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Discussion Starter #1
I recently thought about converting a 10' single handed rod I have lying around into a switch rod. I'm not sure of the best way to go about this. I would need to add a lower handle and extend the top cork about 2 inches or so. I'm guessing it would be simpler to put a new cork handle on top. My main question, is this something I should try to do myself or should I contact a professional rod builder to give me a hand? Any thoughts or comments?
 

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Not really sure if this is a practical idea at all. What weight is your rod? A switch rod is generally a longer rod, designed to handle the shooting head systems prevalent. The taper and action of a switch rod is built into the blank, and not merely achieved by adding a fore and rear grip to an existing single hander. I just measured the grips on my 6 wt Amundson switch to the grip in my 5 wt Amundson. The fore grip (6 wt) is 10" and extends 7 1/2" past the grip on my 5 wt when measured from the butt of both rods. The lower handle is not an add on, the blank extends all the way through to the end of the grip. Both of these factors are intebral to the use of a 2 handed rod. You can't just "add a lower handle" to the end of your existing rod; there is too much torque put on the lower handle =when casting properly. And likewise, you need your hands further apart for a proper cast, than you will be able to get by just adding.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The rod is an 8 wt that is actually 10' 6" (I remeasured today). I understand that adding a handle on the bottom of the rod wouldn't really be a good idea for the reason you stated professori, I'm gessing the alternative would be to remove the existing cork and real seat and shift everything up making room for the but at the bottom. Is this semi-easily done? The reason I want to alter the rod is that it is just a pain to cast single handed, the rod really beats you up after a little while. I was thinking it would be able to handle some light spey casting but I mainly plan to two hand over head cast with it. This would take away a bit of the fatigue of casting all day. Thanks for your advice!
 

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I too have considered this "conversion" with an 9'6" 8wt I have, but abandonned that idea since I've gotten a lot better with doing single handed spey casts. I usually use a 9wt regular floating line with it. It can be a lot of work to cast overhead all day long, especially with heavy tips, but if you can get a few of the basic spey casts down, then your work becomes a lot easier.

I dont know your casting style or ability, but trust me, you should be able to work less and cast further if you are able to fine tune your casting style to be more efficient - ie. get good at a few spey casts.

I even went so far as to learn how to cast what was a 8-9-10 windcutter now cut back to just ~30ft of the #10 wt section to make a sort of skagit line with that rod. I'd kill myself casting that line overhead for more than an hour, but I can do my double-spey all day as long as I remember to go slow and dont try to over power things. I found that I could cast that line as well as that 9wt floater nicely with my 5/6wt 10ft singlehander as well. It's amazing what you can do with the spey style once you get a good feel for your rod and the rhythm of the cast.

The biggest thing that helped me be really lazy with my casting is to learn how to single and double haul your spey casts. I suck ass at my two-handed rod, but I think I'm pretty proficient with my single handers using the same repetoir of casts. I mostly use the double spey, circle spey and a whole lot of perry poking on botched anchors. Love the "Poke"! After the poke I haul into my D/V loop and then haul again on the forward cast. I find I'm a lot more consistent with the haul than without it, plus I can get a lot more power out of a really small loop when fishing under and around overhanging trees.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the advice btree, but I feel I may have understated how heavy and bulky this 10 and a half foot rod is. I'm not an amazing caster yet, but I would say I'm far from a novice. I can do several one handed spey type casts (although I haven't tried them with the rod in question) and they are a great method of punching line out there with a little less effort. I still feel that given a day casting the rod I would get ridiculously fatigued. I own an 8wt 11' Z-axiz switch and I am able to cast this rod single handed all day with a bit of strain but its manageable. I casted the rod in question for 20 minutes in a park and found I preferred casting it overhead with two hands (one as high up the foregrip as possible and the other just gripping the butt with 2 fingers). It took far less effort for the same result. I don't feel the adding a longer fighting butt will be a big mistake as I would still be able to remove it if I felt like it. The main user of this rod will be my girlfriend who is not as strong as I am hence why I am trying to make the rod easier to cast. I think adding and longer lower grip should help with this. I wish I could let you cast the rod for yourselves, my plight may become more apparent then.
 

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Sounds like it's a heavy stick you got there - from the sounds of it, I'm glad I dont have to cast it!

Well, you might as well go on with the experiment - let us know how it goes...

Is it a 2 piece rod or a 3 or 4 piece?

Another option is to do something similar to the TFO conversion kit for a 4 piece rod - just build another section with at switch rod handle.
If it's a 2 piece rod, then if it were me, I'd look into finding a ~4-6 inch fighting butt and slapping that on the end. I just hope that doesn't result in breakage later on down the line...

good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Its a four piece internal ferrule rod, might be tough to find a second fourth piece. I took it into the fly shop today and we worked out a method for adding a 5" butt to the bottom. I think this should give me what I'm after (fingers crossed). Once the parts I need arrive and I have put it all together I'll let you know how it all turned out.
 

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I have a factory T&T 9wt. that behaves more like a 6wt. Kinda noodly. It comes with an 8" extension that plugs into the butt. Using it two handed I can definitely cast a lot more line more easily. So I guess its what ever works for you, but if I were you I would investigate before altering a rod as you may just set yourself up for an equipment failure
 

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Discussion Starter #9
My rod is currently in the shop with the alteration well under way. I think it should turn out ok, but I'll wait and see. My decision was made simple when I thought to myself, would I use the rod as is. The answer came up as no, so I went ahead with it. If it doesn't work out then I'm not in too bad shape as I wouldn't use it before anyways. Thanks for your input though.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Just got word that my rod should be up and running by the end of the week. I'll let you know how it turned out when I get it back and have given it a good test run.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Finally got my rod back from the shop and I have to say the modifications were a complete success. I did some research into the origin of switch rods and found it it be quite interesting. From what I was told they came to be because of a group of fly fishers in washington. They started out using 9' rods and then tried 9'6", 10' and 10'6". I don't know if you've cast a 10'6" single hander before, but its rough on the arm and shoulder. They were using these rods for steelhead and salmon in rivers and the presentations usually ended with the fly line straight down stream. To make another cast they would have to do several false casts to change direction and let out line before they could let their line down in the water. With a 9 foot rod this isn't too bad, but again try this with a longer rod and all those false casts can really be a chore. So what was the solution? Well what if you extend the fighting butt to a full handle (like that on a spey rod). This would allow the use of a spey cast (snake roll, snap T or C) to change the direction of the fly line in one motion and with one single handed back cast the fly line can be shot out back into the river. Thus the advent of the switch rod. Since then the applications for this style of rod have grown but that I believe is where the idea for them first came from.

I believe the rod I altered was one of the rods that led up to the development of the switch. The casting methodology I described above is what I was planning on using it for and it has fit the bill beautifully. My line is in the water more often as I don't have a need for several back casts and I can keep my regular single handed lines.

I could be wrong in my story above about how switch rods came to be, but it makes sense to me.
 

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TieFlier, Just saw this one so I'd like to reply as it's sort of similar to the discussion on switch rods on the other thread. I think you have done a wise thing with the rod and certainly it wouldn't hurt the rod one bit to add a longer fighting butt. I would have thought that it would have a short fighting butt at least, being an 8 weight. And what the hell, if it didn't work you could just take the new butt off and use it like it was never there.

Nice to hear that people are coming up with new innovations and ideas for their existing rods to make them more versatile. I could imagine using the rod singlehanded and putting the new extension on later in the day if you get a tired aching wrist. Good thinking!
 

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Just figured I'd revive this thread - any pictures of the rod there Tieflier? I figured you'd have caught a fish with it by now ;)

I'm guessing that you sent your rod away to a builder who stripped off everything from the blank and basically started from scratch... I imagine that even the placement of the guides had to be altered to accept the new design.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I don't have a picture of the rod handy, but I'll see if I can take a few and post them soon.

As for the rod construction, adding a longer fighting butt is all that was done. I asked about stripping everything and getting a new cork handle and whole lower handle but I was talked out of it. The rod is custom made by Gold and West and by only adding the fighting but I didn't affect the original construction of the rod.
 

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Do you find that the upper grip is long enough to allow enough space between your hands to get a good spey cast?

That is always the concern with these sort of modifications. I've been told that I'd have to add 2-3" to my upper grip if I wanted to turn any of my single handers into switch rods. I'm not sure that would be so much of an issue with me since I tend to take a narrow-ish grip most of the time.

I look forward to seeing the rod! Especially the grips.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
If I hold low on the lower grip then I have a good spread between my hands. Its definitely a fun rod to play with as it is a slower action, you really can feel it load and unload. I tend to loose that feel on some of my faster rods.
 
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