering that a 5wt conventional is about a 2wt switch rod I need some advice on line choice. The following is my requirements:
1) Will be doing light stillwater fishing on relatively small and shallow ponds.
2) Will be mostly small streamers, small nymphs and nymph suspension under an indicator.
3) Primarily spey casting and very little overhead casting. I am completely fascinated by the grace, ease and calm demeanor this technique brings to my fishing style.

I have studied the RIO guidelines for choosing a switch rod line, however still not certain regarding the correct line.

So what would your choice be, considering the above criteria, skagit or Scandi?

Kind regards,

Pierre
As to the rod, it doesn't know, it doesn't care if properly lined. There you need Steve Godshall here on the board (don't have his phone number handy) but you can easily contact him through R B Meiser spey rods. They share work space here in Centeral Point, Oregon.

Lining these kinds of rods is a 'one off,' which is where Steve comes into play. All his lines (hundreds of them in play) are specificly 'cut' for the rod, fishing conditions, etc., etc. You try to buy something 'off the shelf' you will be disapointed .... and down about ninty bucks.

Here's what Bob suggests for his rods: R. B. Meiser Fly Rods - Highlander Switch Rod Series You can 'spey cast' with a single hander rod as long as you've got an inch or two below the reel to get your finger tips on the bottom of the rod. Less than that, casting will be a pain where you sit......

fae




Fred Evans - White City, Oregon
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-29-2015, 03:26 AM Thread Starter
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Dear Fae,

Thank you for the reply and information supplied, I will contact Bob.
I will probably have to send him my rod here from South Africa and he can line it correctly.Hell of a mission though.

Pierre

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Originally Posted by fredaevans View Post
As to the rod, it doesn't know, it doesn't care if properly lined. There you need Steve Godshall here on the board (don't have his phone number handy) but you can easily contact him through R B Meiser spey rods. They share work space here in Centeral Point, Oregon.

Lining these kinds of rods is a 'one off,' which is where Steve comes into play. All his lines (hundreds of them in play) are specificly 'cut' for the rod, fishing conditions, etc., etc. You try to buy something 'off the shelf' you will be disapointed .... and down about ninty bucks.

Here's what Bob suggests for his rods: R. B. Meiser Fly Rods - Highlander Switch Rod Series You can 'spey cast' with a single hander rod as long as you've got an inch or two below the reel to get your finger tips on the bottom of the rod. Less than that, casting will be a pain where you sit......

fae
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-29-2015, 06:11 AM
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A fast 5wt should cast same lines just fine as slow 5wt does but I assume you mean your fast 5wt is stiffer (like many current rods are) and benefit casting heavier line. If you already have a line you like single hand cast you should be able to double hand cast it overhead and Spey cast it too. The reason we cast heavier lines when Spey casting is to compensate the distance loss which comes when lifting fly and leader from water anchor because it wastes energy.

When DH casting we can cast heavier line because we have more force in two hands. Heavier line also compensates some of the higher line speed what comes when we haul a single hand cast but still a DH line needs to be about 30% heavier to perform as well as SH casting because hauling is very effective increasing line speed and also narrowing line loop which increase performance because of less air drag.

IMO building lines and shooting heads yourself is a way to go to optimize the performance. UK web shops sell very cheap fly lines. John Norris has some WF lines from £6 and DT's for £4 and DT can be used to test rod and when nice weight is found you can buy same weight line or loop or splice that piece of DT to a running line and have decent overall line. When a length of DT out of rod tip feels good to cast cut 1/4 of rod length longer because also the line inside guides load the rod. You can use even Salmod DT12 to build very short head line for 5wt so it might be good idea to get few more different weights if postage is high.

Esa
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-29-2015, 07:08 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Esa
Thank you for the reply,
I will do what you have suggested. Do you just normally do a loop-to-loop from running to head. What loops do you use?

Regards,
Pierre

Quote:
Originally Posted by bender View Post
A fast 5wt should cast same lines just fine as slow 5wt does but I assume you mean your fast 5wt is stiffer (like many current rods are) and benefit casting heavier line. If you already have a line you like single hand cast you should be able to double hand cast it overhead and Spey cast it too. The reason we cast heavier lines when Spey casting is to compensate the distance loss which comes when lifting fly and leader from water anchor because it wastes energy.

When DH casting we can cast heavier line because we have more force in two hands. Heavier line also compensates some of the higher line speed what comes when we haul a single hand cast but still a DH line needs to be about 30% heavier to perform as well as SH casting because hauling is very effective increasing line speed and also narrowing line loop which increase performance because of less air drag.

IMO building lines and shooting heads yourself is a way to go to optimize the performance. UK web shops sell very cheap fly lines. John Norris has some WF lines from £6 and DT's for £4 and DT can be used to test rod and when nice weight is found you can buy same weight line or loop or splice that piece of DT to a running line and have decent overall line. When a length of DT out of rod tip feels good to cast cut 1/4 of rod length longer because also the line inside guides load the rod. You can use even Salmod DT12 to build very short head line for 5wt so it might be good idea to get few more different weights if postage is high.

Esa
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-29-2015, 09:54 AM
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I mostly use loop to loop shooting heads and lately I have made loops from the core when core is braid which most lines have. I strip one inch (25mm) coating away using mono loop. Some very strong cores need softening using acetone. I fold core so that 1/4'' of core comes over coating and thread wrap using fly tying bobbin and thread. I have a piece of wire which has short and narrow hook where I put the loop when I do wrapping. I put enough PU clue over threading area so that thread cuts thru clue and thread becomes saturated all thru. I make threading taper towards the loop and finish doing five or so knots Next put some clue to a piece of paper and using a needle saturate the loop core. Then I make the clue smooth removing excess and put hanging dry.

Core loops cause least noise of any loop and core loops do not break as easy as welded loops but I check them when I change the head and leader. Sometimes self made welded loop coating cuts very fast on leader side but core loop lasts long.

My favorite shooting line is Sawada Flat Beam Intermediate 50lbs and 35lbs for lighter lines and I have carefully tied a figure of 8 knot so that flat surfaces stay flat against each other when I fold the line end and knot becomes very neat and strong.

Esa
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-29-2015, 10:15 AM
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I have very much fly lines and yet I have made various lengths of looped pieces which I use when "tuning" lines and "examining" rods. For example 1ft, 2ft, 4ft, and 8ft lengths I can use 15 different weights. When I find a weight I "need" I can build similar line. Many years ago lines which had good "spey tapers" availability was poor and they did cost a lot. Now I mostly buy cheap lines which are replaced with new models.

Esa
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-29-2015, 10:15 AM
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I have converted a number of single hand rods to switches. I have a very old 1970s vintage 10.5' 5 wt Fenwick HMG and it does well with around 250 to 275 grain Skagit.

You can up-line from what you would typically use for an overhead line as you are not loading the rod with the full "30" feet of line as part of that is in the lower leg of the D loop

There are some new short lines out there - OPST Skagit heads as well as similar RIO heads that allow you to strip in much of the line before getting to your running line. But I would also not ignore a standard single hand line - I love the Wulff TT lines and might go up to a 7 wt on the rod
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-29-2015, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
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You can up-line from what you would typically use for an overhead line as you are not loading the rod with the full "30" feet of line as part of that is in the lower leg of the D loop
Sorry Rick but that is not true! Just another myth in fly fishing which should die

Water anchor robs energy from the line and more energy to line cause more bend (load) when all else stays the same. Casting heavier line is what we use to increase the efficiency of a Spey cast.

In practice the casting distance is what has the biggest influence to rod bend! Line weight not so much because rod moment of inertia and air drag cause rod bend too. In theory for every rod there can be an exact line weight which casts to certain distance with least bend and when lighter or heavier line is cast to same distance rod bends more. The "grain window" is good expression to that phenomenon although there is no standard how it is done. In practice we casters adjust casting and can comfortable cast different weight lines to different lengths and it is not unusual that our grain window is different than others.

Esa
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-30-2015, 01:16 AM Thread Starter
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Good morning gentlemen,

With the 5wt that i have converted, what would the expected distance be to achieve, roughly as i realise it depends on many variables.
Secondly, when testing the loading of the rod, do you check with a spey cast or an overhead cast. I would assume a spey cast as this is what I'll be dong most of the time. Thirdly, I have WF floating lines in 10wt, 8 and 7, that I can cut to length. For a novice like me, what would the best head length be to start with?

Kind regards,
Pierre


;1510346]Sorry Rick but that is not true! Just another myth in fly fishing which should die

Water anchor robs energy from the line and more energy to line cause more bend (load) when all else stays the same. Casting heavier line is what we use to increase the efficiency of a Spey cast.

In practice the casting distance is what has the biggest influence to rod bend! Line weight not so much because rod moment of inertia and air drag cause rod bend too. In theory for every rod there can be an exact line weight which casts to certain distance with least bend and when lighter or heavier line is cast to same distance rod bends more. The "grain window" is good expression to that phenomenon although there is no standard how it is done. In practice we casters adjust casting and can comfortable cast different weight lines to different lengths and it is not unusual that our grain window is different than others.

Esa[/QUOTE]
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-30-2015, 01:50 AM
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You will need to up the line weight from the original five to, probably, eight, and I would suggest that an eight weight forward trout line would be a good place to start. Fishing small waters suggest that a skagit line would be a good way of alarming the fish with the splash as it lands. A Scandi is better but a troutline might be better still, and all you need. If available, an Airflo Forty Plus should do nicely. I have converted an old seven wt Orvis and find a nine wt Forty Plus casts well.

Enjoy your journey, it will be well worth it!
TL
Richard

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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-30-2015, 05:38 AM
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Edit: It does not matter but when overhead casting you get more repetitions so it is faster to learn line behavior.

Casting distance cannot be predicted but Spey casting lowers distance and DH casting light and short rod lowers distance as well because we loose hauling which increase line speed very much and narrows line loop. Heavier line increase distance significantly and longer line head as well but not as much. Line head profile has effect too but it has more variables what usually casting style, fly size and fishing conditions determine.

You don't need to cut your WF lines until you know what is the length of head out of rod tip you like to shoot to lengthen the cast. Your WF7 might se so light for DH casting that even whole head out of rod does not "feel good". But the WF10 head might be so heavy that you mostly cast it partly inside rod and would benefit cutting but don't rush cutting it until you get better idea of its useful length.

Esa

Last edited by bender; 10-30-2015 at 06:36 AM.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-30-2015, 05:51 AM
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This is one specific situation where the utility of a DT line can be very useful, as well as owning a grain scale, and a Sharpie (or similar) marking pen.

A DT line has identical tapers at either end; thus, when loading the rod it doesn't matter which way round you place the line on your reel.

Also, when test casting, as you lengthen the line out of the tip top ring, the loading weight (line) increases. When you reach what you feel is the optimum length of line out of the tip top ring for your casting, and your casts are repeatedly feeling and looking good, mark the DT line at the level of the reel.

You then minus the length of the tip top ring to reel length, and weigh on your grain scale that portion of the DT line. This will give the optimum (in your hands) grainage of any WF/Spey line (head weight) or indeed the head weight of the Scandi or Skagit you should then seek.

You may wish to alter this final head weight depending on the casting style and any additional tip weight (water-borne anchor) you will be utilising.


Mike

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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-30-2015, 06:27 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Richard,
Thank you for the post. Considering that you suggested a forty plus, are you referring to using this for spey casting at the same length? I will be doing very little overhead casting.I have a 7wt forty plus (the old one still) however the line weight is much more than the recommended 210 grams for a 5wt conventional
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 10-30-2015, 06:38 AM Thread Starter
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You guys are completely confokulating me now. This what I'll do, please see if it makes sense.
I have taken a 5wt conventional rod and turned it into an 11 foot switch rod. Considering what the conventional 5 wt rod line weight is, this would be equal to a 2wt switch rod in line weight.
The recommended line weight for a 2wt switch rod is 190-210grains. So, this is the line weight that I will have to typically load the rod with.
I will ensure that i keep the head length between 20-25 feet and ensure that the weight is within the above range. I will then choose a WF line that will allow me to obtain these specifications.
Makes sense?
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