Mike,

Thanks for the comment. If your desire is to learn to spey cast and swing flies then get a full size spey in at least a 7wt (spey designation not single hand). If wish to nymph/indicate (i.e. use glo bugs, etc) occassional swing and fish smaller rivers then a switch rod isn't a bad choice.

Fundamentally I believe if you wish to learn to spey cast and swing properly you should learn on a larger rod. Reason why I don't suggest a shorter rod is because the anchors (i.e. landing the line before forward stroke) are very close to you with a switch rod. As a beginner you'll have the hook flying by you head very closely and with wind and bad casts inevitably you'll hook yourself. As well, with a longer rod you'll have more rod doing work and less margin for error (less urge to power things). I believe a shorter switch rod can sometimes magnify flaws. Lastly, it used to be difficult to get properly matched lines, but just in the past 2 years most major line makers have come out with purpose built "compact" or ultra short heads specifically designed for switch rods.

If you really want to get a feel for things you should visit speypages.com Everything spey is there and often very good deals on used equipment.

If you're going to ask which rod...that's virtually impossible to answer and people have different opinions. The one common answer is you should try before you buy. Some spey shops lend out rods and lines. Or, better yet get an instruction or go to a speyclave. Unfortunately the major Ontario one just wrapped up a few weeks ago.

Hopefully that helps but I'm sure I've just instilled more questions. That's the beauty of spey fishing...you never stop learning.