Switching it up this winter.

Whilst many people are packing  away their fishing gear for the winter, others are pulling it out.

I personally look forward to the winter months and getting out my Airflo switch rod,skagit line, differing sink rate polyleaders and of course big streamers !

Switch rods are a cross between a single handed fly rod and a 2 handed Spey rod. You can cast them over head single handed or 2 handed (using the lower handle fighting butt as a lever) to cast different Spey style casts.


Swinging large streamers down over the drop offs and into the edges, great places to find trout holding.


Craig hooked into a good fish on the Switch rod



Living in the Southern Lakes region of the South Island we have some great options here over the winter months with the Clutha river open from just below the infamous “Deans Banks” section right down to where it enters the ocean near Balclutha, as well as  several local rivers that have sections open 365 days of the year!




  • The longer rod gives you better line control: An extra 2ft of rod makes for better line control, helping us to slow down swinging flies and steer them into overhanging banks and close to snags, both of which are favourite places to find big, winter run fish !
  • The second hand 'takes a load off' and makes the swing weight of a longer rod much more manageable.
  • Designed to cast specialist fly lines / heavy sink tips and big streamer flies, a switch / skagit combo gets your flies to where winter run fish want them.
  • The ability to change methods quickly on the water should an over head cast not be applicable due to overhanging branches and riverbank obstructions. These rods load easily to perform simple Spey style casts within minimal casting space.
  • The ability to cover lots of water quickly and at varying depths with large attractor style flies.
  • Water that with single handed rods can be difficult and daunting, and is often over looked becomes an option with two handed fly rods.


A solid brown taken on a large articulated streamer swung down and across under a high bank

A solid brown taken on a large articulated streamer swung down and across under a high bank

The great thing about these rods is that the angler can target fish that are holding in deeper, faster water with the use of specialist lines that turn over bigger flies and heavy fast sinking tips. Getting down to fish that are just to difficult to reach with lighter single handed rods.



The takes can be very agressive and a plenty of occasions i have had the fly line pulled from hand!


Big thanks to Craig at castabroad.co.nz for the use of several photos in this BLOG entry ... cheers mate !

Anyone visiting Wanaka on a skiing holiday that fancies a fun day on the water feel free to contact me.

Cheers Paul