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loco alto!
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revisiting Combs "Steelhead Fly Fishing and Flies" last night, I was reminded of a photo (p. 29) of what appears to be a switch-type rod, with the caption:

"Don McClain has made many noteworthy refinements to his Deschutes River steelheading techniques."

Does anyone know more about Don / the tackle / the techniques?
 

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Steve,

If you can:

Find a book called the "American Sportsman Treasury".

A tribute to the program "The American Sportsman".

1971 <> The Ridge Press Inc. Alfred A Knopf / Jerry Mason

Library of Congress Cat. Card #: 72-158810

On pages 174-175 is a photo of the most beauty switch rod I've ever seen.

A custom made Gillum Salmon rod.

I'm sure there are others that frequent this forum that have far more knowledge of bamboo dates/history then myself, but my guess is the rod was made aprox. 50 years ago.

I'd print it and send, but the book binding goes down the middle of the photo spread.

All and all a superb book.

Meiz
 

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Damn fish ladder
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"Switch" rods

I'm no expert, but here's my take on it...

True two-handers really fell out of favor in the US country around WW2. (WHY?) Many/most salmon rods used detachable, long butt sections and a relatively standard upper grip. I believe from various sources that almost no one spey- cast these kinds of rods. They were overhead cast or roll cast with two hands or one hand.

In fact, I have never, in many years of looking seen a post 1940 TRUE two-hand bamboo salmon rod from Orvis. Leonard made them (and MY GOD were they expensive), Payne usually made detachable butts rods, and Gillum is most known for his detachable-butt salmon rods.

Any other thoughts out there in spey land?
 

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Switch rods

Hi Brooklynangler,
The Switch rod from around 100 yrs ago is so much different to what you call a Switch rod in the USA, around 120 years ago a Switch rod was long rod from 15ft to 20ft, used for Switch casting more than speycasting.
A Switch cast was described as being the most commonly employed of the continuous-motion casts, and is in two phases merging into one.
This was a cast used with this rod, around the same time as the catapult cast, or catapult switch.
All my info is on Rods and casts of the time, but thats where the switch rod name came from, but as in everything names change, but it was for the type of cast not for switching from one hand to two hands.
Gordon.
 

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Don McClain

To answer your original question, I think he used a long single handed rod that had a fighting butt and cast it one handed. He was one of the first to use what he called "damp" flies - basically waked wet flies - that he tied with deerhair wings to keep them afloat or at least awash in the surface.
 

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just say no to bait
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In one of Haig-Browns books, I think it is "Bright Waters . . ." there is a B/W shot of him holding a rod which appears to 11' and a lower handle. Judging by rods age it looks like early 60's.
 

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Try getting ahold of Trey and ask him what he meant. He is one of the nicest guys I ever met, I guided him a few years back and of all the big-name flyfisherman he was by far the most humble and knowledgable. If you drop him a note care of the publisher, or find his address in the phone book, just send him a letter. You might just develop a friendship with him and learn a lot.

Good Luck,

-John
 
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