Skagit Head to Short?

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by troutdopemagic, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. troutdopemagic Active Member

    Posts: 406
    Lake Stevens, Washington
    Ratings: +134 / 0
    I finally set-up my two hander but I feel like I purchased to short of a Skagit head. I'm using a 650grain Skagit Flight so it's 27ft. plus a 15' tip of various weights. I'm throwing it on a 14'9" 9 weight Redington RS4. Is that head too short or am I just a shitty caster?
  2. Christian Brewer Super Slacker

    Posts: 354
    Slacking in Mill Creek
    Ratings: +17 / 0
    I'm not familiar with that rod...but I know plenty of people that use Skagit lines with 15' rods. Try starting with a floating tip or poly leader. Once you have that figured out try a type 3 tip and an unweighted fly. Then try either a weighted fly with that tip or move to a Type 6 tip with an unweighted fly.

    You could also go to Fall City on Saturday mornings and talk to Aaron about your casting and your rod/line set up. I think he still does the casting lessons there every Saturday?

    Good luck,
    Christian
  3. Steelie Mike Active Member

    Posts: 1,600
    Camas, WA
    Ratings: +24 / 0
    Yes, but I could rant about this in several ways. I would recommend following up on the idea of Fall City. If you can find some old Skagit cheaters then you might find a band aid for the problem as well. I hate cheaters, but they can help alleviate the problem.
  4. David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

    Posts: 1,910
    Walla Walla, WA
    Ratings: +740 / 0
    I use a Short head on a 13'6" rod and it is "technical" (20' + heads). I can cast it all day fine, but it definitely requires more attention, and a slightly modified "side arm" cast is used most of the time if I want to throw any kind of a roll cast. I also wad the line just up stream of me and then make my cast (stack cast? I dunno, I'm self taught). It's great when I have 0 back casting room.

    I think I have read the standard-ish use for shorts is for rods under 13'. Some say 10-11, with 12-13 being borderline.

    The old Rio chart shows that rod using a 600-650 grains, so your weight seems in the right zone.

    So all those words aside, (and like Mike already said) yes it seems your head is probably to short for how you are casting, and life would be easier with a longer head. If it were me I'd just go get a 650 Skagit for that rod and try it. But I am a tinkerer with a high tolerance for failure :)

    *******Arg. Apparently anywhere in the Spey portion of this forum, i encounter a nexus called "Dave fails reading comprehension 101." Egad, you not only didnt say short, you even noted you had a 27' head. I'm leaving the above to demonstrate my ignorance.
  5. speyfisher Active Member

    Posts: 1,056
    State of Jefferson U.S.A.
    Ratings: +136 / 3
    In the old days, 3x rod length was considered the norm for Skagit heads (including the (sink) tip. Now people are going as short as 2.5x rod length. So your system seems to be close to spot on. Even a bit long, but I wouldn't worry about a couple of inches. What kind of sh!tty casts are you getting? What weight are your tips? What size flies are you playing with?
  6. troutdopemagic Active Member

    Posts: 406
    Lake Stevens, Washington
    Ratings: +134 / 0
    I'm just starting Spey casting (I've fished a single hand for 10+ years) I was throwing the aforementioned Skagit head with an 15' Intermediate Tip and no fly, just yarn. I was just doing a simple Snap-T and Double Spey. I have a UniSpey shooting head thats a mid belly I could give a try also, but my understanding is I can't throw as heavy tips or as big of flies with that particular line.
  7. speyfisher Active Member

    Posts: 1,056
    State of Jefferson U.S.A.
    Ratings: +136 / 3
    The determining factor regarding the lines capability of turning over big flies is the dia at the tip end of the line. This includes the looped on (sink) tip. Although I am not familiar with the Skagit flight series heads, I would assume a 650 Skagit flight head would be capable of handling a RIo 150 grain tip. Rio would probably call this a 9/10 wt tip. Mass density is the property we are concerned with here. Meaning how much does the tip of the head weigh in grains/ft, and how much does the tip weigh in grains/ft. It takes mass to cast mass.

    There is a reason why a lot of people prefer T-14 tips to huck those big intruder type flies. MASS! That stuff weighs 14 gr/ft! (duhhh) Not only that, it is built on 35lb mono core. In order to cast T-14, the tip of the head must be of equal or greater density. That equates to minimum .080 dia just behind the loop.

    Now, all that aside, if you are consistently pulling your anchor, you need to either adjust your casting stroke, or adjust your tackle. Other than that, bogie on down to Fall City on Saturday mornings and talk to Aaron.
    fredaevans likes this.
  8. SSPey Member

    Posts: 141
    Oregon
    Ratings: +9 / 0
    for my tastes, rods that are LONGER and STIFFER required longer skagit lines, at or even above the 3X ratio. Your RS3 14'9" meets those criteria. I routinely fish 2.4X on a soft 11' rod.
  9. TrevorH Active Member

    Posts: 428
    Bellingham, WA, US.
    Ratings: +32 / 0
    X2...

    ...soft rods facilitate ultra-short line length ratios by smoothing/dampening the power application of ones forward stroke, preventing blown anchors. They also bend deeper and are "functionally" shorter than a stiffer rod of of equal length. That said, I don't think you are out of the window, especially if you use 4'+ of tippet. You may just prefer a softer rod.
  10. speyfisher Active Member

    Posts: 1,056
    State of Jefferson U.S.A.
    Ratings: +136 / 3
    Another thing I've encountered, including myself when I first started trying to cast a two hand rod, is the notion that a Spey cast is just a roll cast done with a longer rod. FORGET THAT! Maybe it started out that way. But what we know today as a Spey cast, be it touch & go or sustained anchor, is nothing like a roll cast.

    Not knowing what your "sh!tty" casts look like makes it difficult, if not impossible to prescribe a fix. Go see Aaron. Or Mike Kinney.
    fredaevans likes this.
  11. hydrological beads are NOT flies and snagging is just ghetto

    Posts: 537
    inland
    Ratings: +99 / 0
    poly leaders looped to a skagit head, don't give you near enough anchor in my experience. they were designed for scandi heads, and traditional bellies, not skagit lines ! just try weighing one, and then weigh a 15' tip from your skagit line.

    try wading progressively deeper with each cast. if your problem starts to go away when you get, say, waist deep, a longer head MIGHT help. if not, your problems lie elsewhere. if you are going from a longer belly line to a skagit, you will need a much more compact stroke. try keeping your hands clooser to your body. i know i have trouble remembering this when i make the switch.
  12. troutdopemagic Active Member

    Posts: 406
    Lake Stevens, Washington
    Ratings: +134 / 0
    I went out practicing again today with the 650 Skagit head and my Unispey line and i'm starting to beileve its more my cast then the line seeing as how I never did get a single decent cast with the UniSpey, I couldn't load the rod efficiently. When I cast my Skagit however, I noticed that the back end of the head seemed to drop like a rock and that I was pooling up slack when I set my anchor. I should probably seek professional help for my casting.....
  13. Wadecalvin Member

    Posts: 240
    Redmond Oregon
    Ratings: +11 / 0
    I agree the finished product is nothing like a roll cast but the roll cast is definitely an essential building block to more advanced casts. It is the best way for a newbe to practice his forward stroke. IF a new caster does not understand the roll cast and cant do one correctly he will continue to struggle.
  14. Nooksack Mac Active Member

    Posts: 1,948
    Bellingham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +109 / 0
    How much overhang of the head beyond the rod tip are you employing? I would keep it to no more than a foot or so to start.

    I'm not familiar with that particular model, but my experience is that Redingtons are fast action rods, usually, and not easy to feel in action. Some fast action rods can cast Skagit systems well, but they're a better fit on slower rods that bend into the butt section, and that have rather stiff tips. Try to get your rig into the hands of experienced spey casters, and ask how it feels to them.

    I've used Skagit heads on rods from 11' 7" to 15 feet, and usually with 15 foot sink tips. The rod's action is more important.
  15. troutdopemagic Active Member

    Posts: 406
    Lake Stevens, Washington
    Ratings: +134 / 0
    I either have the butt of the Skagit touching my tip top or just a couple inches hanging out. I was thinking I'd ask a professional to cast my rod because I'm hardly in any condition to diagnose a problem with a Spey Rod
  16. macSuibhne Member

    Posts: 41
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    Your problems sound a lot like mine when I first started. I called the rod manufacturers and talked to them about appropriate grain weight of heads for my rods and even about tips and casting strokes.

    I came from a background of fishing SH rods since I was about 13 or 14 (I'll be 67 in Feb.) and have just very recently (Sept?) gotten into 2H.

    Not surprisingly then, I was still trying to do it all with my dominant (top) hand...and that's where my probelm began.

    Like you I was sure there was something wrong with the rod/line match-up and I was thinking about selling my brand new switch.

    Then I took some lessons from Ron Lauzon (certified spey casting instructor) up in Sandy OR and even though it took a while for what he tried to teach me to sink in, when it did, it made all the difference in the world. Remembering that with 2H rods...and esp. with the SA cast...the FCS is 80% bottom hand and 20% top hand goes a long way to solving a problem with your forward cast.

    Watching your anchor and D-loop is another important/absolutely critical aspect.

    I'm no Jedi yet, but I can at least "feel the force" now. And on occasion I'll cast the prettiest, tightest, loop I could wish for...and 70ft of line flying out there will try to strip another ten feet off my reel.

    And FWIW, the instructor that I took those lessons with, cast my switch rod...the one I was getting frustrated with...and said it was one of the sweetest rods he had handled, esp at that length, and that the Rio Skagit short and floating polyleader I had on it was perfect.

    Bottom line is that esp. if you come to 2H from SH, relax, try to let go of all your preconceptions and good/bad habits from SH, and trust...trust the bottom hand to do the work.

    What have you got to lose?
  17. hookedonthefly Active Member

    Posts: 570
    Ratings: +121 / 0
    We lined that rod with a Skagit Compact 660 if I remember correctly. It may have been a 630. I'd have to call my buddy and check. There's really pretty limited information out there about lining that rod.

    I remember thinking that it was slightly overlined with what we put on it but cast well as long as you slowed down. If you get a chance to go to Fall City to see Aaron, that would help you a lot.

    There's a group of us that meet at Nugent's Corner on the Nooksack frequently. It's a good group. Shoot me a pm if that's closer to you than Fall City and you're interested. Good Luck!
    Ed
  18. hookedonthefly Active Member

    Posts: 570
    Ratings: +121 / 0
    Also, typically when the head "acts" to short and blown anchors are occurring regularly, there's a couple of problems that are likely present...too much motion, too much power, you're going too fast and your hands are finishing too high when you finish coming around to form the D-loop.
  19. macSuibhne Member

    Posts: 41
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    It's worth noting that Sage makes Redington and if you call Sage (you can get the contact info off of their webpage) and ask to talk to someone who can advise you about lining that rod you will probably get a Skagit head recommendation that is spot on.

    Sage also makes Rio lines, and they have a pdf that gives recommendations for nearly every major brand of rod. But the guy I spoke to there told me that the recs for Skagit heads for older rods were a bit off...the Scandi recs were right on but the Skagit recs needed to be upped, according to him.

    He told me to put a 625gr Skagit short on my Sage 8129 (although the pdf said something like 510gr). I got a 600gr Skagit Compact when I bought the rod as part of the deal. I tried that and it's a lazer.

    Sometimes going right to the source is the best way and most are only too happy to answer your questions.
  20. troutdopemagic Active Member

    Posts: 406
    Lake Stevens, Washington
    Ratings: +134 / 0
    Thanks for the help guys. I went out today and it was WAY better then the other several times. I found my main issue was when I did the "snap" in Snap-T I sent my anchor far to upriver and wasn't loading the rod properly. When gave it less Snap, I had far better results. my loops are not tight by any means, but atleast now I'm throwing fish-able casts. I also picked up a Cabelas Lsi 13' 8wt. tonight that I'm going to give a try tomarrow.