I don't own a SR, but have fished with Meiser's 8/9, liked it alot, and have my sights on getting one. I used it primary (99%) as a 2-handed rod using standard spey casts (doubles, singles, snakes, circles, etc). I can easily see using it as a double over hand for really belting out casts to get serious distance. Didn't really work for me casting it as a single-handed rod other than for short casts. A bit too unwieldy for me or my skill level.
I rarely if ever cast my switch rod one-handed. It's an 11' 3-in 8-wt Sage RPL. It's just so much easier to cast with two hands.
I always thought a switch casting rod was named for the switch-direction cast, not switching from one handed to two-handed casting. It's an overhead cast starting with the rod pointed downstream. You pick up the cast overhead and "switch" directions mid cast to lay the line out quartering downstream. You need a shorter, lighter rod for this work ( i.e. 10 or 11-ft 7 or 8 wt vs. 13 or 14 ft 8-9 wt) because it would be too much work all day with a traditional 2-hander switch casting. Also, long-bellied single-hander lines like a 444SL WF-F lend themselvs well to this type of casting, as you are aerializing the case so too many grains (i.e. traditional spey lines or even some skagit lines) are too much to keep in the air. On the othe hand, since these rods are fast-actioned and designed at least in some respects for overhead casting, they tend to be a bit stiff for traditional spey casts, at least for my taste, plus the short length tends to diminish the size of the D loop when making these casts. Not that you can't make traditional spey casts with them, I just prefer not to.
I first read about this technique in an article from Jim Green at Sage - if I recally correctly - back in the 1980's, where I'm thinking the term "switch casting" was coined. If anyone has information to the contrary let me know. However, Garrison and undoubtedly others before him made "salmon" rods out of cane in the 10-11 foot range with short rear handles that were clearly fished back for a long, long time. These rods must have been fished in a similar fashion as today's switch rods so I doubt this technique is exactly new. I don't know of a direct relationship between Jim Green and Everett Garrison existed but undoubtedly there was some influence, the early Sage rods had a lot of characteristics (reel seats and wraps) that looked like they were influenced by Garrison.
I often use a snap-t pickup now folowed with an standard overhead cast using two hands instead of the "traditional" (if you can call it that) switch cast it seems to generage a lot of line speed. I guess there isn't any right or wrong if you can make the rod do the job you intend it to do then go for it, as far as I'm concerned rules are for others when it comes to flyfishing.
As far as reels and lines, I use a Sage 509 click and pawl (basically a Hardy St. George) and a WF-8-F most of the time with my switch rod. Any reel that will hold an 8-wt line and 100 yds of backing will work, I'd say the lighter, the better. You don't need an abel something like a gunnison or similar would work fine. Heck those new Pfluger large arbor reels seem pretty nice - prion or whatever - know a guy that got one for something like $150 it works great. Occasionally, I'll use a short sink tip, but I prefer the floater, even in winter, when fishing the swing. And for sure it is a deadly stick when..gasp!...using the bobbicators, out of the boat or off the bank. I have used the shortened windcutters (39-foot jobbers) but I can't justify the expense of that line when a regular WF line works fine for me.
I also suspect that a switch rod would be a hell of a shooting head rod but the line management for a 30 foot head would be a chore.
I have a 10' 8 wt which I built switch style. I rarely use the double hand grip for overhead casting. In fact, I built a separate butt section with a regular single hand full wells grip for overhead casting. Prefer to spey cast when I have the double hand grip section on the rod.
We originally developed the switch rod concept, and suggested correct line systems for them to aide anglers that for one reason or another were physically burdened by repetative single hand double haul delivery.
... Or early on, there were a few anglers that asked us to build these rods custom because they were savy enough to realize that at times; two hands simply can be better then one.
The concept has now pretty much gone full circle, and many anglers now find applications for them within their specific fishing enviornments.
Most of the anglers that use the higher grained switch rods: 400 to 650 will use them in a two handed mode as they are physically just a tad too much in weight to handle with one hand for a long period of time.
They are best used either with two handed anchor point deliveries, or two hands on the over head.
The two handed overhead approach is generally applied to reduce the physical burden of the repetative single hand double haul shooting head delivery to easily reach extreme distances...With minimal expended energy on the part of the caster.
... A logical alternative to single hand double haul deliveries while search casting over stillwaters, beach, rocks, jetties, or estuarian salt, and platform standing from a small craft.
At 10'6" in length, the rods are not to long to lever fish while standing/casting from the bow of a ponga, flats, or river drift boat.
With two handed anchor point: (spey deliveries), most wading river anglers will find these shorter rods most efective on smaller rivers where the back cast is burdened by riparian, high steep banks or the like.
... Or for detailing close-in slots or buckets on the bigger river.
In this case the angler may simply want to minimize graphite <> Yet still get the job done in an efficient manner....};^)...!!!
On the other hand (as it where)
The lighter grain carrying capapability switch rods in the 150 to 350 grain range can easily be used in both the single or two handed mode
<> If desired.
Within the diversity of Trouting techniques, there can be advantages with either single or two hands. These lower grained rods are light enough in hand weight to not burden either.
It's really more an issue of personal preference and logical application.
Again at 10'6" in length the rod offers a lot of mending, reach, and swing advatages for Trouting tyechniques, and they are ideal anchor point delivery tools while presenting from the casters station in moving drift boat.
No back casting required, just do a lazy Snap T from the dangle to a frontal anchor, and underhand power pop to the bank.
With practice you can get pin point accuracy, and it's really fun.
For line systems:
In essence <> Switch rods are short belly spey ... slash ... shooting head delivery tools.
They do multi-task best with shorter belly spey lines, and/or the advanced grain weight forward single hand line tapers.
On the lighter grained switch rods:
Single hand lines like the Airflow 40 Plus, Airflow Delta Freshwater, and Rio Outbounds work well within their grain windows on the lighter grained rods because the grain distribution within their tapers are correct for multi-tasking.
In the higher grained rods:
The Skagit family of line tapers made by both Rio and Airflow are also really effective, primarlily again; because the shorter length rods will physically do better with these shorter spey tapered bellies ... A logical issue of line management.
The Adapted WC main belly section used as a shooting head with tips are my favorite, as they are so diverse in both fishing, and casting applications.
The same holds true for the 35 to 40 foot something Scandi shooting heads made by Vision, Guideline, Airflow etc ... Very effective lines for both casting and fishing these shorter rods.
All and all switch rods are not the finite answer for all angling requirements ...
No rod is.
They are probably best defined as niche rods ...
... But they sure do seem to meet a diverse range of "Niche" applications within a broard spectrum of angler needs these days.
A month ago I got this rod from Bob Meiser with the idea it would be my 'smallest' two-handed trout rod. Over head casting or using just one hand were distant thoughts. It is my understanding the the 'grain window' placed on these rods is the recommended grainage for over head casting. The rod seemed underloaded when spey casting the AirFlo 40+ WF6F(250gr/32.5'). Using the AirFlo 40+ WF9F(370 gr/32.5) the rod felt loaded and was a dream nymphing and 'streamering' the Lochsa River(ID). All the classic spey casts were easily done with the rod now feeling loaded. This matched the recommendation I got from Ed Ward and Mike McCune that as a floater, the Meiser S2H106-4 can carry 360-380grains. For Skagit casting the rec by Ed was 430-460gr @ 30' and Mike's rec [email protected] 30'. The Skagit combo which worked very well for me was a WC 9/10/(11) head(325gr/22.5') and a Rio Int ST(53gr/7.5'---cut from WC 7/8/(9) tips) = 378gr/30'. In my amateurish hands, grainage over 400 overloaded the rod.
Hi Leo M,
The term Switch rod dates back to around 1840 in Scotland and was in fact a large rod used for switch casting or a cast of one motion ( a cast with no pause between the recovery and forward delivery ) sometimes it was called the Catapult cast or catapult switch, a one motion cast.
The line is decribed as being kept alive during the cast.
The Rods used for Switch casting around this time were long rods up to 20ft, so the term Switch casting rods is different than was then, in fact a switch rod was longer than a spey rod.
In Scotland over the last 100yrs we just have Double -handed (Salmon rods) of different lengths, they all don't have different names.
Names change over the years, even the underhand cast can be traced back to around the same time.
Anyway i hope this helps with where the term Switch rod comes from, a rod to make a continuous motion cast with no pause between recovery and delivery, and this is the reason why a long rod was used.
has a 11'7" for 5/6/7 that works great for this type of application. You can overhead cast a long belly single hand #8 line with one or both hands very easily. You can do the Spey casts with a RIO AS #8 or a Skagit style line of a little over 400 grains. It is still fun for trout, but will handle steelhead to over ten pounds.
yeah, that's one, but there aren't many others that I am aware of. I believe Bob may have some Scando rods that aren't listed on his website. The 11'7" would be a tad light for many surf applications. Then he steps to 13' in the heavier rods.
I recently used a Meiser 7/8 , 10'6" switch rod wading for bonefish at St. Francois lagoon in the Seychelles. Virtually all my casts were single-handed with a double haul, the same as if it had been a 9' rod. I used a 10 wt S.A. floating bonefish taper on a Ross Canyon B. G. #5 and 12 pound flourocarbon leaders from 10 to 12 feet in length. This is an awesome bonefish rod. It is also extremely well made and the cosmetics are impressive. It handled fish up to 9 pounds, but didn't seem overpowering fighting 2 or 3 pounders. The wind was constant and stiff, so the rod got a good test--I couldn't have been more pleased. I used it single-handed all day for 6 days with no ill effects, casting downwind, into the wind, and cross-wind, both short and long casts, including backcasts. Thereafter, I used the same rod & rig bonefishing from the casting deck of a Dolphin skiff at South Andros, and was not let down by its performance. So far, I have not had the opportunity to fish with it using overhead two-handed casts or anchored "spey" casts, since those kinds of casts are not all that practical for saltwater flats fishing, although Meiser says those kinds of casts are where the rod really shines.
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