Gaelforce Equalizer Switch Fly Rod Review
**Written by Riley**
The first time I heard of Gaelforce Fly Rods was a couple of years ago. A good friend came into the shop talking about these amazing rods made in Scotland. He took his 14’ 9wt out of the case and it was the most beautiful rod I had ever seen. Fast forward two years and I have a handful of these rods… safe to say I have been blown away by all of them.
One rod model that I recently got is the 11’ 3” 7/8wt Equalizer Switch Rod. This is more of a compact two-handed rod than a true Switch Rod. I took this rod up to the Salmon River in New York over Veterans Day weekend to swing some flies for Steelhead. I was extremely impressed with the power and action of this rod. Not many people know about these Gaelforce rods and I always get questions about them on the river.
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Fit and Finish
The first thing you will notice about these rods is they have some of the highest quality componentry in the industry. The cork is the highest grade and holds up very well. On the bottom handle, there is a metal ring that adds a very classic look to the rod. The reel seat is a triangular Alps reel seat that holds reels securely in place. The blank is a deep matte green finish with gloss dark green wraps and silver accents. Each ferrule has alignment dots and is graphite on graphite to eliminate twist between sections, something every serious Steelhead/Salmon angler has experienced. Each aspect of the rod is purpose-built for two-handed casting. The bottom grip is longer than a normal grip so the caster can get a firm hold on the rod. The top grip is thinner and slightly shorter allowing for a more relaxed grip. The rod really is one of the finest I have seen in the industry.
The action on these rods is very different from many American rods. The tip is very strong and will not fold over. This allows for a variety of lines to be used. The action is very deep, and the rod bends into the cork but has a very quick recovery. This blend of full action, fast recovery, and a strong tip really set this rod apart. I can say this rod fights a fish very well and handles large intruders better than I expected. I was surprised how the rod handled me adding power to the cast. I was able to get 80-90’ casts very easily with tight loops. I have not found many Switch Rods that have the power to handle an aggressive cast or large fly. It was hard to put the 11’ 3” down to get my 13’ rod that I brought along as well. I was simply having too much fun fishing the shorter rod.
For Steelhead fishing, I used a 500gr Skagit Max from Rio that loaded the rod very well. If I wanted to do some dry line work up on the Atlantic Salmon rivers of the Gaspe, I would reach for the Gaelforce Equalizer ESSS Switch & Short Spey line 425gr. This would be a great line for smaller water or throwing bombers where a long line is necessary. I could also see this as a great summer setup on west coast Steelhead rivers.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, the Gaelforce Equalizer 11’ 3” ⅞ Switch is a beautiful casting rod that fishes better than most. If you are in the market for a high-end Switch Rod that costs less than many others on the market, give this one a very strong look. I believe you will be very happy and you will have a rod that not many other people have on the river have.
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**Written by Riley**