Fighting fish on a Switch Rod

matt_geiman

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How does fish fighting power on switch rod compare to a similar weight single hand rod? If I 'm used to landing fish on a 7 weight, what weight switch rod would have the same performance? I know that two handed rods have higher grain weights for the casting, but curious on how they compare strictly to fish fighting ability. Thanks!
 

ddb

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Matt.

Rod "power" is hard to equate between SHR and 2HRs. The length, materials, and taper of the rod --lever -- are the determining factors not line weight which has nothing to do per se with power, it is almost solely a casting factor.

Making apples to apples comparisons, say you are after steel head which often fight hard and make longish runs, and usually use a 9' 7 wt fast action modern graphite but switch to an 11' switch rod of the same weight and action.

You will give up some brute leverage for turning fish with the longer rod.

You will also have to learn how to manage fish on the longer stick close in who are not yet done with the fight.

By the same token, the longer rod will be easier on lighter tippets and adjusting to sudden surges -- fewer hook pullouts.

The longer rod and the lines you will use make it likely you will be working fish at a greater distance and thus have to make sure hook sets and initially control fish with more line on the wate. This can allow a hot fish further out more range to use heavy current against you and then swap ends and run straight at you. The bigger reels on the switch rod allow for quicker line pickup.

Start to throw in random variables -- say, differing rod actions -- and the picture gets very complex and muddy.
 
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flav

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My experience with single hand rods vs switches and Speys is that there's about a 1, sometimes a 2 line weight difference, in comparable fish fighting power. So your 7 weight single hander is roughly equal to a 6 weight, maybe a strong 5 weight, two hander.
I say "roughly equal" because fighting a fish on a two hander feels quite different than a single hander. Switch rods are usually slower action than single handers, so a fish will bend the rod deeper into the butt of the rod. Also the longer rod gives the fish more leverage against you, so they feel bigger and you have less power to move them. Personally I prefer fighting big fish on a shorter rod, but I prefer casting a longer two hander. A switch bridges that gap between the two pretty well for me.
 

matt_geiman

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Thanks both of you for the detailed replies so far! So it sounds like in very general terms a switch will match the fish fighting ability to an equal weight single hand? For example with steelhead it seems that most use the same weight between double and single hand? Thanks!
 

ryc72

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through the various folks ive talked to at different rod manufacturers and fly shops the general rule of thumb is a 6wt switch is roughly the equivalent of a 7wt or 8wt single hander when it comes strictly to fighting fish. of course this depends on the particular switch and particular single hander that youd compare to but that seems to be the general consensus. i will say that my 10'0" 4wt switch rod does feel like its in between a 5 and 6 wt single hander....definitely more rod than my 5wt but not quite as much pulling power as my 6wt.
 

coug

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I have never owned a switch rod, but I fished for several years with a 11'4" 4wt two-hand rod, and this summer was using the same length but in a 3wt for a two-hand rod. The previous two responses describe the difference between two- and single-hand rods very well. As Flav says, they are a blast to cast, and swinging a wet or soft hackle just before a hatch, or even during, can be very effective. A couple of observations to add to the list, I find I get fewer hookups with my two-hand rods. The softer flex + thin running line + head + Tippet absorb a lot of the energy you normally put into setting the hook. It is almost like steelhead fishing where you need to let the fish hook itself. Second, trying to control the fish for release can be difficult at first with the two-hand rod, simply because it is longer and the flex is much more pronounced than a single-hander. But you learn to create a "shorter rod" by pinching the leader to the rod, just like with a single-hander. I rarely let a fish out of water, and if I do it is only into my net to free a more solidly-hooked fish.
 

coug

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Thanks both of you for the detailed replies so far! So it sounds like in very general terms a switch will match the fish fighting ability to an equal weight single hand? Thanks!
The equation for most is add 2 or 3 to the single-hander to get the appropriate two-hand rod. My 3wt two-hander is more like a 5wt. A 5 or 6 wt two-hander can handle smaller steelhead, although a 7 or 8wt two-hander is best for larger steelhead.
 

LOC

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I have a 10'6" switch and it feels like what I would fight in the 5/6 range for a single hander.
The more noticeable thing for me was the load is different on the longer rod. It's flexes deeper into the rod butt.
When I first got it I would often go to the bay and practice my casting. One morning I foul hooked a large bat ray and used the experience to see how much pressure the rod could handle with a very low fighing angle. In no way was I going to be able to turn the ray but I could get quite a lot of pressure on it before I had to straighten out the rod and break it off. That gave me the confidence to know that rod could easily handle more then a just a medium sized trout which is what the rod was intended for.
 

huronfly

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I prefer a switch rod to almost any rod for fighting fish. Spey rods can sometimes be more difficult to maintain maximum pressure due to the long lever. I'd say singlehanders are probably the best in terms of taming fish... if they had longer handles. I do prefer the switch mainly because of the longer fighting butt(lower grip) and longer foregrip. Two to three weight sizes is pretty normal, although I have a 7 weight switch that has the lifting power of a single hand 8, but it's closer to a 6 weight switch in grain window so it makes sense.
 

matt_geiman

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I prefer a switch rod to almost any rod for fighting fish. Spey rods can sometimes be more difficult to maintain maximum pressure due to the long lever. I'd say singlehanders are probably the best in terms of taming fish... if they had longer handles. I do prefer the switch mainly because of the longer fighting butt(lower grip) and longer foregrip. Two to three weight sizes is pretty normal, although I have a 7 weight switch that has the lifting power of a single hand 8, but it's closer to a 6 weight switch in grain window so it makes sense.
Thanks! Just for reference what switch rod do you have? I’m looking for something about that range as well.
 

burk48237

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I can only relate with Steelhead. When I first started in the Great Lakes 10' 7 was the single hand stick of choice, I owned and fished several from Hardy, Winston and Loomis. And landed lots of fish with them. In the spring of 06, I literally got tendinitis fighting Steelhead, the run in the Ally was unreal. I had 30+ fish days with 3-5 fish over 10 and landed an 18 one day. A buddy suggested I switch to two handers for both indicator/salmon-steel and Swinging for steel and I tried a Hardy 13' 8 wt Marksman. I couldn't believe the difference in lack of arm fatigue. So you may not wear the fish out any quicker, but you will wear out slower. :)

I since have gone to two handers for all of my Salmon steelhead fishing everywhere from AK to the Great Lakes. As far as fighting a fish I'm more comfortable leaning into a fish with a two hander. I suspect I land them faster but I've never put a timer on it; I started out with noodle-spinning rods and real light tippets so I've learned how to pressure a fish and what the limits of tackle are. I suspect like all are saying the two hander is more forgiving with lighter tippets but you probably get a slight increase in pressure with the same weight single hander.
 

ddb

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I suspect the shorter times you notice are from your increased skills and experience.

The physics of longer/shorter lever (rods) of the same materials and basic design argue there is more inherent power in the shorter lever.

ddb
 
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