Skagit heads - origin

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by Manimal, May 9, 2009.

  1. Manimal Member

    Posts: 114
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    I have been wondering about the origin of the skagit line system of spey lines. Many years ago i went on a trip with Dennis Dickson on the Skykomish. He showed us a shooting head system he developed for single hand rods. Basically you buy a regular WF line, cut about 10' off the tip and however many feet off the back end to get a head of about 30'. Attach this to a running line (back then he used a flat monofilament line made for spinning rods. With this system you simply make one back cast and the head can shoot up to 80-90 feet! I still use my own homemade system with a sage rpl 690. But now RIO et al make us pay over 100$ for something you can make yourself!
  2. Ian Broadie Flyfishing is so "Metal"

    Posts: 670
    Kirkland, Washington
    Ratings: +57 / 0
    The video sucks and gets cut short but Mike gives a good explanation about the roots of the Skagit fishing.

  3. Coach Duff Banned or Parked

    Posts: 1,272
    Kailua Hawaii
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    That system Dennis "invented" and named the Yancy is nothing more than a knock off of the original Golden Gate based shooting head systems invented 50 years ago. (or more) They dominated the world of distance casting with those lines for a good while. Jimmy Green and Phil Miravalle acutally introduced mono as a running line in 1946 into contests. Those old legends used to work with the Sunset Line Company back in the day to come up with what is really the foundation for all fly lines and systems we use today including the Skagit line system. Running line was amnesia mono and nothing else for decades. But marketing is a big part of this from a business sense and Dennis knows the biz after being in it for a million years.
  4. floatinghat Member

    Posts: 294
    near enough to Seattle
    Ratings: +3 / 0

    The one Dennis invented is better. You know like when someone changes the colors in a pattern and change its name and claim its is revolutionary.
  5. Coach Duff Banned or Parked

    Posts: 1,272
    Kailua Hawaii
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    Ahhh...... You mean like the Green I mean Red I mean orange I mean Purple Butt Skunk?;)
    :D Coach
  6. floatinghat Member

    Posts: 294
    near enough to Seattle
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    No I mean like Langtry Special to Stimulator.

    My friend Mr. Puyans used to get fired up about those... Changing the God damn color doesn't made a new fly.
  7. Coach Duff Banned or Parked

    Posts: 1,272
    Kailua Hawaii
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    I think we are talking the same language. At one time there was a Skunk. That fly can be traced back to the North Umpqua, or the Stilly or Northern Cali depending on who you talk to. Being a Washingtonian I like to think Wes Drain invented it in the 1930s, but I've always been a homer for the home state. Soon anglers substituted calf tail for skunk and then some flair became part of the fly's lore. Common belief says Dan Callahan threw on a green butt and viola the Green Butt Skunk was born! It all ends there for me. The rest are just skunks with colored butts. Orange, Red, Purple, whatever. When I hear shit like "Jone's Purple Butt Skunk" I have to walk away. (and of course Jones was just inserted randomly). Or how about when the Green Butt Skunk becomes Jone's Green Butt Skunk Spey (Green Death). Hey each to his own, but I have no trouble giving credit to the originator of anything in this sport. In fact one of flyfishing's great "lures" (I know, cheesy but couldnt' help myself) to me is the tradition it carries, and every time I use something that goes back decades I in effect am tipping my cap to the angler who went before me. Someday I hope to be lucky enough to be able to hand something of use to anglers who come after me. Tight lines The Coach
  8. sashjo Member

    Posts: 533
    Lakewood, WA.
    Ratings: +4 / 0
    Exactly, just how does a Girdle Bug becomes a Pat's stone?
  9. Coach Duff Banned or Parked

    Posts: 1,272
    Kailua Hawaii
    Ratings: +6 / 0
  10. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,751
    Ratings: +105 / 0
    I have met fly fishermen that waxed nostalgic about how they wanted "immortality" through fly fishing when they were good and drunk.

    These guys are waaaaaaaay over the top.

    I can understand an obsession to know about and perhaps someday get to fish with some of the best out there. That is about honing one's skill and abilities. But when it comes to trying to gain "immortality" by inventing something new in fly fishing, I think people are taking this stuff a little too far.

    Credit is good where credit is due, but "immortality".....WTF?!?!

    When did fishermen become more concerned with their reputation than catching fish?
  11. Coach Duff Banned or Parked

    Posts: 1,272
    Kailua Hawaii
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    I think those guys that want immortality need to go find vampires to bite them. Flyfishing just aint gonna get em what they want......:D


    Well my dog thinks I'm the shit. At least that's what the voices in my head keep saying. :eek: Gotta head out on the water. Tight lines Coach
  12. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,769
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,792 / 0
    When it becomes more about making money instead of fishing. At least for some.

    There have been many that contributed to the developement of the so called "Skagit head". Some that are well known and some that aren't. No one person developed the Skagit lines and casting style. It is a combination of ideas and techniques of many different people over many years and continues today.
  13. _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

    Posts: 1,941
    Skagit River
    Ratings: +675 / 0
    Whew! For a minute there I thought you were gonna blame it all on me. :D
  14. Charles Sullivan dreaming through the come down

    Posts: 2,327
    bellingham wa
    Ratings: +567 / 0
    Who the hell wants to be a spey god? From what I've heard you have to where rubber pants (sweaty). If that wasn't bad enough you have to write a book or two. Do any of you enjoy writing? Topping it off, you are required to tie enough flies that you name one and it sticks.

    I'll stick with being an unknown and fairly poor steelheader. I get to wear normal pants (when my wife lets me wear them). I don't write and I can tie when I want or when I need to only.

    bases loaded 1 out,
  15. Nailknot Active Member

    Posts: 1,907
    Ratings: +11 / 0
    It is widely acknowledged that Dennis invented modern spey casting, specifically Skagit casting technique. Few know that he did this on the Skykomish- you let the cat out of the bag there! He told me about this back in '65, when I enjoyed the company of Dennis and Jimmy Green at the Golden Gate casting ponds. I swear he hasn't aged a day. Dennis invented dolly varden fishing, too- just last year. Very cool. More innovation to come, no doubt.
  16. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,817
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +703 / 5
    LOL, this thread is hilarious. You all said it pretty good. Thanks Coach, you said pretty much what I was gonna say. My Uncle used the system that Dennis used (as Manimal described) up until his death in 1974. Have a picture of him with some Puyallup River steelhead circa 1965 that he caught using the system (he only flyfished). It's what I learned to fish on back in 1980 when I first took up the flyrod. Still have an old 9wt that has the markings for a shooting head system (and this is an early ferralite fenwick).
  17. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,751
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    He also discovered 2 colors previously unknown to the human race: blue and purple.

    They were there for so long but nobody noticed!
  18. bhudda heffe'

    Posts: 1,962
    Ratings: +118 / 0
    dont get me started on the cop car! i was in one before dennis was , ooops!, i mean i tied one long before cop cars were around, they still had to make chase with ponies! bows and arrows shit...six shooters, deerhide pants . i fished them on the lhasa river perched atop my prayer rock, about the time of the 6th dynasty, xinchou province:)
    bhudda-the inventor of lhasa casting w/ shooting heads!
  19. Jeremy Floyd fly fishing my way through life

    Posts: 2,575
    Quesnel, BC
    Ratings: +323 / 0
    I am just gonna chuckle along with you guys for the first time..
  20. Red Shed "junkyard spey"

    Posts: 517
    Peck, ID
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    Rio doesn't make any of us do anything. There are still plenty of guys chopping and glueing fly lines.

    I have cast Mr Dixson's "invention". As with many of the same type of shooting head setups it goes very well. That being said I don't believe it's skagit casting or a skaji setup. Maybe I'm just not old enough to remember.:)