Yes, I am saying skip the switch. I just got started in the 2 hander this past spring and asked the exact same questions you are asking now and the ones you are going to ask
That was just a quick summary I wanted to fire off , sorry if I came across like I know something. I had to jump back in my truck and go do some more plowing Yeah !
Thee advise and rod rec are just regurgitated advise from my 2 hand casting instructors (Fkrow here ) and as I said they are dead nuts on the money.
pretty much all the experienced 2 handers here agree (advised me) it is a lot better to learn on the longer (13') rod and it is just right for the Salmon. I have a 10' 7 wt. I am surprised FAE didn't say that , he told me the longer rod too ?
The vxp is a very good 2 hander, Jerry (one of the instructors , loved it) and it was also about $350 , far far better than the Reddington or Echo starters. I liked it enough that the day after the class I got a VXP 5120 for trout
cant help with the reel , I don't know the Nautalus and I used a old Teton 9-11 because I had it and it balances ok , problem is it will not hold a Skagit line I don't think , works for the scandi