I can’t help but think that switch rods were created for Steelhead fly fishing on the Pere Marquette River; they pair perfectly with one another.
On smaller Steelhead rivers, these rods allow you to cover a lot of water and give you better line control with very little effort.
Over the last few years, I’ve noticed the interest in fiberglass and bamboo rods increase significantly. It’s good to see the sport returning to it’s roots. Clients started asking me about the new ECHO Glass rods early in the season, so I decided it would be fun to ask for a sample to cast and hopefully fight a fish (or more) on. I’ve tossed plenty of fiberglass and bamboo rods over the years, but never liked how heavy they felt in hand. When it arrived, I put the rod in my boat for myself and my clients to use.
ECHO sent the 11′ 7wt switch, and I love it. It may sound funny, but it’s actually become my “go-to” rod for everything. I was surprised with how light it was in hand…much lighter than I’d anticipated. Like all ECHO rods, it’s tough, strong, and durable. It’s got great MOJO too!
It’s been a rough Fall for Steelhead on all Northern Michigan rivers. Grabs and personal time to fish for fun have been less frequent. When I have been able to get out and fish, the rod came through for me. Fighting fish on these rods is so fun, and every fish feels huge. I played fish like I would on my graphite rods. There’s plenty of backbone to handle the big boys.
What I like best about the rod is how easy it cast. These are fantastic sticks for beginners to learn on. Softer actions keep the casting stroke slow, and help anglers feel the line load the rod. I recommend using an Airflo Skagit Switch 420 grain head on the FG-7110, and was able to easily turn over 8-10′ of T-14 sink tip material. The rod tracks very well and lays out the fly nicely. The soft tip smooths “snappy” power application, allowing anglers to deliver precise casts under/around trees and other obstacles. This is exactly what you’re looking for when fishing the Pere Marquette. The fly tends to land much softer on the water, which equals less spooked fish. Often, a faster/stiffer rod (especially with beginners) makes it much more difficult to deliver the fly without that “Smack” as the fly hits the water. This river can run low and clear much of the season, and has plenty of fishing pressure. The “Smack” can jeopardize success, and push Steelhead deep into the river’s notorious log jams.
If you’re an experienced spey caster looking for something “different” and “fun” to add to your quiver, you’ll love this rod. If you’re anything like me, you won’t be able to leave the house without it. Lately, I don’t think I have rigged up any other rod when I hit the river. You’re going to have a blast casting these, and every grab is intense. The price is nice too…$279.99 for the Switch, and $299.99 for the Spey. You can’t go wrong.
Stay tuned for another update. Good luck, and tight lines!
For the past 17 years, ECHO Pro Team Member Jeff Hubbard has worked as a full time Fly Fishing Guide in Northern Michigan. He loves swinging flies for Steelhead…he’s good at it, too. Interested in booking a trip? Check out www.outfittersnorth.com
Shots: Rich Felber / Jeff Hubbard