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I learned on a longer rod. When I tried a switch rod I found it much easier. My experience with the shorter rod improved my casting stroke so that even when I went back to the longer rods I was throwing better casts.

My recommendation would be to start with a shorter rod.
 

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Learn on whichever one you want to fish with.
Good point.

That said my journey into 2hands started on a 10'6" switch. Took a long while to put everything together.
Timing was much more critical than with the longer sticks. The learning curve into the bigger sticks... mucho easier for me.

Nowdays switch rods are anywhere from 10' to 11'9". You might want to consider a longer switch rod for starters. Enjoy.
 

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All Tangled Up
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Shorter rods are more timing dependent, are in many cases harder to feel load, and encourage a quicker casting pace. The last is a particularly bad thing for a new caster. I don't know where you plan to fish or for what, but in the absence of other info, in my opinion a mid-length (12' to 13.5'), mid-weight (6wt to 7wt) rod is a good starter. Go shorter/longer/heavier/lighter as your experience and needs evolve.
 

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if planning on using short line systems, especially Skagit, I think the short rods really help promote and develop the very small hand/arm motions needed to cast these systems while the longer rods (read bigger fulcrum) tend to have beginning casters use too much hand/ arm movement and way to much top hand - starting with the short rod will help when you step up to longer rods in keeping that minimal stroke effort - my stroke changes little between my old converted single hand 10.5' 7 wt Fisher (converted to a switch) and my 1509 Scott ARC
 

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Longer rods are more forgiving to learn with (under 13.5 feet), but the shorter rods definately require attention to timing. Do you have access to a certified instructor? If so, arrange a lesson, tell him/her what you plan to do, and try a few of their rods. The difference between Switch and Spey has been muddled as time goes on with some switches that are 11'9" and same maker producing Spey rods starting at 12'6".
Other thing to consider is the show season is coming up, and that is a good chance to try some rods, usually with a certified instructor, so in essence get a free (for cost of admission) lesson. To be honest, IMO what you are looking for is a mid-length rod THAT FEELS GOOD TO YOU! Everyone will have their favourites, but they might not suit you.
I'm guessing that an 11 - 12 foot switch is what you might end up with, but if I was selling you a rod, I'd find your price point, identify your fishery, and show you four or five rods that might work. Lots out there! Have fun hunting around!
 

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Consider the body of water

that you plan to cast in. IF overhanging trees are an issue then you definitely want a shorter rod versus something like a 14footer. Your level of frustration will be much higher while worrying about crashing into the occasional branch and snapping off the tip. Keep it simple, as in wide open- no bushes, etc.
and, as, mentioned, get an instructor.
 

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Scandit sublima virtus
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IMO, searcher1970, for that kind of fishing I'd use a 9'6" single hander with a switch head.
 

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9ft 11wt may be a little on the heavy side for that use. I would buy a 9 1/2 or 10 ft single hand 7 weight and overline it (9 weight line) or use a switch line. the line will load the rod and cast better. 11 weight is a beefy rod and you may have to really work at casting. I personally would just buy an 11ft 7wt switch and use 7/8 switch line. thats the rod I use most of the time. great dual purpose rod (swinging or indicator).
 

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Too late now---the die is cast. I faced a similar question recently, whether to begin with a shorter, lighter lined rod that I would fish, say an 11' 4wt or get a longer/ heavier rod to learn with. Two well known experts, one a builder of custom rods, one of bamboo ones were both very firm in the belief that a longer, heavier lined rod would be much easier and better to learn on---preferably 13' and a 7wt. Forgiveness, load sensing, and timing were the main reasons. I basically heeded the advice by getting a 12'6" 6wt. I do have some fishing uses for the rod, and I suspect I will end up with more rods---lighter and heavier.
 

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Call me crazy but I'd just buy the actual rod that suits my needs instead of buying something I'm not gonna use because it's "easier to learn on". In a worst case scenario you could probably get a casting lesson for less money than the rod and line you bought for learning.
 

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Well, I did say I had some uses for the heavier rod. I guess I tend to not go against the advice of recognized experts when they are BOTH telling you the same thing. I planned on lessons no matter what I bought. It may depend on how hard it is to learn, and how much effect bad habits will have long term. In golf, if you do not get certain fundamentals down properly you are sunk for good, or at least, the rush to skip over getting sound fundamentals will always be apparent OR will be much harder to correct than avoiding getting bad habits in the first place. I suppose if the difference between the longer/ heavier lined rod and the shorter/ lighter lined one is like the difference between starting out at the driving range with a 6 iron rather than a 9 iron---THAT would be feasible. If however, it is like a 1 iron vs a 9 iron then one had better get the learning rod. In my particular case I must wait two years to get the light lined bamboo rod I want to fish and can use regularly. In the interim I am trying to learn---so I got an entry level rod that was slightly heavier in line weight but still usable and fishable. If one can only get one rod, once and forever, then yes, get what you will fish.
 

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MDGoodwin, I wasn't necessarily responding to your post since you did mention having use for the rod, but just the general idea that someone should get a rod other than the one they actually have use for so they can learn.
 
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