Demystifying Skagit and Scandi Heads

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by Steelie Mike, Jun 3, 2009.

  1. FT Active Member

    Posts: 1,242
    Burlington, WA
    Ratings: +102 / 0
    Perhaps for the same reason I like to use a floating line and skated dry fly in westside rivers after they drop to their summer low in July. There are many who can't figure out why I and many I know do this either.

    Heck, I remember back in the '60's and early 70's when if someone used a rod longer than 8' for trout he was considered an oddball who was using the wrong tool. That was the era of short rods for trout fishing. I remember using a 7' 6 wt Fenwick glass rod for trout fishing on the mainstem Delaware River in the 12 miles below Hancock, NY (Hancock is where the 2 branches join to form the mainstem) and this is huge water is a huge river (it is wider and bigger than the Skagit). Andn now there are folks using 12', 12'6", and 13'+ very light 2-hand trout speys for trout fishing. I wonder what some of the folks now dead I fished with as a high schooler in the late '60's would think of someone using a 12'6" trout spey for trout fishing on the Delaware.

    I also remember folks using 6' and 6'6" midge rods (they used 3 or 4 wt lines) for steelhead and Atlantic Salmon because they were more "sporting".

    Now it is rare to see someone fishing a medium to large trout river with a rod shorter than 9' with many folks opting for 10' or longer rods. And if someome shows up fishing with a 7' rod on such rivers (the Yakima for instance), it is said he is hurting his chances for success. Just like if someone shows up on the NF Stilly with a 6' midge rod to fish for summer steelhead.

    In other words, fly fishing rod length fads come and go. Right now we are in the short, 2-hand and switch rod cycle. Wait a few years, and we might will be back in a single-hand rod cycle. Then again, perhaps we might go back to a longer 2-hand rod cycle. Who knows or really cares. The bottom line is that just like there are folks who prefer to fish with single-hand rods of 9'-10' for steelhead, there are others like myself and William who perfer to use 14'-18' rods and long-belly lines for steelhead.

    So does it really matter what length rod and belly length line a majority of folks fish with currently?
  2. sothereiwas Member

    Posts: 304
    Issaquah, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    You guys are digging in a trying to defend your position like Brian's article and our comments are some kind of threat to you. Get over it. You guys brought up the whole long line thing. Yep I reread the thread title and its not mentioned there. Let it go.
  3. FT Active Member

    Posts: 1,242
    Burlington, WA
    Ratings: +102 / 0
    Yep, We brought up the long-belly lines for the simple reason that many (you included) were posting that Skagit was the only way to go for large flies and heavy tips. It was also brought up because Brian's article made the claim that Skagit was the only way to go for large flies and heavy tips, which is untrue on its face. We brought it up simply to point out the fallacy of the Skagit is the only way to fish large flies and heavy tips myth so that newbies and those with little experience spey casting understand that Skagit is not the only way to cast large flies.
  4. sothereiwas Member

    Posts: 304
    Issaquah, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    It is the most efficient way to fish tips and large flies.

    As far as the skating flies things goes. I have caught my fair share of Skamania brats on skaters but I would never blow smoke up someones ass and send a beginner out there with a steelhead caddis. There are better ways to catch more SWW brats than skaters.

    No one said its the only way. Read into it what you will, but for the sake of keeping things simple his artcile is dead nuts on. His article is not speaking about the limitations of the two types of lines.

    Hell you can go down to Guatemala and catch a sailfish on 4lb test, I saw Tred do it on TV, is that the purpose of 4lb tackle, is he a duece bag, you bet your ass he is.

    There are three kinds of fly fisherman I cant stand and, this only applies to the ones that wont shut up about it, they are as follows

    The graphite sucks crowd
    The I only fish dry flies presented up stream crowd
    The long belly close minded crowd.

    I'm done, time to go fishing :D
  5. Grayone Fishin' to the end, Oc.P

    Posts: 1,339
    boring, oregon
    Ratings: +111 / 0

    Tell ya what FT..........actually read the article and show us where it states the above....Next write a thread of your own explaining your above thoughts on scandie casting for beginners , comparing both styles skagit/scandie...................:thumb:
  6. ChrisC Member

    Posts: 639
    .
    Ratings: +24 / 0
    At least for me, "efficiency" is heavily dependent on where you fish and also whether you can tolerate the shooting and stripping that comes with a Skagit/Scandi (one can also make the case that they are less "efficient" from that perspective). For the bigger water like Sky and Skagit, my preference is to fish a mid (like a CND GPS) over a Skagit simply because I like not having to strip a lot of line for the longer casts. I also find that the GPS can handle heavier tips and large flies under most conditions.

    Only under very windy conditions do I resort to using a Skagit but even then I find that I resort to that less often with the CND than when I had the Midspey.

    To each their own, the link below shows that this debate is all a matter of personal preference:
    http://forum.flybc.ca/index.php?showtopic=17185
  7. TallFlyGuy Adipossessed!

    Posts: 870
    Vancouver, WA.
    Ratings: +45 / 0
    FT and Kerry,

    I am sure you can take a normal 7/8 wt 13.6' spey rod and place 10-15 ft of t-14 on a long belly/DT line (that hasn't been altered, or overlined to a rod) followed by a large fly, say 3inches with barrell eyes, and cast it 80+ feet. You can also log and haul lumber out of mountains with a toyota truck. You just don't do it, cuz it doesn't make sense. I also feel it is highly impossible to cast because of the physics involved and turning over the fly. If it can be done effectively down an entire run, rather than just maybe one or two hell mary's, let's see it. I would gladly meet you somewhere with camera in hand and shoot it, then post it here for all to see.
  8. FT Active Member

    Posts: 1,242
    Burlington, WA
    Ratings: +102 / 0
    Tall,

    I'd never even try to cast such a large fly and heavy tip on a 13'6" 7/8 rod and a long-belly (75' or longer) 7 wt line because there isn't enough mass in the line to do so. However, it isn't difficult at all to cast a fly and tip like that with a 16', 17', or 18' 10/11 or 11/12 wt rod and 10 or 11 wt long-belly line.

    The 13'6" 7/8 rod and a 7 wt long-belly line is a great combo for fishing smaller flies and skaters for summer runs on small and medium size rivers. And you can do so without having to strip any line whatsoever out to 85'. Just make cast after cast and never strip line.

    Grayone,

    I've often written my thoughts on beginners and how to best have them learn good, solid spey casting technique on speypages and here in WFF as well. In a nutshell, I think the best way for beginning spey casters to learn good technique is by using a rod of 13'6"-14' and a mid-belly floating line (65' belly, think Long Delta, Mastery Classic Spey, or PowerSpey), or a 12'6"-13' rod and a short-belly floating line (50'-55' belly, think Delta Spey, SA Short Spey, Windcutter) that is one line size heavier than the rod is rated for.

    Such rod length and line combinations allow a beginner to start with having 45' of line out the rod, which is easily managed by beginners, while making sure the new caster has to have his anchor placed relatively close to idea and yet still allows some margine of error for anchor placement. Such a combination also allows for a nice D Loop to be formed. The one size heavier line overloads the rod slightly and lets the new spey caster better feel the rod load and unload when casting, which aids in developing his technique.

    Once he is casting the 45' consistently with both a double spey and a snap-T, the line gets lengthened by 5' increments until the belly/running line transition is at the guide one down from the tip. Then when the full belly is being cast consitently with both double spey and snap-T, he gets to shoot 10' of line.

    Using the short or mid-belly line means he will have to have his anchor placed well, or he won't be able to shoot much line (and with the mid-belly, if the anchor isn't placed well, he won't be able to cast because the line will just collapse in the air). Thus, he learns good casting technique from the beginning. Then it is very easy for him to move to a Skagit, a Scandi, or a long-belly because he has learned proper anchor placement, D Loop formation, and the importance of making his forward spey 180 degree from his D Loop.

    Granted, using the short or mid-belly line will mean the newbie will have to spend a bit more time practicing before he can cast 65'-70', but in the end, it is worth the extra time because his technique will be solid.

    This is really no different than teaching someone to cast a single-hand rod. We don't start out telling new single-hand casters to go out and get a shooting head to learn how to cast, eventhough those of us who are experienced casters know that the shooting head can be cast well over 100' when done properly. In fact, to use the Skagit equivalent shooting head on a single-hand rod, we'd be telling him to get a shooting head line 4 sizes bigger than the rod is rated for and then cut off 15' of it and have him add 5' to 10' of tip to the line. No, instead, we tell the newbie to fly casting with a single-hand rod to get a standard WF floating line. We do this simply because the standard WF floating line is the best way for the new fly caster to learn good casting technique.
  9. sothereiwas Member

    Posts: 304
    Issaquah, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    11/12, kinda like using a crane to lift a brick isn't it. :rolleyes:
  10. inland Active Member

    Posts: 599
    .
    Ratings: +50 / 0
    Brad,

    I truly hope you make it this fall to the CW. I will gladly take time out of my fishing to get a casting and fishing lesson from you.

    William
  11. sothereiwas Member

    Posts: 304
    Issaquah, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Why the hell is the use of a 11/12 wt telephone poll relevant. A very small group of people use that kind of rod. Some how he thinks it relevant enough that he hijacks this thread. For what purpose? I'm the one popping off? This isn't a dick measuring contest. At least for me its not. It would be nice if some people would show a little respect to the writer of the article and the originator of the thread and take the double taper ego stroking irrelevant crap elsewhere.
    :beer2:
  12. sothereiwas Member

    Posts: 304
    Issaquah, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Since you'll feel its important to bring up all the ways to throw large flies I decided that we needed to be completely thorough. You could use:

    catapult
    sling shot
    water balloon launcher
    potato gun
    with the right cone size and air rifle would work
    pair of panties
    a bra
    hell you could probably throw an intruder 100' with your hands
    :rofl:
  13. FT Active Member

    Posts: 1,242
    Burlington, WA
    Ratings: +102 / 0
    It's relevant because there are quite a few of us who use them (and despite your characterization, they aren't telephone poles, nor are they cranes either-they are simply the right tool to use when casting big, heavy flies with long-belly lines) and these are the line weight rods we use to cast big, heavy flies. Also, to set the record straight, I use a long-belly WF spey line (the SA XLT or RIO GrandSpey) with a belly of 100' and 90' respectfully, not a DT.

    As for hijacking the thread. That's crap. Those of us who posted about lines other than Skagits being able to cast large, heavy flies were simply doing so to inform the newcomers and uninformed that Skagit lines aren't the only way to cast such flies with a 2-handed rod.

    Also, I regulary use a 16' 8/9 rod with an 8 wt long-belly spey line (SA XLT), or a 13' 7/8 with a mid-belly (PowerSpey) line for fishing summer runs. I suppose these are telephone pole as well.

    Am I to take it that all of you advocating that Skagit is best would recommend a newcomer to trout fishing with a fly to get a single-hand 8'-9' 5 wt rod and have him line it with a 9 wt shooting head that has 15' cut off it so it has the proper line grainage to not overload the rod and ballance it properly and be only 20'-22' long with a tip so he can cast a big streamer easier?
  14. TallFlyGuy Adipossessed!

    Posts: 870
    Vancouver, WA.
    Ratings: +45 / 0
    That is what you said. Notice the crap in red.

    The following is a quote from Brian's article...

    Up here in the Pacific Northwest, we are faced with many occasions when you can only wade out 5-6 feet from the bank, with your next step in being over your head! Fishing at a distance really isn’t the goal here. The idea is to just get your fly out there far enough to "swing" it into the bucket. Given a traditional head length of say, 50-75 feet, it becomes difficult to get a cast out with this little room, much less turn over a fly of substantial (4+ inches) size and weight! I have yet to find a fly that is too large for steelhead (my largest fish thus far came on a 6'' fly)......

    So again, the Skagit head was designed to turn over these flies in what some may feel an industrial manner
    .


    So from this, where are you guys getting so riled up about your precious long rods and long belly lines? Where does Brian say that Skagit lines are "THE" only way to go for sink tips and large flies? I'll bet FT, You didn't even read the article and now you feel a little puckered up right now. right?
  15. Flyborg Active Member

    Posts: 2,309
    Kalama, WA
    Ratings: +602 / 0
    The old crew doesn't like skagit heads. It's like beating off for 50 years, thinking you've cheated blindness through skillful technique and an awesome moustache, only to find out it was all a damn lie.

    This thread needs pics of Brian on the accordion. He's a machine.
  16. FT Active Member

    Posts: 1,242
    Burlington, WA
    Ratings: +102 / 0
    Tall,

    Yep, I read it before I posted anything. I've also read all the other posts on the thread.

    So, let's take a look at how most folks would take what Brian wrote.

    Given a traditional head length of say 50'-70', it becomes difficult to get a cast out with this little room, much less turn over a fly of substantial size and weight!

    So again, the Skagit head was designed to turn over these large flies in what some may feel is an industrial manner.


    Since he wrote: 1) that a traditional head length line makes it difficult to cast with little room; 2) much less turn over a fly of substantial size and weight; and 3) the Skagit head was designed to turn over these large flies, the average newcomver will read this as Skagit heads are what is used to cast large, heavy flies and also the line to use when there is limited room behind the angler to form a D Loop. Therefore, by implication, the newcomer will decide erroneously that he needs to go out and buy a Skagit head setup because it is the way to go for casting large flies and so casting smaller flies ought to be a breeze.

    Then there are all the posts by those telling folks that long rods and long-belly lines (that is line with bellies of 75'-100') are either for fools or those who don't know anybetter. to fish. We have simply pointed out that there are ways other than using Skagit lines to fish big, heavy flies.

    I've said this many times and it is worth repeating it again, the belly length line, length of rod, and line weight rating of the rod are personal preferences and there are not right or wrong combinations, just different ones. Plus, one is not better than another, just different and each has its own difficulties. This is why some of us point out that there are other ways of spey casting with different belly length lines when someone posts something that implies or point blank says so that there is this one and only one way to do it.
  17. TallFlyGuy Adipossessed!

    Posts: 870
    Vancouver, WA.
    Ratings: +45 / 0
    I think it would be smart for beginners to feel that skagit lines were designed to turn over large flies and tips. Having an 18' rod and only 5-6 feet of back cast room with an 80' head seems very very tough, but I guess there are "those" that can do it.

    your quote..Therefore, by implication, the newcomer will decide erroneously that he needs to go out and buy a Skagit head setup because it is the way to go for casting large flies and so casting smaller flies ought to be a breeze.

    Most newcomers come to forums and the internet to do their research. Maybe they have a friend or know someone who they can ask. Do you really want to recommend newcomers throw 18' rods with 100' heads. That should be the last thing in the universe they should see. So I don't understand why it is such a big deal. As far as 99.9% of the newcomers out there, skagit lines should be "the only" thing they should use for big flies, but Brian was diplomatic and didn't even phrase it like that at all.

    I have a couple buddies who want to learn how to spey cast. No way in hell am I gonna even tell them to come close to an 18' rod and long belly line. Who would? That would be like having them get a degree in electrical engineering in order to turn on a light bulb.
  18. sothereiwas Member

    Posts: 304
    Issaquah, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
  19. FT Active Member

    Posts: 1,242
    Burlington, WA
    Ratings: +102 / 0
    sothereiwas,

    Did you even bother to read my prior post on this thread about what rod length and line setup I'd start someone out with to learn spey casting? I never said anything about a newbie starting with an 18' rod and long-belly line.

    Also, since when does someone with limited backcast room need to cast 80' of long-belly on an 18' rod to fish a slot 20'-40' from shore? Just like with a single-hand rod when trout fishing, one using a long rod and long-belly line cast easily cast a lot less than the complete belly when fishing. Afterall, isn't that what good fishermen do? I.e. cast the amount of line needed to cover the lie or run whether it is 20' or 100'+.

    And there you go again, saying the 99.9% of newbies to spey casting should be using Skagit heads to cast large flies. By implication once again you are telling newbies that if they don't go Skagit, they are not doing the right and proper thing. And all the while you know full well that there is no such thing as the perfect belly length line for everyone. All of them can be used and all of them are the proper line to use when properly matched line size wise to the size flies being cast. But this truth doesn't stop you from telling newbies to spey that Skagit is the only way to go and implying that if they use some other line belly, they are hurting their ability to learn spey casting.
  20. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,755
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,777 / 0
    TFG,

    The offer to fish the Skagit still stands. Bring a fucking movie crew if you want. But, lets have some fun fishing before we get all exited about proving you can't cast a DT and a sink tip with a 16' rod.

    What a waste of time.