Sea runs on a switch rod

So I like fishing for sea runs with a switch rod. I find them more useful in some situations and conditions than a single hand rod.

*Switches or speys are not at all required to effectively fish sea runs or resident trout, but some find them fun. You may not like them once you get one on a river and fish them, so my best advice is to try these rods before you buy them. You may find they are not for you, and that will save you buying a bunch of gear. A lot of people don’t like them for stripping flies as the head connection catches the guides, and then you have to get the head back out of the tip every time you cast. Casting a rod before you buy it will help you avoid getting into something you don’t like.*

Most often I use a trout switch for swinging and stripping small flies on rivers at low to moderate flows, rigged up with an appropriate 250 grain switch line or scandi head. Trout switches are often too long a rod if you are on small or really small rivers, but if you have a bit of space then they’re perfect. I’ll even throw large streamers/small intruders on this setup, as large cutthroat have been known to eat intruders rather readily time to time.

One of the better uses I’ve found is using the rod for nymphing egg and flesh patterns, usually rigged up with a small tip and a light skagit at 300 grains. This can be a very effective way of catching sea runs (and any other type of trout (big browns?) in the vicinity) in the fall and early winter.

Two hand overhead casting at the beach makes it far easier to cast farther than with any reasonable single hand trout rod, especially in the wind, and especially if you fish windy beaches often, I know my wrist thanks me.

While I’ve owned a bunch of trout switches the rod I’ve settled on is the Beulah classic 4/5 10’6 switch rod. It is the best all around sea run cutthroat trout switch I have fished, and is fairly reasonably priced. I don’t target 10″ trout on spring creeks and therefore I don’t use a rod that matches up with those conditions. It is a bit beefy for small fish in the 8-12″ range but is perfect for sea runs from 14″-18″ and will effectively handle fish all the way up to surprise fish into the four or five pound range. It’s also a bit heavier than some of the rods but it’s tough, or at least I beat the crap out of it for two years now with no problems.

If you are looking for something that is perfect for the smaller trout that average in the 8-12 inch range, the mystic 11’3″ 3 or 4 wt switch, Anderson 11’9 2 wt, Meiser custom rods or speywerks 11’2/3/4, echo SR 3 wt, are the rods you should look at. Most of the other rods are more powerful and better for larger trout.

There is absolutely a use and niche for these rods, just look to sites like 2handedtrout, the interest in building single hand conversions on the skagitmaster forum, and all the queries on spey pages. The interest is there, and there is gear as affordable as anything else.

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Single hand spey casting for trout

I live on the west coast and spend pretty much all of my recreational free time sea run cutthroat trout fishing. These fish are not often like east coast resident trout at all, they are more like a mini steelhead so take everything I write with a grain of salt. If you’ve read anything else I’ve posted you’ll notice a bias towards trout switch rods, but I have spent a great deal of time on really small log filled rivers with tight drop bank, treed, brushy banks where roll and steeple casting, bow and arrow casts and whatever flop, poke abomination that got the fly out there was required to catch fish. It was not a place for any switch rod. This was with a 9 ft 5 weight older St Croix imperial (a rod that I miss and now resides on the bottom of the Cowichan river, but that is another story) and standard true to aftma 5 wt lines. This setup could get it out there but it wasn’t always the most efficient tool, but I caught plenty of cutthroat along with quite a few coho and the odd spring, and had a great time. This was before myself or any of the local flyshops locally had ever heard of so called “single hand spey casting” and spey casting was something alien to most anglers. After those formative years I have spent time learning how to spey cast (badly) and swing flies for steelhead, bought and sold a few spey and switch rods and experimented within the abstraction of a niche called trout switch rods. Inexorably this exploration has also led me almost full circle back to single handed rods with no backcast room on small rivers. After years of mucking about with these rods it seems to me that both switch rods and single hand spey have an equally valid niche where they shine.

There are several pros and cons of both light switch rods and single hand spey casting first of which is cost. There are quite a few relatively cheaper options (used or budget options like building your own, amundson, ARE, etc) when it comes to trout switch rods these days but most people who fly fish will already own one to several 3-7 weight single hand fly rods of varying quality and matching reels. Most factory budget switch rods still run $300 minimum, add in lines, perhaps a reel, and tips (not to mention any other gear you don’t have) and this gets expensive fast. Not pebble beach golfing expensive, but for those of us on a tight budget dropping 500 dollars to merely try something out is not practical or advisable. While not great for every approach the good news is that single hand spey casting allows you to try spey casting out within a budget and if you like it then you can spend the money. If you already own several single handers then all you really need is a single appropriate line and maybe a poly leader and then you can start spey casting. What’s more is that you may already own a 40+ or outbound or similar and then you don’t really need to buy anything.

A lot of people these days are looking for lines for single hand spey casting, so here are the ones I have used.

wulff ambush line- in both trout sizes and steelhead salmon sizes one of the most widely used and widely available, clunky but will throw tips and big flies, like a mini skagit. 20-29′ depending on the head

snowbee switch line-similar to an ambush but better for slightly lighter tips and smaller flies. 25′ head with attached running line

airflo 40+ the regular line features a 35′ head so not the best line for skagit type casting, attached running line

SA singlehand skagit line

Beulah tonic switch (skagit) as a grain guide the 300 gr tonic switch is perfect for a 9′ 6 wt single hander with 10′ of  T8

Beulah elixir switch (scandi) 245 gr for a 9′ 6 wt single hander with a 10′ intermediate poly tip) the switch versions are quite short and fish very well with single hand fly rods. Avoid the spey sizes for best performance

There are others such as the vision vibe, rio skagit shorts and the new scandi body, rio trout LT double taper for a more delicate presentation, and even regular fly lines work, but for best performance going a line weight or two heavier works better

What situations do trout rated switch or spey rods shine? Some would argue none but that is not even remotely true. On medium sized rivers where there is limited backcast room and longer casts are required for swinging flies there is no better tool. Swinging bushy trout wakers or other larger flies is another. Windy conditions, or where you are wading deeply while casting. Nymphing. Fishing with sink tips of any kind in rivers is far superior on a switch rod. The beach for me is also a preferred venue for switch rods, but you’ll find that opinions vary. Not because you can’t do any of this with a single but because of efficiency.When I look at that list, I see that really there are quite a few conditions covered.

What situations beg the use of single hand spey casting for trout? Well sea run cutthroat, and pretty much any other species can be targeted. Small rivers with lots of brush or obstructions for one, anywhere where you may need to strip or swing flies but also throw upstream dries in the same day and cant bring two rods, not having a lot of money, fishing for coho or cutthroat where stripping in flies is the primary approach and 11 foot or longer  rods are just too long, having an perverse and impractical hate for switch rods. Casting larger flies for smallmouth and largemouth around docks and laydowns from boats is a fun way to practice challenging anchor placement, as well as have fun with this technique.

Comparing the two requires going to a river, with appropriate setups to somewhere with moving and still water, not sitting on your ass oggling fish porn on the internet, but here are my observations on the difference between the two. Single handed spey casting like all fly fishing requires the right lines…airflo’s 40+, wulff’s ambush or triangle tapers, the lighter beulah elixirsand even tonics, SA single hand skagit, snowbee switch lines , and some of the lighter shorter skagits eg. SA Skagit extreme or rio skagit shorts (and others) are all good for the purpose, as they feature shorter length heads.

The rods I have played with the most are a cheap generic fast action amundson rocky mountain nine foot five weight, (a rod that I will probably be adding a lower handle to soon)and a moderate redington CT nine foot five weight, as well as an nine foot six weight moderate fast echo carbon and a light fast action mystic M series 9’3 6 weight. The five weights like a line at about 180-200 grains, as such I have cast my 200 gr snowbee switch on them both. When you first go to cast them it seems kind of ridiculous but even the five weights can chuck an impressive amount of line easily. Ive also tried 7 and 8 wt single hand lines but the taper is usually too long. The six weights like a line from 240-300gr, and as such I have cast a 245 gr elixir, 250 gr snowbee switch line, and a 300 grain snowbee switch and tonic(skagit) on these rods. All of these setups have exceeded my expectations and are a lot of fun to play with. When trying to dial in an appropriate line, sometimes we end up buying the wrong one and then can’t return it once it’s used. This is a common issue with all spey and switch rods. The clerk’s (or random internet) opinion of what works and you’re own preferences are often different. For example with my 6 wt 11’9 TCX I have seen line recommendations that run from 340 470 grains, so I picked up a 340 grain AFS scandi line and to me it was WAY too light, but the shop won’t take the line back even if you only cast it once. If the line you are using seems too heavy, you have three different options, buy a new one, strip some of the head of the line in past the tip and varying the amount each time until you find the sweet spot, you can then mark the line for reference, and either just strip it in to the mark everytime or cut and splice the line (line building however is a whole different topic.) If it’s too light well you can buy another line, rod, or trade somebody for a more suitable line. I find that it is a good idea to hold on to lines rather than sell or trade them, as you will often come back to the same lines in a roundabout way as you pick up different rods. Most of my favorite lines cast better on rods other than the ones they were intended to be on initially.

As far as performance goes 50-60 ft distances in tight cover were fairly easily obtainable, bordering on effortless, especially when you start experimenting with a haul. It was noticeable when wading out a bit deeper to my waist that the leverage the 9 ft rod gave me was lacking and it became tougher to cast. There seemed to be little room for error (a common issue with light switch rods as well) on the setup of the cast but I could turn over intruders no problem. Setting up for the haul takes a little getting used to, but a well timed haul helps overcome some of the issues with this style of casting like timing and distance. The snap T, double speys, single speys and the circle cast are all easy to do. Most of the lines these rods pair with are easy to overhand as well. The only thing I can sy is I wish I had these rods 10 years ago.

If none of this makes sense let me try to give you more of a direct comparison between the two. I recently took my 11’3 4 w mystic switch ( a light moderate soft rod that bends to the cork on 18″ sea run cutthroat) and my 9’3 6wt mystic single hander ( a moderate fast and light powerful rod that could handle coho and pinks no problem) with the same 250 gr snowbee switch line to a small brushy mid island river with fairly low flows for a couple of hours to see what the direct differences were like. This river is 20 to 40 ft across and has excellent sea run cutthroat and resident rainbow populations by island standards. First the switch rod got put through it’s paces in a variety of water and around obstructions followed by the single hander in the same spots. This comparison led to some surprising semi conclusions. The switch rod was definitely better when wading up to the waist or chest, and for line control on longer casts. They were both equivalent in terms of max. distance and the single hander was better for almost everything else. Fishing in tight cover, close in casts, The mechanics of casting the two are noticeably different even with the same lines in the same places. This is definitely the type of river where single hand spey comes into it’s own. Take those same two rods to the beach in a breeze with 6 weight overhead lines and the 250 switch line and the switch rod shines. The efficiency of the switch rod makes it a night and day comparison. Each has it’s niche, neither is useless, or universally useful.

As this is a discussion slicing niches into mini niches I thought the last word should be on single hand fly rod to switch conversions. Ed Ward one of the pioneers of the spey casting/skagit revolution in fly fishing has done some experimenting with adding small back handles to existing single hand rods (some incredibly light 3 and 4 weight rods) and then splicing lines to make small skagits for these rods. Very good and detailed discussions of these conversions can be found on 2handedtrout and the skagit master forums as well as spey pages and possibly some other sites. With the recent explosion of trout switch and spey rods on the market, this probably represents the utmost extreme of pushing the boundaries of two handed fly casting, and opens up more possibilities in this world. Can you imagine throwing small intruders on a 7’6 3 wt switch rod with an 12 ft skagit line? It is also another low budget option for the trout spey world as there are many lower end rods collecting dust in closets (including my own)that would be good candidates for this kind of conversion.

Like all things fly fishing, the only way to know is to get out and try it and if you don’t like it then don’t do it. Feel free to drop a comment even if you disagree.

All this or you could just go fishing.

Trout switch rods/reviews

A lot of the fly fishing I do for sea runs is with a switch rod. What is a switch rod you ask? I don’t know or care about the definition and we will leave this to all of the opinionated idiots on the online forums that don’t fish with or own any to argue all day about. What I do know is that they are generally and usually referred to as 9.5 to 11.5ish foot fly rods with a small lower handle attached and a longer top handle so one can easily make two handed change of direction roll casts, two hand overhead and for the lightest rods easily single hand overhead cast, all dependent on the line you are using. You don’t need a switch rod for trout, anyone who says that is an idiot, they are just a fun and different way of fly fishing for trout.

This is not intended to be a “right at all costs kind of topic” and the trout switch rod is not the holy grail of trout fishing. I am not a guide and I have no financial stake in any type of fly fishing gear. There are just lots of things that are great about these rods and there is next to no commentary reflecting this. If you are looking for some info try Dave Henry’s site http://www.2handedtrout.com, this is definitely the best resource out there (he answers questions too), and Courtney at the Nile creek fly shop is definitely a great resource, (plus you can cast the rods with different lines and that makes all the difference in the world), use the search function on spey pages and sift through all the garbage for some useful info (good site, just a fair sprinkling of mean spirited and uninformed nonsense). The skagitmaster forum also has a lot of really good information and perspective (something sorely lacking in fly fishing) if you take the time to sift through it. If you are having trouble finding info well just remember that this is a niche within a niche, I know I’ve had no help from anyone aside from the aforementioned resources.

Let me qualify myself by saying that I have caught a lot of sea runs with 9′ single hand fly rods, it’s a lot of fun and fairly simple, relatively cheap, and even noble way of fishing for these fine fish. And they are perfect for a lot of conditions, smaller rivers and fish, low water, light breezes, light presentations, light tippets, small dries, and a number of other situations. Switch rods do not replace or excel at what single handers are best for, but are much better at other things. Complimentary like. Eventually what I have found is that in some of the situations I found myself in with a single hand fly rod is that I basically could not get anywhere close to rising fish or with really tight or non existent casting room or in wind, and that it was even worse with any kind of sink tip. It was either throw a spinner or don’t fish, and while I have no problem with spinner fishing, hell I’ve caught hundreds of sea runs this way and I grew up doing it but I prefer and wanted to continue fly fishing in these challenging situations. You can definitely do all of the same two handed or “spey” casts with a regular run of the mill single handed rod matched up with the right line(single hand skagit, ambush, snowbee switch, 40 +, etc.). The issue I see with this is that in some situations performance wise the 2 handed rod is far superior. This is my opinion based on chasing cutthroat at the beach, river, and occasionally lake, in a whole variety of conditions.

There are some people who say there is no need for a trout switch rod but I do not agree. Let’s break down the typical arguments. First off I often hear that the lower handle gets in the way when trying to land fish. Gets in the way of what? the handles on the trout switches are smaller than my hand on most, if anything it makes it easier to fight fish, and besides why else do they put “fighting butts” on single hand rods?  A lot of anglers seem to want fighting butts on 4 and 5 weight fly rods. Another argument is that the lines are too heavy eg. typical switch/”spey” lines are roughly double the grain weight of equivalent lines. The fishery I am describing is not 8 inch rainbows with upstream dries, and my 9 foot 5 wt single is too much rod much less line for those fish. These sea runs can get pretty husky, can be deep in heavier current and fight hard, and is basically a non issue for any grain weight under 400, and if you’re using more why are you fishing for sea runs. Distance is another big step up, what trout single hander can throw 60-70 ft while wading chest deep in stronger breezes? never seen it, never been able to do it, and I seriously question anyone who says that that is well within the normal realm of single hand spey with trout rods. These are the kind of conditions and situations I’m talking about. I often hear when people are inquiring about getting into two handed casting comments like switch rods are “jack of all trades master of none” type tools, and that they are not really good at anything, you should get a spey rod instead. Really? a 12’6 foot + spey rod no matter what grain rating has no business being on most rivers I fish. They suck for stripping the fly, they suck in close and there is literally no room on most rivers that I frequent because of the brush/trees. Yet another place where I see a huge difference is beach fishing, especially where wind is in your face, I’m sorry but double hauling the crap out of a 9 ft 5 or 6 wt single in headwinds at the beach is the definition of not matching the tool to the job at hand. Don’t agree? You’ve probably never used a switch rod at the beach.DSCF5101 - Copy

Beach sea run on the beulah classic 4/5 10’6 switch rod

When you read about sea runs one of the things you read constantly is how they prefer shallow water and stay close to shore. If you think that it’s probably because you could never cast farther than 30′ with your single hander in the wind. At the beaches I fish often, sea runs will routinely sit at 60 to 100′ out coho style, again these aren’t little tiddlers, these are husky old adult sea runs that have gotten as big and as old as they have by staying alive in a dynamic environment where they are constantly under threat from larger predators. What they do is make forays in to shore to feed and move back out to safer deeper water. They don’t swim around on the surface, they are deep, and they are there because they are smarter than the 10″ yearlings. The trout switch rod is an ideal tool in all of these situations, and the single hander is not. But hey, don’t worry it’s just my opinion, people have been fishing the beach with much success for many years with old heavy single handed fiberglass and early graphite, and they are the pioneers of this sport, and I have much respect for them. You can also use a boat to get closer if you prefer the single. My point is there are no rules! (except the regulations) switch rods are an equally useful tool as a single hander. Tenkara, soft plastics, spinners, bubble floats, whatever as long as you are gentle with these fish, use small hooks, and release them carefully it matters not.

As far as single handing these rods goes, there are definitely some rods that are hard on the wrist but there are a bunch out now that are so light it’s really no problem, seriously, if some tackle shop jockey tells you you can’t that’s simply not true, Mystic makes 3, 4, and 5 weight 11’3 switches that single hand cast better than a lot of single handed rods. Beulah’s 10′ 5 wt platinum switch is the same, you could cast all day no problem, and change out scandi, skagit, switch or single hand lines to adapt to what you find as you go. These rods are about as light as it gets. Don’t get hung up on the single hand idea, it’s just another one of the “rules” out there that really have no purpose, and two handed overhead is usually more efficient anyway. The Mystic 3 wt is pretty much the same as a single hand three or four weight in terms of power and throws some pretty light lines (sub 200 grain) for the smaller presentation type waters.

Below is the most complete list of rods I can put together, as new rods come out I will try to update. There are obviously many others, like Scott switches and the like, however, I have never seen a Scott rod for sale in any fly shop, nor have I ever seen one in the hand of an angler in my life so, from a VI perspective and within my commetary, they are irrelevant.

Budget trout switch/spey options:

Echo’s new three weight and four weight 10’6 SR switch rods are a fun, relatively cheap way to try these types of rods out. Fast action and the 3 wt runs around 190-250 grains/the four weight runs 250-300 grains.

Echo TR 12′ 4 wt spey (new) I haven’t picked up or cast one yet, so cannot comment on it’s grain range or action, look on speypages or echo’s site for insight.

Echo DH(discontinued version) 11’9 4 wt slow action, (260-340 gr.) heavy in weight and power for your average trout, can be found cheap. More like a 5 wt.

Amundson’s 3/4 wt 11 footer is a pretty awesome rod for the price (and definitely the cheapest factory option out there which as a real plus in my eyes) fast action (300 gr.)

St Croix imperial 11′ 5 wt (300 gr.) Like most rods in the 300 grain range, a little too powerful for your average trout, but US made, solid rods.

TFO Deer creek 4 wt 11′ switch (250-300 gr.) Spey 12’6 4/5 (similar grain range) reasonably priced full flexing rods, they have very skinny handles, some love, some hate

Beulah classic 4/5 (250-300gr.) fast action but deep flexing, a little heavy and overpowering for small trout but a good all rounder for trout

Redington Prospector 10’9 4 wt  (240-275 gr.)medium fast action solid trout switch

Redington Dually 10’9 4 wt  (250-300 grain) great budget option

Snowbee prestige 10’8 5 wt (250 gr) fast, light, fun rod

Dragonfly Excalibur series 11’7 5 wt(250-300 grains) 12’6 6 wt(300-360 grains) great for a budget, seen them on closeout for like $100, and pretty decent rods too, medium fast action

Middle range and expensive Trout switches and speys

Mystic 11’3 switch rods 3 wt(200 gr.) small trout 4 wt(250 gr.) medium trout 5 wt(300 gr.) larger trout. Very light in hand, medium action, true trout rods. Awesome rods.

Sage one 11’6 4 wt Fast action, (240-270 grains) sweet rod for swinging flies, a bit heavy for smaller trout, fun,fun,fun.

Sage z axis 5 wt (300 gr.) Fast action, discontinued but still around, they see use for cutthroats in Puget sound.

Sage TCX 5119 (300-350 gr.) Fast action, discontinued(WTF sage?) a sweet, powerful rod for larger trout.

Beulah platinum 10′ 5 wt  (250-300 gr.) Fast action, powerful, crisp rod better suited for larger trout/small steelhead.

Winston Microspey series:

Meiser custom rods 3/4 10’6 switch, 12’6 3/4/5 spey, and a crazy 15’9 4/5/6( more of a light steel rod), rumour has it he even makes up a 2/3/4 10’6 rod, all have various actions, if interested check his site http://www.meiserflyrods.com/

Anderson custom rods 11’7 2-3-4 wts spendy, but sweet sweet trout speys  http://andersoncustomrods.com/

Burkheimer 5115 an expensive, very nice switch rod for larger trout (think greasy Alaskan rainbows) http://cfbflyrods.com/

Building your own:

If price is an issue building your own, especially Meiser and Anderson (both of whom have their own very nice trout speys and switches) blanks can cut the price of the high end rods in half, and Rainshadow, Dorber, Anglers Roost Enterprises and others offer some very nicely priced (positively cheap) blanks in this range. You can also build your own up on 10-11’single hand blanks.

There weren’t many choices not all that long ago, and that’s where all these preconceptions seem to stem from, eg. single handing heavy six weight switch rods with 400 + grain heads. These rods have opened up a lot of water to me. They are more versatile than any other type of trout rod I have ever seen. There are certainly a bunch of things they are not good at (super long distance 90′ +, tiny streams, really small fish, throwing huge tips and bunny flies, upstream dries). The line rating numbers on these rods are all over the place, eg. one companies 4 is anothers 6, and because of this has left a lot of people questioning switch rods. It’s all about the grains and the lines, 170 or less to 300-350 is trout territory. I haven’t even mentioned line control or reels, but better line control and not needing some needlessly heavy or expensive reel seem to be advantages to me.

These rods caught my attention because I had a real world challenge and with some trial and error (and no help) they have more than delivered, they are pretty much all I fish these days. I just want to put it out there (without all the spey pages nonsense) in case someone else was interested in these rods as I was.

Two handed cutthroat

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Even little guys like this are a blast on the lighter switches. If you find fishing for trout fun and aren’t hung up on a bunch of “rules” from the upper class in scotland then give them a try. You’ll probably be surprised.

Here are reviews of the trout switches that I use pretty much exclusively for cutthroat

Beulah classic 4/5 10’6 4 pc. switch rod

A good all round cutthroat switch rod for the beach and river, for swinging, waking and stripping flies and will handle fish to 4 or 5 lbs if req. (a few incidental pinks have been landed on this rod). I would call this a moderate fast rod that is somewhere in between a  5 or 6 wt single hander. This rod really likes a 250 gr snowbee switch line and a 300 gr tonic(skagit). The 245 gr. elixir (scandi) line I have for this rod is definitely not my favourite, while it casts fine, it seems way too short. I use this rod for both single hand and two hand overhead, as well as two handed “spey” casting at rivers and beaches and for nymphing egg or flesh patterns. A ten inch cutthroat feels a bit small but a fourteen incher is just right. $300-460 depending on where you find them

Best used for: best all rounder for cutthroat

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Mystic 4 wt 11’3  4 pc. switch

Very very light, and there is certainly no other rod out there like it, an intriguing moderate to full flexing rod but with a fast tip, and fast recovery. A true switch rod that is honestly as comfortable to cast overhead as it is to two hand cast. I’ve cast 200 and 250 gr. snowbee switch lines overhead and two handed on this rod, and it loves my 245 gr elixir. It will also cast anywhere from a 5 wt single hand line to a distance 7 wt line(if you want to load it to the cork) it has much longer handles than most switches, they are almost as long as the handles as my thirteen foot sage spey rod but it’s definitely not a negative. High quality cork, saltwater friendly, good quality reel seat. A 17″ sea run recently had this rod bent into the cork, just to give you an idea of the power. They are US made, and not very well known but I highly recommend any of their rods. $500-570 new (they even make a lighter three wt. version of this rod which is one of the craziest fly rods I’ve ever cast)

Best used for: Smaller cutthroat, lighter tippets and poly leaders, fun

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Beulah platinum 5 wt 10′ 4 pc. switch

This is the weirdest one of the group, light, saltwater friendly and with a fairly stiff moderate fast action and very quick recovery and more powerful than either of the other two rods above. It has smaller and more highly decorative handles than most switches, can cast a wide variety of SH and spey lines 200-340gr. although for two handed casting the single spey or switch cast with a 300 gr snowbee switch line with a 10′ clear intermediate poly leader is pretty much as easy as it gets, a lot of fun. Takes a little bit of getting used to because of the short leverage point, and finding the sweet spot takes a little experimenting, and I wouldn’t recommend single hand overhead casting 300 gr lines on it all day, not because it doesn’t cast well but because it’s hard on the wrist, try lighter lines and it’s fine 7-8 wt (outbound, xd, 40+) single hand lines instead $350-500

Best used for: Big bushy dry flies, larger fish, smaller water with no back casting room is where this rod really shines, nymphing egg patterns and flesh patterns(if that’s yer game)

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A few other switch rods that I used to own and fished for cutthroat

Amundson 6 wt 11′ switch

A fun rod at a great price, light with a soft tip but too much rod for most cutthroat even in current, fished best with a 385 gr steelhead scandi and a 390 or 420 gr compact skagit but definitely a light summer steelhead rod not really a cutthroat rod, great blanks with low to moderate quality cork and components, but highly recommended, and they have a 3/4 wt. that is a bit better suited for cutthroat. $160-$300

Best used for: fishing in rivers where summer steelhead and cutthroat are equally likely to be around and you cant bring/afford two rods.

TFO deer creek 4 wt 11′ switch

Also a reasonably priced light switch rod that again is a bit too heavy for smaller cutthroat, it fished well with a 250 gr snowbee switch to a 340 gr. AFS, great handles, moderate-slow action and better cork and components than the amundson, a little bit lacking in the wind due to its action, and overkill on small fish but definitely a fun, affordable rod. $250-350

Best used for: good quality budget trout switch

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These days there are many other reasonably priced to obscenely expensive trout switch rod options. I have decided to highlight these are rods because I have used them over seasons in lots of different weather, tides, river levels, and fish. Rod choice is often esoteric, this is just my own experience within the application of sea run cutthroat fishing specifically. Take it for what it’s worth and feel free to drop a comment.