Right now the world of spey fishing is advancing at an extremely fast pace. The market is being flooded with new rods, and new lines some of which are ringing very high on the price tag side of things. $1000 spey rods are becoming something that we don’t even flinch at anymore. Does that mean that your old spey rod is pretty much completely outdated now? Yes, it pretty much does. Just like your first generation iphone, or 5 year old computer, things have moved on so fast that these things were left behind. Of course all these old products still work just fine, however once you try the iphone 4S you probably wouldn’t ever go back. Spey Rods are the in the same boat right now.
The trend in spey rods right now is going lighter and shorter, and using brand new, cutting edge technologies to accomplish this. If you think about it, it actually makes sense. An old 8 weight spey rod was really the equivalent of an 11 weight single hand rod as far as casting ability and fish fighting capabilities. It doesn’t make sense to go to such a heavy rod when making the switch from a single hand rod to a spey rod when you are targeting the exact same species. As spey rods got lighter and shorter, the new “in between” set up called the switch rod became increasing popular.
Switch refers to the fact that you can cast it spey style or overhand. In reality switch rods have basically become defined as short spey rods, specifically designed for spey casting and not overhand casting. With new technologies in spey lines you can get incredible performances out of a switch rod which should handle about 70% of your spey fishing situational needs. Over the next few years you will see less and less people using rods over 12.5 feet in length, and spey rods will continue to be lighter and shorter. A lighter rod is much easier to work with all day and feels much less cumbersome on the river. It is also more enjoyable to fight fish on, and after you get a good matching line, and some hours logged with your short spey or switch you will never want to leave it behind.
Thus if you are in the market for a new spey rod set up, don’t go for the old 14 foot 9 weight, but take a series look at the 6 and 7 in an 11-12.6 foot range. It will handle the majority of your needs, and you will reconnect the thrill of a small light rod. You won’t regret it.