Skagit Head to Short?

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 the bottom hand to do the work.

What have you got to lose?
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!
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.
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.
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.

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
A wise Miyawaki took me out to the river. He watched me cast, called me dangerous, then systematically coached me through one improvement at a time until my casts were serviceable. Then he told me to stick with my equipment t and get better with it, instead of constantly changing things. Sage advice! I remain that setups only variable.