Thanks to John Taunton-Clark for the excellent gear review of his new Dually Switch Rod below.
A recent long spell away from fishing had me obtaining my ‘fix’ through the internet fishing sites. I saw lots on two-handed rods and I was hooked – I needed one of those! By chance I saw the blurb on the release of the Redington Dually series of switch rods. Seemed like good value and the cosmetics appealed. The Caddis Fly Angling Shop was really helpful in advising on shipping to NZ and within less than ten days my Dually Switch #6 rod arrived – all 11 feet of it.
I matched it with a fly reel I already had, and an Airflo Skagit Switch line of 390 grains with Airflo ridge running line. I also had a few poly leaders of different lengths and sink rates which I tried. Terminal end was about 4 feet of 8 lb test fluorocarbon tippet.
Flies I tied myself and were experimental patterns borrowed from different steelhead sites. The cone-head woolly bugger variants in dark green, brown, and black were most successful, but I did catch a few nice fish on the grey rabbit/red marabou pattern. The latter worked better when the water was clear, but the darker colors took more fish in the higher, murkier flow after heavy rain. All flies were quite heavily weighted to get down in the strong flow. One thing to note is that I doubt my flies were getting to the best depth, as the sinking leaders (even the super-fast sinker) didn’t seem to have the necessary sink rate. I’m keen to learn about the leader or tip options for achieving faster sink rates.
I fished the Dually exclusively swinging these ‘streamer’ patterns down and across. The takes generally came at the end of the swing. The brutality of the takes was amazing – completely addictive and has shifted me from my previous focus on nymphing. Although new to the art of two-handed casting, I managed to reach a sufficient level of competency with ‘skagit casting’ to put the fly in the right places and catch a good number of fish. Even in my still-clumsy style, I found casting the Dually a pleasure – much less energy required than false-casting a “single hander”. Sincere thanks to the various internet video explanations of Scandi and Skagit casting – certainly helped the learning process!
I was fishing NZ’s Tongariro River in the central North Island, catching rainbows fresh out of Lake Taupo, which is why we call them our version of ‘steelhead’. Most fish were in the 20 to 22 inch range, so well within the scope of a #6 switch rod. However, I was well pleased with the rod’s performance in making each fish a whole lot of fun, while easily handling the sink tips and weighted flies.
So the positives for me are a fine looking rod with good hardware, nicely presented in a cloth bag and rod tube, at a very reasonable price. As I have said, I’m no expert at this two-handed casting (yet), but the rod worked for me just fine and I feel my skill developed over the week’s fishing. Can’t wait for the next trip!
And lastly, stressing these comments are in no way about the Dually, I found that 11 feet long rods are not much fun bashing through the NZ bush! I learned quickly that it is worth pulling the rod apart before attempting to get through the riverside bush, even where there might be a vague pathway. Probably the most niggling thing I found about the Skagit setup was the clunky movement of the loop-loop connections through the line guides. Certainly see the benefits in the integrated lines now.
Next steps will be to get more practice with casting, and get back on the Tongariro as soon as I can. Skagit has me hooked!