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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy,

What does the term "switch" mean and does anyone know where it comes from? It is used to name a cast, as well as a type of rod.......... is the name used because you can overhead cast, as well as spey cast with a switch rod?
Any input is greatly appreciated....Thanks
 

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chrome-magnon man
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I've read about it in some older casting/fishing books and heard it used in some of the original Spey videos but don't know the origins. Off the top I can think of 4 different ways "switch" is used in Speycasting:

1. to refer to a liveline roll cast that simply places the fly back downstream again

2. to refer to a specialized form of the single spey as in the Grant Switch

3. to refer to a kind of aerialized single spey as in Devon Switch

4. to refer to a kind of "short" two-handed rod or "long" single handed rod that can be used either as a single hander or a two-hander
 

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Switch cast

The term Switch cast dates back to around the 1880's, a casting style that speycasting evolved from, one of the most underrated forms of casting styles, as most of the rods used in the Switch casting style where Greenheart it involved a slow casting style, with a rod that flexed to the Butt, there are a couple of differences in that there was no pause between the backward cast and the forward delivery, constant tension on the line all through the cast, the lift in the cast was the only pause(to feel the weight of the line).
Now Switch casting in the Highland style was the best way to switch cast, it involved the same slow lift and pause, then an ellipse with the rod done comparatively slowly but with gradually increasing speed until the rod is upright in the twelve o clock position, the forward cast is a short , sharp flip of the wrist.
In picking up the line the first movement of the rod is downward, this throws an upward belly down the line and cause a bump to run down the length of the line, making it so easy to lift line off the water.
Alexander Grant used this method to set a world record in 1896, casting 65yds without stripping and line in.
This cast can be used for short or long line fishing, floating or sinking line, and its still the easiest way to cast a fly with a double -handed rod.
Gordon.
 

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Switch cast

I forgot to add that Switch rods where longer than the normal double-handed rods,not shorter and not a rod desgined to switch from one hand to two hands mostly Greenheart up to 20ft in length, and Alexander Grant was 5ft 7in and weighed 140lb, and inlaying out the line on Grass picked up and cast 74 yrds of line or every inch of line he hade on his reel.
Gordon.
cascoD, i hope this helps, you maybe able to tell the weather is crap outside, i like to keep my postings short, less computer time more fishing time.:smokin:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Dana and Speyghillie!

I really appreciated the all the responses.
Once again, I come out on the better end with Speypages!

cascoD
 

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But what about in context of modern "switch" rods? Doesn't the modern switch rod/cast imply an overhead, change of direction cast? Or am I confusing myself? I read an article by Jimmy Green about 20 years ago, he described the cast as one where the line starts at a hanging position downstream, you pick it up, then deliver to a quartering downstream cast all in one shot. The direction is thus "switched" in the air. Anybody have ideas / input on what defines a "modern" switch cast? And didn't we just go over this maybe 3 or 4 months ago? I swear I really confuse myself some times.
 

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Switch cast...

from my view of Simon Gawesworth on the Rio DVD 'Modern Spey casting', it would appear that the Switch cast is a 'touch & go' cast, very similar to the traditional single Spey, except that the line is directed back down the river, and not across, with very little change of direction.

It would, therefore, appear that this cast is used as 'practice' for single Spey casting for the rhythm & timing.

I am fully prepared to be corrected in this matter, as I'm sure that there are wiser heads out there than mine.

Mike
 

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Speyducer,

The cast you are describing...I think.... is what I like to call a "forward spey". It's like a single spey but WITHOUT the strong rotation of the hands and rod across your body and around your shoulder and the accompanied change of direction. With the forward spey, you simply face in the direction of casting (downstream is easiest as long as there isn't a heavy upstream wind), lift the rod and line crisply and aerialize the line, kiss the water with your anchor w/ a D loop behind you, and simply punch the line out back in the same direction you started. It isn't much of a fishing cast but great practice for timing, getting both hands involved in the cast esp. the left hand, correct power application, forming a D-loop, and setting your anchor. I used to use it in my clinics to show the difference between a live-line spey cast and a roll cast, and to give folks a practice cast, plus it can be used to pick the line up off the water or straighten line downstream (a crutch long-term but helpful when folks are learning). Is this the same cast you are talking about?

If I am reading and interpreting your post correctly (I haven't seen that video so forgive me if I'm off base here), it doesn't seem that cast has a real application as a "fishing" cast and therefore I'm wondering if that is what one should think of when discussing modern switch casting.
 

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Confirmation...

I have reviewed Simon G's clip on the switch cast as per the previously mentioned DVD.

He does state that the switch cast, as demonstrated, is also called the forward Spey, the line-line roll, or the jump roll, and it is not a change of direction cast, but it's purpose is to practice the positioning of the anchor, and creating the energy in the D loop formation, especially prior to a Spey casting session. He says it makes for a good foundation in Spey casting techniques.

I have also reviewed the other DVD I have, that from Jeff Putnam, and, although he doesn't specifically state the purpose of the switch cast, he demonstrates all the elements of the cast, and confirms that the direction of the target is downstream (not across & down).

So, my question is, what is the purpose of a 'switch' rod? - or are there other types of switch cast???

Mike
 

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Switch cast

The original Switch cast was a cast with change of direction, and not a practice cast for the single Speycast.
I don't think you would catch many fish on the Spey by simply casting the fly back downstream to where it was.
An angle of 45 to 50 degree's was the normal in a Switch cast, they as now did'nt believe in casting the fly upstream just to have it getting dragged backwards until it was at the end of the line and in the best position.
A lot of the casting style's from around 1880-1920 on the Spey where lost or forgotten, for different reason's, one being a war that saw a lot of young men from the country side off to fight for there country.
I have been studying the History of Speycasting for the last 4/5 years and have had the chance to read more old books than i care to mention, i have also spoken to 90yr fishermen that are still fishing Greenheart and Silk lines, that still switch cast today.
If you ever get the chance to tryout a Greenheart rod you would know that it cannot be cast like a normal speycast, and all the men where not six ft with arms like popeye, its technique.

I have no idea way Simon or anybody else would think that its a practice cast or a cast with no change of direction.
You would'nt catch many fish on a flowing river by casting your fly back downstream to the same position.
Gordon.
 

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Remember guys

language lives and the usage of words change over time. As an example, "gay", used to be a useful word describing an emotional state. Gentleman used to say something about character.

Words can also mean something different depending on the topic or area they are describing. With rods, switch now means a short two hand rod that can also be cast with one hand. Simon needed a term for a practice single with no change of direction and chose to call it "switch." I think that is how most would understand it now, at least in the PNW. Did it mean something else to casters a hundred years ago in the British Isles, probably? We still use some words very differently from our English brothers, let's take the commonly accepted meaning and get back to fishing and trying to see that we and our children can continue the tradition.
 

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Switch cast

While i agree that the use of words changes, and that laguage is alive,a Speyrod with you guy's is a Double -Handed or Salmon rod with us on this side of the pond, sounds good to me.
Changing names can also cause confusion as you can see by some of the replies, the question was,what does the term "switch " mean and does anyone know where it comes from, i think i gave the correct answer. :razz:
Gordon. :)
 

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So the cast I was talking about is the same as on the DVD. I think using the name "switch" for that cast is somewhat misleading. I much prefer "forward spey" because it's all you do with it - cast forward when praciticing or picking up line.

My feeble mind is still struggling with what constitues a modern "switch" cast. I love the history of speycasting but since not many of us are using greenheart and silk it seems that some sort of definition is in order for these rods that are popping up like weeks around us. If anyone wants to chime in here and clarify I'm like Ross Perot, all ears, on the following questions:

1. Is there really a "modern" switch cast? i.e. an overhead with a "switch" of direction (see my description in the post above).

2. Does switch actually mean you can "switch" from single to double-handed casting?

In my mind the change-of direction overhead casting you can do with an 11-12 foot "switch" rod almost deserves its own "genre" because a) guy like Joe Howell on the N. Umpqua have been doing this kind of casting for many, many years with 10-foot 8-wts to great effect and b) it's a hybrid of casting between spey casting and overhead casting, with an emphasis on overhead but plenty of live-line roll/spey casting that deserves it's own classification, because it's neither classic spey casting nor regular overhead casting.
 

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Jim Green

had an overhead cast with a change of direction, that Jim vincent in the first RIO casting video called an arial spey.
 

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That's the one I'm talking about I'll have to check out the video. I could swear I read an article on it back in the late 80's early 90's wish I had hung onto it.
 

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"Planet Cast" Jock Scott

1. Is there really a "modern" switch cast? i.e. an overhead with a "switch" of direction (see my description in the post above).

In my mind the change-of direction overhead casting you can do with an 11-12 foot "switch" rod almost deserves its own "genre" because a) guy like Joe Howell on the N. Umpqua have been doing this kind of casting for many, many years with 10-foot 8-wts to great effect and b) it's a hybrid of casting between spey casting and overhead casting, with an emphasis on overhead but plenty of live-line roll/spey casting that deserves it's own classification, because it's neither classic spey casting nor regular overhead casting.
Maybe one of our British Isle friends will clarify this for us. I have a rare book by Jock Scott of "Greased Line" fame called "At the Sign of the Split Cane" in which he spends a number of pages describing and diagraming an aerial change of direction cast he calls the "Planet cast". After fishing the N.Umpqua and seeing the Joe Howell hybrid style, I was reminded of the Jock Scott quote on the planet cast and the Jimmy Green quote in "Steelhead of the Nez Pierce" on his aerialized spey. I will scan the Planet Cast pages and post if anyone is interested.
 

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Jock Scott...

Maybe one of our British Isle friends will clarify this for us. I have a rare book by Jock Scott of "Greased Line" fame called "At the Sign of the Cross" in which he spends a number of pages describing and diagraming an aerial change of direction cast he calls the "Planet cast". After fishing the N.Umpqua and seeing the Joe Howell hybrid style, I was reminded of the Jock Scott quote on the planet cast and the Jimmy Green quote in "Steelhead of the Nez Pierce" on his aerialized spey. I will scan the Planet Cast pages and post if anyone is interested.
I for one would certainly appreciate seeing such hallowed pages.

I only wish I had collected those old books I had come across in the past, and perhaps I would be more informed than currently :rolleyes:

Mike
 

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While I'm not involved in Spey casting I am involved in DH casting and to me, a "Switch" rod is one which can be switched from fly, either single or DH, to spinning by fitting a threadline reel. Such a rod will have single foot guides at spin spacings and will cast a fly equally as well as any other fly rod.
I know since I have one, or is it three.
One is a converted Shimano 9 foot spin rod thats been converted to a DH fly rod, the other is a TFO 12x12 which has been transformed with single foot guides, and the other is a Talon USA which was built with single foot guides and which will take a threadline reel. All are DH rods, and all switch roles pretty well. I prefer to think of them as "real" fishing rods.

MaxG.
 

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see now this is interesting. As Speycasting evolves so too do our definitions. Potential FFF Two-Handed Casting instructors take note--there is no one correct answer to this question, but several, and each could be argued as valid. The best answer would be one that recognizes that Speycasting is in a period of rapid evolution and as a result some of our terminology has developed multiple meanings, and then go on to demonstrate that you know several of them.
 

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Switch Casting

Its true that names change and i think thats normal in lots of things not just fishing, but the question of where the name came from and what did it mean is still as i answered , there is very little new if you study the past, just the names really.
I say if you enjoy casting in your own style and call it whatever cast, stick with it.
Speyducer, if you need a good source for old books let me know, i have around a hundred that i have colllected over the years, and there is a couple of mail order companies that send me there list every so often, i will PM you there phone no.
I did a talk to the Assocation of Highland Angling Clubs a few weeks ago in Inverness about Alexander Grant,(pretty daunting as some of the guys knew him and in Inverness about a man from Inverness), i re-read Salmon Fishing by Eric Taverner and Jock Scott, which i think is one of the best about Grant.
I see one of the companies have Fine and Far off for sale at £15.00, and most of there old books are around that price.
Gordon.
 
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