I get asked by friends to take them fly fishing a lot. It always starts with the ubiquitous phrase “I always wanted to do that; can you take me sometime?” which translates to “I want to ‘try’ that but don’t have any of the gear; will you let me bash around in the woods flogging water with your gear?” At first I didn’t take anyone, not for the lack of wanting to, but for the lack of extra gear. But as I up graded a few rods and reels I kept the older ones for people who want to ‘try’ it. For a handful of people I save a small sum of money they would have lost getting the gear just to ‘try’ the sport. So when I got into steelheading I started getting requests for a tag along on that too. When I came across the Rugged Creek Switch Rod deal I thought it would be a good ‘extra’ rod to lend out for steelhead ‘attempts’ that wouldn’t break my bank.
In short, given the price of the combo, I think it’s a decent rod with a better than expected reel. The line on the other hand wasn’t something I would choose.
For spey style casting the rod loads and casts better with a 575gr head weight with a 55ft head length than with the line it came with. It handles a 450gr 24ft head skagit line fine as well. If your hucking big nymphs with lined up split shots, the line it came with is good enough. The reel is what really caught my attention as well as others I’ve handed it to. I’ve noticed it’s virtually the same reel companies like Allen Fly Fishing and Wetfly are selling. It’s a nice looking, light-ish, truly large arbor reel that balances this and other rods well. The drag sets smooth and easy. However, since I haven’t hooked into a steelhead while fishing this setup, I’m yet to really test the drag on the reel; it feels like it would do just fine but I’m waiting for a steelie on the run to really test it. The rod’s length is good, at 11’3″ it allows for good line control and spey casting, but for the huck and duck single hand nypmhing style you might tire towards the end of the day. I find the rod to be on the slower side of fast action. Not a medium-fast but just a ‘marginally-slower’ fast. On the down side, I’m not a fan of the fly carriage….perhaps a weird thing… but I would much rather see a simple loop than something that swivels. Additionally, I would rather have a rod tube than a rod and reel case, but again, that’s me.
Disclaimer: I received this combo to test and review. These are my own opinions. I am in no way sponsored or endorsed by Rugged Creek. However, when I tried to ship it back after testing it they were gracious enough to let me keep it.
Addendum: Since this post I have joined the Rugged Creek team. The above review was written and posted prior to my affiliation to the company and has not changed from it’s original since. Read my announcement of joining the team and find out how to get a 10% discount and free shipping within the Continental U.S. on your Rugged Creek order for September, 2013 – here
This post stems from a discussion and review post I did on Oregon Fishing Forum