Casting Stroke - With Tips

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by Clarki, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. Another dude with a Deer Creek 13' 7/8.... another (hopefully valid question)

    I've been spending more and more time with the big stick. Last weekend while fishing the Stilly i was finally able to take off my sink tip an just cast my 500g Compact Skagit with my 13' 7/8 Deer Creek, I think the head is 26 feet or so. As usual I would pull the running line all the way back to the head and perform my cast. Simple, nice loops, no tips.

    Then while fishing the Skagit I put on 12' of T10. If I am adding 12' of heavy line to my head, it seems that it would make sense to pull my line in an additional 12' past the skagit head. After doing this I quickly learned that the head would not shoot through my guides nicely.

    While fishing with tips how should I change my casting stroke, and should i pull more head through my guides before starting my cast?

    Any help appreciated.
  2. When fishing heads start with the line junction 6 inches outside the rod tip try a few casts then try 6 more inches repeat the process till things get squirrlly at that point pull in between 6 inches and a foot that amount of overhang is normally the optimal point for the conditions you are fishing. The amount of overhang you use is influenced by length of rod and head you are using and how deep you are wading. You may also find that for best performance the amount of overhang may be different for lines from different manufacturers.

    Depending on which rod and line combination I am using I normally have between 1 and 5 feet of overhang when fishing Skagit or Scandie lines.

    fredaevans likes this.
  3. Hey Clarki- Part of the fun in spey casting is everyone gets to set up their rod and line combinations with what works FOR THEM.

    So I wouldn't want to sound like the "Spey Police" and tell you a certain way to fish.

    That said, casting the skagit head without tips (which by your description is what you are doing) would be considered unconventional.

    Typically skagit heads are designed to be fished with some sort of "tip." This tip can consist of tungsten line, versileaders, polyleaders, long mono, flouro, MOW's, cheaters etc... there are many options.

    If you were to switch between casting 12' of T10 as you mentioned and no tip at all, your cast is going to change considerably. The first thing you will notice is you will blow your anchor consistently as you don't have all that tungsten line in the water creating tension. The more consistent your tips are in length and weight, the less change required in your casting stroke.

    The pioneers in skagit casting also struggled switching between heavy tips, light tips, short tips, no tips.. they ended up splicing line and coming up with all kinds of configurations to handle the problems you are experiencing.

    Today companies offer commercial solutions to make things easier... you can pick up a 10' floating MOW tip for example, loop to the end of your skagit line and fish away. Or pick up a floating polyleader from Airflo. Or buy a Scandi line designed for surface work or... well you get the picture.

    While I said I wouldn't want to suggest what not to do, I will make one exception. You mention trying to cast the head inside the guides. As Ian indicated you can add overhang as much as you want, but I have yet to see anyone enjoy shooting heads with loops hanging inside the guides :)
  4. all of the above, additionally, no tip at all defies physics. nothing dissipating energy in your loop, not enough stick for your anchor.
    scandi line only needs a long leader (1.5 x rod length) not a tip. but skagit needs some kind of tip and a shorter leader. try 10' floating mow tip + 10-12' leader for practice, sink tips only need 3-4' leader.
    fredaevans likes this.
  5. Shooting heads make speycasting sooooo complicated! Loops in the line(s) won't help you land fish, eventually they'll mess you up.
  6. When you pull some of the head inside the guides, you have that much less grains in your D-loop to load the rod. Even though the connecting loops have become much smaller, those big fat Skagit heads are not going to go zipping out of the guides. The best solution I have found is; #1 all tips are the same length, #2 sustained anchor casts, about 12" overhang.

    By having all tips the same length, your casting stroke remains constant, making sink tips is no more difficult than casting a floater. Be sure to allow the tip to settle on the water enough to establish a solid anchor. Especially on casts off the downstream shoulder. When casting weighted flies, replacing the C-Spey (circle spey, snap-t) with the Perry Poke eliminates the chance of a broken rod tip. Just sayin.
    fredaevans likes this.
  7. Thank you all for the information! I think I may not be as terrible as I originally thought.
    I went in to visit Bjorn at the Fly Fisher in Lacey and found out that the Skagit head I had on my 7/8 wt was actually a 450g not a 500g. I was under-gunned to start with. As for the tips, I get it now, one must/should have a tip to successfully cast a skagit head... skagit style. I'm going to look for a 500-550g skagit head in the classifieds, put on similar tip lengths and see how I do.

    Takes a while to figure all this stuff out. And again, I appreciate all of your responses.

  8. speyfisher/Jim Jones knows where of he speaks. With a Skagit set up, 99% of the time, he can hit the trees across the Rogue River.
  9. I used a 570 gr Compact Skagit on that rod with a 15' tip (8wt tips)... the tips will add about 110gr to the line... A 540gr Compact Skagit should work as well, but I liked the heavier one... Don't have the rod anymore, or the shooting head, but it used to be my go to rod and was fished a lot before I sold it and replaced it with a rod I built... I do miss it though and may eventually replace it!
  10. Thanks for the input, Bill. I finally poneyed up and bought an Airflo 540g Skagit head. looks like adding 10-15ft tips will make it right. Turns out that I had been chucking a 450g skagit, with tips. Now I won't be so undergunned.

  11. The stroke you cast with has nothing to do with what particular type of line you are throwing. The type ( length) of stroke has everything to do with how long the head is..
    However if you are casting a sink tip the most important thing is to be smooth and get the line turned and laying in what Simon calls the "railroad tracks". If you want to be a good caster that is.. If you don't care if you become a good caster or not just do a snap tee and let it all pile up there wait a few seconds then make a forward cast... Both work great for casting sink tips. Just a matter of if you want to do it with style or not.. no wrong answer it's only fishing..
  12. Jim's nailed it so I'm bringing his post to the fore again. Only thing I'd add is with a Scandi head you're limited to very light tips (most use sinking poly leaders). With a Skagit you can 'ramp up' the grains.
    speyfisher likes this.
  13. Very light tips only have the ability to cast very light flies.
  14. Thanks Bill and Fred. I'll finally get out there Saturday morning for a couple of hours.


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