The last couple of days I had the opportunity to fish with Chad Foster and Ross Pro Staffer Jeff Hickman. Jeff is a steelhead guide in Oregon and helped develop the Ross Reach Spey and switch rods. We spent a couple of days on California’s North Coast chasing winter steel and casting one of the new Ross Reach 5 weight switch rods. While a little light for winter steelhead fishing, Jeff was dialing in a line for the rod and managed to briefly hook two steelhead on the rod before the hooks pulled. Jeff had the 10’9″ 5 weight switch lined with a Scientific Anglers Extreme Skagit 280 and 10′ of T-10 which was a perfect match and would be a great set-up for swinging for trout and half-pounders.
Throughout a season of guiding, I get a lot of clients asking about what some of the best spey and switch rods are on the market at an affordable price. While most manufacturers are now making price point rods, to me some are better than others. In the last year, I have had the opportunity to test many of these rods and have found that the Ross Reach spey and switch rods seem to be at the top of the list. At $375-$410 these rods are tough to beat. I would call them a medium-fast action rod that are very crisp casting rods. The one thing that puts these rods ahead of other manufacturers price point rods is how lightweight and responsive these rods are in hand. Other manufacturers price point spey and switch rods usually seem to be slower actions that load deep into the butt and are very heavy in the hand. While everyone’s casting stroke is a little different, one thing that most anglers seem to agree on is that a lighter weight rod is always enjoyable to cast and fish.
Ross Reach Spey/Switch Models and thoughts….
10’9″ #5: Killer little switch rod for trout, half-pounders, and smaller steelhead. Perfect with a SA Extreme Skagit 280 and T-8/10.
11’3″ #6: Great large trout, small steelhead switch.
11’9″ #7: All around switch, short spey rod for steelhead and Alaska. Scandi heads from 390-410 and Skagit heads from 420-450 grains.
12’6″ #6: The perfect summer/fall run steelhead rod. Scandi’s from 380-410 and Skagits from 420-460 grains.
13’0″ #7: Great all around steelhead rod. If you are looking for one do it all spey rod, this is it. Scandi’s from 420-450 and Skagits from 480-530 grains.
13’4″ #8: Great winter steelhead and chinook rod. Skagits from 560-600 grains.
14’0″ #9: Ideal King rod or for those that like longer speys for BC or the Clearwater. Skagit’s from 630-700 grains.