The naysayers will say that a switch rod is a jack of all trades, master of none. So does this fast-action two-handed fly slinger warrant a place in my rod arsenal?
My previous go-to rod for the Pyramid Lake was actually a single-handed 6wt glass rod. It was a ton of fun to catch fish on, but it lacked the punch needed to throw a heavy rig without breaking a sweat. A few sore shoulders later and my search for a switch rod had begun. I needed a two handed option that would turn over a two fly indicator rig, into the cold, howling wind with ease. Step forward Sage's Pulse switch.
I went with the 7wt in 11' 4" as it was a great balance between a heavyweight rod for Pyramid Lake, but could also be a lightweight option for swinging flies for Salmon and Steelhead in the North West. Despite being just a 7wt, the rod still has plenty of backbone and I've landed Lahontan Cutthroat approaching 18lbs on it.
Marketed as a fast-action, do it all switch rod, the Pulse really seemed like the jack of all trades. When I spoke to a Sage rep, they told me that the rod was made to accommodate a wide rage of grain weights, ensuring that you'll get plenty of use out of one rod, regardless of the type of water you're fishing. Sage boasts on their website "Steelhead, bruiser Rainbows, sea-run Dollies, and even Silvers all make the menu here. Whether you're using an indicator or swing for your favorite run, the 7114-4 PULSE Switch is an ideal rod to have." They aren't wrong.
After using this rod for a variety of applications from swinging streamers, to roll casting heavy indicator rigs, I can confirm that it really is a jack of all trades. It will cast one-handed if needed, however I tend to use a variety of two-handed techniques with it, and being a lighter rod makes it much more fun on the salty pond than a full spey set up. But as the saying goes - 'jack of all trades, master of none' does this leave us wanting more from a rod that tries to do it all?
To be honest, I don't think this rod is needs to master one discipline, it's more of a niche rod that fills a gap in your quiver and excels as being that rod that offers the versatility that nothing else can. In my mind, the Pulse switch is the perfect rod for Pyramid Lake.
The stout butt end makes throwing heavy rigs into the wind is as easy as a simple roll cast, yet there's enough flex and sensitivity in the tip which means it's not overpowered the smaller fish you find on the lake and has plenty of give and take for the big boys.
Whether you're new to the two-handed game, or looking for something a little more maneuverable than a full size spey, the Pulse switch is surely a great option for you and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to my friends. Being a Sage rod, you know the quality is top notch, however it is moderately priced at $550 meaning you won't completely break the bank by getting into two-handed casting.