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Discussion Starter #1
new here. First post. Thanks for all your efforts to educate us beginners.
I fish mostly in the great lakes region for steelheads. May be a couple of annual trips to Miramichi system. I usually do it all with a 10’ 8wt rod.
I am trying to get into two handed casting/fishing for steelheads and am really confused with all different types of rods and configuration.

Please help me sort out this one. Why switch rods? If I can comfortably spey cast and cover the water, why do I need a switch rod. Also, if I can spey cast with a spey rod, why do I need the switch rod for overhead casting. I find spey casting more comfortable and less tiring, so why would I need to overhead cast with a spey/switch rod.

Are switch rods more for people who are hesitant converting to full on double handed casting? Or is it just to sale more rods. I can see an use for switch rod if I am indicator fishing, but for swinging I don’t see any use. Am I missing something.
 

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Junkyard Spey
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7,112 Posts
In my opinion you don't need a switch rod, unless you want one.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks for the info.

I dont want a switch rod. but would like a decent quality spey rod for the great lakes tribs. May be 6/7 wt or 7wt. What length and details should I be looking for. Also, a couple of recommendations would be very helpful. I understand the answer "everything depends". so, I am looking for general ideas. I dont have a lot of money to spend on the rod. So, it has to be under $500.

thanks again.
 

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Personally, I like a 13-foot rod. Its comfortable fishing from a boat as well as wading. If I was only going to wade a river like the Muskegon, I think a 13.5' or 14' rod might be a better choice. On the other hand, if I was only going to wade a river like the PM, I would prefer an 11.5' or 12' rod. Mt $0.02.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you. I fish Salmon River, Genesee river and Lake Erie tribs in NY on a regular basis. Fish Lake Michigan tribs only a few times a year.

So, i would appreciate suggestions that would work for Salmon and Genesee river in NY. this rod would be used for wade fishing. Also, it would be great if I could use it for both winter and summer applications.
 

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Single-Switch-Spey
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326 Posts
Because I wanted one

I'm new to all things two handed. I have spey rods for large water coverage and small water coverage. I got my first switch rod specifically for using a two handed overhead casting delivery method to fish off the beaches of Puget Sound and the Hood Canal. With the right line a switch rod with a two handed overhead casting stroke can deliver a lot more line than my single handed rods and it is far less effort. Of course on smaller rivers and creeks I have found the switch rod beneficial too. On day fishing the upper Yakima in 20-25 mph sustained winds I found streamers flew very well with a two handed casting delivery (sort of cocked sidearmed or low to the water) and I was delivering pretty meaty streamers bank to bank when the guys using single handers were getting the line carried in the air blown around them. In situations where I think that a longer true spey rod might be too much rod and a single hander may be too much work or backcasting is tight then I am glad to have a switch rod to fill the gap. Is it necessary. Nope. Poppy always speaks the truth, if you WANT one. I wanted one and as such have managed to find where it fits best in my fishing scheme. I now have integrated a switch rod into some small river situations and the beach casting. Since I fish those two scenarios enough to make it worth it for me I'm glad I've got a switch...or few...in my wanted rod collection.

Best!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
wow! great prices on those set up. I will definitely keep that in mind.

any comments on the Beulah rods?

Also, I am 5'9" tall. so, a shorter grip may be more helpful. How can I achieve that on a non-custom made rod?

thanks.
 

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Steelhead junkie
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342 Posts
I'm typing this from a handheld, so i'll keep it brief for now. A 12'6" - 13' 7 or 8wt spey is perfect for the salmon river.
 

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Banned
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1,241 Posts
When comes to shorter DH rods, I was looking for a rod which will extent my arm if needed ( longer distance, logs and stumps away of the shore) as compare to for example my 9'5" wt.6/7 Burkheimer.
10'6" can do it but it would not be any meaningful extension. A new Burkie 11'5" wt.5 does is well. On the other hand 12'6" is/was OK, but to long as most of the fishing is done within 70'-80' and back room often prohibits use of a longer rods.

Having already SH rods around 9.5' I saw little advantage to go after a typical switcher, so a short spey 11.5 was a perfect choice.
 

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Pullin' Thread
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4,694 Posts
If the length of the grip seems too long, it doesn't really matter because you simply put your hands on the top grip (the one that would seem to be too long) at a place that is comfortable for you. Hugh Falkus (no deceased) of Scottland gave a good rule of thumb to put anyone in the ballpark on where to put you top hand: 1) Put the rod but on your waist; 2) Hold the rod straight out from you horizontally: 3) Place your top hand on the top grip with your arm nearly completely extented; and 4) You have now found where to put you top hand.

Although I grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania, I have never seen the Salmon River. I have seen the Genesee River many times since I have cousins and an uncle who live(d) in Rochester. I'd say a rod of between 13'and 14' for an 8 or 9 line would work very well as an all-around, winter/summer one for you. That is provided you use it with a Scandi, Short-belly, or Mid-belly line. Granted, such a rod will be a little heavy for low summer flows and smaller flies and fish, as well as be a bit light for big flies and large fish in winter; but just like a 8.5'-10' 5 or 6 wt single-hand rod, it would be a good general purpose compromise.

If you are planning on using it for Skagit lines and casting, you would need to have a rod of the same 13'-14' length, but for a lighter line, say a 7 wt.
 

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Raised on the Rogue
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Hey Wrangler,
As Lynch said, a 12'6"-13' 7 or 8 is perfect for the Salmon. I also have a Beulah 4/5 switch, and I continually leave my Sh rods at home when I head up to the Beaverkill. I really enjoy casting the Beulah, and their customer service is great. The build quality is damned fine, too!
 

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Swarner's Flies
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1,400 Posts
I've been using a 13'-0" 8wt and my dad has been using a 13'-0" 7wt to fish the Salmon River during the late fall and winter and they have been perfect. We are both using midbelly lines with mono leaders or polyleaders depending on conditons. Flies we use are in the 1 1/2" to 4" range on hooks or tubes.
 

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match the length of the rod to the size of the rivers you'll be fishing, as other posters have suggested for you.
I primarily use switch rods for my two hand casting...but many of the rivers I fish are small, and the water on the larger rivers I fish can be covered with the shorter rod as well.
 

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in the areas you mentioned fishing there is more water that you can spey cast a switch rod on than a full size spey rod. with the possible exception of the genny those waters can be covered well with a switch rod most of the time. a 13' 7wt rod on most of the LE tribs is too much rod, a 11' 7wt however fits all but the small ones well. with the great short lines we have now the short rods are perfectly capable of handling the vast majority of LE and LO tribs.

the term switch rod really is useless and causes this kind of confusion all the time. i vote we start calling them compact speys. very little single hand overhead casting gets done with switch rods.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
how much different is there between a 11.5' switch and a 12.5' double handed rod? I am talking about real life application differences. not difference in theory.
 

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Plastic line aerialist
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1,156 Posts
True two handers...

With the longer rod you can cast farther with more control,and you can also cast short if you like,again,with more control when using a "TRUE" two handed spey rod,also there is more room for your hands on the longer top and bottom cork handles on a "TRUE" two handed rod ...Sooo to answer your question why a switch rod particularly on big water like you are fishing......I've aked that question myself....and have yet to come up with a viable answer....GO FOR A TRUE TWO HANDER.

If you are fishing smaller water, well then use a single hander,you can perform spey casts or over head casts with it.From what I have seen, conditions where you would use a switch rod are the same ones suitable for a single hander,that is why there is no room for a switch rod in my arsenal of fly fishing gear.

Cheers,Wild Bill.:smokin:
 

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Steelhead junkie
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342 Posts
the term switch rod really is useless and causes this kind of confusion all the time. i vote we start calling them compact speys. very little single hand overhead casting gets done with switch rods.
I am in support of the compact spey term, on which I use a compact skagit. I never liked the "switch" name anyway.
 

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Welcome to the forum!

I fish the very same waters as you do, and I will first start by saying I personally prefer the least amount of graphite for the job, and I fish skagit heads. As Nick said earlier, there's way more water you can use an 11'6" rod on vs a 13' rod(on the rivers you have stated). I started off with a 13' rod and a mid/short belly line (airflo delta). Was a joy to cast, felt good. The more and more I used that length of a rod, on the Salmon in particular, I found myself casting over fish and across the river just because. Sure that's part personal discipline but with that set up, it's just too easy to cast far, and isn't enjoyable to cast short (25-35ft) for me. It just doesn't really feel like casting to me in those situations, which by the way happens every single time I step into a run. It's good to start short! You're about 65-68' foot to fly before you shoot any line. On the Salmon, in "normal" seasonal flows, you are only drastically reducing the amount of fishable water and probably casting into an angler on the other side of the river wading nut deep:chuckle:

I have migrated to the short double handers the past few years, but I will say during certain flows, etc I will bust out the 12'6". The real world difference between a 12'6" and an 11'6" is, well a foot less graphite. May not sound like much, but with the 11'6" rod you have a foot more clearance on the trees above, behind you when fishing those "fishy" spots in tight quarters, yet still maintain the ability to get out to 70+ feet if needed. I do fish a skagit head on my short rods, which offers even more fishing versatility. In the real world, on the Salmon River, landing a fish alone with a 13' rod is not a whole lot of fun. Especially during flows of 1250 to 2400.

I have also found that two hand over head casting to monster spooky carp in the shallows of the finger lakes is a whole lot of fun with a shorter double hander. Back, and out. Simple as that. Also fishing river mouths that dump into Lake O is a blast with a shorter rod. I can spey cast or when I feel the urge, or see a boil way out I can two hand over head in short order which is sometimes required in those situations.

If you haven't guessed by now, I feel that the "switchers" are extremely versatile in our neck of the woods.

Lastly, if we are going to change the term "switch rod", can we also do something about people calling them "spey" rods:D

-Zack
 

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in the areas you mentioned fishing there is more water that you can spey cast a switch rod on than a full size spey rod. with the possible exception of the genny those waters can be covered well with a switch rod most of the time. a 13' 7wt rod on most of the LE tribs is too much rod, a 11' 7wt however fits all but the small ones well. with the great short lines we have now the short rods are perfectly capable of handling the vast majority of LE and LO tribs.

the term switch rod really is useless and causes this kind of confusion all the time. i vote we start calling them compact speys. very little single hand overhead casting gets done with switch rods.

The above is probably the fairest statement, the only reason i bought my 4 wt switch was because it was the smallest 2 handed rod i could find, i purely wanted a light and feasibly as short as possible rod, could i of made a switch out of a 10'6 single hand rod, probably, at the time i bought only echo (i think) made a 10'6 switch rod, i also think you get more control with 2 hands than using 1 doing spey casts, small rod or not, especialy when new to spey casting. With practice 1 hand becomes fine but i think it is easier with 2, and overall less tiring on hands/arms etc with 2 hands. As far as what rod is suitable for those rivers, i dunno, BF seems to have good advice for that to. But in the end you will make up your own mind.:)
 
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