Long or Short heads?

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by Paul Huffman, Jun 30, 2006.

  1. Paul Huffman

    Paul Huffman Lagging economic indicator

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2004
    Messages:
    1,461
    Media:
    257
    Likes Received:
    190
    Location:
    Yakima, WA.
    Home Page:
    Congratulations to Steve on the FFF certification.

    I thought it was interesting that the FFF test emphasized casts with 80 ft. of line out, no shooting, while a lot of people seem to be moving into short head casting that involves a lot of shooting. This got me wondering if the FFF are bit stuck in the past, or am I blundering too fast into the bleeding edge. So rather than hijack Steve's thread, I start a new one.

    The reason I have so many questions is that I was just out with a guide that was really into short heads to the extreme, using a shooting head and braided running line. Terrific casting performance. He also linked the Skagit lines with the built in running line. Working in a bubble on my own, I'd all ready been stumbling in this general direction, shortening my Windcutter Interchangeable bit by bit with Skagit Cheaters until I settled on the shortest cheater, and ending up with a head length of just 45 ft. for my Sage 8126.

    When I first heard about two handed spey casting just a few years ago, spey proponents citing the ability to make long effortless casts without stripping in, just efficiently managing the whole length of line out, swinging, picking up, casting, and repeat. This sounded good to a single hander like me. I even got tennis elbow from a weekend of stripping in cold weather with a single hander. Yet with these short heads, we end up stripping line in. Not as much as with a single hander but still it reverts back to problems (or skill) managing the stripped line, keeping it organized so it will shoot. However, I used to catch fish with my single handed rod inside of these greased line spey casters, catching fish that they missed because their fly didn't get stripping in through this nearshore water numerous times. Therefore, I'd like to think short heads will help me cover this water by requiring a little stripping.

    Way back in 1996, Shewey and Maxwell released that book " Flyfishing for Summer Steelhead". Their approach was to use shooting heads and mono running line to get distance. But quickly people objected that there was no way to control the drift of that shooting head way out there. The Trey Combs approach was mend, mend, and mend again. The long rod, long belly spey casters proclaimed they had the best line control of all. It seems that the new short head approach with braided running line almost gets back to the swing control problems faced with the Shewey-Maxwell approach. But then again, how necessary is all that mending? The guide I was out with thinks that all those mends jerk the fly around too much, that it's better to use the extra distance you gain to allow good coverage of the water and angle downstream enough to control the swing speed. Just make one reach if necessary before the line settles on the water and let it be. Also, there was an interesting article in Fly Rod and Reel, I think, where these guys went out to the river with a bunch of spey lines to see which one would swing deepest. One of their more interesting findings was that any mend they applied, upstream, downstream, big or small, gave them a shallower drift than if they just let the line lie.
     
  2. inland

    inland Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Messages:
    606
    Likes Received:
    62
    Location:
    .
    "This got me wondering if the FFF are bit stuck in the past, or am I blundering too fast into the bleeding edge."

    Are a group of the best teachers in NA wrong about what should be required to be certified and teach two hand casting? Especially when you are only talking about 80' without shooting line. That is easily accomplished with a mid head line. Hardly a 'stuck in the past' head length.

    "However, I used to catch fish with my single handed rod inside of these greased line spey casters, catching fish that they missed because their fly didn't get stripping in through this nearshore water numerous times."

    Why didn't their fly cover these close in lies? Seems to be more of an angler problem instead of any limitations/advantages placed on gear or line choice.

    "Also, there was an interesting article in Fly Rod and Reel, I think, where these guys went out to the river with a bunch of spey lines to see which one would swing deepest. One of their more interesting findings was that any mend they applied, upstream, downstream, big or small, gave them a shallower drift than if they just let the line lie."

    That article tested where the depth ended up while swinging sink tips. At the end, or nearly so, of the swing. Not where it began and how deep it stayed through the swing until the water currents force the lines up. A nice idea but not really a true test of what is happening.

    William
     
  3. speyfisher

    speyfisher Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    1,089
    Likes Received:
    135
    Location:
    State of Jefferson U.S.A.
    FFF Instructors

    The idea behind the FFF certified instructor program is that the instructor be capable of teaching, not just demonstrating but teaching, how to do all the different casts, with whatever rod/line combination you wish to learn. One must also be aware of and able to perform on command, all the common mistakes of a less accomplished caster. And have the patience of Job.

    A guide on the other hand, only has to know how to do it his way. Whether that be nymphing under indicators with a single hand rod, or skating Bombers at distances beyond what you are capable of. His primary job is to put you onto fish. Your job is to choose a guide who is sympathetic to your style of fishing. Or learn his way of fishing.

    Steelhead flyfishing has developed many styles and techniques over the years. And it is still evolving. Everything has it's advantages & disadvantages. Single hand, double hand rods. Short shooting heads to long lines. They are just tools. The trick is to recognize the advantages, disadvantages & limitations of the different systems and techniques. Use whatever it takes (for you) to derive pleasure from the sport.
     

Share This Page