What does switch rod mean to you? Switching between two handed and single handed casting, or switching between Spey casting and conventional casting? To me it is switching between Spey casting and conventional casting. As for arthritic hand and wrist condition, I can personally say that I got over my joint problems with red wine and daily juicing with a high quality juicer, and some high quality supplements like MSM. Arthritis problems are NOT caused by pressure on the joints and are actually PREVENTED by common sense use and pressure on joints....provided you get the right nutrients into your body. Painkillers and nonuse of joints GUARANTEES no end of problems with your joints. Get informed by alternative medical doctors like Dr. Mercola, Dr. Campbell and Dr. Whitaker. If you have to lighten up on your joints for a while, then do that, but going to a two-handed rod and staying there is not the long term solution.
Go to a two-handed rod when you no longer have the physical strength to handle the rod length you want to fish. I actualy DID go two-handed for a while because of joint problems, but I stayed there after the problems went away because I sometimes want to use longer rods that I am not physically strong enough to throw single-handed. Two-handed salmon rods work better with nonstretch lines like Fireline when bass fishing because they cushion the shocks better than short and stiff rods. Long rods roll cast better, and they clear the brush better on backcasts, etc. I also know some situations where they suck, such as jigging from boats. But for wading anglers, longer rods GENERALLY work better than the short rods that obviously became popular from watching too many Bill Dance type shows where fishing from boats is the norm. It soon became obvious to me that his shows were geared for the benefit of his sponsors, since they paid his salary. I think it's the same for most outdoor shows, and since The American Sportsman went off the air, most outdoor hunting/fishing shows have been crap by comparison. Mutual of Omaha was not selling fishing and hunting gear, and therefore the show was a lot more informative and entertaining. Since Bill Dance did not hawk fly fishing gear on his show, it seemed obvious that it might be worth trying, and in summer months it was the hot ticket for bass. I still have a Bill Dance endorsed lure that is yet to catch it's first bass, in fact it seems to scare off bass.
I ordered the 9'6" 7 wt. 4-piece LST rod and expected it to be the same as my 9' 8wt. 4-piece LST rod except for lighter line. Except for the similar full wells grip and reel seat, it is quite a bit different from the 908 LST. It definitely has a more full flexing action, and it has considerably larger stripping gruides and 3 of them instead of 2 as on the 908 LST. If 9'6" is long enough, it would make a good switch rod for 6 wt. Spey line. It is more geared to fishing wet flies than the 908 LST which is more of a line cannon with a stiffer butt section for dry flies. This is not to imply that the 967 LST is a slow rod.....far from it. It's just more manageable for fishing in close and fishing wet and for roll casting.....making it better for Spey casts.
I gave around $180, and it has a 25-year warranty. Check out the reviews, as the LST rods are about the highest rated rods Cabela's has ever sold. They really do directly compare to rods that cost twice as much from the big name brands in every way. The cork on mine is considerably nicer than $650 Orvis rods I looked at, and mine felt lighter in hand than the Zero Gravity rod.
As far as the LST switch rods go, they look exactly like Loop rods to me, except for the blank colors. At one time the LL Bean Streamlight rods looked almost identical to the LST rods, but Bean has cheapened up on the cosmetics of the Streamlight rods while the LST rods are still very high class in cosmetics. There are also a lot more sizes available in the LST series, and when you count the 6 two-handed rods in the series, it's a versatile series that is equaled by few big name manufacturers, and by none of them at that cost. The TFO
professional series does not have the lightness and cosmetics or high end casting ability of the LST series (I own a TFO
pro rod, so I know).
Because of the high modulus graphite, users are reporting some breakages. That goes with high modulus territory in general, and Cabela's is good for the warranty if it breaks. The TFO
pro series Spey is medium modulus, and I would suspect it being less likely to break, but with the big difference in casting feel, I'll stay with the LST and stick enough coin back in my pocket to pay for a Spey line. I picked up a TFO
pro Spey rod at a shop, and it seemed heavier and deader in my hands.....in other words like the difference between my singlehand LST and TFO
Be aware that the 967 LST does NOT have a rear handle, only a 1" cork extension butt. You can switch between Spey casting and conventional styles, but a rear grip would have to be added to make it two-handed. I still consider it a switch rod as it is longer than 9' and it switches between Spey and conventional casting better than any other rod I own. It's so light and easy to handle that adding a rear grip would probably degrade the performance for me, but a young child might like a rear grip added and it would thus be almost 10' long. Cabela's could add the rear grip and place it in the switch rod category with their two other LST switch rods, or you could do the conversion.
I have been smallie fishing with fly gear for 20+ years, and the 967 LST may be the most versatile rod I own for smallie fishing. The 908 LST is more of a pike and largemouth rod. The 905 LST is too light to be a true all rounder for smallies, and western trout would be its best description. The 967 LST has the more medium flexing action that allows better Spey casts and better wet fly casts. It's obvious design intent was as a steelhead and light salmon rod.
As for lines, you can just use regular bass bug lines or a saltwater triangle taper line with the 967 LST. Longer bellied Spey lines would be useful for pushing for distance, but drop a line weight of course.
One of the LST switch rods that are two-handed might be better for your physical problem, but changing the 967 LST to two-handed gives you an even lighter rod than either of those. If I HAD to throw two-handed all the time, I would look at the 12'4" LST for 8 wt. line, especially if going for distance casts and skagit type lines. Owning the 967 LST and 12'4" LST gives me more options, and either one of those other two LST switch rods would be a compromise if deciding to fish heavy or light for smallies. But, if one rod has to do it all, and be two-handed, then one of the LST switch rods would be great.
Like Mel Krieger, I feel that dropping much below 13' defeats the purpose of the two-handed rod. Rather than getting an 11' switch rod, I'll take my 9'6" single-handed rod for lighter work and move up close to 13' when I go two-handed. This is an adult bias. If I was a young kid, an 11' two-handed rod might be ideal. There is really nothing an 11' switch rod can do that my 967 LST cannot do.....except get my hand on a rear grip.....which is totally unnecessary for such a lightweight rod.