Fly fishing community

While the Internet may certainly be a used as a tool for endlessly bashing meaningless opining on ignorant and trite opinions into your grey matter, every now and again it is true that you may find a few “unplucked gems” out there. It is easy to find so much apathy, negativity and narcissism on the web and yet it is also still true that the internet is a great tool for building communities and sharing information.

I feel like the fly fishing community and its shared values are under attack from many fronts, with the people who want to exploit everything within it for money, those who refuse to understand what fly fishing can represent, and the very fish themselves that in many cases we are wondering if we will see wane into memory in the coming decades. I think we need to celebrate what we have while we still have it, and that we have more in common than we like to think.

If you like coastal sea run cutthroat or any number of other briny species and the pursuit of them with a fly rod, the saltwater section of Washington fly fishing forum is a largely positive forum on what is a typically wildly negative topic (anadromous fisheries), and let’s be honest right about now, negativity is something we’ve had just about enough of lately.

(The fly tying section is pretty good too)

http://www.washingtonflyfishing.com/forum/

If you like sea run cutthroat, take a look at one of the larger ones you will ever see…

http://www.washingtonflyfishing.com/forum/threads/uhmmm-i-got-the-most-vicious-takedown-while-src.122376/

Ebb

Now as you may have heard we have been experiencing exceedingly high temperatures in conjunction with very little rainfall or snowpack this spring/summer on the west coast. Many rivers and some near shore estuaries are warm and in many cases will only increase in warmth over the summer and into the fall. Adult Summer steelhead, trout of various life histories, and summer returning salmon as well as fry and parr are very vulnerable in these conditions. Warm water and exhaustion kills salmonids, so please realise it hurts absolutely no one and nothing to leave those canyon bound island summers and Cowichan trout alone.

Undoubtedly our salmonids are resilient and have lived through what must be beyond countless droughts long before the Internet and self righteous bloggers such as myself, however there are many alternative and important activities to playing steelhead to death. Join a conservation group. Volunteer. Whack and stack some perch. Perch are a horrible invasive species that are very dumb and very tasty, and they live in many waters they have no business being in. The same is true of many bass and sunfish populations. Carp fight far better than any summer you’ll ever catch. Halibut are a strange, tasty and hard fighting fish and there is still low impact salmon fishing (wet wading pinks from the beach on the fly amongst others). Black rockfish and greenling from a kayak with a fly rod are a blast. Better yet go pull invasive plant species, God knows there’s enough ivy, broom, or blackberries out there along the stream sides of the world.

It’s the summer time, get out there.

 

 

Matching lines for trout speys and switches

One of the most difficult things about lighter switch and spey rods (and indeed for two handed rods in general) is finding and dialing in adequate lines to match them. Overhead lines are one thing but lines for two handed casts are another all together. There is definitely a limited availability of lines, and even less people selling them with any clue as to what works. Even if you fish heads, they still cost 50-65 bucks each retail, and buying five of them to find one that works is a frustrating and unrealistic process.

Very generally most true 4 wt trout switches that I have run into are going to match up with either a 240 or 270 grain airflo compact scandi, but what if you hate scandi’s and want skagits? Somewhere between a 250-320 grain skagit is going to generally match up quite well. Hate skagits? What about mid or longer bellies? Things get even more tricky from there.

First of all what you need to do is really think about what you want to use or even need a trout switch or spey rod for. Do you really need or want one? Is it just a light summer steelhead rod? Is it primarily for chasing average sized trout? Big husky river browns and bows? Sea runs off the beach? Are you fishing deeper, cold water for coastal anadromous fish, stripping streamers or fishing warmer shallow water for wary small resident trout? Are you fishing far and fine and mending a lot? Nymphing? No one line or rod necessarily works well for all of these things. There are places and situations where these rods are probably more of a hindrance than a help. Before you even begin looking for a rod, think about where you want or need a trout rated switch rod. Then how long a rod do you need? If you fish small rivers that are 20 ft across or less, you are probably going to wish you brought a single hander instead. 10’6 is still pretty long if you are stripping flies or fishing small water. Your specific rivers and setting in mind, not far flung places you may never see, or places you don’t fish often, will give you the best idea of where to start. Figuring out what your preferences are is also key, especially what you like about other rods, eg. loading the rod deep, or casting off the tip. What is the action of the rod you have or are going to buy. You need to think about these things, not just plunk down a bunch of cash on a trout spey, and then expect to be casting 100′ with perfect loops.

If you have little experience with spey casting, then learning on a light switch rod is going to probably be quite difficult.

Switch lines: Snowbee switch (floating and intermediate) lines (to 200 gr.), Wulff ambush lines, and the Rio switch chucker (to 325 gr.) are all good choices for shorter switches. The Rio switch line only goes down to 375 gr. @ 55 ft making it useless for trout speys. They are general purpose short, beer can like fat lines with short tapers, similar to skagits but with more taper, typically they are poor for mending, delicate presentation and nymphing.

Skagits: Rio (skagit short to 250 gr. ,skagit max short and ishort to 200 gr.), Beulah (Tonic 300-325 gr), Scientific anglers skagit extreme( down to 280 gr.)(Airflo’s skagits only go as low as 360 grains which takes them into 5 wt territory) and probably others now all make light skagit or super short shooting head style heads some of them going down to around 200 grains these are probably the easiest to find of all light trout lines.

Scandinavian style heads: Vision (Vibe 65 a 21 ft scandi style integrated line down to 92 grains! designed for single hand rods, but will work nicely with shorter rods and conversions) Airflo compact scandi(240 gr-270 gr @ 29 ft), rio scandi body (down to 210 grains @ 23 ft), Beulah elixir (down to 245 gr grains @ 25 ft) These lines work very well as a general trout line but are usually fairly short heads and therefore poor for mending.

Mid and Long Bellies: At this point if you want to delve into this world you are going to have to do your homework, try different single handed lines, (different sized double tapers are a good start) maybe chop some lines or get a custom linemaker (Steve Godshall in Oregon my friends) to make you a line. There is simply no commercial interest in this at this time. I know a lot of people covet the 4/5 GPS lines but they are actually heavier than what most real trout rods can handle. Whatever you do, there is no easy out of the box line commercially available.

The first line I got with my first trout switch rod (a Beulah classic 10’6 4/5) was a 245 gr elixir scandi switch head. This line is recommended and designed for this rod. It was and is the worst line I have cast on that rod to date, now this is my own subjective experience and yet I’ve heard of similar complaints from others using lighter rods. You have to try these lines, not overhead but in wind on the water casting.

The best things you can do to match a line to your new switch or spey rod

1. Try other people’s, tackle shop guy’s, whoever’s lines on your rod at the river. Do this with rods too. Before you buy. Try as many lines as you can, DO NOT just compromise and buy what is immediately available at the shop. Try them with different leaders and different sized and weighted flies

2.Ask for advice on: two handed trout, skagitmaster forum or speypagesor other online resource, email people who post about these rods and see what they have to say. Do this before you buy.

3.Take all these things into consideration. You honestly have to love trout fishing to enjoy these rods. If you are casual about it and only really love steelhead and salmon then this stuff will probably not interest you. Don’t buy these rods if you feel kind of indifferent to the whole thing, save yourself the headache and hassle. It’s easy to read a bunch of articles and then get all pumped up about buying a bunch of shit. If you love fly fishing for trout, and all this stuff doesn’t scare you off, then proceed down this road.

In the end only you can decide what works and what doesn’t when it comes to lines. Good luck and have fun.

Mystic 11’3 8 wt switch rod review

There are many 8 weight switch rods on the market. There are also many cheap reviews that seem more concerned with the label and hype than for the quality and functionality of those rods. The truth is plenty of these rods are good, some are pretty mediocre, and a few are very good. My intention in reviewing this rod is just simply to give people an idea about a little known company that makes a good U.S. made rod. The blanks are made overseas, and they are assembled in the US (like virtually every other company out there that claims to be US made). The 11’3 Mystic 8 wt switch rod is very light, medium/fast action, crisp, powerful, simple in appearance and well made. In my opinion this rod rivals the TCX (and I love the TCX switches), Z axis, NRX, Helios or any other high end, expensive rod in performance. The rod is 11’3, 4 piece, comes with a black cordura tube with built in sock, decent cork, and larger handles than most switch rods. Solid warranty included as well.

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Antihype disclaimers

*Always try casting a rod before you buy it, with the lines you plan on using, because nothing is less indicative of a rods performance than wiggling it at the fly shop rod rack. If you do this (regardless of what the tackle jockey thinks) you will most likely end up with the rod you want (whether a Mystic or not) not a rod that you thought was something but different when you are actually fishing it on a river or beach*

* This rod (and no other either…yeah I’m talking about you sintrex) is not the second coming of fly rods, it will not make you cooler, grow a bigger cock, give you more rich friends, nor can you name drop Mystic. This rod however is a fun to fish 8 weight switch rod with very good value for the money.

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What it’s good for: Summer and winter steelhead, coho, huge trout, and any salmon except huge chinook and chum.

Grain window: 380-500

Recommended Lines: Shooting heads such as

420-470 gr. Airflo skagit compact

420-470 gr. Beulah elixir (scandi) or similar scandi line( RIO steelhead scandi, scandi, Airflo compact scandi etc.)

385 grain steelhead scandi for a lighter touch

450 grain Airflo intermediate skagit

I wouldn’t recommend: Chum, chinook, shark

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Price: Listed at $479.00 on Mystic’s website, I’ve seen them for sale for anywhere from $400 to $580, a touch cheaper than a Sage Method at a grand or so, eh?

Compatible reels: Light switch rods call for fairly light reels for balance, so any of the 80 series sage reels, the Speyco switch, Hardy marquis salmon 1, Ross cla 5 all balance well. My favorite is the sage 1880.

http://www.mysticoutdoors.com/

Cheap and awesome

There are many things about the image of fly fishing that make it seem like some kind of yuppie, eurotrash ski chalet douchebag nightmare, but at the end of the day remember it is still just a way of going fishing.

Sages, CND’s, boo, longbellies, Meisers and Hardy’s are cool. So are Jw Youngs, Echos and Amundsons, flannel shirts from a secondhand store, lucky lager (or for my American friends PBR), cheapo wading boots, not fishing the Dean and Thompson rivers, $20 fiberglass single hand rods and medalist reels, sleeping in your car by the river, mac n cheese, whatever stinking “lucky” hat you insist on wearing, yer goreleak jacket that smells like cat piss cause you own satan cat but you still wont get rid of, Jamieson’s, mustads, pheasant instead of BEP, ostrich instead of rhea, waders that are more glue than wader, neoprene, whatever POS rust bucket that gets you to the river for 10 bucks on a paved road so you can park beside the guy with a brand new 4×4 Toyota tundra.

See the biggest fallacy about this sport is this implicit idea that you are lesser if your gear isn’t the right type or expensive. There are many in this sport who would advance this inaccuracy. Many people simply don’t have the money to buy thousand dollar spey rods and the like, it doesn’t make them a worse or less knowledgable angler if they have an Echo rod with a Lamson reel in their hands. That doesn’t mean that the top end gear isn’t good either, I would love to have a bunch of bamboo rods and classic reels, and an Olson is a masterpiece compared to a sage 1880. The ownership of fine tackle can enhance the experience for some, but not all. Of course I don’t think that many will debate that high end tackle performs better, but conversely it also takes perspective to understand and appreciate just how lucky we are and how much fun it is to even have a day on the water with a $20 fiberglass rod. People are also on different paths within the world of fly fishing, some seek enlightenment, while others seek thrills, or just a chance to unwind after a long work week. There is a lot more to skagit casting than it just being “so easy a caveman could do it”, disrespecting other fly fisherman advances or improves what exactly? As long as you respect your resource and other anglers there is no difference between tipping back Macallan on the banks of the Bulkley with your golf hat, top end Simms waders, Hardy perfect, long belly and a 1500 dollar spey rod as the dude with a greasy mustache swinging flies with a echo switch rod, skagit short, neoprene waders on some steep coastal river with an intruder.  They are both good, and especially more if you are having fun. I’m not just saying it, it’s true. We all love fishing, and we are also all basically the same so stop using gear as a way to create the perception that you are better than anyone else.

If you read this and at no time did you think “hey, I am special, I have a hardy perfect” then you may enjoy Hank Patterson’s brand of humour  http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=hank+patterson&qpvt=hank+patterson&FORM=VDRE

Skagit lines for trout

These days there is a lot of interest in trout spey and switch rods. While scandi style lines are a pretty obvious and effective line choice these rods also are a lot of fun with appropriate skagit lines. I’m not talking 600 grain fire hoses, but 150-320 grain skagits. Before we go any further nobody has pushed the envelope more than Ed Ward, who has written very extensively on the use of micro skagits on skagitmaster forum, 2 handed trout, and speypages(all on my blogroll). His singlehand conversion rods and sliced and diced skagit heads to match them are explained in minute detail. The guy has revolutionized two handed casting, line development, and fly design, so even if you don’t like him, he’s worth listening to.

So, why would you use a skagit on a trout rod? First of all you don’t need one at all, it’s just a different, specialized way to open up water to swing flies in. If you fish these conditions with a single hand rod and standard sink tip line and find no problem that’s fine, I’ve just never been there. I find micro skagits a lot of fun, your mileage may vary. When fishing rivers with lots of streamside brush right at your back, and water that is up and pushing hard such as many rivers on the island (and the coast) a single hand rod with a standard sink tip line isn’t going to get you out there very far. I’ve never found them to be workable in these kinds of conditions. A lot of times on such rivers you may not be able to fish each side of the river and seams and slow spots may be out on the other side of the river or the river is just wide. fast chutes that change into deep pools quickly, and where access restricts ideal approach. Fishing these spots requires getting down beneath fast surface water, casting farther out and good line control. There are lots of areas in rivers with fast surface current but slower (read trouty) water beneath the surface. Slowly swinging or stripping flies through these lies effectively are the scenarios where a skagit on a trout switch, spey or even a single handed rod comes in handy.

I’m not talking about chucking t-14 or huge intruders, hell you can’t really chuck T 14, and I’m talking about using regular trout streamers anyway but lighter tips like the heavy polyleaders or T-8 that used correctly get your fly into the zone for swinging flies. I don’t know about you but where I fish for trout whether sea run or resident my back is up against the bushes a lot of the time, or I am casting across faster water to get to individual seams or boulders. A dry line in this scenario is useless. Unless you think that swinging your fly on the surface downstream at 100 mph is a good way to hook trout. This is where the utility of a small skagit on a trout rod (be it single or doublehand) shows. A skagit allows you to cast a tip in tight quarters and still acheive distance, slowly swinging lies on the other side of the river, something a single hand sink tip line in the same scenario doesn’t usually excel or even work at.

Dialing in lines is an entirely subjective task, especially for some reason with skagit lines so this is only a line guide based on my experiences. You will most likely have to slice and dice lines if you go lighter than this, or to dial in particular rods, or for individual preference as some fast 10′ 4 wt rods are stronger than 9′ med action 6 wts. These recommendations are based on fishing with 10′ 5-7 IPS poly leaders and T8 and flies up to large streamers and smaller intruders.

9′ 5 wt med action singlehanders will take a 220-250 gr skagit or similar

9′ 6 wt  fast action singlehander = 20′ 300 grain skagit is a perfect match for me

4/5 switch rods(Echo/Tfo/Beulah) = 300 grains again is a perfect match on the rods I’ve used

Skagit lines are not for every trout situation, or river but for those places where standard lines seem to lack they can be incredibly fun and efficient.

Beach switch rod technique

When it comes to switch rods I havent delineated the techniques I use at the beach for sea runs at all, so here goes.

Disclaimer: I am not a professional casting instructor, nor am I Ed ward, but I do fish these rods a lot. If you don’t like switch rods or the idea of them, the techniques apply completely to single hand spey casting as well. If you are a beginner to these fisheries, or just want to catch some sea runs I honestly would just start with a singlehand 6 wt rod and a 40+ line. From there you can move into singlehand spey casting by purchasing a few extra lines if you are interested, and then only if you are still interested move into experimenting with switch rods. Going this route is expensive (the cheapest trout switch rod/reel/line combo I could go and buy right now is about $400) and it is a super tiny niche of fly fishing, it’s not cool, it isn’t for everybody, and it probably isn’t the best way to go about it either.

There are a few issues you will run into when fishing the beach or any other areas with slow or non moving water, and because spey and switch rods were designed primarily around swinging moving water you have to adjust your technique. Honestly over a long day at the beach casting the longer rod can be cumbersome and it can become tiresome to repeatedly roll cast your head back out for anchor setup before you cast, but with a bit of adaptation switch rods work quite fine at the beach. Below is a simple description of how it works for me on the beach.

Two hand overhead-(single hand overhead with a switch rod is honestly not worth bothering with for most rods) The technique is simple once you’ve dialed in the appropriate line. The best lines are usually a short floating scandi style head like the elixir switch, or airflo scandi compact, etc. not because a longer belly wouldn’t work but because typical beach technique is stripping the fly in close.

Note: Skagits are usually a poor choice for the slow moving shallow beaches because they make a lot of surface disturbance, are imprecise, and spook fish that are cruising in crystal clear, shallow water. I have also yet to find a beach like this that required T11 or 14 to fish properly. There are however areas (like chester allen describes in his book) where rips flow quickly and on the downtide side there is significant depth, I can see skagits being used as a specialty line here, but as a general beach line I would avoid them.

Strip your fly in to where is comfortable(on the beach for me that’s about 15′ away, the point where any fish that’s following the fly in usually sees me and bolts). Usually you will have stripped the head in past the tip already at this point, so what you need to do is get the head back out of the tip with a quick couple of roll casts or a poke. Many people don’t like this process, and if it sounds stupid well be forewarned before you go buy a switch rod for the beach, but it’s fairly quick and simple and not all that different to a getting a singlehand line back out. Rollcast your head back out past the tip (most suitable heads are 20-30 ft long) and then its a simple two hand single backcast and shoot, in what is usually a quick compact motion that takes all of a couple seconds. Once you get this dialed in it can be a very efficient and quicker way to get your line back out. An easier way that skips roll casting is to strip the head partially in so the fly is close but not all the way to the tip and then use a couple of false casts to get the head out, and then shoot your line. This is a good remedy for when it is weedy.

The lines that are suitable for these fisheries are usually heavy, short, and shoot far and are actually quite efficient at achieving distance once you get the hang of it. Another thing these lines are good at is casting larger poppers and other bulky flies used at the beach. Control of your running line is paramount as it is with single hand casting so if fishing a weedy area or somewhere where there are lots of snags or brush, a stripping basket is quite handy. Weed snagging your coiled running line sitting in the water or snagging your fly while you set up the anchor will usually destroy your cast. Be it single hand or not there are times in the year where I honestly will call it a night because of continuous and immediate fouling from massive amounts of seaweed drifting by on the tide.

In short where the switch rod technique excels is at long distance casting, and then stripping in to about 15-20 ft away. If you need to strip the fly right in, and you don’t need to cast far then the singlehand rod is usually a better call.

Spey casting on the beach

If you are stripping your fly in this is exactly the same as two hand over head until you start the cast. Without moving water you have to actively set your anchor, usually best done with a simple rollcast out in front or to the side “down” or “up” stream (parallel to the beach shore) depending on the cast and wind direction. I find a circle or double spey are go to casts and the snap T useful for getting weeds off the fly.  The biggest issue here on the beaches is wind and weeds, if there is lots of flotsam on the surface your line and fly will often come up fouled due to the mechanics of setting and moving so much of your line in and across the water. The best solution here is to cast overhead. Another issue people have with switch or spey rods at the beach is the head loop or (poly)leader loop catching in the guides as they strip in. There are lots of integrated lines out there(no loop between head and running line), and the type of knot you use for your leader can definitely have an effect, but essentially it’s just part of the game. I have the same problem with my singlehanders when stripping flies in. I find spey casting at the beach efficient in terms of distance, and can offer versatility where there is no back cast room, especially where the is less wind and weeds. Then again sometimes I also use a single hander at the beach. Your mileage may vary.

Mystic 9’3 6 wt M series fly rod review

It is suprising to me that many people haven’t heard of Michigan based Mystic fly rods, as every one of their rods I have cast have been exceptional and have great value.

Antihype disclaimers

*Always try casting a rod before you buy it, with the lines you plan on using, because nothing is less indicative of a rods performance than wiggling it at the fly shop rod rack. You will end with a rod you want (whether a Mystic or not) not a rod that you thought was something but different when you are actually fishing it on a river or beach*

* This rod (and no other either…yeah I’m talking about you sage one) is not the second coming of fly rods, it will not make you cooler, disappear your paunch or halitosis, make you more interesting, nor can you name drop Mystic. This rod however is a fun to fish 6 weight fly rod with very good value for the money*

I have used this rod, side by side with my trout switches (including a really light Mystic 4 wt switch rod) for much of the year targeting sea run cutthroat, browns, rainbows, and even occasionally coho both in the salt and fresh water on Vancouver island. It is the best by far out of the bunch of 6 wts I have owned for what I use it for which is small to large streamer fishing for aggressive trout from 12-24 inches. The cork after about a year of straight up salt and freshwater abuse DSCF7209

It is a medium/fast action four piece fly rod with a nice cordura tube (built in inserts no sock) with an understated grey/black/silver pinstripe appearance. It has a very strong tip, now no one is going to call this rod a “lightsaber” or moon unit or any other stupid name, it’s a simple rod, which I like. It has good quality cork, a nice decorative reel seat, the best shaped handle I’ve ever used, quick recovery, alignment marks and a small fighting butt. Two quad leg titanium stripping guides and stainless steel snake guides and tip round it out. Listed at around $450 off of the website I would say the comparative value of this rod is significant. I have used this rod in the salt for a season and there isn’t any sign of corrosion or performance issues related. Of course I do rinse it after every trip. DSCF7201 This rod is a powerful medium fast rod better suited for streamers, however with a nice double taper line, some fairly delicate presentations are possible. However it is however a six weight, not a spring creek buggy whip

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Recommended overhead lines: Snowbee XS XD 6 wt line (excellent for both roll casting and distance casting, handles mono and small polyleaders very well) matches the best of any line I have tried with it.

A 6 wt scientific anglers GPX, or Rio gold will cast just fine on this rod.

Recommended single hand spey casting lines:

Beulah elixir 245 gr. head a scandi head that touch and go casts small flies very well on this rod, less clunky than the snowbee, pairs well with mono or 7′ poly leaders.

Beulah tonic 300 gr. head (skagit) for single hand skagit, will turn over heavy poly leaders (10′ 5.6 ips and 10′ 7 ips) and smaller sections of T8, fun in tight brushy spaces. This line casts very well and accurately on this rod, which can mange distances of 80′ in tight spaces, an impressive pairing.

Snowbee 250 gr switch line (25 ft head) good all around line, it will cast large flies but is more clunky than the other lines mentioned, pairs well with 7-10’poly leaders

Other lines in the 250 to 300 grain range should cast well on this rod, such as the 240 or 270 airflo compact scandi, or any of the light skagits from rio or airflo, my favorite lines are the beulah and snowbee’s.

What it’s good for: Trout between 14″-25″, can distance cast well, light saltwater use for sea run cutthroat and coho jacks, windy conditions, single hand spey casting, stripping flies, overall a forgiving and easy to cast, versatile trout rod.

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I wouldn’t recommend: Larger coho and other salmon, summer steelhead, while it could handle smaller specimens no problem, I think a ten pound coho or summer would have it’s way with this rod.

As far as I know the only shop that carries them here on the island is the Nile Creek Fly Shop up in Bowser, but many shops carry them in the east. If you are looking for a new rod, check them out and give them a try, I highly recommend them.

http://www.mysticoutdoors.com/

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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