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Discussion Starter #1
So with my bonus this year I decided to buy a switch rod package after wanting one for over a year. It is a Rugged Creek 11'3" 7/8WT 4 piece with a 9/10 reel that came with a 485 grain line that has a 55' head. Does anyone have any tips or tricks for a brand new caster? I've cast a one handed rod for several years and before that I used to bottom bounce for the steelhead that I bought this rod to chase.
 

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My first question would be what "style" of casting to plan to employ. I can't really speak beyond skagit casting. One huge thing that helped me in my early learning was how to better balance out a rod. This will allow the rod to do most of the work for you. For your rod I think, from my experience, that you might find that going to a shorter slightly heavier head will cut out a chunk of the learning curve. For most 7 wts I've found the skagit switch 510 to be heaven. Being that you have a split weight rod you may even like the same in a 540. After getting your rod and lines balanced persistence and remembering to slow down when you're struggling really help. Just my two cents hope it helps and welcome!
 

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I only have 2 hands
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Spey...we will never be the same again

Marcus, it sounds like you have a switch line that might have some rear taper in the head.And sometimes the color change doesn't exactly mark the sweet spot on the line.Maybe try casting with some of the belly of the line pulled into the rod guides. For me it helps to warm up this way.I can feel a little more of the line weight loading the rod.You tube videos will help a ton also! I started with the "snap T" and "double spey" or "C spey" casts. But with switch rods and longer belly lines like you have,it's going to act more like a big long single hand rod.That is not to say you can't learn spey casts with it.I tried to imagine laying out a nice aerial loop of line,soft and straight,before I shot for big distance when learning double hand casts.
 

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''Speydo-masochist''
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Book a few lessons with a qualified instructor who knows his stuff; this will save you a lot of time & effort [& expence] in the long run & will get you fishing effectively much more quickly.

Probably he will also have other line types/ profiles which you can try as well.

Regards, Tyke.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The one cast I've been practicing so far is the standard switch cast to get the hang of the lift and sweep before firing. I've only been able to practice on a nearby lake but the river I plan on using this rod on is the upper Salmon River, mainly from Salmon,ID on up. The casts are probably going to be between 40' and 70'. I've heard that shorter heads are easier to cast, my line has a head that is 5 times longer than my rod. I also want to use my switch for swinging presentations as my single hand is now going to be my designated nymph rod. I've also been looking at rio spey versileaders as sink tips but that may be biting off a little more than I can handle at this point. Has anyone used rio's switch chucker? I've also heard that over weighting a rod makes it easier to cast but also deteriorates long range performance. I'm just throwing out ideas here.
 

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A line 5X rod length

is a bit longer than what is recommended. 2.5 to 3X rod length would be more in the ball park for a switch rod. With 55' you would need to strip a lot of line into the guides, and probably lose the required load.
 

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I only have 2 hands
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The switch chucker might just be the ticket for your needs. Simple and effective.The Salmon has a good bit of aquatic vegetation on the bottom...sink tips might be trouble.A long flourocarbon leader gets the fly down(especially with tungsten nymph mojo mud twisted on 2 feet above the fly).I have had luck with said methods in said waters very fun! Tyke also has a good point on getting a lesson or two. It might seem like an expense now but this fall when your grinning with a 30 incher in photo and posting it here on Speypages you might forget the cost.
 

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Yes do take a lesson or Two and please don't get on the trail of trying to find the perfect line..however,a 55' head is ok but not the best for new casters...look into a shorter scandi type line with a head near the 33' mark..easier to learn on and a lot more fun
Beulah elixir,Vision Vibe100or Vision Vibe 125,Snowbee Switch,Vision Ace and so on
 

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I'd look at it in this order:
Get your rod, line, leader, fly balanced (an instructor would be ideal here)
Get some casting instruction
Figure out what poly leaders, versi leaders, tips... etc will work for your intended presentations AND work with your line.

Casting sinking leaders/tips isn't any harder, and in some ways can even be easier. Don't go there yet, not due to difficulties of casting, but rather you need to get some of the other issues dialed in. Sounds like the line you have is not the easiest for learning, a shorter head (skagit, scandi) would probably shorten the learning curve.

Again, if you can find an instructor to help you it would be money well spent, and might help prevent bad habits, and redundant extra equipment (lines, tips, spools, etc).
Cheers,
JB
 
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