Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by James Waggoner, Oct 22, 2010.
Both have their place. I like the sunk heads on bigger water. Longer cast, broader swing, not as many belly issues around seams. Very few boulder fields to worry about. I don't know how big / heavy of flies you guys are fishing. A 10/11 PT [approx 570gr] will whack out a 4" tube with body weight & turbo cone pretty nice. I think it's easier to get a nice slooow swim from your fly once you've cut below the surface currents.
I still prefer a skagit on small / medium water. Short accurate cast and most times it's shallow with a defined deep trough on the outside of bends. Hi-D quick sink is big benefit. To long of sink and your dragging bottom on inside.
A lot of regional diffs no doubt.
I'm cutting up my only scandi head and making a home made sink tip line for my switch rod out of it. Compact skagit only on the spey this winter.
I needed a bigger river last weekend using my buddies 6126 Beulah with the Beulah line and it 100% blew away my Deer Creek 5/6 126! Love the skagit lines, but Beulah has it dialed in!
I thought the Skagit system was the only way to catch steelhead on a spey rod ... ?
Skagit lines certainly do all that their champions say. I continue to use them from time to time, but not with regularity, even in winter. Here's why. I fish big rivers for winter steelhead. Oddly enough, I seldom have to deal with really deep or fast water, just classic "steelhead swinging" flows. That means big rods, and will as long as I'm able to manage them. And that in turn means long belly lines. Not floaters, but cut back and looped, with usually 15-foot tips. Such lines aren't the most efficient load lifters, but they can handle Size 1 to 2/0 flies, as long as they're not burdened with lead or tungsten eyes or heads. So I get to enjoy the pleasure of long casts across drifts of all sizes, with little or no line stripping.
I too am playing with the DDC for colder water swinging. The boulder fields are managed by the system, just like the Skagit. I really like the slower swing you get when you get below the surface a little. Peter Charles has a site on using the scandi system in the Great Lakes. You might want to read some of his thoughts.
http://ww.hooked4life.ca/glsteelhead/Home.html (add a w)
Interesting. I had a conversation with a guy down at the Gorges fly shop this summer. I told him the way I like to fish for winter fish in the rivers "I" fish, is with the old "beer can" Rios. Turns over big (6-7inch) flies with a 15foot section of T-14 where as no other line has for me. I fish rivers with low vis big flows and with big big flies. He told me that the front taper on a line helps turn large flies over. I was a little sceptical of this assumption. I'm not sure if it is the rivers he is fishing and if he did not have a grasp of how large the flies I am using are. I wanted to cry when RIO did away with its old skagit line. When everyone was blowing them out this summer I jumped on as many of them as I could.
So for me the idea is to poke a large fly with little backcast room and a heavy tip. I will be using my bulky skagit until someone can show me different.
re-read my post. I have never nymphed for steelhead. What i was describing was swinging flies off my speyrod with a dryline in the winter...the only difference between my summer and winter presentations is the typical fly size and weight (larger in the winter). No bobber. No splitshot. Taught line after initial mend/ swing setup.
and to answer your question mumbles, the length of leader varied from about 13 ft to 16 ft depending on the rod i was using (leader at least as long as the rod, and never shorter than 12).
I agree with you John. Besides the front taper doesnt allow me to use my 5ft intermediate cheater and 12ft of T-14 witch matches my 14 foot rod lenth. So I adjusted my casting stroke to the point that it is uncomfortabe and lost some of my confidence witch is even more important. I am going back to the bulky skagit as well.
Doesn't this limit the water you fish to shallowish and/or slow water? In water over 4' with some moderate current once it starts swinging the fly will climb fast and never have a chance to stay down....and if your feeding line to keep it down your just nymphing really.
...But if you're catching fish and enjoying yourself, that's what really matters isn't it.
The dry line long leader and weighted fly is a typical summer steelhead tactic that is very effetive in softer flows and clear water.
I prefer a DDC over any floating line/sink tip system, but especially a skagit, unless I am fishing pocket water with exposed or near surface boulders needing serious line control to steer/swim the fly/flure around/through. Or if I am using large feathered jigs (which is fun). I also prefer full sinking line spey line systems (jock monteith or CND make a great line with an inti body and various density tips) over the DDC (but I also prefer longer rods). Fishing the dryline is my favorite however for winter or summer. Use what makes you happy.
No offense William, I understand the pricinple just don't really see it happening in six feet of water long enough to entice much of anything in cold water with limited visibility...conditions of winter a lot of the times.
Is it nymphing as you explained it? No. ...is it fishing like you think it is? I really doubt it. I just can't get my mind around how 16' of mono,with the back bone to turn over a winter size weighted fly, gets down and stays down long enough to be effective in winter conditions. I'm sure there is a lot for me to learn that I'm not considering.
I'm not bad mouthing this method my any means, I use this method a lot in the summer and yes it is a blast to hook up with.
BCS Count Downs on gotta go...
James that is the same set up I used...and thought the same thing...I found that to lift and do a single spey..which is one of the joys of a scandi, mid or longer line...was near impossible with that set up, as a matter of fact I found I had to lift, cast back downstream to get the line out of the water and cast again..talked with what I'd consider a guru of winter steelheading and he said he found the same thing and asked "why cast twice when once is enough"? ....but like I said...I went with it...and your results may be different, so will be interesting to hear..
The use of a floating line and standard leader..i.e. summer steel fishing..intrigues me more now...I have put some fairly decent sized and weighted flies out with this system...actually did that yesterday and was surprised by it...that said, your in close you had to get more of your line out to cast um half decent..also watched the fly in the water and depth..was fine for shallower and gin clear water...will be using tips when winter comes .. but since nextcast makes just heads now..will carry one for days when I can get away with using it...
Depends on the river system. In high flows with low vis, probably not the first type of fishing to grab. But under low, clear, cold conditions, it does seem like it would work just fine. Personally I know Tom, and what he's saying isn't BS. I plan on using the same technique this winter to see if it won't help my catch rate during those kinds of conditions.
James, if conditions dictate I agree and I hope I never implied Tom was full of BS....Tom my apologies if it came across that way.
just pullin your leg boss man, it was too easy! i can think of several stretches on the skagit and skykomish where the floater could easily get the job done. same thing i did a lot this summer on the local ditches and lost enough flies to know with enough slack line drift it gets down juuuust fine. curious what line you toss with this approach.
i think i saw you on the snatch last weekend. saturday below town. tight lines brah!
Golfman, when it is sunk, a single spey is near impossible, definitely gotta go to a double spey or snap T. I'm sure you can agree this system fishes better than it casts...and it fishes very well. With that in mind here are a few tips to perhaps help with your casting frustrations:
Keep your leader short (3-4 feet).
Keep the fly light, try a tube fly. (Since your depending on the line to get your fly down and not the fly, go lighter...and at this point even smaller. I can't see the benefit in a 4" leach, when you got it low, slow and on their nose.
Lighten the head by cutting it back a couple more feet. This should help in two respects, a lighter and shorter head is easier to clear the water.
You may have already considered these things, either way it's worth giving it another whirl.
guilty as charged....were you one of the guys in a boat?