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Z-Axis Switch Rods
by George Cook & Ryan S. Petzold, 2011
Application for Switch Rods in the Pacific Northwest stretches both far and wide. Switch Rods allow the Northwest Angler to pursue a multitude of specific fisheries as well as fishing methodologies with one tool. Examples of this abound:
  • Strategic, tight-corridor Spey use
  • Small stream steelheading, particularly in Oregon and Alaska
  • Beach overhead casting on Puget Sound
  • Single hand nymph fishing for both trout and steelhead
  • Small Spey rod for Steelhead, Sea-run Browns, Sea run Dollies, Silvers and Chums
Specific examples of these methods and the applicable versatility could be seen as:
  • Alaska
    Spring Rainbow fishing, spey or overhead, swinging sculpins or leeches. Transcending to fall fishing with indicators for both Rainbows and Dollies as well as fall Steelhead fishing in South Central Alaska.
  • Washington
    Lots going on in the Evergreen State-overhead casting on the beaches of Puget Sound for resident Coho, Sea-run Cutthroat, migratory Coho and Chum salmon; nymph fishing trout on the Yakima transcending to nymph fishing for Steelhead on the Klickitat or Methow; strategic single-hand spey-use for summer-runs on the Stilly; tight corridor Spey-use on the Sol Duc in February; bombshot cast with AFS lines on Eastern Washington lakes.
  • Oregon
    Nymph fishing for Steelhead on Saturday on the Rogue transcending to single hand Spey or tradition spey casting swinging flies on the Umpqua for Steelhead on Sunday. Also Coastal Oregon Winter Steelhead.
All in all the “Switch Rod” concept allows for a single tool for multiple tasks. Versatility is at a premium particularly for the angler looking for the dual mode function of both overhead as well as a spey type tool. Spey rod enthusiasts should view these rods as a small spey rod or strategic spey approach. Single hand casters can view these as transition tools bridging single hand casting to spey techniques.
5110-4 Z Axis
The smallest of the fab-four. The 5110-4 will mainly see duty as a trout switch rod, with both nymphs and streamers, along with the occasional desire to fish hoppers on the “other bank”. Sea-Run Cutthroat and Sea-Run Dollies, both beach and stream round out the menu. Oh yeah, not to be overlooked; the super-mega lake fishing tool with an AFS 5/6 coupled with various 10’ Spey Versileaders.
  • Reel Match: Sage 4280. Sage 6080, Sage 4580, Redington Rise 9/10
  • Sink Tip: 6’ & 10’ Spey VersiLeaders, all type (AFS/SH Scandi). 15’ 95 & 109 grain sinktips in type 3 & type 6 (Skagit lines)
  • M.O.W. Match: Light/T-8
  • Line Matches:
    • General Spey Use: Steelhead Scandi 310
    • Tight Quarters Spey Use: Rio Skagit Short 275
    • Beach/Lake: Rio Outbound WF-6-F, AFS 5/6, Steelhead Scandi 310
    • Focused Nymph Fishing: Rio Switch 4/5
6110-4 Z Axis
The all around Northwest performer. From the beaches of Puget Sound coupled with summer run pursuits from the Rogue to the Stilly. Long over head casts transcend to spey style techniques covering both nymph and steamer fishing. The versatility of this rod will earmark this as a Northwest favorite.
  • Reel Match: Sage 4580, Sage 6080, Tibor Everglades, Sage 4280, Redington Rise 9/10
  • Sink Tip: 6’ & 10’ Spey Versileaders, all types (AFS/Steelhead Scandi). 15’ 95 & 109 grain sinktips in type 3, 6 & type 8. T-8 in 10’ & 12.5’
  • M.O.W. Match: Light/T-8
  • Line Matches:
    • General Spey Use: Steelhead Scandi 350, AFS 5/6, Windcutter 5/6
    • Tight Quarters Spey Use: Skagit Short 375
    • Beach/Lake: Rio Outbound WF-7, AFS 5/6
    • Focused Nymph Fishing: Rio Switch 5/6
7110-4 Z Axis
For those in pursuit of Steelhead, outsized Sea Run Dollies, big Alaskan Rainbows along with TDF Browns this rod is a true trout-anadromous cross over, “the .30-06 of switch”.
  • Reel Match: Sage 4580, Tibor Everglades, Sage 6080, Sage 4280, Sage 3880
  • Sink Tip: 15’ in 109 grain type 3, 6 & 8 densities. T-8 & T-11 in 10’ & 12.5’
  • M.O.W. Match: Light/T-8, Medium/T-11
  • Line Matches:
    • General Spey Use: Skagit Flight 375, Steelhead Scandi 385, AFS 6/7
    • Tight Quarters Spey Use: Rio Skagit Short 425
    • Beach/Lake: Steelhead Scandi 385, Rio Outbound WF-8
    • Focused Nymph Fishing: Rio Switch 6/7
8110-4 Z Axis
A true anadromous performer, the 8110-4 is ideal for Alaskan rainbows, Steelhead and Silvers alike. Couple this as a true “double threat” switch rod covering such diverse environments as Oregon’s Rogue one day and the Umpqua the next. The TDF crowd has its Sea Run Brown rod, along with a wide range summer run and Alaska cross over stick.
  • Reel Match: Sage 4580, Sage 6080, Tibor Everglades, Sage 4280
  • Sink Tip: 15’ in 129 grain type 3, 6 & 8 densities. T-8 & T-11 in 10’, 12.5’
  • M.O.W. Match: Light/T-8, Medium/T-14
  • Line Matches:
    • General Spey Use: Skagit Flight 425 (can combine with Light M.O.W. Floating Tip for nymph fishing), Steelhead Scandi 435
    • Tight Quarters Spey Use: Skagit Short 475
    • Beach/Lake: Outbound WF-9, Steelhead Scandi 435
    • Focused Nymph Fishing: Rio Switch 7/8
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