Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Featherlight Switch Project Complete

(A week or so ago I posted that T.F.M. reader Jim Jenkins was working on an Eagle Claw Featherlight switch rod modification for me and this post outlines his work step by step along with some interesting background on a past mod that Jim did as well.  Jim, thanks again.)

A little of the back story on my switch mods. About ten years ago I felt I needed a fighting butt on my go-to carp rod, an 8’ 6” Shakespeare Ugly Stik 6/7 weight. I cannibalized an old spinning rod for the foam grip and a piece of shaft for the butt insert and voila, a serviceable fighting butt/switch grip that lives up to the Ugly Stik moniker. What I’ve learned since then is being able to do a couple of the simple two handed spey casts opens up a lot more fishable water, even with short rods.  It also dramatically reduces shoulder fatigue on these fifty plus year old joints.

When Cameron posted the link to the This River Is Wild Eagle Claw Featherlight Switch mod I was like “Wow! That looks a heck of a lot nicer than my Ugly Stik.” So, it didn’t take long to gather the parts and put one together myself.

Created with flickr slideshow.

Here a few pics of the old Ugly Stik and Cameron’s build. I started with assembling and gluing up the switch butt and a 6.5 inch section of arrow shaft using a non-expanding Urethane glue like Fusion. Make sure to wipe down the arrow shaft with alcohol to thoroughly clean. Wipe up excess glue and bind with a rubber band. Set aside to cure for a couple hours.

Wrap your rod grip in a rag and clamp in a vise. With a saw cut off the butt of the reel seat at the last seat thread. Take your time here. Next time I’ll try a cutoff wheel on my Dremel to see if I can achieve a smoother and faster cut. After the butt is cut off use coarse emery paper on a sanding block to de-burr and square up the cut end. Clean out the blank with a round file; there will be some excess epoxy in there. Use Q-Tips and alcohol to clean the inside of the blank.

With half inch masking tape wrap two bushing on to the arrow shaft. This insures the shaft will be centered in the rod blank. Keep adding, or removing, tape until you feel just the slightest resistance as you slide the insert into the rod blank.

Mix a good batch of paste epoxy. I use this because it is slow curing and can be slathered on the arrow shaft without dripping. Thoroughly coat the arrow shaft between the tape bushings. The epoxy should be a thickness slightly wider than the tape bushings so it thoroughly contacts the inside of the blank. With a slow twisting motion work the epoxied shaft into the rod blank. Wipe up excess epoxy with a rag and then clean the cork and threads with a brass brush. Set the assemble rod in a corner with a weight on the end, I used a pint beer glass, to keep everything snug while the epoxy cures.

There you have it.  For about fifty bucks for rod and switch grip and while watching a football game or auto race, you’ve got yourself a really fun little switch rod. Now go fish the heck out of that thing. I’ll be trying for Lake Erie steelhead with mine this season.

Photos in this post can also be viewed in this Flickr album.


cofisher said...

4Very cool. Have fun with the rod Cam. And nice job to the builder!

Unknown said...

Hopefully you'll see this, but will this rod work throwing weighted flies? Such as a clouser minnow?

Cameron Mortenson said...

Unkonwn...works just fine. I am wondering how a OPST Commando Head would work on this setup. It would certainly turn over a Clouser Minnow.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the reply! I've been wanting to try out a switch/spey type rod, but don't want to invest too much until I determine if I'll like it or not. I'll have to give this a try. I've been eyeing the echo switch rods for a while now...