The Mystic 3wt Switch Rod Changes Trout Fishing

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Photo by Louis Cahill

Photo by Louis Cahill

This little beauty from Michigan is quickly becoming one of my favorite fly rods for trout.

For the last couple of years I’ve been fishing switch rods for trout. Not exclusively, but with greater and greater frequency. It started as a way to keep my two-handed skills polished between steelhead trips but quickly found a life of its own. It didn’t take long for me to realize that these lightweight Spey rods were better tools for catching trout on a lot of the rivers I fish.

I started out swinging small streamers and wet flies when wading small to medium size rivers. It wasn’t long before I was reaching for my switch rod for nymph fishing and then even dry fly fishing. Eventually they started showing up in the boat. These days I’m seldom on a trout stream without one.

Fishing switch rods has put me on fish I was missing before. They have allowed me to reach water that was off limits, fish deep runs more effectively and manage drifts like never before. I even got Kent turned on to two handers, which he previously had little interest in. The results speak for themselves. Switch rods have definitely changed the way I fish for trout.

The problem for me has always been weight. Finding a switch rod that was light enough to fish comfortably with a wide range of techniques, light enough to make fighting trout fun and yet still perform up to my standards. It’s been a real challenge, up until now. The Mystic M-3113-4 is my Goldilocks rod. It’s just right.

Eleven feet, three inches of pure joy this three weight comes in at just 4.75 ounces. It balances nicely with a four-weight trout reel and I can highstick it all day with no discomfort. This is huge for me as I have bad shoulders from an old injury. The three-weight Mystic is the only switch rod I have found that I can fish pain free.

The M-3113-4 has a butter-smooth medium action which rewards a delicate touch. There is no need to overpower the rod. It can bomb eight feet of line, two handed, without breaking a sweat. The same goes for single-hand casting. There is none of the tip vibration so common in long, light rods. Just silky smooth presentation.

I paired it with a 240 gr Airflo Scandi Compact. That’s a little heavier than the 215 gr Mystic recommends but I am very happy with it. It’s a very versatile head that allows me to throw a two or three nymph indicator set up or a modest sink tip. It’s a mute point for euro nymphing so I only have to change lines to fish dry flies. In that case a four-weight double-taper works well.

The quality of this rod struck me as soon as I took it out of the tube. It is very nicely finished and the reel seat hardware is nicer than what comes on some rods that cost twice what the Mystic does. I was impressed enough to get on the phone with Dennis Klein at Mystic to find out more about the company. I liked what I heard.

Dennis is a native of Michigan who started his career in the auto industry. “I worked for Mazda,” he told me, “and they had what they called senseis, or teachers. They taught me that nothing is acceptable. There is only perfect and wrong.” I’ve never owned a Mazda, but that’s exactly the kind of guy I want making my fly rods. That commitment to quality shows, both in design and execution.

Mystic rods are assembled in Michigan with proprietary blanks made to their specifications in Korea. That’s not uncommon these days but that’s not the end of the story. When I asked Dennis where he saw Mystic in ten years he told me two things without hesitation. “As one of the top three or four brands in the business and made in America.” That’s the first time a rod company using foreign blanks has ever told me they plan to move production to America and I liked hearing it.

Dennis’ knowledge of fly rod design and materials is impressive. Like most great fly rods much off the secret is in the material composition and it’s just that, secret. Dennis did explain some of the details to me including the extra three inches that Mystic is famous for. It turns out it’s not purely Freudian. The flex dynamic if the rod changes three inches from the tip adding extra shock absorption to protect fine tippet. It’s a nice feature and it seems to work.

The Mystic M series Switch comes in a dark gray finish with black wraps. It has two titanium stripper guides with porcelain inserts and stainless steel snake guides. The reel seat hardware is beautiful. Made of aircraft aluminum, its fit and finish is outstanding. The cork is very good and the whole rod is salt safe. The full Wells fore-grip is 11 3/4 inches long and ends in a handsome aluminum cork check. The bottom grip is is 4 inches with the end finished in composite cork. The black fabric covered rod tube bares the name Mystic in orange embroidery, which looks cool and shows the pride the rod was made with.

It’s not often that a rod comes along that changes the way I fish. The Mystic switch has done that, and changed it for the better. If you’re looking for a versatile lightweight switch rod that’s fun and easy to fish, at $479 the Mystic M Series Switch is hard to beat.

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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14 thoughts on “The Mystic 3wt Switch Rod Changes Trout Fishing

  1. Totally agree. This rod is a game changer for sure. Although I am migrating more towards pure swinging. This rod eats up yardage when lined with an ambush taper 5wt, 7-10 foot poly leaders and a bugger wet fly dropper . or just lose your mind completely and go with Bergman style wets. Your grandfather would be proud with a string of abbeys, Alexanders, and hares ears swung through likely pockets. I tried to indicator with it but became sick to my stomach.

  2. Great writeup. I have recently become intrigued with these rods as well. I just purchased an echo 412 TR. I love the versatility. So much fun. It has really given new life and excitement to fishing for me. I was looking for an active way to fish while avoiding the whole nymph / indicator game.

  3. In paragraph 6 I presume you mean eighty? (Sorry, the editor in me…). As for the rod, so far, I’ve only been able to try their 4113-4, and for those needing a bit heavier stick, your review is bang on for that rod as well! Can’t go wrong. Looking forward to getting my hands on one of those 3- weights. Great review. Thanks.

  4. I fish some small lakes from shore for trout, and started using a 12′ 5wt Switch Rod this year. The longer casts are awesome, and I’m pretty much considering this rod as my MANDATORY rod for this type of fishing. Amazing how much fun and fight even a 12″ trout will put up on these rods, and a 14-incher will trick you into thinking you’ve hooked the lake MONSTER. 🙂
    So…I have not tried a 3wt, but can totally agree with using Switch Rods for trout.
    Can I mention Crappies are a lot of fun on them too?

  5. I bought a blank from Dennis last year and made it my winter project, to build it on my own. I bought a 4wt, 10ft. 3 in. And it has quickly become my favorite rod. I’m a native Michigander, and anything I can do to support a local business, or an American business is a good thing in my book.

    Great work on these rods Dennis! Can’t wait to get a few more in my arsenal.

  6. Good review-
    I have been toying with the idea of getting a 11ft 3wt for euro/czech/polish style nymphing-which i do a lot of on my home waters in CO. My question is this-You said in the article that for euro nymphing the rod is “It’s a mute point for euro nymphing so I only have to change lines to fish dry flies” what do you mean by this? And would it be a good rod to designate as my euro nymphing rod set up, with a Rio Euro Nymph fly line? I wouldn’t be using any indicators with the set up all tight line rigs…IS the rod over kill for this or work well??

  7. You mentioned pairing the rod with a 4wt trout reel. Will a regular trout reel fit the shooting head, running line and backing? What model reel did you pair the rod with?

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