Demystifying Skagit and Scandi Heads

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

  1. sothereiwas Member

    Posts: 304
    Issaquah, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    You did say that would be the required tool to throw the setup Justin mentioned. 16,17,18' 10/11 11/12. So would it have been more accurate of me to say 16' 10/11. Because thats a much better stick for a beginner than a 18' 11/12. Lets compare apples to apples here.
  2. TallFlyGuy Adipossessed!

    Posts: 851
    Vancouver, WA.
    Ratings: +34 / 0
    Come on FT, You really think if you asked 100 fly shops who carry speyrods and have newcomers walk in their door, and 100 instructors that teach and set up newcomers - if they start those newcomers off with 18' rods and 80' lines to cast larger flies? Uh, NO, I'm sure most don't even carry long rods on their shelfs..... so by your logic, or implication, I guess all those shops and instructors are saying that skagit heads are the "only" thing to use. I'm sure a long rod has it's place, but not in a newcomers hands.
  3. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,718
    Bellingham
    Ratings: +67 / 0
    Just make sure you boys have this video playing in another browser tab when you type your next post in this thread!

  4. ChrisC Member

    Posts: 639
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    Ratings: +24 / 0
    Skagit heads are great and I use them on occasion under the circumstances I described earlier. That said, the fact that they are more forgiving for someone new to spey casting is also a risk that one just becomes proficient at casting a short line. What FT mentioned in terms of starting and progressing with a midbelly line was how I got started. I am by no means a better caster than many of the guys I see on the Skagit and Sauk rivers, but there have been several times where I have fished behind a guy fishing a short swing with a Skagit and picked off a fish that was just beyond his casting range.

    That said, there seems to be a geographic correlation between the diversity of views. The opinions and the favored setups are certainly specific to their waters and experiences (as I am also guilty of), so there's no right or wrong but strong preferences.
  5. inland Active Member

    Posts: 592
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    Ratings: +45 / 0
    TFG,

    If I were to ask 100 shops in Scotland, Norway, Northeast, or the PNW I think the answers would all be different depending on the geographic region/target species.

    15-20 years ago 15'+ rods were recommended to cast heavy tips and (relative to the time) big flies. Obviously alot has changed. I seriously doubt my son would have been able to start fishing winter steelhead with me a couple years back (at age 14) without the skagit head. This allowed him to be proficient enough to be fishing on his own with minimal practice time/less frustration. However there is no doubt in my mind the mechanics he started learning at 11 with a floating windcutter helped tremendously. A 13' 8/9 and windcutter IS a big set-up for an 11 yo kid. Which he handled like a champ back then.

    I am a fan of skagit and scando. The same as a fan of short heads, midheads, sink tip lines, full sinking DT's, full sink midheads. And of course long belly lines of all configurations. Which is somewhat recent (2003'ish when the XLT hit the market). There was a time from about 1995 to 2003 where everything in my two handed world revolved around going lighter. Cutting and splicing lines to make custom heads for 5 and 6 wt trout rods (which were cut and glued to build 12' - 13' two handers) to catch steelhead with. It was blast. I really do enjoy casting a full floating DT. Accepting the fact it takes more work and I can only cast it to 95-100' consistantly under fishing conditions.

    Have pretty much come full circle and back to what I started with. While I truly enjoy all the rods and lines my passion lies with casting the long rod and long line. Are these rigs for everyone? Absolutely not. But neither are the latest and greatest 6's and 7's throwing 600-800 grains with tip and jig backed by spinning line.

    In the end any rookie taking advice for face value off the internet gets what they deserve. Whether its a written article or the 57 opinions between 13 anglers of what line/rod to use. They NEED to get in contact with people who really are the experts of the field and not let their ego/fears get in the way of asking 'dumb' questions. One phone call or visit to a reputable shop solves any implied 'mystery' of various lines at roughly the same cost as the web. A day with Mike Kinney is worth 100,000,000 hours of reading BS on the net.

    William
  6. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,718
    Bellingham
    Ratings: +67 / 0
    Maybe the best post ever. :thumb:
  7. FT Active Member

    Posts: 1,233
    Burlington, WA
    Ratings: +100 / 0
    TFG and sothereiwas,

    Where are the two of you getting this crap that I've said a beginning spey caster ought to go out and get an 18' rod? or even a 16' 10/11 rod? I never said that.

    If you bother to read my post a few back wherein I wrote about what I'd recommend to a beginner, you'd see no mention of a 16'er, let alone an 18'er. Nor will you see mention of me recommending them getting a long-belly line. Chris got it correct in his post about what I actually wrote regarding my recommendations of rod length, line weight, and belly length.

    And as Chris said in his last post, "there's no right or wrong, but strong preferences". And that is exactly what I've written in a prior post on this thread. Some like longer rods and long-belly lines, some like Skagit heads and shorter, lighter line wt. rods, and some like everything in between.

    My first post on this thread was to correct an error that Skagit is better than Scandi for casting large, heavy flies. Nothing more and nothing less. It was never intended to turn into a Skagit vs. everything else, especially long-belly lines and longer rods.

    And frankly, I'm surprised that is what it was turned into. Which by-the-way also necessitated more posts by myself and others about long-belly lines to dispell the further myths and untruths that were posted about them.
  8. sothereiwas Member

    Posts: 304
    Issaquah, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Let it go. You are completely missing the point of the article. It is obviously written to, in the simplest terms, explain the main uses of the two lines. Simple terms help the novice angler understand making it easier for them to make a decision about which direction they would like to go. Throwing long bellies into the mix and arguing in detail the differences is completely counter productive. The fact that you think that all this information needs to be shoved down there throats make no sense what so ever.

    As far as what a beginner should start with. Any line with a continuos taper will teach a beginning caster good mechanics. The difference between throwing a 35' scandi head and a 75' head is timing. If your tip is not tracking properly you don't need a 50+ foot head to tell you so.

    Let it go man your confusing the poor bastards.

    Inland, great post, I'll let you know when we decide on what week we'll be over there. We can meet for a beer and argue about flies or something we haven't covered yet.

    Brad
  9. Brian Thomas Active Member

    Posts: 774
    Kamloops B.C
    Ratings: +96 / 0
    Skagit is better .

    Simple physics .
  10. Verne Member

    Posts: 76
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    Ratings: +6 / 0
    Boyz, go fishing with your skagits, scandi's or long bellies and have some fun. Leave the competition on the play field or office, fishing is for fun and relaxation.
  11. Mark Moore Active Member

    Posts: 689
    Vancouver, Wa.
    Ratings: +29 / 0
    From a rookie, or about to be rookie, I have to say that reading all the impassioned arguments for various positions is actually VERY informative.

    I have tried to ask at each of the fly shops I shop at in the Portland area and it seems like each one speaks a different dialect of the same basic language. I have found it very intimidating because I just can't afford to make a $1000 mistake so I just say ok and leave the store trying to decipher what was informative and what was salesmanship. I consider myself pretty transparent so a wounded ego isn't really a worry but a wounded wallet is.

    I must say, however, after reading this entire thread it is no longer a mystery to me why gear fishermen laugh at us.:D
  12. Big Tuna Member

    Posts: 1,933
    Wenatchee, Washington
    Ratings: +36 / 0
    That's why it pays to work w/ someone like Poppy who will send you lines to try to you can dial in your rod and find a line system that you like. Personally, my goal is to ultimately be able to cast long bellies. That's the penultimate in my mind.
  13. SpeySpaz still an authority on nothing

    Posts: 1,818
    Roy, WA
    Ratings: +10 / 0
    hey, props to FT for making his argument in a civil manner.

    For throwing big flies in the waters I fish at the flows I fish them, Skagit is the assassin's tool...because the trees are never far behind--ass in the bushes, as I like to say--
    but if I were fishing bigger water, long pools, open bars behind, I'd be fishing the big uglies off a longbelly with a thunderstick. For smaller flies on smaller to mid-rivers, I like lightscandi because it's easy on the shoulder and fun, making circles in the air and whatnot.

    Now that we're getting into the dryline months, I can't wait to line up the long rods with midbelly floaters and fish low water patterns. What a gas. I have a 14' 6/7/8 Meiser S rod being wrapped as we speak...and I'm twitching with anticipation.


    peace, you guys. It's fun, ennit?
  14. Panhandle Active Member

    Posts: 4,103
    Selkirk Mountains, Idaho Panhandle
    Ratings: +23 / 0
    There seems to be middle ground missing here..

    If I was to suggest a set up to learn on, and learn on the right way, it would be 12.6ft -14ft
    rod and a mid to long belly floater. In the end the individual is going to learn the right habits as far as mechanics. It may be a little tougher than learning on a skagit head, but it will benefit them in the long run with all styles.

    A skagit would instill bad habits and a long rod with a 100 ft head would cause the person to throw the rod on the beach and swear off spey casting.
  15. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,264
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,224 / 9
    Well stated. No measurements needed.

    Middle Ground? Compromise? Not in this group. Thanks Panhandle for expressing that there are many ways to get started. I have a starter setup much like you recommend. I've also got some skagit and long bellies that I try to wrap around myself from time to time. So far that long belly is the toughest SOB to manage but I can roll cast that sucker pretty far. Getting it airborne is another matter. I agree that bad habits can be easily picked up. I probably have some already with the skagits that sometimes make me think I know what I'm doing...a quick fly to the back of the head at cruising speed keeps me well grounded as to my lack of talent.
  16. alpinetrout Banned or Parked

    Posts: 3,879
    Hiding in your closet
    Ratings: +59 / 0
    Wow... Seven pages of confirmation that spey rodders are way more into talking about their gear, drinking Scotch, and giving history lessons than actually putting it to use and catching fish. If it weren't for people like Brian simplifying it into easy to digest information that makes sense, spey casting would have never made it from completely gay to just somewhat bi-curious.
  17. chromeseeker Where's the Bucket?

    Posts: 132
    Your City ,State Vancouver, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Leave it to spey rodders to take such a simple, well-written and insightful article and turn it into complete clusterf**k. Holy crap.

    Look, I know there are folks out there who may be able to cast chicken-sized intruders 100' with a DT line and that's fine but my questions is, why the hell would you WANT to? Sure, I'd love to fish behind a guy like that as well but not because I'd like to watch him put on a show. I'd love to fish behind him because I know at some point the poor bastard is going to drop dead from exhaustion and I'll have the rest of the runs to myself or else he's going to rip his rotator cuff and again, runs to myself.

    Innovation is great and that's what the scandi and skagit lines give us. I think graphite is great but I also really appreciate my 'boo rod for trout. I enjoy casting a long belly dry line in the summer but I know a scandi is less work. Midspey and medium belly lines work well in the winter with tips but coupled with big flies, they suck compared to skagits.

    I'm a believer in using the right tool for the job and skagits and scandis are just tools for casting , pure and simple and I think Brian's article highlights this pretty well.

    Many of you guys sound like a bunch of rod polishing, line splicing, grain-contemplating geeks for christ sake. Just grab a line, rod and reel that make you happy and go fishing and quit quibbling over totally useless shit and splitting the proverbial hair.

    Maybe that's why I've been dabbling in gear fishing for bass over the last couple of years. Bass anglers are big on practicality over prettiness and I respect that philosophy. They'd be laughing their asses off at this hair-pulling slap fight.

    CS
  18. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,534
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,525 / 0
    It is sort of like the old why do you ride a hardtail question; if I have to explain it to you, you will never understand.
  19. ChrisC Member

    Posts: 639
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    Ratings: +24 / 0

    There are some who wouldn't mind fishing behind you.;)
  20. chromeseeker Where's the Bucket?

    Posts: 132
    Your City ,State Vancouver, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Of course I wouldn't understand as I know nothing about motorcycles. That's what a hardtail is, I assume?

    CS