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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

I am from Ontario. I have fished for a number of years now and like to target trout and bass in the summer and salmon/steel september through may. I don't fly fish for migratory fish, at least not yet, since I have a tough enough time catching them floating. However, I love fishing with my SH rods for bass and trout.

A few weeks ago I decided on getting a new fly rod for streamers. Originally I was looking at 5 or 6 wt SH rods, but a few members from a local forum suggested a switch rod. I have researched them a lot lately and have some basic knowledge of them. I will describe the sort of fishing I will be doing: I want a rod mainly for streamer fishing, with woolly buggers and other streamers, but not in big sizes. My favourite river is about 25-40ft wide and relatively shallow. The average fish that seem to take a swung fly are 16-22".

So my budget for the entire setup is about $500. I'm looking at the echo glass or echo SR in the 3106 and 4108 models, or the redington dually 4109. I'm open to recommendations on a rod and also line weight here.
For the line, I wasn't thinking skagit was the way to go for me since it's for a smaller trout stream and the fish are fairly spooky. So, I've been looking at a rio switch chucker, rio scandi (or short), or a wulff ambush line. I wouldn't think a sink tip would be necessary, but once again, I'm new to this.
As far as casting, I'd like to be able to do both overhand and spey casts, since the banks are very brushy.

Thanks for any help you can give me!
 

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rods as short and light as you are thinking, can be very difficult to learn to spey cast with. the general consensus is rods around 13' slow things down, and make the learning easier. and from experience, i agree. never what you want to hear after already deciding on your rod, but many others before you have experienced your pain. good news is, almost everyone, upon learning to speycast, wants to start fishing bigger water. fwiw, if you are not throwing big weighted flies, and not fishing deep, scandi might be what youre after.
 

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Welcome to the board NS! I just recently joined and have been doing my fair share of reading. Tons of good info to be had on here!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
rods as short and light as you are thinking, can be very difficult to learn to spey cast with. the general consensus is rods around 13' slow things down, and make the learning easier. and from experience, i agree. never what you want to hear after already deciding on your rod, but many others before you have experienced your pain. good news is, almost everyone, upon learning to speycast, wants to start fishing bigger water. fwiw, if you are not throwing big weighted flies, and not fishing deep, scandi might be what youre after.
Thanks for your opinion-I was worried about that. Around here the full spey rods are around but only useful for a small handful of rivers. Would it be possible to practice casts on a SH rod with a WF taper and see how it goes?

Welcome to the board NS! I just recently joined and have been doing my fair share of reading. Tons of good info to be had on here!
Thanks for the warm welcome! Yes I've found a ton of great info on here.
 

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I'd almost wonder with a river that narrow if a single hand outfit might be a better option...?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'd almost wonder with a river that narrow if a single hand outfit might be a better option...?
I may be underestimating the width of it above - it's a big resi trout stream for S. Ontario. A few people said they use switch rods in the same place, and that it really helps control the swing with the extra length. I'd also like it for my bass spots on the grand. Plus I think it'd be more fun than a SH.
 

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I another guy from Ontario - soon we'll be running the place. ;)

Until last year, I had a lot of trouble finding a switch rod for the job you describe. My criteria was simple: it had to be light and soft enough to make a 12" fish fun, it had to be able to cast overhead well and present small flies, it had to be able to chuck fat lines when using weighted flies, it had to have some guts for lifting sunk lines and for distance casting, plus I had to like the action.

Sounds like an easy order to fill but it wasn't.

While haven't tried every switch rod out there, I've owned or had demo rods in my possession, totalling about 30 or so, going back before the term "switch rod" had been invented. Most of these were too heavy for the job as they were meant for steelhead and salmon, the rest didn't perform.

The first problem was all those 4 and 5 wt. switch rods that took an 8 or 9 wt. single hand line to load them when casting overhead. I'm not going fishing with a 9 wt. for 12" fish.

Second problem that the ones I found that were light enough for the job, couldn't fill the rest of the requirements.

I finally found one and I came by it by accident, the Loomis PRO 4X 10' 6" 5 wt. I'm Loomis field staff so I should take the opportunity to try all of the Loomis rods that I can even if I have no intention of using them. Given my lack of success in finding a suitable switch rod for smaller fish, I really had no intention of getting this rod - until I tried it at the Spey Nation clave. I went from never wanting to use a switch rod for smallies to using this rod almost exclusively for them.

Thanks to the sagging of the Canadian dollar, the new MSRP puts this rod a bit above your budget, but I believe that it is worth a try nevertheless.

If you want to try mine, let me know either through PM or via email at info at hooked4life dot ca.
 

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Learning the two hand casts

IMO, it is much easier on a longer rod. However that doesn't necessarily mean a big, heavy rod that would overpower your waters. So, I'm going to make some suggestions--

1. Go to a shop that handles spey rods and sign up for a lesson or two using their equipment. Get a sense of what is required.

2. Buy one of the Echo practice rods with the spey adapter and spend a lot of time with it to imprint the muscle memory.

3. Buy your rod of choice (I have the Echo Glass 4108 and really like it) and then take it back to the lesson stage and get some more help.

4. Lines: there are certainly a lot of them out there. I think a scandi is the way to go, you can do what you say want to do with one. Get proficient with one line before buying more. Keep it simple and don't confuse yourself with too many options.

That is the way I'd want to do it, if I were starting over. Would I have the patience to follow my own advice? Well, maybe not, but the lessons are so important. Don't skip that step.
 

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Your water sounds perfect for glass and scandi short. If you think you will still want to cast single hand about half the time go with switch stuff for sure. But if you are at all thinking of spey casts on larger water in your future,you might want a full length spey even if it's lightweight. It is life changing in angling terms. There are 12'6'' 4/5 weight rod and reel packages out there in your budget I think. I would not regret a spey rod purchase but I would think twice about ever getting another switch rod(already have one but want more long speys). But I really only fish big water..........not out of machismo, but big water is mostly what we have here in Lewis and Clark country. Just two cents there. You tube will really help if you can't afford live lessons(get real lessons if you can though).You are in for a new challenge wear eye protection. Have fun!
 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdCNRUEYAYk

I watched this vid last winter (and Part 2) and got the itch . Fished my local with nothing but a switch rod all season with my cane rods gathering dust .
I use a 10 ft switch with a 235 grain sgs scandi . It's awesome .
Like you I live in Ontario .
The lessons are a great suggestion and I intend to get some myself this year before I develop any bad habits lol .

Take the offers to cast/try some different rods before you put down your money .

cheers
 

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NS, I have had all three of those rods you mentioned in the OP. All three are great rods. I fish with them exclusively out west here because of their versatility. Of the three, the SR is the most versatile in my opinion. Skagit, scandi, nymph, Ambush, or wf6 SH dry line (size 18 BWO's all weekend in the film) it will do it all. Overhead casts a lot like a SH, too.

My introduction into the world of spey came about 10 years ago with a 13'er and skagit line - the thing bombed. That was a pretty solid place to start when I began down the switch road. Timing everything is a bit more critical the shorter the rod is. I agree with glcaddis about lessons (if available anywhere near you), or buy a six pack and meet up with a forum member and see firsthand what it's all about-

A scandi sounds like what you're after...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I have been keeping an eye on here for awhile now and also continuing research. I have dropped the switch rod idea since I want to learn spey casting right the first time. I have been looking at trout speys as well as 6 or 7 wts and as far as the trout spey, I like the sounds of the echo TR 4120 or 5120, since it should be short/light enough to overhead cast (will definitely test that), but slow things down a bit more than a 10.5-11' switch. I'd like to know all of your opinions - is a 12' still too short to learn on? Or too light? Any other lighter-weight speys sub $450 or so?
 

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I only into this about two years...

I can't tell you if the 12' rod is too short to learn on or not. It will be better than an 11' or less rod for sure. My belief is that you can get the rod you want and take it with you to some lessons with a good instructor. He (or she) can teach you with your rod or will likely supply a longer rod for learning purposes. There is no substitute for lessons and followup visits to help you learn.
 

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The 4120 or 5120, either is a great choice. I'm a huge advocate for light Spey & I myself use a 5126 frequently on small trout streams. Not needing to back cast ull be surprised the tight quarters u can operate in. I prefer #5 over #3's & 4's because the 5 can throw bigger flies and handle wind much better. A 330 or 360 grain scandi has a fine tip, and I can go down to 5X tippets w/ out worrying about breaking off. Good luck, I think your on the right track.

Btw my steelhead rod is a 7136 and I love the longer length, but 12'-12.5' ft. Is not too short to learn Spey fundamentals IMO
 

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N-steeler I feel you are totally on the right track. Not too long not too short. This is just my experience..... I learned on a 12'6" then picked up a switch rod (11' 6") learned how to speed things up a little. Staying in good practice with the switch and short spey I eased into a 14' rod and learned how to slow it down a bit. Now I have my eye on a 16' cannon and a 10'3" fiberglass noodle.Again just my experience...... The Quiver will never stop growing much to the dismay of my lovely slightly annoyed,but supportive partner in life. She loves two hand casting too..... almost as much as hot springs.
p.s ebay is loaded with rod and reel options and T.F.O. or Echo are good quality options for a budget minded angler with many models to chose from.
 

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Not to disagree with anything above - I think there is always going to be some difficulty learning, as with anything else. That some have more problems doesn't mean you will - as much.

The#5 & 6 so called trout speys I've cast are definitely stronger than what 5wf rods I have. I think that pretty much runs across all two-handed rods compared to singles. If one wanted to match the same power in a two-hander - one would most likely find it in a 3 weight.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Not to disagree with anything above - I think there is always going to be some difficulty learning, as with anything else. That some have more problems doesn't mean you will - as much.

The#5 & 6 so called trout speys I've cast are definitely stronger than what 5wf rods I have. I think that pretty much runs across all two-handed rods compared to singles. If one wanted to match the same power in a two-hander - one would most likely find it in a 3 weight.
So with a 4wt TH, I'd be looking at a similar fish-fighting power as a 6wt SH?

Thanks everyone for your advice and opinions.
 

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I don't agree that all DH rods are 2 line weights heavier across the board, maybe in terms of grains it's consistent, but as far as fish fighting power goes I think it varies. For example, my 5126 seems to have fish fighting power of a 6 weight single hander, not a 7.

I also have a hard time believing that a 9140 has the same fish fighting power as a single hand 11 weight rod used for tarpon.

To further confuse you haha, my 7136 & 8110 have about the same fish fighting power, the 11' is an 8 weight but has far less graphite then the 13'6" 7 weight, both rods seem to cap out around 17-18 legitimate pounds.

This topic has been on my mind lately, it would be interesting to hear other people's thoughts on this matter. In so doing, maybe we can help the poster make an informed descision on his rod purchase.
 

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Fish fighting power is in your hands, not the rod. Going lighter increases the possibility that you'll break the rod on a larger or hotter than expected fish. A softer rod is a better tippet protector but not a better fish fighting rod. It doesn't matter how much the rod bends, you'll feel all of it even if you're using a 2x4. Going light is a fallacy that everyone wants to believe...but it isn't true.

Shorter rods always make landing fish easier, a one foot long rod would be easiest for landing fish and the stiffer it is the quicker you can do it.
 

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Hi there NiagaraSteeler,

I hope you are not going to be offended by the advice I am just about to give you.

When a fly fisher states:
"I have a tough enough time catching them floating. However, I love fishing with my SH rods for bass and trout". . . and . . ."The river I mainly fish is about 25' to 40' wide".

I don't mean to be unkind when I say this . . . but save your $500 and spend your time, money and energy in taking your casting to a much higher level.

Your enjoyment, whether SH fishing for Trout or Bass or DH fishing for Salmon/Steelhead will be in direct proportion to your ability to cast and your application of stream/river craft, and an intimate knowledge of the habits of the fish you are targeting.

Even if the river you fish is 100 ft wide, I can't understand why you would want to use a DH rod . . . First learn how to cast a 4 wt SH rod 70 plus ft, and be able to hit with "dart like" accuracy trout anywhere out to 40 ft . . . that is where you will catch 90% of fish.

I can cast both my Boo 7' 4ft and my Glass 6'5" 4 wt 70 plus ft, but have recently started taking casting lessons from a FFF Master Casting Instructor.

You don't have to spend the big bucks by taking the road I have decided to take.

Have you heard of Paul Arden?

Paul is the owner/operator of a fly site called "SexyLoops". Paul is also a FFF Master Casting Instructor . . . and the good news, is that he has released an app (Apple apps) for your smart phone and I Pad . . . Three hours of video casting instruction for $24.

The subjects covered are:

Essentials:
Tackle, the loop, grip, triangle method, pick up and lay down, circles eights and straights, shooting line, retrieving line, roll cast, double haul.

The following five Vids are also extremely detailed as above, which I won't list, but I'm sure you get the picture.

Intermediate Casting:

Distance and Accuracy:

Handling the Wind:

Presentation Casts:

Single Handed Spey Casts:

I hope my above thoughts and info has been helpful.

Cheers,

ziggy
 
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