A TAC 11' #6/7 'Switch' built as a Loch Rod.

Lewis Chessman

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Joined
Mar 16, 2008
Messages
2,496
Location
Isle of Lewis
This week's rod is a 4 piece Tac 'Switch' from Tackle24 in Germany, costing E49 and weighing in at 80g/2.8 oz. All pieces arrived straight and true and with an even, matt-green finish.
First impressions were that this is a softer Switch blank than the Tac FireNeedle 11' #6/7 I made recently, particularly in the upper third, and is slower in recovery from a basic wiggle.

I built this 'Switch' as a single-hander because I'm looking for a blank from which I can build an 11 foot #6 sea trout and grilse rod for boat fishing in the Hebrides. I'm looking for a softish tip and strength in the butt. This isn't a distance rod, it's a roll-casting, dibbling, short-distance-overhead rod. My other primary aim is to build an 11 ft rod which weighs 4 oz or less, the reason being that short casts mean frequent casting and repeated dibbling can put a strain on the arm when practised 9-5 for a week on a Hebridean loch - which many estate guests will fish when on holiday. 11 ft is near-ideal for a seated angler to work his flies with but the extra length accentuates stresses on the joints and muscles with prolonged use.

11 ft #6/7 single handed fly blanks are pretty rare these days, certainly in the budget blank ranges and, given my rod action requirements of beef in the butt with a forgiving tip, I thought this ''moderate actioned'' double hander might be worth giving a try.
So I did.

The Ingredients:
Tac Switch Blank, 4 pc., 11', #6/7. E.49.
RFT AAAA Full Wells and Fighting Butt, Corkmix trim, with triangular metal reel seat. Sale price = E29.
Guides: 2 x PacBay SIC 'T' stripping guides and 9 x Sea Guide Light Wire snakes. Black. The light wire guides needed no finishing to the legs by me.
Threads (size 'A'): FishHawk 'Garnet' 206 with Prowrap 'Premium Metallic' 9725. No c-p used.
Epoxy: Rod Building Components Epoxy.

The Result: All shots taken with flash and in Macro mode.

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There's a fuzzy blemish on the stripping ring's r-h whipping, top, which I'll need to recoat. Any milkiness in the finish is flash.
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I'm happy with the finish on all but two guides. I could have been a mite more accurate with the lengths of one or two wraps though.

What I am particularly happy with is the Rod Building Components Epoxy which I'm finding easy enough to use. It'll take a few drops of IPA to thin it and will fine back down repeatedly with a little warm air from a convection heater. Impressively, it hardens in about 3-4 hours! I haven't tried two coats in a day yet but will as I think it feasible with this product.
The good news is that a 40 ml pack (2 x 20 mls) was £13 incl. p&p from BCrods on eBay. The bad news is they're currently out of stock!
More good news is that I've only been mixing it in 0.5 ml x2 batches (with a few drops of IPA) using marked, disposable pipettes and, despite the small amounts, it has (so far!) cured perfectly, so is tolerant to small discrepancies in the mix amounts. There's been little wastage as a result and no hassles, either.

Disappointingly for me, the pre-epoxy weight rod was 5 1/8 oz, 5 1/4 finished, so over an ounce above my target of 4 oz. I'll keep it for a 'day rod' and carry on searching for a 'week rod' blank.
How this one casts is still anybody's guess! It's been a bit foul here today and I didn't fancy a grass cast in the rain. I'll leave that for better weather and report back another time.

Next week, if some bits arrive in the post, I'll build the 10' 6" Tac FireNeedle #6/7 I bought by mistake back in December, Switch-style. I'm intending to copy the whippings on the 11' FN to make up a matching pair - or something close to that.
Cheers,
James.
 

Lewis Chessman

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 16, 2008
Messages
2,496
Location
Isle of Lewis
I'm able to update on this rod having at last been able to fish it and see it fished.
Frankly, it's damned good! I noticed no recovery issues at all and in my hands it overheads very sweetly, 'kiting' a line with a strong Caithness breeze saw it covering about 25 to 30 yards with ease and accuracy. In the hands of better casters than I it sent out all but three turns on the spool of a Barrio #6/7 Switch line with an overhead and, in the hands of another, single-handed Spey casting was poetry to watch. I need more practice with it as a s-h Spey and it may prove too much for my arm, but I'm lightly built in that department.

I lent it to a guest who Christened it on Day 1 with a 10 1/2 lb spring salmon. No lice but fresh, maybe 3 to 5 days out of the sea. The rod performed admirably, showing a responsive, sensitive tip to the irate fish's runs, leaps and head shakes. I felt he could have given it more butt but he was wary, it not being his rod. Truly though, it does its job very well, curving down to the top of the butt section and with more power in reserve.

I feel it would make a delightful Switch rod (its intended purpose) and may remove the small button fighting but to install an adaptor to permit either a short or longer detachable f/b.
To add to my joy, the fish took a Vivien, a pattern of my ex-colleague John Anderson of Tulchan A Beat, which I tied up over winter. Couldn't be happier with that!

We lost another about 8 lbs today after the fish took an orange muddler close to a weir, jumped immediately and never really gave a good hook-hold.

If you're looking for a decent, cheap Switch blank or don't mind a slightly heavy s-h/Switch then I can recommend this TAC budget blank wholeheartedly, especially as a grilse rod.
Hopefully more updates to follow.
 

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