HI - I'll be in the market for a rod pretty soon, to be used for bass, redfish, bonefish (rarely), steelhead, etc. Basically, it'll be the only "heavy" fly combo I own and I will intend to use it for a variety of species.
I'm pretty sure I want the 8 weight power, but I am not as certain about the length. The 9' 8 weight seems a pretty standard, multi-purpose rod but I am considering the utility of a switch rod of 11' for overhead casting and/or spey casts.
Is there any wisdom to this, or should I stick to the 9 footer?
I have never done a spey cast in my life, but I think it looks fun and interesting...and possibly utilitarian in some situations.
I would venture a guess that any situation where I would be using a 9 footer I'd probably be just as capable of using an 11 footer for overhead casting....just a thought.
Also -- I may be more interested in just having more rod to mend and more rod to cast a line a bit further with an overhead cast. Any utility to just having a long, single-hand rod for these species? Why is "9-foot" the upper end of the length for single hand rods? I know with my 5 weight rods I much prefer the 9 footer to the 7-8 footers for this reason.
My normal go-to rod in the salt is your standard 9' 8wt, fished with a 9wt line.
But in the surf I fish a 10', 8wt with an 11wt floating line.
Understand that a majority of people might not choose a floating line in this situation, but I like the long rod matched the floating line for mending over the breakers and line control in the longshore current. Fishing the surf is the only time that I break out the long rod.
I use a 11 foot switch in the surf for stripers. Couple advantages.....very easy on the arms and shoulders during the cast, always 1 back cast, extra rod length gets you above the waves. The disadvantage is landing a fish with sucha long rod. Very difficult to reach the leader without high sticking and breaking the rod. Best to beach fish.
Best advantage is easy long distance casting
I'm sure Pocono will show up soon and give his sage advice, but here's my opinion (what little it is really worth):
An 11ft switch will get you above the surf and help you cast a bit better. However, an 8wt switch is more like a 10wt when it comes to line. I dabbled in the switch rods for a bit and found some interesting information. The weight on the lines to load a switch rod is much more than your standard weights. YOu can use both hands to overhead cast, but it's still not something you'll be slinging around all day like a 5-weight.
If you don't plan on hunting in the surf, look at a 9ft. The 8wt should do all you want with everything you've listed.
I went with an 11'3" switch for my Hybrid Bass fishing in freshwater, from shore. Just my thougts here guys, wouldn't the 11 footer give more leverage on bigger fish?
No it won't, the longer rod actually gives the fish more leverage on your hand/wrist. Your hand/wrist is the fulcrum and the tip of the rod is the end of he lever in which the pressure is applied to. To make it easy to picture, imagine using a short wrench, the nut is your hand/wrist(the fulcrum or fixed position the lever/wrench is attached to) and your hand, applying pressure on the wrench is the fish. A shorter wrench gives the tight nut/bolt an advantage and a longer whench will give you(the fish) the upper hand. Ths is why you don't see big game fishermen using long rods(gear or fly), and if you look at most 12+ weight rods you will see alot of them are 8'.
I am also in the market for 8wt for those exact species. Until last week the Orvis H2 was the top pick. However, it was now replaced by the Hardy Zenith or the Proaxis. I think Zenith or Proaxis have the NRX and the Helios features in them and cost less as well.
I might get the Zenith since I fish more freshwater than salt. I called Hardy and Stillwaterflyshop and they both said that the freshwater Zenith was ok for light saltwater usage and their 8wt come in 9ft, 9.6ft and 10ft. Me, personally is going for either the 9 or the 9.5ft for roll casting from the shore.
If this rod is going to be used for bonefish,redfish or any other situation where sight fishing is the norm,then you dont want a long switch rod.They are not used for accurate pin point casting.You are much better off with a 9ft rod,especially if its intended for multiple species in different fishing situations.A long switch rod shines in certain places but not very many.
Axel27 is right on..my 8 weight switch throws a 10 weight rio outbound short perfectly. A switch rod is perfect in a couple conditions and not so good in some...IMHO. Great in the surf or anyplace where there is moving water and the casts are fairly repetitious. Not so good for sight fishing, varying distances, and off boats. They are called switch rods cause you are supposedly able to use them either 1 handed or 2 handed. The higher weights..like my 8 weight...are extremely difficult to consistently fish with one hand. Just to heavy.
Someone mentioned being able to cast a one handed 9' 8 weight longer than a 11 foot switch cast 2 handed....beg to differ...in the correct situation I don't see this happening. A two handed cast is far easier on the body than a one hand cast.