|Red Truck 5110-4 switch with 7/8 Diesel Reel|
Fly rods are like golf clubs – ideally you need more than one. Also, like golf clubs, some rods are more versatile than others. Still, there's always one in the bag most appropriate to a given situation.
In my last post we took a look at the Red Truck Diesel fly reel as a designated beach reel. Red Truck Fly Fishing Company is a small
In my work as a guide I get to cast a lot of rods, on-stream and in the surf (I’m a saltwater junkie). As more fly fishers discover the
wet sand, I meet other fly fishers on the
beach and the conversation invariably turns to rods, and what constitutes the
‘ideal’ rod for surfperch and corbina. California
Devoted beach casters know the advantages of using switch rods in the surf – rods that may be cast both two-handed and in the single-hand modes. Light, ‘trout model’ switch rods of 10’ to 12’, throwing the 7 to 9 weight lines popular for the surf, are ideal for surfperch and corbina. The long rod casts farther and affords commanding line control in the surf. I’ve cast a spectrum of rods in this class from various makers, and the problem I have with most of them is they perform best in two-hand mode, while tending to be awkward and tiring in the single-hand mode. Which is okay for those who have mastered a couple Spey casts – yet not so good for those who want the length, but would prefer to cast with one hand.
|Red Truck 5110-4 ~ two-hand mode|
Enter the Red Truck 5110-4 11’ #5 ‘Trout’ switch rod. This one comes with both a rear grip for Spey, and a short butt for converting to single-hand. No switch rod I’ve cast performs Spey casts as well as a full-on Spey rod. And, as I pointed out, they tend to be clunky cast with one hand. A switch rod is usually a compromise. But I was pleasantly surprised to find the Red Truck, as a two-hander, good as the best I’ve fished in its class – and by far the best I’ve used in single-hand mode. Lined with a 7wt sink tip, I cast the Red Truck as a single-hand through a four-hour session in the surf, and it is a pleasure.
For its class, the Red Truck possesses a fairly wide grain window due to its length, coupled with a semi-parabolic, progressive action. I would call this rod a medium-fast action, yet it holds its load well, which makes it forgiving and friendly to those with a slower casting style.
|Red Truck 5110-4 ~ single-hand mode|
I am very impressed with this rod and love using it in the surf – though, a nitpick, I think the ambiguous #5 weight designation is confusing, as the rod is neither an AFTMA 5wt or a #5 Spey. (I wish rod manufacturers would make it easier on potential customers and themselves and simply print the rod’s grain window on the rod). After casting the Red Truck #5 with a number of lines, I determined its grain window to be 150-280 grains (I emailed the Red Truck rep and he confirmed this). In single-hand mode it will throw an AFTMA 5wt line in a (hypothetical) pinch. But it starts to come into its own loaded with a 6wt – making it useful for fishing big dries, nymphs and bobber set-ups on big water. For me, casting single-handed in the surf, the Red Truck performs best loaded with a 7wt or 7-1/2wt line – good for swinging streamers on big water – and perfect for turning over the heavier flies required for surfperch and corbina. In Spey mode, the Red Truck switch performs like a rocket launcher lined with a 23’ short-head weighing 260 grains – that’s roughly the equivalent of a 9wt AFTMA rated line. As a compromise, the rod performs competently in both single-hand and double-hand modes loaded with an 8wt line.
The Red Truck switch is elegant, well-appointed with top quality guides and components. The blank is an understated gray. Guide wraps are claret with blue-ish silver tips to match the gunmetal blue reel seat. The interchangeable rear grips are mounted on light, aircraft-grade aluminum thread stock and bolt seamlessly into the aluminum reel seat. Red Truck thought of everything – the 4-piece rod comes in a heavy cloth bag with pockets for the two rear grips, in an aluminum storage tube with a bottle opener built into the cap.
If you are considering a designated rod for SoCal surfperch and corbina, or a light switch rod for trout, I’m fairly confident you’d be more than happy with the Red Truck 5110-4 11’ #5 switch. Frankly, you can spend a lot more money on a light switch rod, but I would rate the 5110-4 as equal to or better than any I've tried, in any price range. And the Red Truck Diesel 7/8 reel perfectly matches and balances the 5110-4 switch for a sweet outfit.
You can check out the Red Truck rods, reels, and stuff here: http://redtruckflyfishing.com/