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Discussions and topics that relate to the art and practice of Spey Double-Handed Fly Fishing. Methods, spey gear and advice concerning a very wide range of Spey Fishing topics.
I am ordering a switch rod from St. Croix. They just came out with a new switch rod, Imperial, with fast action and 11 ft in length. I would like to ask everyone here about whether I shall have a 7 weight or an 8 weight rod. I want to have one switch rod to do all my steelhead fishing in the future. In other words, I am looking for an all round rod for all the techniques I might use in steelheading. Thanks in advance for your responses.
by DaveP » Thu Dec 24, 2009 7:38 am
The rod weight is going to depend on the size of the water and the size of your flies. Bigger water + bigger flies = bigger rod. You can still fish smaller water and smaller flies with the bigger rod, but if you have zero plans on hitting bigger water or chucking big speys, buggers, etc, then the 7wt should serve you well.
I already have a good single-hand 9' 8 weight, fast action fly rod. I am planning to use that switch rod for everything steelhead fishing that includes small and big water (a possibility in the future). I think I can use that single-hand rod for small water and the switch rod for both. My question is: Does a 7 weight switch have enough power to fish a steelhead? And what is the real difference in dealing with the fish, in term of using different fishing techniques and fighting the fish? I have read quite a few books on steelhead, and saw everyone recommending a 8 weight switch. However, when I read posts online, I noticed that almost everyone says that he has a 7 weight switch rod, and that is his favorite rod. I am quite confused by this.
by no lead » Thu Dec 24, 2009 2:21 pm
a 7wt is gold for steel. most of the fight will happen with the reel anyway. i prefer a 7 because a lighter rod is more fun. i use a 7' bamboo 7wt for steel quite often and have a ball. a large arbor reel with good drag is your best friend.
Thanks for your response. Will a 7 weight rod powerful enough to keep steelhead off obstruction? I have caught several steelhead with a medium heavy baitcasting rod, but never with a spinning rod or fly rod. I assume fly rod is similar to spinning rod. Will a 7 weight switch rod feel like a medium light spinning rod when fighting a steelhead, given its length? If that is the case, will a fly rod similiar to a medium or medium heavy spinning rod do a better job? Of course, each rod is made different in action and power. St. Croix advertises its switch rod as in fast action but with a silky smooth feel on the tip (whatever that means). I might have to wait until I actually have the rod in hand to know exactly what it does when there is a 20 lb. steelhead is on. However, the dimenna is: it will be too late to decide on the rod after I already received it from St. Croix. Thanks in advance again for everyone's response.
by viewsonic » Thu Dec 24, 2009 9:12 pm
I to am waiting for the switch to come out. I have been looking for info one the web but have not found much. G Person from spey pages has a 8 wt and has posted some info on it. The rod sounds like it likes a skagit 450-500 ish and a 9/10 wt overhead. John_in I do not know what size rivers you fish or how much money you have to burn but if I was to only get one i would get the 8 wt for wisconsin rivers you can always power down. The weight is only 5.? oz from what I remember reading that is not much for a switch at any price. I plan on swing my 13` 7/8 for the winter and wait for the company or prostaff to put out some info.
A 11` 7wt switch would have as much backbone/fighting power as a 10 wt 9 footer if that helps.
You have provided me a crucial information: the fighting power of a 11' 7 weight is about the same as a 10 weight 9' rod. I think that shall be sufficient to fight most steelhead regardless of where I fish for them. Is that right? Thanks again.
by no lead » Fri Dec 25, 2009 11:48 am
something else to consider. how will you fish this rod most times? true spey mostly or some overhead casting? centerpin drift fish? baitcast, spinning? it is a switch rod after all.
the extra muscle of an 8 may be nice, given the rods length i think a 7.
I haven't thought a lot about what I will do with switch rod. But I am sure I want overhead cast a lot. I will certainly swing flies and use indicator fishing method. I would like to imatate ceterpin method of fishing because I have told that the method is the best when it comes to steelhead fishing. I want to use a switch rod to do what ceterpin outfit can do. I may use the switch for flies as well as roe. Thanks for all your responses.
by DaveP » Fri Dec 25, 2009 1:47 pm
There are times when a centerpin will outfish a fly rig, but there's water a fly rig can cover far more effectively. There's really no one "best method". Also, you may want to gauge your expectations. One rod cannot do everything well. If you get your expectations up and figure you'll be able to do overhead fly casting, spey casting, centerpin drifting, fly swinging, and nymphing all with one rod, you may find yourself in a position where it does none of them well.
Most of us that have a number of rods don't have them because we're partial to spending tons of money. We have them because there's a correct tool for every job - even if some tools can do multiple duties.
Pick a target (size of fly, distance, type of fishing), pick a budget, manage your expectations, and then you'll be set to make a decision.
by DaveP » Fri Dec 25, 2009 1:52 pm
To go back to your previous question regarding a 7wt being sufficient for steelhead. I have a 9'6" 7wt that does the bulk of work for me in late fall, winter, and early spring. If I find myself needing more rod, I've got a 10' 8wt that I'll readily recruit into duty - particularly for early/mid Fall and once the spring fish are in heavy (unless the water is low, in which case it's back to the 7wt). If I'm going to spey fish big water, I'll drag out a 15' 10wt spey rod. If I want to centerpin, I grab my 13'6" CP rod. If the water is dead-low but I know there are fish around, I can even grab my 9' 6wt and go for a small & delicate but still have enough rod to keep a steelie under control.
It's a bit like golf. No one club can do everything, so I have a few different ones I can grab that'll cover various situations and needs.
What you have said here make a lot of sense to me. I actually have quite a few rods. I have a dozen good spinning rods for bass fishing, another dozen of baitcasting rods, and several good fly rods (including one in 8 eight 9 foot and fast action). But I am new to steelhead fishing and am not sure at this point I will like it or not. So far, I have one fly rod, one spinning rod, and one baitcasting rod (8'6" MH and moderate fast action steelhead rod) designated for steelhead. Now, I am getting a switch rod for it for the same reason. I tend to get one rod for each kind. That is why my thinking is one rod does it all. My idea is more of one kind of way of fishing (using spinning, baitcasting, fly, or switch) rather than what kind of bait or fly to use and in what method. I think I shall change my thinking in this regard. Thanks for your responses.
by kweetech » Fri Dec 25, 2009 5:09 pm
I think there's some misunderstanding on what a "switch rod" really is.
A switch rod is a fly rod, and its just bridging the gap between a long single handed rod, and longer two handed rod....its is not a special technique onto its own. The "switch" refers to being able to go between one and two hand casting (due to the shorter length and lighter weight).
Though they are gaining popularity being cast overhead (esp on the costs), I find they are cumbersome in this use...and prefer to use them twohanded. Keep in mind, learning to properly cast a switch rod two-handed takes a bit a skill..as the timing is different than a longer rod.
FWIW..I use a switch for 95% of my steelheading...smaller WI rivers. They are easy to use all day, and I prefer spey type casts..fishing two handed. I use a longer rod (~13') when conditions allow, or a shorter single hand rod for very small streams, or for indi nymphing (don't really like the switch for that either...its such a fun rod to swing flies, I usually can't bring myself to rig it up otherwise)
If I wanted to use it for pinning, I'd buy the correct rod for the job..rather than making a different rod do the job.
A centerpin rod they are not...an effective short two handed fly rod, that is fun to cast, and possible to fish single handed ......that they are.
by DaveP » Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:53 pm
kweetech makes a great point of explaining what a switch rod is. Thanks for that!
John .. probably the best service you could do for yourself is find someone that fishes similar water and ask if they would be kind enough to let you take a few casts (or more, but within reason) so you can get a good idea of what the pros and cons are with each. If you were somewhere near Rochester, NY, I'd be more than happy to take you out on a stream and let you run with different rods.
I've been very fortunate to be able to do this - and have the means (in my former life, not now ) to pick up the arsenal I have now.
In 25+ years of steelheading and 40+ years of life, one of the lessons I've come away with is picking a good starting point and learning to master that (to the extent mother nature is willing to cooperate), and then moving on to the next challenge. I started off on a single small stream, learned that water, then moved on to other small tribs. From there, I moved to larger water and so on. I still learn new things every time I go out - even to the same water I started on. There's always a new technique, a new rigging, or water that I've overlooked before. As your skills and interest increase, the palette of options keeps blossoming - a lot like a flower.
It's incredibly addictive and a wonderful way to pass the time from fall through spring!
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