Skagit iFlight and Scandi Short Int.

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by Evan Burck, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. Been dabbling around with these heads lately. Want to get others experiences as well to learn how to best run them.

    I first used the iFlight last winter on a favorite local run of mine that has a very slow swing. I found the head to be far too much sink even in the 6-8' deep run, even when equipped with a full intermediate MOW tip. The heads get a massive amount of sink, far more than I thought.

    A few days ago, I busted out the Scandi Short Int. head and put the same Intermediate MOW tip on it. I fished a run that moves quite a bit quicker, and is about 6' deep. I really liked the way the head cut through the cross currents and didn't seem to "lift" when pulling through faster seams.

    What's others' experiences thus far?
  2. Pretty much the same as your experiences, Evan.

    When I tried a 520 SA intermediate Skagit extreme, the first thing I noticed was how well it "dug in", regardless of the sink rate of the tip. I ended up going to T-8 on the sinktip to get similar bottom touches as I would have with T-14 on a full floating head.

    I agree that the main advantage is the cutting and tracking ability, and I think it will be great for heavy and cold flows like we see in winter on the coastal streams. It might also be great in the fall on the Snake and Clearwater in the high velocity riffle water.

    Yesterday I played with it in the Sky near two bit hole, and the flows were not strong enough to keep it from hanging up, even in 6 feet of water! My rule of thumb for now is this: If the current is threatening in thigh deep water, the intermediate will function, so I'm guessing 3 or 4 miles per hour to suspend it.

    FWIW, it was kick ass a few weeks back on the humpies in shallow fast water, as it tracks slowly just above the bottom, and should work the same on the chum.

    Post script: It also feels heavier on the rod and in flight--perhaps it's the density or diameter, I'm not sure. The 520 int. Skagit extreme was cast on a Scott 1287-3, which admittedly is not designed as a Skagit rod, despite user's claims to the contrary. I threw a 560 yesterday on a 13' 7/8 Deer Creek and it was effortless and very controllable, with excellent tracking in flight.
  3. Used the iFlight successfully on the clearwater in September. Great for the deep holes and big fast runs. I really like the stuff. I'm a dredger, and this stuff lets me get down and stay there.
    Chawhee likes this.
  4. I have the 575 I flight, I do enjoy how it get downs and stays down. I have heard a lot of complaints about it being a pain in the ass to pull out from the dangle, but I haven't really had an issue. 95% of water I fish I can get away with my Skagit max 575 and 10 feet of t-whatever attached. It seems this line would be better suited for a river like a the Skagit or cow. I got my head for 20 bucks off ebay which was a steal with shipping, im glad I have it in my arsenal
  5. Its nice but I prefer the iColumbia heads
  6. I donated a LOT of flies to the river when I first started with intermediate heads. Takes some gettin used to but once I got a feel for its limits I never looked back. Paying particularly close attention to casting angles and tension/slack is more important than ever. My goal when approaching a piece of water with a sinking skagit is to execute the right cast (angle/distance), add or subtract tension and let it fish without a mend. That's when the intermediate head is really working for you. Let that fly hunt.
  7. It took me about 10 casts to fall in love with the intermediate Skagit heads, as Sean said they do take some getting used to but once that curve is passed I don't think I've used a floating Skagit head more than a couple of times. Again parroting a bit but the intermediate heads do require more attention to the chosen cast and the speed the fly is swinging.

    As for the run you fished last winter with the IFlight, I bet the Iflight would fish that run a lot better if the cast was quartered down stream at about 45 degrees and no mend.
  8. Evan, those very slow areas are probably best fish with a floating line and a long leader. A normal "iron" will sink deep, if it has more than a few seconds of swing time. You may need to control the sink by using a weighted or unweighted fly, and perhaps a partly or entirely fluro leader. Hope this isn't getting off the subject.
  9. Evan, those very slow areas are probably best fish with a floating line and a long leader. A normal "iron" will sink deep, if it has more than a few seconds of swing time. You may need to control the sink by using a weighted or unweighted fly, and perhaps a partly or entirely fluro leader. Hope this isn't getting off the subject.
  10. just scooped up a Rio Skagit iFlight for $17, new, off sierra trading post, in case anyone was looking...
  11. I'm still in the "I don't get the attraction to intermediate" heads camp. Since the introduction of sinking lines, steelheaders have been playing around with combination lines that achieve the desired depth of the fly presentation while maximizing control over the line. Maximum line control happens with floating lines, not sinking ones. And deep sunk flies happens with sinking lines, generally. That evolution led to a variety of sink tips fished off floating lines. I cannot fathom how an intermediate line improves the presentation.

    Traditionally intermediate lines sink very, very slowly. In the Spey world it seems like intermediates sink pretty damn quick. Color me puzzled.

  12. Sg- I picked up an Airflo Intermediate last winter if for no other reason to give me something to mess around with while casting to non-existent winter steelhead. (!)

    I quickly noticed a few things. These things are really short. They don't mend. And man do they create an absolutely amazing, slow swing across the current.

    With a floating skagit we are all so conditioned to making our cast and immediately throwing a mend. Sometimes we make additional mends, waiting for the tip to get down. Then we apply pressure hoping to walk the line between dragging the fly and leading it.

    The intermediate line screams "just fish and let me do all the work." Instead of mending, cast where appropriate. If you want a deep presentation in the middle of the run cast upstream, if you want a shallow presentation near the tailout cast downstream. No mending required. Point and shoot if you will.

    After fishing with the line a few days I started thinking back on what I thought of these new intermediates. On the plus side:
    - They have great "stick" when making sustained anchor casts. Much harder to blow an anchor.
    - Less mending/waiting for fly to get down = more time fishing.
    - Less weight needed to get down. Use lighter flies or lighter tips, which means easier casting for me.
    - Super slow, fishy swings.
    - Feel very connected- hard to describe but I'm able to better visualize what the fly is doing and feedback on what the fly is doing feels/seems better.

    I started thinking, "why would ever use a floating skagit again?" Maybe in rock gardens or something, but we'll see.

    Last February I attended the Lynnwood fly fishing show and noticed Simon Gawesworth at the Rio booth. I walked over and asked him a few questions I had re: casting in his DVD. Somehow the topic of skagit heads came up, and he said after trying the intermediate he never uses his floater any more.

    From my limited experience, intermediate skagits turn floater skagits in to dust collectors. If you have a chance give one a shot and let us know what you think!

  13. I have continued to fish the iFlight exclusively since Sept, on a variety of water and I 100% agree with the statements above. I used to toss the fastest singling stuff I could in several "local" waters (t-14) to feel like I was deep enough. Especially after T-day. Last weekend I was trowing flies away on bottom snags with T-11 and an iFlight. Ordering some T-8 now. I now feel like my 10' and 15' clear intermediate heads are useful.

    I can think of a few situations where I use the floating head (small waters, smaller rods mostly...skating flies for salmon), but I think I may end up in the same place as the Rio rep...on my two hander anyway, I cannot see using a floating skagit head anymore...but we'll see.
  14. Having less vision of your line makes it easier to visualize whats at the end of it?

    Yeah OK Obama.


    You can still see the line...:)
  16. Hence why I said less visible. As much as you want to believe it, there's no way that something that is: 1) less visable and 2) more variables involved (more sinking parts) is easier to visualize.

  17. I use the force.
    golfman44 likes this.
  18. I stand corrected.
    David Dalan likes this.
  19. Thanks Tom. I may pick one up and give it a try.

  20. SM4, watch that shit. Intermediate heads do have a place and the biggest advantage is the dramatically slower swing. It cuts through water a good deal easier and reduces an effect I call "sink tip grab" where the tip not only has to sink your fly, but also your floating head is counteracting the sink tip's job.
    By fishing an intermediate head you:
    A, slow down your swing (generally something desired when pursuing winter fish)
    B, you reduce the amount of positive buoyancy that the sink tip has to overcome in order to keep your fly sunk.
    In theory you can fish lighter tips and still get your fly sunk as deep and keep it sunk as the guy running a floating head & T17.

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