Jul 15, 2010

Lines for 5 Weight Switch Rods

Earlier in the season, I was determined to find the right out-of -the box fly lines to be used with switch rods.  Most of my testing consisted of using the Rio Skagit Short and Airflo Scandi Compacts.  While I found that lines could be adequately matched, there arose a problem when dropping down to 5 and 6 wt. rods that would be used for trout fishing.  With trout fishing, there needs to be a diverse line that can handle light, dry fly presentations, but also have the backbone to turn over big streamers and double-nymph set-ups.  In this case, the skagit heads are too bulky for adequate dry fly fishing and the Scandi heads were too light to turn over anything of size and weight.  Additionally, these heads do not provide enough length on the back end, for drift control and stack mending.  We need a line that roll casts easily and one that can even be cast overhead in certain situations.  If greater distance is in order, 2 handing the rod, spey style, is also a requirement.  For rods that are 6 wt and above, there is a nice, diverse line available called the Speydicator, from Airflo.  This line has a nice long, back taper for easy mending, but also provides enough weight in the front to turn over large streamers and nymph outfits.  For those of us that do not dedicate their Steelheading style strictly to swinging flies, this is the line for you.  It also makes a fine line for anlgers using a 6 wt, 11ft Switch rod for trout angling.  However, Airflo does not yet, make one for a 5 wt rod...

Enter the Rio Outbound.  This is a 37 ft head that comes in grain weight.  I took out an 11 ft 5 wt switch from St. Croix.  This is actually a really great rod for the money.  I found it to have a medium flex with a very forgiving feel.  What I found worked best on this rod, was the 330 grain outbound.  This line is used typically as a shooting line for an 8 wt singlehand rod.  What I found was that this line was weighted properly for an 11 ft 5 wt switch.  Roll casting is a dream. Turning over long leaders with multiple pieces of weight and flies is no problem.  Big streamers?  No Problem.  Overhead casting felt a hair cumbersome, but overall, it is a far better match than a Skagit or Scandi Head.  Remember, it is a shooting line after all!  There is a certain color change in the line, where the head turns into the running line.  As far as Spey casting goes, what I found was that keeping this line junction down close to the reel (somewhere before the first ferral) it actually two-handed pretty well.  The loops are slightly larger than a Spey line, but gaining the distance is not too difficult.

Until a 5 wt Speydicator hits the shelves, this would be my best, out-of-the-box line trout line for a 5 wt switch.  Pop in the shop is you have any additional questions about the growing advantages of these rods.

Have a good time,

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