One of our favorite trout switch rods so far is the Sage 5110-4 Z-Axis. Here’s why.
- The 11 foot 5 weight format is great for small water like side channels. If you keep your stroke compact, you can reasonably spey cast this thing in water smaller than what you’d normally cover with a two-handed rod.
- It’s got enough power in the butt to fish bigger water too. Like most rods in the Z-Axis line, this guy has a relatively stiff, powerful butt section. That means that when you need to cover bigger water, say Zoo Bar on the Lower Kanektok, it’ll respond when you yank hard to throw a bit of line.
- It can turn over big flies when you need it to. As we’ll talk more about below, a Skagit line in the range of 275 grains makes this rod sing. That’s enough weight to turn over some big trout flies, like bushy mouse patterns, sculpins and giant flesh atrocities.
A total grain weight of about 325 grains seems to be the sweet spot for this rod. A 275 grain Rio Skagit Short with about 7 feet of T-8 will work well in moderate-sized water. In smaller side channels we’ve also fished some very short cut back lines – for example, a 16 foot, 285 grain head with a 5 foot tip made of T-14. You read that right – total head + tip length of 21 feet! If you keep your stroke really tight, this setup will sing.
Try a mono running line! We like mono running lines on most spey rods, and our rule is that the lighter the rod, the bigger difference a mono running line makes. It makes sense – the smaller the mass that’s pulling that running line through the air, the more it’ll be affected by the extra drag of fatter, non-mono running lines. A mono running line makes this rod feel much lighter and more responsive.
If you’re in the market for a versatile switch rod designed for trout, you should try the Sage 5110-4 Z-Axis.