Admittedly a Fly Fish Junkie, I find myself in a never ending jungle of new equipment, new flies, new techniques, new casting styles, and so on. I have more than reached the conclusion that this is what I love most about the sport, with the pursuit and catching of the quarry a close second. I chose to be a sponge years ago and absorb as much as I could from my guided clients, my casting students, my peers, and industry experts on all things Fly Fishing. During that time the development of Switch Rods was evolving and a small percentage of my clients were applying Spey techniques with their single handed rods. Intrigued, absolutely, and although I had Spey equipment in my arsenal, the obvious void needing attention was the Switch rod.
As with the majority of my gear, a quick decision was unlikely. In my world a detailed criteria was established, extensive research, and a lot of over thinking is necessary to make this happen. I came up with the idea that the new rod would be part “Do it all”, but most definitely to improve my skills as a Spey Caster on a much smaller scale.
After much deliberation, I concluded the rod would be a moderate fast, 5wt 4-piece, in a 10’-6” length, at a moderate price. Do your own research and you will conclude that the only choice is a Douglas DXF 51064. That being said, how would I get my hands on one for the in-shop wiggle test that is all about fun and has no bearing on performance? Good news as I live just blocks away from a great Fly Shop Aventuron, not necessarily good news for a junkie. It turns out they had just recently brought the line in-house and my treasure was already waiting for me!
First impressions include being blown away at just how light such a long rod could be, and the levered feel even with no loaded reel attached.
The Douglas rods are attractive, with excellent craftsmanship and this DXF is no exception. I especially like the grayish/green non-glare matte finish. The guide wraps are a complimentary darker green with a glossy epoxy finish. The high quality cork handle is a full wells design and feels just right. A grayish/green anodized double up-locking reel seat is used, with the color complementing the blank perfectly. This is a classy looking rod. For up-locking rings, Douglas uses one wider ring, followed up with a narrower, but larger in diameter ring at the bottom that proved easy to grip. A nylon face on the final ring provides an excellent lock-up on heavier reels. A second hand fighting butt with a wide composite cork butt cap is used. Guides are standard SiC stripping guides followed by hard chrome snake guides and tip top. Last but not least is the great rod bag included with a triangular corder covered rod tube that will help dry out a rod you might put away wet. The Douglas rods are designed here in the US but manufactured overseas.
To prepare for a day of testing on the river I utilized Rio’s line selector to aid in choosing a Fly line. The best all around line choice was their In-Touch Switch Line in the 300grain. The profile of this line would be adequate for a variety of rigging to include a two fly set-up that I intended to use in the field.
As I set up for casting, In hopes of hooking up with winter Steelies, my immediate reaction, as previously mentioned, is just how light this rod feels. Despite this reaction, there was no shortage of power. Picking up from, and re-positioning the anchor from a long drift came with ease. Side arm Roll casting to undercut targets on the far bank requiring tight loops were accomplished readily allowing me to swing my flies to the quarry with precision. Mending no problem, High Sticking no problem, loading at a variety of ranges no problem. The only con I had, if you want to call it that, is that this rod felt so light in the hand that it was almost too easy to fall back into casting it Single hand style which it also excels at, especially with the long head line I chose. What a pleasure to fish!
Oh and that “Quarry” I mentioned previously? No doubt in my mind this rod is plenty capable of handling fish like this!
From the very words of Douglas’s rod designer, “Our rods are designed as fishing tools”, and I couldn’t agree more. In conclusion, if you are looking to include a moderately priced Switch Rod, with no shortage in performance, you owe it to yourself to give one a try. View the Douglas DXF Fly Rod here.
Submitted by Brian Richterkessing FFI CI
Photos by Brenda Richterkessing, Richterkessing Photography