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Nymphing Rods vs. Switch/Spey Rods

Joined:
2006/9/9 10:36
From Philadelphia, PA
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When I think of using a special nymphing rod (i.e. Sage's 99 series), I think of throwing big heavy nymph rigs on big water. Roll casts or quick traditional casts where presentation isn't paramount.

Given those goals -- wouldn't a switch or spey rod be more effective? I'd imagine a switch or spey rod could easily out distance a nymphing rod via a snap T cast and the ease with which one of those rods roll cast would seemingly outdo a nmyphing rod as well.

The only place where I can see a nymphing rod being more desirable is if you plan for it to double as a general rod as well. However, that's specifically NOT what nymphing rods are intended for. They're supposed to be for hucking heavy nymph rigs or big streamers.

So why not just get an 10-11' switch or a 12-13' spey and be done with it?

Posted on: 2011/4/17 20:39


Re: Nymphing Rods vs. Switch/Spey Rods

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2006/9/9 11:22
From New Castle, PA
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I think you are mistaken in assuming the new wave of long nymph rods are designed for long distance fishing. The extra length is for better control of the line and flies at normal fishing distances, not chucking your rig out across big water. See czech nymphing for example. The 10ft or longer rod is ubiquitous for this, but it is still a shortline technique.

Also, I do not know where you get the idea that long nymph rods are not suitable for other techniques. A 5wt or even 6wt 10' rod would not do much to hinder my ability to fish for trout using other techniques. What it would do is give me a little bit of an edge if I thought nyphing would be my go-to strategy for the day. This could offset any negative attributes while using other techniques.

Kev

Posted on: 2011/4/17 21:43


Re: Nymphing Rods vs. Switch/Spey Rods

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Kev,

I didn't mean to imply that it was only on big water. That said, they are intended for heavy rigs and, though not exclusively, with longer distances in mind.

I'm not talking about specific czech nymphing rods (which I've seen manufacturers actually say aren't intended for use in traditional casting) or normal trout rods in 10 or 11' lengths. I'm talking about the new generation (last few years) of nymphing rods like the aforementioned Sage 99 series and Loomis' Max GLX nymphing rod.

I went looking to see if their language echoed my understanding, here's what Loomis has to say about the Max GLX:

"These rods are great for long-line nymphing with split shot and a strike indicator. When the wind makes it all but impossible to cast a fly, this is the rod you want in your hands. It keeps you in control no matter how tough the conditions. Anglers, as well as their guides, will really appreciate the precise casts these rods will make when success is measured by your ability to hit a small pocket, only inches from the bank with one false cast from 50 or 60 feet, then pick up the entire line and punch it back out there to the next spot. It's a method used on a lot of big trout water. These rods are designed for aggressive casting, but because of the light tip, still have a nice feel for casting in close. They are not all-purpose rods, but then if you're one of those flyfishers looking for more horsepower, you've found them!"

That's not shortlining they're talking about.

Sage has similar things to say about the 99, as does Winston about it's MX series, etc etc.

Posted on: 2011/4/17 22:02
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Re: Nymphing Rods vs. Switch/Spey Rods

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2006/9/9 11:22
From New Castle, PA
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... and then there are 10ft rods in their other model lines. (including a czech specific model)

While there are some long 10ft rods supposedly designed from the ground up as distance or czech nymph rods. Look at the offerings in the other model lines. Loomis offers 10ft rods in the Streamdance and Eastfork line ups as well. Niether of the later are touted as extreme distance, czech nymph, or any other type of sepcialty rod. Yet there they are, 10ft version of those rods.

Sage and the others are doing the same thing. Offering 10ft rods in several model lines. They may have one line that is touted as a heavy nymph rod, or distance nymph/streamer rod, but they are all offering longer rods across their line ups.

And about that Sage 99...

"A day of multi-bug rigs, wind-resistant indicators and the requisite high-stick rod position can be enough to make your arm fall off before lunch. But the fact is, there simply isn’t a more reliable, effective technique for finding big fish. Which is why we created the 99.

Built with the same advanced G5 Technology as our Z-Axis rods, the most obvious nymph-specific feature of the 99 is its namesake 9-foot, 9-inch length, which makes short work of long, drag-free drifts. But that’s just the beginning. The 99’s unique taper loads lower on the blank to generate open loops, helping avoid tangles with multiple fly and indicator rigs. At the same time, a stiffer tip section handles heavy payload delivery but retains the sensitivity needed to detect subtle takes.

The 99s also feature slightly oversized guides specifically placed to make stack mending, shake-out and line feeding easier. Put it all together and you have a light, perfectly balanced rod that casts like a 9-footer but fishes like a 10. High-Stickers rejoice! "

Sound like a short line, nyphing rod to me!


Kev

Posted on: 2011/4/17 23:03


Re: Nymphing Rods vs. Switch/Spey Rods

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2006/9/9 10:36
From Philadelphia, PA
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Kev,

We're getting off topic. No one is arguing that there are 10ft rods out there built specifically for shortlining, that's not the point.

I was specifically trying to ask about the nymph rods that are built for heavy rigs and long casts. My question was, given THOSE rods -- wouldn't a switch or spey potentially be a better option?

Oh, and just for the hell of it .. "long drag free drifts" doesn't sound like shortlining or czech nymphing to me, but then again I'm not a czech nympher. Don't both tactics utilize *short* drag free drifts? :)

Posted on: 2011/4/18 0:39
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Re: Nymphing Rods vs. Switch/Spey Rods

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2009/5/18 17:57
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I use long rods, 10 footers and rarely cast further than 20ft. My 10' 4wt can handle a very heavy rig very sufficently. I do not think in any way what so ever that a switch or spey rod would be better. They're not made for the same type of fishing. Most switch and spey fishing is done with 50'+ line out. Most nymph fishing with the "specialized nymph" rods is going to be done at 20' or closer. I'm sure the spey rods may help one cast heavy weighted nymphs farther on bigger water, but chances are you are going to be running your fly line over a bunch more fish that are a heck of a lot closer to you. Spey rods are designed for long casts, swinging flies, and to ultimately make fishing in wooded, brushy areas easier (not as much room need for a back cast). Switch/spey rods are not the same or better, for nymphing, than a regular 10' or 11' rod. I've tried both version and prefer the regular rods for nymphing. If I have to I can cast long distances with lots of weight with my 10' 4wt, but rarely is it ever necessary.

Posted on: 2011/4/18 9:00
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Re: Nymphing Rods vs. Switch/Spey Rods

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2009/5/18 17:57
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Also, longer isn't always better. There comes a point when length becomes compromised due to weight. I couldn't imagine trying to hold a 12' or 13' switch rod up in the air all day to nymph. I would have to start going to the gym to be able to nymph all day with one of those rods.

Posted on: 2011/4/18 9:03
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Re: Nymphing Rods vs. Switch/Spey Rods

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... sounds like you are looking for a centerpin

Posted on: 2011/4/18 9:10


Re: Nymphing Rods vs. Switch/Spey Rods

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2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
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The description of the 99 series from Sage's website:

Quote:
A day of multi-bug rigs, wind-resistant indicators and the requisite high-stick rod position can be enough to make your arm fall off before lunch. But the fact is, there simply isn’t a more reliable, effective technique for finding big fish. Which is why we created the 99................Put it all together and you have a light, perfectly balanced rod that casts like a 9-footer but fishes like a 10. High-Stickers rejoice!


Think its pretty clear the rod is geared towards high stick nymphing. I think what you are saying about "long drag free drifts" is a relative thing, meaning relative to the same technique on a shorter rod. The long length's main advantage has little to do with the cast and everything to do with the drift. It allows you to keep the rod tip higher, i.e. taking more line off the water. It also allows you to reach over currents and such, all of which produces a longer drag free part of the drift.

This is not a rod designed for high line speeds and super long hero casts. Rather, its designed to "flip" cast well, i.e. just flipping the rig upstream, with the sensitivity to detect strikes by feel, the length to maintain the drift longer, and light weight to keep you from tiring your arm out holding it up all day long.

Posted on: 2011/4/18 9:23


Re: Nymphing Rods vs. Switch/Spey Rods

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From Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 742
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Perhaps agreed on the 99 series. The Loomis Max GLX is another story and I've seen other rods with similar design goals.

Again, I'm not at all unclear on what a traditional nymphing rod is for, and I agree a switch wouldn't be better in those situations. But there are rods being made (i.e. the Max GLX) specifically designed for big water and longer casts. As shown above, designed for

"long line nymphing ... 50 or 60 feet ... big trout water"

It is in these cases where I'm posing the question of whether a switch/spey could be better. Or, put another way -- just as good as the long-line nymphing rod while providing a host of other, less limited, uses as well.

Posted on: 2011/4/18 10:01
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Re: Nymphing Rods vs. Switch/Spey Rods

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From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
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Yeah, thats a tweener.

There's all sorts of rods. Traditional fast action one handed trout nymphing rods, spey rods, and the half-way moderate termed a switch rod. And even the centerpins!

Can a spey rod effectively long-line nymph for trout? You bet, thats kinda what it was designed for, and those Scots knew what they were doing. But it'd be a horrible high-sticker, to long (at a min of 12 feet, usually), heavy and cumbersome for any work in close.

Even on big water, you often nymph in close, but its nice to be able to reach out too. The advantage of a rod like the GLX you show is that it's good for long distances and capable in close as well. But yeah, if you're ONLY going to fish at 50+ feet, you may be better going with the spey or at least a switch rod.

Posted on: 2011/4/18 10:34


Re: Nymphing Rods vs. Switch/Spey Rods

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Most switch rods are sized for heavier lines and longer distance casting with a spey cast, not a regular cast. Popular for throwing big salmon and steelhead flies on large rivers with no room for a backcast, but can toss big streamers for trout or smallies or even throw a long line in the salt. They might be a touch heavy for high stick nymphing in all its glorious forms.

I like longer 10' or so rods for all sorts of applications. Sometimes I think much of this "Czech nymph rod" hype is so you buy another specialized rod you don't need. Don't get me wrong, I think the European competition world has introduced a lot of refinements all of us would benefit from. But like a lot of fly fishing it is more about the knowledge and skills than the tackle. I don't think I need separate 10' rods for European nymphing, highsticking dries in pocket water, or a downstream drifting dries on big water where keeping line off the water and being able to strike from a greater distance helps.

Posted on: 2011/4/18 10:46


Re: Nymphing Rods vs. Switch/Spey Rods
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Quote:

JeffK wrote:
Most switch rods are sized for heavier lines and longer distance casting with a spey cast, not a regular cast. Popular for throwing big salmon and steelhead flies on large rivers with no room for a backcast, but can toss big streamers for trout or smallies or even throw a long line in the salt. They might be a touch heavy for high stick nymphing in all its glorious forms.

I like longer 10' or so rods for all sorts of applications. Sometimes I think much of this "Czech nymph rod" hype is so you buy another specialized rod you don't need. Don't get me wrong, I think the European competition world has introduced a lot of refinements all of us would benefit from. But like a lot of fly fishing it is more about the knowledge and skills than the tackle. I don't think I need separate 10' rods for European nymphing, highsticking dries in pocket water, or a downstream drifting dries on big water where keeping line off the water and being able to strike from a greater distance helps.


Agreed. If you are a Euro nympher and do it most of the time to the exclusion of all other methods; maybe carrying a specialized rod is for you. If you like to change it up during the day and fish many different ways depending on the situation (or your mood) than a 9' 4wt or 5wt rod that handles many things well is probably your best choice.

Posted on: 2011/4/18 11:14


Re: Nymphing Rods vs. Switch/Spey Rods

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I am not a Bosnia-Herzegovinan nymphing specialist, but I have owned a specialized rod for such activity. I also own a 10' 5wt rod designed for chuckin-and/or-duckin' Pacific steelheading and a bastardized 11'3" 6wt "switch" rod.

I plan on owning, and fishing, the 10' 5wt for a long time. Its a TFO Teeny signature series, and it is awesome. You could, if so motivated, fish it like the comp weenies with the whole straight line thing, and I've been known to do so. However, because of its design it also excels at lobbing heavy flies, sinking lines, sinking lines AND heavy flies, whole casts of wets and even dry flies when required. It is truly a jack of all trades. It is also a master of none. Its too heavy to hold at arm's length hours at end. Too long to often do "proper" casting. Too long to offer much pinpoint precision and a dozen other shortcomings.

The 10' 3wt Greys Streamflex I owned, on the other hand, was bought to fuel my love of long rods for regular fishins, and my love of too-light-for-practical use. I used this will full intention of all sorts of fishins, to augment the aforementioned TFO. It was terrible. It was not designed to do much of anything precision, unless its lob a hunk of lead in the form of a "Czech Nymph" 10' upstream so you could dredge pockets. It was a beast to cast normally, lacked all form of target precision, and generally annoyed the hell out of me. After a few rounds of use, it went onto someone else's collection. From what I'm lead to understand, he loves it in its intended tight light nymphing duties.

The switch rod I bought because frankly it looked cool. However, the mystique has failed to catch me. I imagine if I were properly instructed in its use, and had a line that matched, it might be better, however, as it exists its just long, heavy, and poorly actioned. When my 10' TFO busted on me, I attempted to spend an afternoon fishing it like a massive Europeen nymph rod, which was hopelessly stupid. It is not made to do that, period.

So, do I have a point? Sure do! Speciality rods are just that, special. They work well for their purpose, but once you try to repurpose them you've got a mess on your hands. Yes, you can cross purpose and adjust, but you'll be compromised, crippled and likely unhappy. I'm sure there are many rods that can perform jack-of-all-trades duty not unlike my TFO, but there's going to be compromises. The default choice of 8'6" or 9' 4wt or 5wt isn't just because they fall into the middle of a traditional 1-10 scale, but because they were made to fall into the middle of that scale by purpose.

You can cast a switch rod with one hand, but you're going to give yourself tennis elbow doing it. Unless you've got a major desire to whip out double handed spey casts, or two handed overhead, don't bother and just buy a quality single handed rod. Same if you aspire to be a tight line streamside Hoover (Oreck, Dyson, et al)... Then you buy a rod built to do just that, and try not to think about what happens if the water erupts around your dredgin' stick in a fury of mayflies and opportunist risers.

Posted on: 2011/4/18 12:29
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