One of the absolute “Must Have” sticks in my quiver is the Sage 7110-4 X. Why, you might ask? Well here ya go folks… this stick is unequivocally the “.30-06 of Switch”. In this, one couldn’t ask for a better all-around, get ‘er done rod as this one is it! To be sure, this 7-weight switch rod will be a versatile weapon, one that will provide the angler with a true switch hitter, the likes of which anyone can appreciate.
ROD // 7110-4 X
Let’s take my Middle Kenai fishery as an example: I get in the boat bearing two different line set ups with the idea being that I could swing my way through the day (my personal preference) or I could option to a mixture of swing and indicator games. Another aspect of the 7110-4 to which is notable is the fact that at 11’ this stick is a true switch rod. At 11’ feet, the world opens up to a whole range of angling styles and use possibilities. Switch rods in the 10’9” to 11’4” range offer such incredible versatility but once they hit 11’6” to 11’9”, you’re not single handing anything with them unless your Doc is on standby for your forthcoming Tommy John surgery! That’s to say, sports fans, that you can roll with it in the following aspects:
• Baby Spey Rod
• Single Hand use as an 11’ Spey Rod (utilizing those same 2-handed Spey casting techniques)
• Single Hand “Overhead” Usage (Bombs away… nobody is out of range now!)
The beauty of a seven-weight switch stick is that it’s big enough for steelhead, sea run dollies, sea run browns (once landed a 22 lb brown on the Rio Grande on the O.G. Switch Rod, the 7110-4 Z-Axis) and all the salmon species (other than Kingy), yet no so big to completely blow past the western trout game in the Rockies and beyond.
reel // SPECTRUM LT 7/8
The 7110 is so light, why bog it down with a heavy reel? The SPECTRUM LT (Light) in a 7/8 keeps your whole set up as light as can be, so as to avoid any fatigue over the course of a long (or even sunset-less) day. Be sure, the drag in this reel is enough for any steelhead or salmon you’ll encounter. With the numbered drag settings, set it and forget it!
LINE // 500 gr RIO Skagit Max Short // RIO Switch Chucker #7
The RIO Skagit Max Short (500 grains) coupled with a full set of Medium MOW Tips would be my Swing Fest option. Now I know what some of y’all are thinking… 500 grains, really Georgie? Here is the thinking: to get into the “Meat Of The Bat” as our Chief Rod Designer Jerry Siem likes to say, one needs to load the rod with an appropriate grain weight to indeed get that desired “Depth Upon The Bat”. Now, believe me you that with a 500 grain Max Short you’ll be crushing it out there, like MEGA! With a 2.5’ x 7.5’ (7.5’ sinking portion) Medium MOW and a sculpin or leech critter of my choosing, Ol’ Bow Bow had best resign himself to coming on in for some kick ass photos!
Line option #2 is to go with the beloved Switch Chucker in a #7. This is the sleeper line on any given switch rod in that if one is gonna play the indicator game, this is undoubtedly the right line. It plays such to perfection! But the “sleeper” moniker here sets itself up upon the idea that the Chucker Spey casts like crazy; in fact, on some switch rods it is my primary Spey/swung fly choice. This thing crushes ‘em out there Smooth Operator-like!
George Cook is the long-time Sales Representative for Sage in the Pacific Northwest. He is legend, celebrity and two-handed rod authority all wrapped into one.