13’ 7wt rod (Orvis Clearwater and Mission); 520 gr 19’ head; 12.5’ T14 tip: BLOWING ANCHORS!


Been steelhead fishing once
Disclaimer: I am new to Skagit casting.

I have been using this setup on a particular river that usually has trees up against my back or at least close enough to limit the size of the D-loop. It has worked well to date. After casting in a more open setting from gravel bars and riffle corners, my tendency is to lengthen the casting stroke and PSSST- blown anchor. It was like a curse, no matter what I did, I was blowing the anchor. I would add running line outside the tip. I would slow way down, and this helped some, but I was losing the crispness to my setup movements (in this case double-Spey). I am 6’1” with arms like meat hooks so I think this leads to a longer casting stroke too.

Is the solution to go to a more traditional length head (e.g., 27’)? Will this help prevent blowing anchors?

I would like to keep the short head for tight quarters fishing as I initially described and have a longer head for open rivers. Is this a logical conclusion from my experience? I speak from intuition and experience, not knowledge.

Recommendations for a longer head would be appreciated if you are willing.

Lastly, other observations, comments, or recommendations from my description are welcome.

Thank you.


WFF Supporter
Watch your anchor, literally eyes on it. Adjust your sweep speed and height/trajectory so that when D loop is formed the sink tip is all, or at least mostly still in the water then deliver. Bottom hand is your friend. That said, 19' is on the short side for my preference, I'd prefer about 22-23' and typically use 10' tips.


Been steelhead fishing once
I appreciate your responses bhudda and Gregobr. Just went to the local fly shop and talked to the owner. He recommended the RIO Skagit Max in 500 gr 23' head. He said the slow action of the Orvis Clearwater and Mission would fit a 500 gr better than a 525. I listened. I purchased.

I'll try to remember to update the results when I get out to cast/fish next.


Have camera, will travel...
I've never seen you cast but reading your post I can almost see you reaching for the sky on your forward thrust. 90% of the time when I'm helping folks with out with their spey/skagit cast I'm trying to get them to keep their rod tip closer to the water when forming the D loop & on the forward thrust.

When in doubt google Ed Ward Skagit Casting.



WFF Supporter
Yeah, that Skagit head is about 8 feet too short. I don't know if it's possible to find 27' Skagit heads any more, other than the used market.

bk paige

Wishin I was on the Sauk
If you don't want to buy a longer head adjust your stroke, less power into the D and watch it form, once the rod is loaded let er rip tatter chip.


Been steelhead fishing once
Just following up to say thank-you to everyone's input.

The longer head definitely helps. I was also pausing too long after the D-loop formation and I think losing tension in the line/rod. I'm trying to slow down and also not "cast" my D-loop. My buddy says to let it form, don't force it to form.

Like all fly fishing, it's pleasantly frustrating, which I love.

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