Saturday, April 21, 2012

Some helpful tips in choosing a switch rod reel and spey rod reel

I have noticed some two handed fisherman are looking for information on switch rod reels.  I’m going to offer some advice.  I’m by no way a pro but I think I can ease the learning curve a little!  Let’s talk about rods first I have two TFO Deer Creek Switch rods.  The 5wt switch rod that’s rated for 250-450 grains I have put a Mid Arbor 5 on it.  The lines I have on the reel are the SA Steelhead Master Series steelhead taper 7wt, and the other line is a Skagit Short 350 grain by RIO.  For the 5wt I have about 100 yards of backing on the reel.   This rod is used for warm water fishing.   I do not worry about exact balance with my outfits.  I throw tips ranging from T-8 3’ to T-14 4’ on this setup.  I have never had a capacity issue with this reel for this set up.  The main things to consider for sizing a reel for your rod for me at least are as follows:

a.       Size of lines weight forward, and Skagit.

b.      The amount of backing you desire on your reel.

c.       The fish you will be chasing with this setup.

d.      The length of tips you will be throwing.

These are the main factors for me when choosing a reel for a rod. 

My second switch rod is a custom rod by feathercast rods by owner Brain Althouse.  He can be reached at   The rod is made from a Rainshadow blank IF1086-4.  The rod is a 6wt by design.   The lines I throw are the SA Steelhead Master Series steelhead taper 9 wt, and the other line is a Skagit Short 375 grain by RIO.   The lines are on a Galvan T-10.  The backing amount I have on these reels are in the neighborhood of 200 yards.  This is a light steelhead rod for Great Lakes Steelhead.  The tips I throw on this rod range in sizes T-11 10’ to T-14 6’. 

The third set up is on a T8wt FO Deer Creek switch rod. This rod is my work horse for fishing. The
lines I throw are the SA Steelhead Master Series steelhead taper 10 wt, and the other line is a SkagitShort 425 grain by RIO.  This rod is my go to rod for all around steelhead fishing in the Great Lakes for most rivers.  If your river depth is under 20 feet and the current is manageable with a 8-10 foot section of T-14 then this is your rod and reel set up.  The reel I use for this set up is a Orvis Large Arbor Battenkill V.   This reel once again has about 225 yards of backing on them. 

Finally my fourth setup is a Reddington CPx 9wt spey rod.  This is my deep stick.  This rod could throw a wet groundhog if need be.  This rod gets loaded with a Skagit Flight SHD 675 grain by RIO.  I throw tips ranging from T-14 15’ to T-17 14’.  The reel I used is a Galvan T-12.  This reel holds about 200 yards of backing.    

In this entry I hope you have found something helpful.

Be well,
Tom G


Pedro Arvy said...

Just wondering what you feel the limits of the 5 weight are. Is this for fish under say 3 pounds? I am considering a switch rod and am not sure what to get. I mainly fish lakes for trout up to 3 pounds.

Ralph Gribble said...

There are several variables to consider what the limits are for any rod.

The limits of my 5wt switch are those from smallmouth in medium to small rivers and creeks for swinging and stripping streamers. I'm either using my WF line or my scandi lines. I these fish normally I don't have to worry about any lifting power, but I do concern myself with side pressure power. I have carp fished with this rod and I see it's pound/wt ratio about at 4-5 lbs. I have fished for white bass with it what a hoot, and lake run smallmouth up to 3-4 pounds. The carp I have landed have all been in the 3-6 pound range. So back to the point of your question I feel 4-5 lbs as an over all rule of thumb will be fine. If we are talking hybrid stripped bass all bets are off and 5 lbs whiper would really put that rod In a bad way! I hope I answered your question. If you like to email me at we can talk about any other questions you may have.

Be well,