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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Switch Rods and MOW tips

Here's my friend Peter Burnes who caught this chunky rainbow on the Lower Yuba yesterday. He was using a switch rod and a MOW tip. I've often found myself choosing my 6 weight switch rod out of my arsenal of rods this fall. I'll attempt to explain why.

This has been a very good year for salmon on the Lower Yuba. By latest counts we're about at the 11,000 fish level. Of course this is nowhere near historical numbers but almost twice as many as last year. There are still small pods coming up river so this number will end up higher still. This has meant the fishing for resident rainbows and an occasional steelhead around where the salmon have been spawning has been pretty darn good. One of the characteristics of the type of structure that we have been concentrating on is water that is under 3 to 4 feet deep or areas where the depth drop-offs. Some of that water consists of buckets and rollers where salmon are spawning or have recently spawned.

When fishing these areas there are two problems.

(1) You don't want to wade out and tromp on, over or through the salmon redds and

(2) you don't want to snag salmon as you are fishing your egg patterns among them.

This is where the switch rod really pays off. You can station yourself on the edges in no water or shallow water where it is obvious that the salmon haven't been spawning and use spey casting techniques or just roll cast to your targeted areas. You can in most cases easily reach reach the area. Must easier that a single handed rod. Trust me on this. Sure you need to learn a few basic spey casts, but it opens new doors.

Lining the Rod - I've lined my switch rod with an Airflo Speydicator line which is an integrated line. This line casts like a dream and can easily handle weighted tips and mini tips and heads. I've been using a Rio MOW tip, "Light" weight, which is 10 feet long and has 5 feet of floating and 5 feet of T-8. This setup is perfect for fishing the areas talked about above, through and below the salmon stationed on on near the redds.

Why???- Less or No Snaging - The thing I've noticed is that I like to break my drifts into short 10 to 15 foot drifts, concentrating on the water that is just slightly up stream from where I'm positioned to just slightly downstream. I try not to let my flies swing downstream and through salmon stationed below me. This is where it is most likely to snag salmon. One of the benefits of using the MOW tip is it will get your flies right on the bottom and they will pass under salmon rather than over their backs. This greatly avoids snagging.

How To Rigg - It is important to rigg properly though. So lets go through how I rigg up.

(1) Line - The line I use is a Airflo Seydicator line. They are matched to your rod size. If you are fishing a 6 weight switch rod you match it with a 6 weight Speydicator. Simple.

(2) Mow Tip - I then select a Rio MOW tip. The tip selection depends on the depth and speed of the current you are fishing. I've found that on the Lower Yuba the "Light" Series, 5 foot float and 5 foot T-8 sink is just about right. How do you tell? The tip needs to touch once in a while, you will feel it. You need to experiment and come up with the right combination. I carry the Rio Mow tips in the "Light" series (a) 7 1/2 foot  float w/ 2 1/2 foot T-8 (b) 5 foot float and 5 foot T-8 and (c) 2 1/2 foot float and 7 1/2 foot T-8. This is really all you need.

(3) Build Your Leader

Step One. I build a short leader of  OX mono,  1x mono, 2x mono, to total about 3 to 4 feet. (Note: This also a good place to use old leaders that have been cut back.)

Step Two - I then add an 18" piece of 3x fluorcarbon.

Step Three - I rigg a Troutbead to this piece of 3x Fluorocarbon, keeping the Troutbead within 1/2" of the hook. This Troutbead wants to be about 14" to 16" behind the knot above.

Step Four - I add another piece of  tippet, 4x Fluorocarbon and add a nymph of choice. Typically a Pheasant Tail type or a Baetis nymph. This should be about 18" below the Troutbead. This is attached to the egg hook with a Clinch Knot.

Step Five- Add split shot above the Troutbead above the Surgeons knot. Use just enogh to get your flies down and rolling along the bottom but not hanging up. Experiment.


Beg, borrow or steal a switch rod and MOW Tips and give this a try. It may open your eyes.

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Have any Questions or Comments? Let me know, Clay.