R.B. Meiser Short Two Handed Rods & Switch Rods
… Regardless of what they are called, whether they are labeled “switch” rods, or short two handers, this family of two handed rods have without question proven to be viable fishing tools world wide, and they are here to stay …
… Over the past several years, short two handed rods have made quite an impact on the fly fishing community. Their acceptance has been universal amongst both fresh and salt water fly anglers, and literally every major fly rod manufacturer in the world today does have a selection of them within their inventory.
R.B. Meiser Fly Rods has always been in the forefront in the development of both blank design and suitable line systems for short two handed rods. We are the pioneers of the contemporary switch rod concept, and have been designing and building short two handed rods for our anglers for over 30 years.
When married to the correct line systems, they will be effective for both two handed overhead and anchor point Spey deliveries. The ultra lite switch rods can utilize traditional single hand double haul, and single hand Spey deliveries as efficiently as they will to present classic two handed anchor point Spey deliveries.
The short two handed rod is a multi-dimensional tool.
They have delivery potentials for both fresh and saltwater environments. When married to the correct line systems, they will be effective for both two handed overhead and anchor point Spey deliveries, utilizing both single and two handed presentations.
They can be used for pursuing a broad range of game fish that will come to the fly … All with the great advantage of allowing this diversity while utilizing both minimal graphite, and minimal expended energy.
Our philosophy on switch rods:
~ All fly rods fall into two families: They are either single handed fly rods, or they are two handed fly rods.
~ Switch rods are not a family of fly rods separate from single or two handed fly rods.
~ Two handed fly rods offer the caster a two handed grip assembly. This grip configuration does allow the use of the upper hand, and the additional assistance of the lower hand <> Single handed fly rods do not allow this.
~ Bottom line: Switch rods are short two handed fly rods.
~ We have always specifically designed our switch rod blanks with engineered grain windows benchmarked to utilize two handed fly line systems. All of the noted line numbers scheduled on our switch rods are based on (and will be compatible with) correctly balanced two handed line systems.
About the R.B Meiser Switch Rod Series
But first a few comments on good Scotch Whiskey …
… The very premise behind the development of the switch rod series was to meet the needs and request made to me by a diverse cross section of serious fly fishers. I am fortunate in that I am able to custom design fly rods for anglers that may open their fly fishing season in the Yukon, mid-season in the Gaspe, and end it in the Seychelles. I also feel that I am just as fortunate to meet the fly rod requirements of those anglers who may never feel the need to leave their own home waters such as I enjoy here in Southern Oregon. The one common truth that I have found within this brotherhood, whether they be far-flung adventurers, or home water week-enders is that they all share an equal and universal passion for their sport. As a fly fisher my self for over 50 years, and a rod builder/designer for over 30, I appreciate and thoroughly enjoy being asked to be so deeply involved in their chosen sport. It is this intimate involvement that has led me to the development of the switch rod series.
An interesting story comes to mind that exemplifies this involvement …
Time frame: Summer 1997
Phillip is a friend and certified fly fishing junky. His Trout fishing history is long; his stories are extensive and indeed very colorful. His Salmon and Steelheading experience is equally interesting, has spanned many years but has centered on only one river: The Dean … And he has fished the same stretch of water for over 25 years.
At that time, the only delivery system presented to his Dean River Salmon and Steelhead was a single hand, double hauled, down and dirty heavy grained full sink shooting head line system. And to the bemusement of many of his fellow anglers (several of which were by then two handed anglers) defiantly and tenaciously spent several weeks each season muscling these heavy and awkward lines over holding fish with his single hand rods. Nevertheless he was an exceptional angler … His presentations had always been effective: Thus his success ratio of fish to the beach had historically been very good.
Phillip is a surgeon with an incredibly intense work schedule, allowing only quality time on the water. Because of this scenario, he truly enjoys the advantage of the exceptional opportunities offered by the Dean’s superb anadromous fishery. His request to me as a rod builder was to design a rod that would effectively deliver his preferred shooting head line systems over these chosen waters. The primary objective being: To offer an alternative to the physical burden of fishing his full sink shooting heads utilizing single hand double haul deliveries.
At the time of his request, suitable off the shelf two handed line alternatives were limited to classic double tapers, or short belly Spey line systems with interchangeable tips. The lines of choice preferred by most North American two handed anglers at the time were lines like the (then recently introduced) Rio Windcutter’s. This was a time frame before the introduction of Skagit shooting heads, and although Scandinavian shooting heads were available, they had not yet gained their present popularity.
Phillip tried a few longer rods, and although he felt that they proved to be effective delivery tools, and presented the fly well; he again personally felt awkward with the rods length and overall weight for his preferred style of fishing. Our solution was to build him a couple of light weight, short two handed rods grain windowed for 450/500 grain shooting heads. These rods would allow various deliveries as effectively as a longer two handed rod, yet be much shorter and lighter in hand then the status quo two hander. We matched the rods to a set of formula cut Guideline shooting heads for Phillip, and with these rod/line marriages he was allowed a variety of delivery options determined by need throughout his angling day.
Phillip’s comment to me upon his return from the Dean after fishing the switchers that season was: Bob; after 8 to 10 hours of continuous daily casting, plus fighting and releasing a total of 30 heavy fish, Scotch was consumed at the end of each day for the sole purpose of celebrating the event rather then to just kill the pain in my arms and shoulders. You have truly helped me celebrate the proper consumption of good Scotch whisky!
If not in the exact words, this has been a typical comment made to me by many of my clients concerning the switch rod concept over the past 15 years … I could not be more complimented.
Phillip was one of our pioneer anglers in the use and development of our present day switch rods and line marriages for them. More then a decade later, he does still prefer them over the longer two handed rods … And I do still pity the angler that is unfortunately put in the position to follow him through a run; especially if it’s me!
Our Past History with Switch Rods ... And Our Future Goals
… Our first short two handed rods were built primarily for personal use, and for a few out-of-the box adventurous anglers as far back as the mid 1970s. We first offered them for purchase to our anglers in the mid 1980s …
… The most requested application for our short two handed fly rods in the early days of their development were targeted for two handed overhead deliveries. Requests for these tools came primarily from those anglers that wished to eliminate the physical burden of the single hand double haul, and especially by those anglers requiring repetitive long distance deliveries typical of search casting for large game fish from a shallow walled craft or the beach, jetties and rocks. (We again offer a version of these same 909 rods today)
As we had always suggested … Anglers over the years did slowly begin to accept the fact that the short two handed rod could also be used very effectively as two handed anchor point Spey tools, a delivery technique that would effectively eliminate the need for the back cast. The successful application of the switch rod in this mode came about primarily due to the relatively recent introduction of readily available two handed shooting head line systems that would efficiently multi-task the short two handed fly rod.
Today’s anglers do now realize the incredible diverse potentials of the short two handed fly rod, and they will use them for a broad spectrum of fly fishing applications utilizing equally diverse delivery techniques … Just as they were originally intended over 30 years ago.
Our original intent of the switch rod concept was always based on the very premise that a correctly designed short two handed fly rod when married to a balanced line system would not only allow this diversity … But would excel at it.
Today nearly all major fly rod manufacturers have similar tools within their inventory of fly rods, and we at R. B. Meiser Fly Rods are proud of the fact that our early concepts have now gained universal acceptance within the two handed fly rod community.
We will continue to lead the way in the development of both well designed short two handed fly rod blanks, and correctly balanced line systems for them that will maximize the overall potentials of these incredibly diverse tools.
R.B. Meiser Switch Rods
R.B. Meiser 909 CX Two Handed Shooting Head Rods
… The flex and power of the two handed 909 rods are far different then that of conventional single hand fly rods. These are not your dad's fly rods ... !!! And although these rods will allow extreme distance deliveries with only a minimal amount of expended energy ... Extreme distance is not their primary goal. Their primary goal is to minimize the physical burden of repetitious single hand delivery of extreme shooting heads by allowing the caster the logical advantage inherent of two handed deliveries ...
… By definition: These are short two handed rods that are designed specifically to eliminate the physical burden of single hand double haul deliveries … And especially to aide anglers in repetitious search casting with extreme shooting heads and big bugs.
The continuous single hand delivery of heavy shooting head grain with monster flies in tow can weary any caster’s arms, wrists and shoulders over time. Using a tool that will allow efficient two handed delivery will without question exponentially decrease this physical burden.
We have found that it is very common for fly anglers to bring their single handed athletic memory into the two handed realm. This being especially true for those anglers with a long history of single handed shooting head delivery. For these casters it becomes quickly apparent that their most efficient deliveries will come about by disciplining themselves to actually back-off on the throttle. We’ll always recommend that these casters slow down, minimize expended energy, and shorten their stroke. Simply utilize their entire upper torso to generate the required power source, allowing the rod do all the work. Spreading out this physical burden is far more efficient then continuously attempting to source this energy from a single arm and shoulder.
… The bottom line is that using a two handed rod is a logical, intelligent and efficient means by which to deliver a heavy pay load.
Most anglers will use these short two handed as boat rods. They have great advantages in this application as they are short enough to be used as levering tools to manage explosive fish at the gunnels, and powerful enough to turn large fish on burst speed runs.
These are ideal rods for large game fish that will only begin an explosive battle at the first sight of the boat like Muskie or Monster Pike …
… For turning a Giant Trevally before he can reach jagged coral heads.
… Or for stopping an aggressive burst speed run of an adult Tarpon.
…. One of the most common applications for the 909 series has been among our boat anglers for targeting Musky and Monster Pike.
Flies used for these magnificent game fish are among the largest used in the fly fishing community often exceeding 20” in length, and it does take some serious graphite and massive shooting head grain weight to efficiently deliver them.
Another characteristic of both Muskies and Pike are that they will often follow your fly right to the boat, and while the angler has their attention, they will often attempt to entice them by swimming the fly with the rod tip in a figure eight right at the gunnels … Very much like teasing a cat with a ball of yarn.
This can generate violent strikes, but it does take a lot of tip power to accomplish this. Pike and Musky do have notoriously boney mouths, and a solid hook set is critical to maintain connection. This too does require a very aggressive rod with a lot of backbone and massive tip power to successfully drive the hook at the set.
There is also the obvious situation of successfully managing and defeating 30 + pounds of angry, freshly hooked Esox beating you up at the gunnels.
This can be a full on, stand up fistfight in a phone booth with these big guys ... You can’t chase them down a bar like a river hooked Salmon or Steelhead.
You’ve gotta just stand your ground right there in the boat … And duke it out one on one …
… But after all <> There in lies the joy and challenge of fishing for these toothy, big pot bellied ass kickers … And way fly anglers hold them in such high esteem as among the worlds finest fly caught game fish.
The 909 will take on all of these tasks with ease: Exactly as they were designed to do.
Rod / line marriages for the efficient delivery of these aggressive short two handed rods will be very specific, but this issue has come a long way in recent years. Several of the major line manufacturers do now have shooting heads that will marry to these rods very well for both fresh and salt water environments. We do design and build all of our own lines as well. We can supply custom built, grain matched line systems for these unique powerful rods, and they can be designed to specifically meet your defined fishing environments.