There’s been a lot of talk in the past couple of years about switch rods – lightweight double-handed rods in the 11 1/2 to 12 foot range that are designed for both two-handed and overhead casting. To be honest, the switch rod thing seemed in the beginning to be a little gimmicky, but today it has become a awesome and very serious weapon in most Spey Warriors arsenal
- Switch rods are really fun. Most switch rods live in the 4- to 7-weight world, and small rods mean little physical effort. Add lightweight to a multitude of different Spey-oriented and overhead casts, and you get lots of variety and lots of fun – Here is some of the reasons
- Switch rods are effective for more than swinging. The classic sunken swung fly presentation works great with a switch rod. Switch rods are great tools for fishing Dry flies and hitch patterns on floating lines. The extra length of a switch rod means incredible line control, whether slowing down a swing, steering that flesh fly into and out of a snag, or skittering that hopper all over the surface of the bucket.
- You can fish small water with switch rods. You already know that we think spey casting is fun, but full-on spey outfits, even in light weights, are just too long for small rivers, side channels and small tributaries
- Switch rods will make you a better spey caster, because you can do it more. Great, you fish a spey rod for a week in June on Grand Varzuga and then for a week in September on the Umba. What about the rest of the year? If you live near decent-sized trout water, you can fish a switch rod for a lot of the year. Making those spey casts year-round will make you a lot better at it.
- Switch rods will make you a better spey caster, because these little rods are unforgiving. There’s no two ways about this one – it’s a lot easier to spey cast a 14 foot for a 9 weight than it is to cast an 11 foot for a 6 weight. You don’t want to learn spey casting on a switch rod. So why is this a good thing? Mistakes can be overcome with those big, long traditional spey rods. If you’re fishing a lightweight switch rod and you pull your anchor, or leave too much line on the water, or try to over-power a cast, or commit any one of a number of other spey casting sins, the cast just won’t work. Yes, it’s hard at first, but fishing light, short switch rods will definitely make you a better spey caster, because you pay for your mistakes.