It’s another chapter in the story of the Short Spey Revolution!
Earlier this year we posted our review of the Sage 8119-4 TCX Switch rod – the heaviest in Sage’s line of very fast “long switch/short spey” rods. We’re totally in love with this rod; in fact your fearless editor has had a very difficult time reaching for another two-hander since, in locations ranging from the Kanektok to the Dean to the Deschutes.
We figured it was time to check out one of the baby brothers. The TCX Switch series runs from 5 to 8 weight; we’ve spent some time with the 6 weight 6119-4 TCX, and guess what? We love it too. It’s an 11’9″ rod for a 6 weight line.
Sage calls them Switch Rods; we call them Short Spey Rods. Here in the Pacific Northwest we think they’re perfect for spey casts and swung flies. We line them for spey casting and almost never overhead cast them.
It’s an amazing rod for lighter sinktip and dry line applications. It’s a little less forgiving than the 8119 – as all light switch rods are. It’s really, really fun to cast and fish. Like its big brother, it’s incredibly powerful for its weight.
420 grains, basically. For the majority of our fishing time with the 6119-4 we lined it with an Airflo Skagit Switch 420, and used tips ranging from Type 3 to 12 feet of T-11. 12 feet of T-11 was pushing the sweet spot of the easy castability. Some folks might like a line a little lighter than 420 grains. We also tried the 450 grain Compact and can confirm that it was too much line for the rod.
The new Airflo Rage Compact 420 also cast beautifully on this rod. For those of you who like the idea of Skagit-style dry line fishing, the 6119 and the Rage head are going to make for an awesome match.
These rods are incredibly versatile given their short length and their light weight. At normal fishing distances – up to 75 feet or so – the 6119 had no problem at all delivering a medium-weight sinktip like T-11 and a weighted fly. At short to medium distance, casts were as effortless as we’ve felt with a two-hander.
These short rods simply have no match in tough backcast conditions. We tested the 6119 on the Lower Deschutes, where tough wading and high banks often conspire to leave you literally zero backcasting room. The short length lets you place the rod easily under and between the bushes, and the powerful butt section helps get a cast out to fishing distance even with a poorly formed D-loop. The Skagit Switch head is a big part of the equation here – it’s the combination that allows us to fish these spots effectively.
As a lightweight switch rod, it does have its limits. For non-hero casters, T-14 tips are not going to be fun or pretty. Consistently fishing out much past that 75 foot window is going to get a little squirrelly. It’s significantly less forgiving than the 8119 if you blow your timing or try to overpower a cast.
But let’s be reasonable here, folks – it’s a 6 weight, it’s an absolute blast to cast, and although you can throw 90 feet of line with your 9 weight, maybe, the majority of the time you’re fishing much more effectively closer in anyhow.
We fished it with a Sage 6080 reel and thought the match was just peachy. We used mono running line so spool capacity was not an issue.
We love these short spey rods so much that we think there’s a revolution in the works. They’re really fun to cast, they take very little effort, and they do most anything you ask of them at normal fishing distances.
The 6119-4 TCX is a fantastic rod for dry lines and medium-sized sinktips. Heavy sinktips, very long casts and big fish are not part of the program for the 6119, but for any other short head swung fly program, we think it’s a star.
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