Switch rods useful or a marketing scam?

The flying Scotsman

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I'm tending towards the 2nd , soon be 3 up for sale
A Switch rod is an essential piece if kit for me.
I fish all sized rivers from a burn you could jump over to the lower Tay.
A true switch rod you should be able to overhead cast easily as well as spey or snap t.
This is perfect for a small spate River I fish as you need to use all types of casts and a few makey uppers to cover the water properly with all the low trees and high banks.
My switch I can present a small fly lightly on the surface with a full floater or hammer out 15ft of t tip and and a big brass tube with an opst commando skagit.
Great piece of kit.
 

Jockiescott

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I do think switch rods are an excellent bit of kit, but my idea of a switch rod might be different to others.

JoeE has pretty similar views to myself by the sounds of it.

To me, a switch rod is a light rod to cover a lot of different types of fishing. Being able to be used one handed or double handed for all types of casting. Heads of 20g and under that cast and land with the minimum of fuss.

All manufacturers seemed to jump on the switch bandwagon and produced a lot of rods that, to me, are not switch rods. In my opinion, they'd have done better marketing a short double hander. 12ft rods for example, seem to be a thing of the past with manufacturers pushing 'switch rods' and then 13 footers.

Stepping in at the neck of a pool and starting single handed overhead and then being able to switch to double handed spey casting before reaching the tail. I also found double handed casting to be much more easy when casting into an upstream wind. I really couldn't guess the number of times I switch between different types of casting when fishing down one pool in particular. I just change casting type without even thinking about it.

I recently bought an 11'3" rod that I only intend to use double handed using Heads of 27g. It can cast single handed but I really would not want to.

My, true, switch rod will still be used for the bulk of my fishing.

So, to answer your question, yes, a lot of rods were marketing hype in my opinion. However, a proper switch rod is an excellent bit of kit that I wouldn't be without.
 

Hardyreels

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I liked and still employ the old Hardy approach with the Swift MKII rods. They were called 11 1/2 foot short Spey rods and I bought 3 of them in #7. Used them to teach people how to cast and fish for years. I still rely on my own rod for certain places. They use a 475 grain Scandi line and will cast as far (if needed) as a 13 foot rod when in the right hands.

I think the "Trout Spey" thing is a gimmick. People buy them and then want to cast flies so large and heavy that I would reach for my old Hardy Salmon Fly #9/10 rod with an 805 grain mid Spey to carry such a load. We have many people posting to the 2 hand rod forums on the American board that all ask the same question. They want to know what the limits of their new 3 or 4 weight "Trout Spey" rod is and why they can't cast their Jumbo streamers.

They all say that they bought them because a real Spey rod is too heavy for trout. They say the light rods handle trout better. I see this as a bunch of people who want to feel some poor creature struggling against the hook and then to "Savor the fight" all of which I see as a form of masochism. I catch a lot of trout and fish under two pound are simply and quickly reeled in and released. Some come undone while I'm reeling them in. When I hook into a 5 pound trout I have the proper tool for playing in a fish the size of a small salmon and to do so in an orderly and expedient fashion.

I had a client years ago who wanted to overplay fish. I encouraged him to bring a small salmon to the net and he told me that he enjoyed the fight. I told him that if he enjoyed fights I would take him to the Knik Bar that evening where he could level a couple insults and then get all the fight he wanted.

I fish to catch fish not to see how much a struggle they will make while I am catching them. Granted that some provide quite a challenge even to a person with my intent but I manage to catch them and in a tidy manner. Light rods are for small mountain brooks not for rivers.
 

Potbellied Pig

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Heavy rated switch rods, in the 20g + range aren't switch rods to me, so anything under that is an absolute brilliant tool for fishing. I wouldn't be without one for certain rivers and conditions
I couldn't agree more, I have ended up with 5 now and use them all the time but I mostly fish spate rivers. I have an 11' which takes a 27g line it s not a switch rod in the true sense. On the other hand I have others that are in the 10'6" - 11' bracket 18-20g
proper switch rods in my opinion I love fishing with them
 

wormo

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shakey oracle 11ft 8/9 and my sharpes Ajax 11'3 have become an essential part of my armoury for spate river fishing and extremely low water both fish around 24 to 26g and are a joy to use
whether u call them switch or short double handers is beside the point as they do a specific job well especially in tight spaces
more practical than a standard double hander and more firepower than a single hander in those conditions ive mentioned
 

MCXFisher

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For me it's just a very small 2-hander with enough muscle to cast good-sized flies and sinking tips and fight a salmon to a standstill in short order. It's such a pleasure to use, primarily on smaller rivers. A day on the Coquet last season was sheer joy.
 

bankwheel

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Agree with all of the sentiments above, I love my switch its an 18g rod that is a great tool in small river or low water on big rivers. For me getting the right lines for them is key. Short double handers are useful but they are not switch rods, this is where some manufacturers are misleading the public and making it confusing
 

Walleye

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Switch rods have been around for so long they must be useful.
I bought my first one almost 30 years ago from the Blue Teal Tackle Shop and wouldn't use anything else for night fishing on my local river. Of course they didn't have their new name then but a name doesn't make a rod*

If you can't cast any switch rod overhead, you are just limp wristed and you need to spend some time in the North East on the Wear with 15ft high banks behind you steeple casting 30 yards with a 9wt switch rod. This might help to toughen yous all up a little bit. :ROFLMAO:

*The line makes the rod. I'm much happier now spending £120 on a rod and £100 on a line, tips, leaders and tippet etc...
 

Jock

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Agree with all of the sentiments above, I love my switch its an 18g rod that is a great tool in small river or low water on big rivers. For me getting the right lines for them is key. Short double handers are useful but they are not switch rods, this is where some manufacturers are misleading the public and making it confusing
Think Bob Mesier might take issue with your statement.:) He is "credited" with the introduction of the term "switch" rods which at the time he described as short double handed rods which could be used to overhead or spey cast.

Probably a marketing ploy by him at the time which has been picked up by the the bigger manufactures. Marketing has a lot to answer for when you see the confusion it causes, you just need to look at the threads asking for advice on rods and lines on here.

That said, the advancements made in rods (and lines) means that any one rod can handle a wide variety of lines and casts. In terms of casting a fly we have never had it so easy.......once you cut through all the marketing blurb;)
 

tcorfey

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I find the genre of "switch rods", "trout spey" and "compact or short spey" as kind of confusing. I guess what makes it confusing for me is using the AFTMA line weight rating system in conjunction with the rod type for example an 7wt Switch rod may use a line with the same grain weight as my 6wt spey rod. I guess the manufacturers use the terms to differentiate two-handed rods based on their length. Over 11' is a Spey rod, then 11' and under is a switch rod. When you get into "trout spey" it is just a term for a light two handed rod that is usually in the same length as a switch rod. Yeah I think the term "switch rod" just muddies the water so to speak.

For example:
Echo 7wt Switch rod (SR model) is 10'10" and has a recommended grain weight between 420-450.
Echo 6wt Full Spey rod is 13' and has a recommended grain weight between 420-450.
In between they have a Compact Spey:
Echo Compact Spey 6wt is 12' and has a recommended grain weight between 390-420.
Echo Compact Spey 7wt is 12' and has a recommended grain weight between 450-480.
then
Echo 4wt Trout Spey is 11' and has a recommended grain weight between 300-330.
Echo 4wt Switch rod (SR model) is 10'6" and has a recommended grain weight between 240-270.

I would prefer they stop with the crazy names and just use spey rod then length and grain weight to differentiate the rods.

I guess the different names allows them to put more product on the shelves not only rods but also specialty lines to go with them.

Regards,
Tim C.
 
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SalmoNewf

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I think that “Trout Spey” really is a gimmick and a rather foolish one at that. On the other hand bought my only switch rod three years ago and use it mainly on mid sized rivers. it’s a 10 1/2 foot Hardy Jet for 6/7 wt. lines. What I really like is that I can comfortably use it as a single hander with an 8/9 Airflo Sixth Sense for dry flies or with a 450g Airflo Rage as a two hander and when the wind picks up. Makes for a perfect spare rod on a trip where the amount of stuff you can bring along is limited.
 

Grassy_Knollington

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Agree with all of the sentiments above, I love my switch its an 18g rod that is a great tool in small river or low water on big rivers. For me getting the right lines for them is key. Short double handers are useful but they are not switch rods, this is where some manufacturers are misleading the public and making it confusing

Totally agree and for me that’s the rub. There’s not many lines that will Spey cast and overhead well, on the same rod.

I think it was Eminem who disagreed with me when I said such a thing wasn’t possible. He was right and I was wrong, but I still think such a thing is rare.

Single hand Spey with a haul does load the rod more deeply and I have found that my DH 3 weight ‘switch’ Will single hand Spey and overhead the same line with equal aplomb.

I love my B&W 11’3” DT 7-9, I end up using it for > 60% of my ‘Salmon’ fishing. It will throw a good line 25-30 yards, it also has the delicacy to throw light lines and the beef to play a double figure fish. I can Spey with the AFS 6/7 @ 26g, or Guideline Compact @ 24g. If I’m off the bank then it’s the Barrio SLX overhead @17.9g. The Barrio will Spey Cast and the AFS is ok overhead, but neither are at their best in that role.

Im sure there are ‘do anything’ rods and lines, but I think they’ll have to be somewhere around 20g....,
 

Cyclops

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Use my switch predominantly May through to Sept, depending on river. Agree line is the key in striking the right balance, few and far between but they are out there. I still use an airflo nantec 11 #8 switch paired with the Barrio 5/6 switch line at 22.5. I feel this line is heavily weighted at front taper and can spey equally as well as overhead, perfectly designed for a switch rod while other lines fall short. I do cut it back slightly and fish it with airflo trout polys. I use both casts around 50/50 in a day on certain rivers like the Nairn, on the Don mid summer maybe 90/10 Spey/OH and on north coast rivers and other smaller as much as maybe 20/80

Would be lost without my switch and I’ll be using it on the Findhorn today

DCH
 
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Neil W

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I certainly wouldn’t be without my sage TCX 11’9” 8wt. Brilliant rod and whether it’s called a switch rod or light double handed rod doesn’t matter to me. Shame it wasn’t a 6pc.
 

rs2ford

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I have only one rod that I would term as a proper switch rod, one that I can comfortably single hand cast or double hand cast. It's a Loop Cross S1 11ft 7wt and casts between 19-21g. Anything above that I would say was a small double hand rod. On small rivers where a variety of different casts are required it's an invaluable tool that I wouldn't be without.
As for lines that suit it wasn't easy finding one that does it all but the Rio single handed spey line or the Guideline Bullet is about as good as it gets.
Cheers Diarmid.
 

Gustav

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It all depends where and how you fish.
25 years ago I was looking for a rod I could use interchangeably on a boat for salmon and on a small spate river and wanted one that could both overhead and roll cast easily and in windy conditions.
I tried to build my own on fibatube blanks but the result was only a marginal success.
What I really wanted was to have a four inch bottom handle on my RPL without changing the action but it didn't exist then.
The industry has caught up and the choice of rods and lines is both wonderful and very confusing.
I now use two different types of switch lines and rods.
I have a switch and line for low water and small rivers for mostly roll casting for salmon and it is a joy to use and allows the fly to be worked.
I set up differently with a different rod for boat and mostly overhead but with some roll casting.
The first time I used my switch on a boat some years back fishing the tweed the ghillie thought I was a daftie.
He soon changed his mind.
There are good switch rods and bad switch rods just like there are good double handers and less good ones.
All the industry has done is give us choices in style and price.

To me that is more consumer driven choice rather than marketing nonsense.

But it is kids in a toyshop and we all have too many rods, and reels and lines and flies and bags and jackets and feathers.....
 

bankwheel

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Think Bob Mesier might take issue with your statement.:) He is "credited" with the introduction of the term "switch" rods which at the time he described as short double handed rods which could be used to overhead or spey cast.

Probably a marketing ploy by him at the time which has been picked up by the the bigger manufactures. Marketing has a lot to answer for when you see the confusion it causes, you just need to look at the threads asking for advice on rods and lines on here.

That said, the advancements made in rods (and lines) means that any one rod can handle a wide variety of lines and casts. In terms of casting a fly we have never had it so easy.......once you cut through all the marketing blurb;)
don't think Bob is credited with the term Switch rods but maybe I'm wrong, also any rod can cast overhead or Spey so his description is confusing, by the way I'm not having a go at him, he knows his stuff.
I wish manufacturers would drop the AFTM system as is simply doesn't work anymore for the range of lines and rods that we all use. It worked great for double tapers but not now. To be fair most manufacturers also put line weights on rods as well now to make matching a line to a rod easier.
anyway back to the post, if you haven't tried a switch yet get one and give it a go they are brilliant.
 

bankwheel

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Another good point for switch rods is that they are great at getting kids into using double handers, bigger rods are just too heavy and cumbersome for them but an 18g switch is so much easier.
 
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