Sunday, 13 January 2013


Having used a switch rod for a number of years i would definitely say that it has improved my fishing due to  its versatility in covering all aspects of fly fishing. Coming from a single hand rod ( overhead casting ) background i caught many salmon and trout on these rods but was unable to fish in certain areas due to the lack of space for over head casts. When i got my first double hand salmon rod it allowed me to fish in an area that was out of bounds for my other rod and i caught four salmon on my first day and this opened up many more areas for me to fish. But still being an avid trout angler i had to bring my single hand rod with me as well because if the salmon fishing was quiet at least i could fish for trout and this was becoming a chore having to carry around two rods. Then i discovered the switch rod, it was the best of both worlds i could over head cast and under arm cast ( spey cast ) using little effort, all with the one rod.

I was lucky the rod i got was a six weight ten foot and ideal for over head casting, but having used many other switch rods since i find that they are just small summer salmon rods and are too stiff to over head cast with, especially single handed and this defies what i think a switch rod should be. The main question you have to ask yourself is why do i need this rod ? It will never be ideal for Spring salmon fishing on flooded rivers with big fish, very heavy sink tips and strong winds but then that is probably the only time that you can't use it. I always use my 13 ft ten weight fly rod for spring fishing but as soon as the water drops the switch rod comes out and stays out till close of season. When using a six weight switch rod it is better to pair it up with  a 7 / 8 wt reel due to the thickness of the shooting head fly line and the backing you will need. I use my switch rod for dry fly fishing by using a seven weight, weight forward floating line and this casts very well for me giving great presentation. You can see this in my videos, in one i'm catching a trout on the dry fly and the next a 16 lb salmon and even better a monster brown trout at night, all with my switch rod.


Having gone through my fair share of lines i found that the Forty Plus floating and Intermediate lines from Airflo  excellent lines for my six weight switch rod because with a small alteration to the front section they will cast any of my Rio seven foot sink tips with ease. There are other lines by Rio and Orvis that share similar specifications ( thirty four to thirty seven foot heads with similar weights ) and these will work well with the switch rod. The line that i find awkward is the switch line itself, most of these lines have a fifty five foot head and this becomes an issue especially when casting either big flies or sink tips in small to medium size rivers, you are not going to have the whole line out and will have issues with turn over and you can forget about the overhead cast. If you think about it a fifty five foot head with a seven foot sink tip and a three foot leader adds up to sixty five feet compared to the others at only forty seven feet in total with the same tip and leader. That is why i prefer the shorter shooting heads because you can fish anywhere and still be able to cover the whole river with any heavy fly or tip, even retrieving line and recasting isn't a chore. The next line i have in my box is the Skagit compact, these heads are around twenty feet in lenght and can lift and cast heavy sink tips or flies in the tightest of places. The only trick when casting skagit lines is a short slow stroke followed by a high forward stop and this allows the line to shoot out and across the river. All rods have an A.F.T.M.A.(American Fishing Tackle Manufacturers Association ) rating and this is a scale of line weights and that is how you match your rod with your fly line i.e. if the rod is marked six weight then your line must be a six weight line for optimum loading and casting. All lines come in Grains and to find out the weight there is s simple chart (  1 ounce = 437.5 grains ,  1 gram = 15.431 grains , and 1 ounce = 28.4 grams ) so if your line is 180 grains you divide by 15.431 and that gives you the weight of your line at 11.66 grams. If you want to be able to fly fish anywhere in fresh or salt water then a Switch rod is a must, trust me it will only improve your game by making the impossible cast possible.


  1. What type paul of rod thinking of a guideline Lxi or also that airflo do a good one and reding ton hav a dully new out ,

  2. Hi Keith, you really have to put your hands on the rod and feel it as most of the switch rods i see are really small stiff salmon rods and you can't overhead cast them with a single hand. Check out a few retailers and feel the rods and if you can ,cast with them, thats the only way you are going to find the right switch rod for you. My rod was made for me from a blank that i brought in from the states and it is only a 6 wt but it landed some big salmon upto 16lbs this year. I reckon that i could go up to a 7/8 wt in the same blank just to have more power casting in strong winds with heavy sink tips, so as you can see i'm still looking for the perfect switch rod.