Demystifying Skagit and Scandi Heads

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by Steelie Mike, Jun 3, 2009.

  1. FT

    FT Active Member

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    Tall,

    Yep, I read it before I posted anything. I've also read all the other posts on the thread.

    So, let's take a look at how most folks would take what Brian wrote.

    Given a traditional head length of say 50'-70', it becomes difficult to get a cast out with this little room, much less turn over a fly of substantial size and weight!

    So again, the Skagit head was designed to turn over these large flies in what some may feel is an industrial manner.


    Since he wrote: 1) that a traditional head length line makes it difficult to cast with little room; 2) much less turn over a fly of substantial size and weight; and 3) the Skagit head was designed to turn over these large flies, the average newcomver will read this as Skagit heads are what is used to cast large, heavy flies and also the line to use when there is limited room behind the angler to form a D Loop. Therefore, by implication, the newcomer will decide erroneously that he needs to go out and buy a Skagit head setup because it is the way to go for casting large flies and so casting smaller flies ought to be a breeze.

    Then there are all the posts by those telling folks that long rods and long-belly lines (that is line with bellies of 75'-100') are either for fools or those who don't know anybetter. to fish. We have simply pointed out that there are ways other than using Skagit lines to fish big, heavy flies.

    I've said this many times and it is worth repeating it again, the belly length line, length of rod, and line weight rating of the rod are personal preferences and there are not right or wrong combinations, just different ones. Plus, one is not better than another, just different and each has its own difficulties. This is why some of us point out that there are other ways of spey casting with different belly length lines when someone posts something that implies or point blank says so that there is this one and only one way to do it.
     
  2. TallFlyGuy

    TallFlyGuy Adipossessed!

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    I think it would be smart for beginners to feel that skagit lines were designed to turn over large flies and tips. Having an 18' rod and only 5-6 feet of back cast room with an 80' head seems very very tough, but I guess there are "those" that can do it.

    your quote..Therefore, by implication, the newcomer will decide erroneously that he needs to go out and buy a Skagit head setup because it is the way to go for casting large flies and so casting smaller flies ought to be a breeze.

    Most newcomers come to forums and the internet to do their research. Maybe they have a friend or know someone who they can ask. Do you really want to recommend newcomers throw 18' rods with 100' heads. That should be the last thing in the universe they should see. So I don't understand why it is such a big deal. As far as 99.9% of the newcomers out there, skagit lines should be "the only" thing they should use for big flies, but Brian was diplomatic and didn't even phrase it like that at all.

    I have a couple buddies who want to learn how to spey cast. No way in hell am I gonna even tell them to come close to an 18' rod and long belly line. Who would? That would be like having them get a degree in electrical engineering in order to turn on a light bulb.
     
  3. sothereiwas

    sothereiwas Member

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  4. FT

    FT Active Member

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    sothereiwas,

    Did you even bother to read my prior post on this thread about what rod length and line setup I'd start someone out with to learn spey casting? I never said anything about a newbie starting with an 18' rod and long-belly line.

    Also, since when does someone with limited backcast room need to cast 80' of long-belly on an 18' rod to fish a slot 20'-40' from shore? Just like with a single-hand rod when trout fishing, one using a long rod and long-belly line cast easily cast a lot less than the complete belly when fishing. Afterall, isn't that what good fishermen do? I.e. cast the amount of line needed to cover the lie or run whether it is 20' or 100'+.

    And there you go again, saying the 99.9% of newbies to spey casting should be using Skagit heads to cast large flies. By implication once again you are telling newbies that if they don't go Skagit, they are not doing the right and proper thing. And all the while you know full well that there is no such thing as the perfect belly length line for everyone. All of them can be used and all of them are the proper line to use when properly matched line size wise to the size flies being cast. But this truth doesn't stop you from telling newbies to spey that Skagit is the only way to go and implying that if they use some other line belly, they are hurting their ability to learn spey casting.
     
  5. KerryS

    KerryS Ignored Member

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    TFG,

    The offer to fish the Skagit still stands. Bring a fucking movie crew if you want. But, lets have some fun fishing before we get all exited about proving you can't cast a DT and a sink tip with a 16' rod.

    What a waste of time.
     
  6. sothereiwas

    sothereiwas Member

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    You did say that would be the required tool to throw the setup Justin mentioned. 16,17,18' 10/11 11/12. So would it have been more accurate of me to say 16' 10/11. Because thats a much better stick for a beginner than a 18' 11/12. Lets compare apples to apples here.
     
  7. TallFlyGuy

    TallFlyGuy Adipossessed!

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    Come on FT, You really think if you asked 100 fly shops who carry speyrods and have newcomers walk in their door, and 100 instructors that teach and set up newcomers - if they start those newcomers off with 18' rods and 80' lines to cast larger flies? Uh, NO, I'm sure most don't even carry long rods on their shelfs..... so by your logic, or implication, I guess all those shops and instructors are saying that skagit heads are the "only" thing to use. I'm sure a long rod has it's place, but not in a newcomers hands.
     
  8. HauntedByWaters

    HauntedByWaters Active Member

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    Just make sure you boys have this video playing in another browser tab when you type your next post in this thread!

     
  9. ChrisC

    ChrisC Active Member

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    Skagit heads are great and I use them on occasion under the circumstances I described earlier. That said, the fact that they are more forgiving for someone new to spey casting is also a risk that one just becomes proficient at casting a short line. What FT mentioned in terms of starting and progressing with a midbelly line was how I got started. I am by no means a better caster than many of the guys I see on the Skagit and Sauk rivers, but there have been several times where I have fished behind a guy fishing a short swing with a Skagit and picked off a fish that was just beyond his casting range.

    That said, there seems to be a geographic correlation between the diversity of views. The opinions and the favored setups are certainly specific to their waters and experiences (as I am also guilty of), so there's no right or wrong but strong preferences.
     
  10. inland

    inland Active Member

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    TFG,

    If I were to ask 100 shops in Scotland, Norway, Northeast, or the PNW I think the answers would all be different depending on the geographic region/target species.

    15-20 years ago 15'+ rods were recommended to cast heavy tips and (relative to the time) big flies. Obviously alot has changed. I seriously doubt my son would have been able to start fishing winter steelhead with me a couple years back (at age 14) without the skagit head. This allowed him to be proficient enough to be fishing on his own with minimal practice time/less frustration. However there is no doubt in my mind the mechanics he started learning at 11 with a floating windcutter helped tremendously. A 13' 8/9 and windcutter IS a big set-up for an 11 yo kid. Which he handled like a champ back then.

    I am a fan of skagit and scando. The same as a fan of short heads, midheads, sink tip lines, full sinking DT's, full sink midheads. And of course long belly lines of all configurations. Which is somewhat recent (2003'ish when the XLT hit the market). There was a time from about 1995 to 2003 where everything in my two handed world revolved around going lighter. Cutting and splicing lines to make custom heads for 5 and 6 wt trout rods (which were cut and glued to build 12' - 13' two handers) to catch steelhead with. It was blast. I really do enjoy casting a full floating DT. Accepting the fact it takes more work and I can only cast it to 95-100' consistantly under fishing conditions.

    Have pretty much come full circle and back to what I started with. While I truly enjoy all the rods and lines my passion lies with casting the long rod and long line. Are these rigs for everyone? Absolutely not. But neither are the latest and greatest 6's and 7's throwing 600-800 grains with tip and jig backed by spinning line.

    In the end any rookie taking advice for face value off the internet gets what they deserve. Whether its a written article or the 57 opinions between 13 anglers of what line/rod to use. They NEED to get in contact with people who really are the experts of the field and not let their ego/fears get in the way of asking 'dumb' questions. One phone call or visit to a reputable shop solves any implied 'mystery' of various lines at roughly the same cost as the web. A day with Mike Kinney is worth 100,000,000 hours of reading BS on the net.

    William
     
  11. HauntedByWaters

    HauntedByWaters Active Member

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    Maybe the best post ever. :thumb:
     
  12. FT

    FT Active Member

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    TFG and sothereiwas,

    Where are the two of you getting this crap that I've said a beginning spey caster ought to go out and get an 18' rod? or even a 16' 10/11 rod? I never said that.

    If you bother to read my post a few back wherein I wrote about what I'd recommend to a beginner, you'd see no mention of a 16'er, let alone an 18'er. Nor will you see mention of me recommending them getting a long-belly line. Chris got it correct in his post about what I actually wrote regarding my recommendations of rod length, line weight, and belly length.

    And as Chris said in his last post, "there's no right or wrong, but strong preferences". And that is exactly what I've written in a prior post on this thread. Some like longer rods and long-belly lines, some like Skagit heads and shorter, lighter line wt. rods, and some like everything in between.

    My first post on this thread was to correct an error that Skagit is better than Scandi for casting large, heavy flies. Nothing more and nothing less. It was never intended to turn into a Skagit vs. everything else, especially long-belly lines and longer rods.

    And frankly, I'm surprised that is what it was turned into. Which by-the-way also necessitated more posts by myself and others about long-belly lines to dispell the further myths and untruths that were posted about them.
     
  13. sothereiwas

    sothereiwas Member

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    Let it go. You are completely missing the point of the article. It is obviously written to, in the simplest terms, explain the main uses of the two lines. Simple terms help the novice angler understand making it easier for them to make a decision about which direction they would like to go. Throwing long bellies into the mix and arguing in detail the differences is completely counter productive. The fact that you think that all this information needs to be shoved down there throats make no sense what so ever.

    As far as what a beginner should start with. Any line with a continuos taper will teach a beginning caster good mechanics. The difference between throwing a 35' scandi head and a 75' head is timing. If your tip is not tracking properly you don't need a 50+ foot head to tell you so.

    Let it go man your confusing the poor bastards.

    Inland, great post, I'll let you know when we decide on what week we'll be over there. We can meet for a beer and argue about flies or something we haven't covered yet.

    Brad
     
  14. Brian Thomas

    Brian Thomas Active Member

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    Skagit is better .

    Simple physics .
     
  15. Verne

    Verne Member

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    Boyz, go fishing with your skagits, scandi's or long bellies and have some fun. Leave the competition on the play field or office, fishing is for fun and relaxation.