Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Saltwater Fly Fishing with Double Hand Rod



This is my third consecutive year flats fishing in Maldives with Switch rod using Spey techniques. I must say I have really grown fond of Spey style fly fishing in the salt and probably would not be going back to using single hand rod any time soon ;-)


Switch rod is really a wonderful invention and development in fly fishing. Paired with modern short head Spey line, it is just an amazingly efficient fishing and fly delivery tool. Pre Switch rod and mini Spey era, I would be ripping my arm off, hauling and battling wind and crazy projectile like  Clousers, trying to reach the distance. Doing that whole day for eight consecutive days can really put serious strain on arms and shoulders. With Switch rod, this problem melts away.

From the perspective of battling fish, Switch rod truly excel in my opinion. The 11+ feet length of the rod makes fighting smallish fish sensational as it amplifies every tug and struggle, giving the fish leverage advantage. On the other hand when hooked onto a monster, the butt strength of the Switch rod kicks in, complemented with high fore grip, provide superb efficiency for the battle.

During this trip, I used my trusty Sage ONE 4wt switch throughout. This rod never fail to amaze me with its versatility. Paired with Lamson Speedster 3.5 and the Wulff Ambush clear head 350 grain, It handled everything from spunky Spangled Emperor to Giant Trevally with aplomb.

There was a single day that I did switched over to my brand new Sage ONE Switch 6 wt but that rod broke while casting... big disappointment. Paired with 400 grain SA Skagit Extreme, it was performing really well earlier in the day but somehow folded near the butt in the afternoon while casting. Fortunately I could continue fishing with my buddy's Sage ONE Switch 5wt and that is another  jewel of a rod. Paired with Wulff Ambush 400 grain, the setup zips through wind with ease and was a real pleasure to cast.

This year was a great year in Maldives for clocking up mileage for my Sage ONE 4116 and Lamson Speedster 3.5. Lots of good size Trevally were caught this year including a 22 lb GT. The 4wt setup performed flawlessly each time and this gave me great confidence and satisfaction.

I have not given my Lamson Speedster reel much of a review but this reel deserves more than a passing  mention. It is extremely light for a super large arbor reel and balance nicely with the ONE 4wt. The sealed drag is easy to maintain and is consistently smooth with no start-up whatsoever. This year, the Speedster's drag was put to a real test when it was squeezed tight to stop the charge of a 22lb GT. I am  really impressed that it managed to put the brakes on the GT without palming. I am sure the smoothness of the drag also plays a crucial role in preventing the break off of the 16lb leader. Kudos to Lamson!

Note: You can access all my blog post on saltwater spey by clicking on the "Saltwater Spey" link located on the right hand side under Labels.



15 comments:

  1. Found your blog today and will follow from now on. Excellent. I'm just learning to fish with a 5/6 switch rod for trout..

    www.smallstreambrowntroutfishing.com

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    1. Thanks Richard. Glad you like my blog. Hope you find it helpful and informative.

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  2. Can I ask if you do any overhead casting with the Wulff Ambush line?

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    1. I could typically cover all my distance with spey cast without resorting to overhead casting. There are exception of course. In my recent small stream fishing trip to Thailand ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFF4cz4ukXM )
      , I sometimes resort to overhead cast when situation warrants it. Typically it is when I just need to drop my hopper fly right in front of me. With Ambush line, you can definitely overhead cast, just make sure that you use a grain weight suitable for the rod.

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  3. Hello.

    Ii notice you said you used a Wulff Ambush line 350 grain on a 4# Sage. Is that not overloading the rod? Very interesting post, excellent.

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    1. When I first got the Sage 4116, I tried 300 grain Ambush on it. It cast OK but felt that I need to work harder to get the cast going. Typically I do Skagit type sustain anchor cast. With 350 grain, the rod feels good and effortless and I could launch Clouser better with 350 grain. I guess if you are going with Scandi type switch cast, its better to use 300 grain or lower.

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  4. Dear Yuem.

    I've just brought a Beulah switch rod 5/6# Rio suggest 375 Skagit and 360 Scandi. I'm looking to buy a Wulff Ambush line as you rate them so highly. What grain weight should I buy? Is the Ambush a Skagit line?

    Thank you.

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    1. Ambush was designed as a single hand tight quarter roll casting line. However, it quickly caught on as one of the best line for shorter switch rods. You may say that Ambush line is a cross between traditional Skagit line and Scandi line (a.k.a Skandit line). When use as a Skagit line, choose the heavier grain Ambush to load the rod. When use as a Scandi, choose a lighter grain Ambush and pair with a long 15ft versileader + 10ft mono leader to get the ~4X rod length necessary for kiss n go type cast.
      For your rod, I suggest you go with 350 grain Ambush so that you can do both Skagit and Scandi cast.

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  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  6. Mr Mah
    Thinking of getting the ambush clear head to be use in the tropics. Question , does the line get sticky and limpy?does the clear head gets murky? Thanks fishbum

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    1. Hi Fishbum,
      I use the Ambush clear head in the tropics all the time and have no problem with the head getting murky or the running line limpy. In fact the running line on the Ambush Clear is my favorite in the tropics because it is not too stiff as to pile up in my stripping basket, neither is it too limp. The diameter is just right also. However, if you intend to strip onto the deck of a boat which can get very hot, I suggest you throw a wet towel over the deck to strip onto.

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  7. Thanks Yuen.

    Brought the 350 Ambush and it goes great. I'm now looking at buying the Sage 4# like you have, I know you rate it very highly.!.

    Thanks for the advice.

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  8. Yuen.

    I've taken the plunge and ordered the Sage One 4# switch rod. Thanks for all the advice and help. Take a look at my site when you get time, follow if you can? I'll give your excellent site a mention re-switch rods and advice. Richard.

    www.smallstreambrowntroutfishing.com

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    1. Thanks Richard. Good for you. I am sure you will enjoy the rod.

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    2. Just read your article. Good one. I liked it. Keep going. you are a best writer your site is very useful and informative thanks for sharing! Known as the "kayak fisherman's issue," how would you oar and fish while on a kayak? With just two hands, how would you hold your angling pole bar and move your kayak? best fishing reel.

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