Beginner with a Switch rod on the way! - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 11:57 PM Thread Starter
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Beginner with a Switch rod on the way!

Hello everyone, a helpful member over at Flyaddict Community Forums recommended I visit here since I am in need of some desperate help!

I began fly fishing almost 2 years ago, and fell in love with it after landing my first steelhead on a fly here in VT! I grew up trout fishing the North Winooski iver in VT with a spinning rod as a kid, and got back into fishing in High School after moving into Winooski itself. As my passion for fishing grew, I started to take a look into fly fishing, and ended up buying a cheap combo at Wal-mart. That took off instantly after landing a few fish and I've snowballed ever since.

I started tying a few months ago I got hooked, and took a class at my local fly shop.

So long story short -

I've always been intrigued by Spey and Switch rods, and decided it was time to give it a try after watching millions of videos on YouTube about Spey and Switch rods, casting etc etc...I had an old St. Croix Imperial I got from a friend that was pretty banged up, but not too long after using it I fell on the ice steelhead fishing and the tip snapped off. I put it in my closet and forgot about it until recently. I ended up sending it back and got quite a good deal on a replacement. I opted for a 6 wt Switch version.

I mainly fish a place called the Salmon Hole. I consider it my home on the water. It has shallow runs, but I mainly focus on the real deep stuff around big giant boulders I stand on. The water around these cliffs are probably over 15 ft deep in some spots, and I've hooked into quite a few steelhead and salmon who are down deep. The deep water is fallowed by rapids, and the landlocks love to hang out at the head of the fast water.

The river is surprisingly not fished as much as other rivers around here. It's in the middle of two dense cities, and I think other anglers just avoid it for whatever reason. I'm convinced the waters hold state records, and it's a great fishery. The other steelhead river within 40 miles or so is quite small, and can easily be fished with a 5 wt, so I would like to make this 6 wt Switch rod my "Salmon Hole" rod because the fishable area is just so huge!

When standing in a certain spot (where I am standing in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhJtujaAbQ0)

You can almost fish every inch of water no matter where you're facing. I've landed steelhead and even browns in the "still" water in that video. That being said, it's some big water, and I want a rod that can launch some bigger stuff further than my current 7 wt single-handed rod but also have the option to stand on top of that huge rock in the video and drift flies real deep and be able to mend the whole run

Maybe I'm making a mistake and should have stuck with my 7 wt, but that's why I'm here!

My usual fishing mostly consists of nymphing under an indicator, but I would love to start swinging more streamers and I think the Switch rod would be a good choice for it.

So here are things I need help with...lines! Skagit....Scandi....huh? So it seems Skagit is for bigger flies and deeper water, whereas Scandi lines are for softer presentations like skating flies along the surface, is this true?

Will I have to choose between ONLY streamers or ONLY nymphs with my Switch if I only want to pick one line, or is there a line that can do BOTH, relatively well? I see lines labeled as Switch lines, but what exactly makes them a Switch line?????

While steelhead fishing in NY I saw a few people using Switch rods and Spey casting nymph rigs 60-70 feet under indicators without any effort at all...it looked awesome! I was on the other side of the river, tree's at my back trying to roll cast out as far as I could with my single-handed rod.

So, in the end, my question is...what would you guys recommend and why? If I chose a Skagit setup what would have to go into it? Same with a Scandi, what do I need to buy? I'd love to hear any advice at all, and thanks for reading!

Tight lines,
Matt
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 12:25 AM
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You can "fly fish" a bobber more effectivelly with a light spinning rod or a centerpin. Casts of 100 ft+ are possible, easy and relaxing.

Use your switch rod to swing flies. Your 6 wt switch should take any line of about 350 gr. skagit, scandi, switch they all work well, the choice depends on how heavy of a sink tip and weighted fly (skagit) or not (scandi, switch line) you want.

It's all b#@$hit my friends, and is bad for ya!
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 01:02 AM
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I would recommend looking into the wulff ambush lines. I have used quite a few and think they are great on both single hand and switch rods.I have not had any trouble throwing large flys on sink tips with this line and it performs equally well when fishing with a big bobber and nymph setup.

It is not the best line for mending but if I get the head turned over (upstream) quickly after the cast I am able to mend it for quite a while before I start having trouble.

The fully integrated line is also nice for fishing it in close and not having a loop to loop connection in the guides like you would with a shooting head setup.

A search on this forum should come up with quite a few fairly recent discussions about the ambush lines.

I have fished an 8 and 9 weight on my 6 weight switch rod and I prefer the 9 weight for spey style casting.


Roy
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 03:03 AM
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skandi will not cast a bobber and split shots very well due to the longer and thinner front taper. I think airflo makes a "speydicator" line or something.

People here dont seem to use indicators much, as its not the traditional method of using a spey rod. dont be offended by people on here.

from what i read you mostly fish an indicator, so get a line that works with that for your switch rod. and get another different line (for your switch rod, like a skagit compact) if you seriously want to swing flies. jumping back and fourth between swinging and indicator would be frustrating and time consuming. I went through the same dilemma of wanting to find a line that does both, but it really isnt worth it. I gave up in a day and haven't touched an indicator since, but also gave up on catching fish
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 04:19 AM
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Once you get a line/head dialed in, you may wish to have a look at Bob's Tips....


http://speypages.com/speyclave/showthread.php?t=66327




Mike

If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles (spey rods). Doug Larson

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Your lines, your rivers, your way!
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 08:25 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewkovala View Post
skandi will not cast a bobber and split shots very well due to the longer and thinner front taper. I think airflo makes a "speydicator" line or something.

People here dont seem to use indicators much, as its not the traditional method of using a spey rod. dont be offended by people on here.

from what i read you mostly fish an indicator, so get a line that works with that for your switch rod. and get another different line (for your switch rod, like a skagit compact) if you seriously want to swing flies. jumping back and fourth between swinging and indicator would be frustrating and time consuming. I went through the same dilemma of wanting to find a line that does both, but it really isnt worth it. I gave up in a day and haven't touched an indicator since, but also gave up on catching fish
I suppose that's the thing. Find a line that does a little of both and pay for it in the long run or go for a specific line type to match what type of fishing I do. I'd like to say I felt comfortable swinging streamers for steelhead and landlocks but most of my fish are taken on nymphs and here in VT our steelhead and landlocked fishery is quite limited and is nothing like NY or any of the Great Lakes tribs.

I've heard that Spey really isn't for indicating, which is why I went with a Switch so that I have that versatility, so no offense taken to anyone who dislikes indicators. I've also taken fish on swinging nymphs. If I had the money I'd buy a spare spool and both a Skagit and an indicator line. Right now I've got a 10' 7 wt overlined with 8 wt steelhead line that roll and switch casts quite a ways but has trouble with a big weighted steelhead fly. I guess I'll have to decide if I want to swing streamers on it or nymph on it to begin with, and then down the road go with the other once I buy another spool and/or line. Thanks for your help guys.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 08:56 AM
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I've often fished just about where you are standing. Mostly w/ 12 and 12'6" rods, but the length isn't critical. Scandi with a poly leader or Skagit with sink tips. Nympths or Streamers. Using a small indicator is not any problem with either Scandi lines or Skagit without the sink tips. In that particular water, sink tips will tend to give you problems with lassoing the big boulder rubble.

We live in a complex world, what with fishing, sailing, and skiing seasons overlapping.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 12:30 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by vtloon View Post
I've often fished just about where you are standing. Mostly w/ 12 and 12'6" rods, but the length isn't critical. Scandi with a poly leader or Skagit with sink tips. Nympths or Streamers. Using a small indicator is not any problem with either Scandi lines or Skagit without the sink tips. In that particular water, sink tips will tend to give you problems with lassoing the big boulder rubble.
I've gotten quite a handle on the underwater terrain in that area from fishing it so much, so snagging the rocks underwater won't be too much of an issue. I've swung streamers on my 7 wt without many problems if I stand on the rock or just move to the right in the video. Do you still fish the area? I've only seen maybe two people with a Switch or a Spey rod down there in the past few years. Do you suggest trying the Skagit first? Sounds like I would have the easiest time with a Skagit line. I'm assuming it would throw a 10-12' mono leader with an indicator and a weighted fly pretty easily? Thanks for the tips!
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 03:48 PM
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PM sent. Can you get or send those yet?

We live in a complex world, what with fishing, sailing, and skiing seasons overlapping.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 03:51 PM
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I use my switch for both swinging streamers and fishing nymphs under an indicator. I use a Skagit with a sink tip for streamer fishing, but when it comes to nymphing I use a scandi line with a floating poly leader on the end, add the indicator to the end of the poly leader and then whatever length of leader you need to the nymph. It casts very well and has no problem turning over an indicator. If you can only use one line you can change the poly leader to a fast sink one and add a streamer and away you go.
All the best.
Mike
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewkovala View Post
skandi will not cast a bobber and split shots very well due to the longer and thinner front taper.
looking back maybe skandi does work. I thought the thinner the front taper the harder to lift a heavy fly/sink tip out of the water, and in his case split shots. If you are doing over head casts I guess it doesn't matter. I guess you dont know till you try.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Thomas View Post
I use my switch for both swinging streamers and fishing nymphs under an indicator. I use a Skagit with a sink tip for streamer fishing, but when it comes to nymphing I use a scandi line with a floating poly leader on the end, add the indicator to the end of the poly leader and then whatever length of leader you need to the nymph. It casts very well and has no problem turning over an indicator. If you can only use one line you can change the poly leader to a fast sink one and add a streamer and away you go.
All the best.
Mike
So, a Skagit line with say a 10-15' fast sinking poly leader with x amount of mono added would launch pretty big and heavy streamers? (dumbell leeches, tungsten coneheads?) What about replacing the sinking leader with a normal one? Will it be too light on the Skagit line? When I think about it it would seem like a Skagit should work for both setups since the nymph rig would weigh less, but then again it would throw off the balance. What if I'm throwing two weighted flies under an indicator? Do you think the Scandi will be able to lift a decent amount of weight on an 11' 6 wt?

The reel I'm looking at getting for the rod comes with a free line from Rio up to $75...any suggestions on the Rio lines to pick?
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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So, a few more questions...

It seems like the Skagit lines for sale are short, correct? They require a "running line"? Is this a small diameter floating fly line pretty much meant for a backing that is big enough to grab yet small enough to have the Skagit head carry it during the cast?

Also, if I decide on the Skagit or even the Scandi, what grain would you guys recommend for the 11' 6 wt Imperial rod? A 350? It looks like the Scandi steelhead might be an option as well. Seems a little beefier than the normal Scandi but Skagit would seem like it's easier to cast. I'm assuming its a bit more "loud" on the water though, correct?
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 03:22 PM
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At this stage you will be best served by a running line loop-to-looped with heads. You will probably find a Skagit the easiest to learn with. I don't know the rod, but the best approach is to test a bunch of heads (both Scandi and Skagit) before buying. I can help you with that come Spring; our group has a bunch of lines between us.

We live in a complex world, what with fishing, sailing, and skiing seasons overlapping.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-08-2013, 12:52 PM
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VTMatt, have you ever fished the Winooski river from Waterbury down??? my daughter lives up that way, and I was thinking of giving it a shot this year.
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