Beginner learning SH Skagit with OPST - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-09-2017, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
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Beginner learning SH Skagit with OPST

I'm using a 9' 5 wt with a 200 grain head, Lazar line and 7.5' sinking tip. Wading out to waist deep water (with a stripping basket). Using a roll cast followed quickly by a single backcast I can shoot out a ton of line with surprising distance (and accuracy). But (after watching a ton of you tube videos) my attempts at other types of casts has met with some success, but nowhere near the distance of a single backcast. Is this to be expected? Or is my lack of skill keeping me from properly loading my rod? I guess my question would be.. Do you folks get the same distance using the single or double Skagit and the Perry Poke as you do when using a single backcast? Any guidance or input would be most appreciated. Oh and let me say I absolutely love the OPST system and plan to put a lot more time practicing (fishing) with it. Regards, Mike
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-09-2017, 10:28 PM
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Hard to suggest answers w/o knowing your technique level.

In general the biggest hurdles in maxing Skagit casts are keeping arm movements limited to the 'box' between your shoulders, slowing down your setup and D loop formation while maintaining smooth rod movement, stopping the forward cast at the peak time, and running line management. Simple? Not really, but imitating the pros on the videos will give you the idea and help from a proficient caster can sped up the learning curve.

Rocco

PS. I should have added that, extreme distance aside, Skagit casting is probably the easiest style to master well enough for normal fishing needs. Belting out 60-70 ' casts is the building block for fine tuning your technique towards long range casts with ease.

Last edited by DDB; 12-10-2017 at 09:25 AM.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-10-2017, 04:26 AM
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If your single back cast is an overhead cast it casts longer because the line which comes straight to the air accelerates better than when it is Spey cast and comes folded to D-loop and line tip and fly lifts from the water anchor.

Skagit line efficiency comes low when Spey casting because line section which comes to the anchor is heavy. Perry Poke is efficient sustained anchor cast because its anchor comes straighter 180 degrees to the casting direction so it is strong but lifts easy and line tip wiggle less than on casts where the anchor comes more sideways.

Rod load is not a goal it is just a consequence of the casting distance but accelerating line achieving straight line path is where rod bend comes beneficial. A 200gr line head plus tip weight and SA Spey casting can be considered a load for a 5wt SH rod and when cast long it can cause too much rod bend?

When you use small fly you could use longer leader and Skagit line Spey-efficiency improves when you can form a bigger D-loop and there comes more line mass to the top of the D-loop and less to the anchor. Long mono leader anchor also comes strong but waste less energy when it lifts to the air.

Esa
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-10-2017, 11:44 AM
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I met a person on the pond with a very similar setup.
His 5wt 9' rod had a 225gr OPST head mated to 7' OPST micro tip and leader.

I noticed he could not achieve an anchor so I taught him to use a Perry Poke.
Once he dumped the head in front, the standard roll cast was able to launch the line out.

When he asked why an aerial or snap C/T or double spey would not work well is when I told him that the OPST head is super short with a shorter tip.
I lent him my 12' floating tip and 12' tapered leader and instantly was able to cast aerial and waterborne cast other than a Perry Poke....
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-10-2017, 10:15 PM
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Hard to say for sure what you are or aren’t doing on your casts, but I would point out that learning Skagit casting with a 9’ 5wt is a bit more challenging. It can, and will work, but you might find the initial learning curve much easier with a longer rod. Not sure if that’s something you are pondering or not, but if you are I would start there first, then apply the skills into single hand Spey casting. Just a thought
JB
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-10-2017, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
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Much appreciated input folks. Gives me lots to ponder. Thanks, Mike
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-13-2017, 08:06 PM Thread Starter
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So... I've been out a couple more times and have read the post in this thread over and over. (And watched the you tube videos in slow motion) (They sure make it look easy.) So I gather that the anchor involves little (if any) of the shooting head but, instead, is caused by the "friction" of the tip, leader and fly. So maybe a longer (sinking) tip would help in the learning process as 4sallypat's post might suggest? I'm starting to realize that this is going take some time, but every time out I see improvement and the videos make more sense. Using a single backcast to shoot out a ton of line is truly a joy, but I am determined to get the knack of using a sustained anchor to load my rod sufficiently to shoot out as much line as possible. Thanks again folks and, as always, any guidance is much appreciated, Mike.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-13-2017, 10:00 PM
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Mike, paying close attention to your anchor is a great place to start. It can tell you a lot. The two big ones to be particularly aware of here would be a blown anchor (not enough stick) or conversely, a “bloody L” (not pulling the line/tip/leader all the way into alignment). While it is a bit of an oversimplification, you could troubleshoot to some degree based on which of those faults you are seeing more of. So if you are seeing a lot of “bloody L” shaped anchors going to a longer tip or leader would likely make things worse.

The double Spey cast should be a very good cast to play around with your anchors on, as adjustments are fairly simple to make once you have a good idea what you want your anchor to look like. My humble opinion is that the Perry poke would be a half step down the line, as it is slightly more complex (though a very practical cast in many ways, it wouldn’t make a good starting point, imo). Good luck,
JB
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-13-2017, 10:46 PM
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What is...
... the weight, in grains, of the sinktip you are using. A 200 grain Commando on a 9' 5 weight is generally on the light side of the casting spectrum, very good for overhead casting or Skagit casting with a floating tip, or possibly the lighter, shorter 5' sinktips. For longer and/or heavier sinktips, the 225 or 250 are usually better choices. One fairly good way to determine where on the rod's casting spectrum your line is, is how it feels with an overhead cast. If an overhead cast feels "light" and "peppy", then your line is for sure on the light end of the spectrum and is best suited for floating tip or very light sinktip work.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 09:53 AM
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I use a 200gr OPST on a 9' #4 with a lower handle. Turns over 8' sinking polyleaders and 2,5" streamers no problem. Casts all the distance you ever need in trout waters.
In my experience however it is obligatory to try different weight/length tips/polyleaders to balance out your setup and get the anchoring right.
This autumn I have tried it in singlehand overhead casting shallow lake weed pike fishing.
Lift of the water single backcast ant shoot 5' sinking polyleader and 4" bucktail/angelhair fly to distances I don't really need just for fun of it
I am now thinking to get a 5 or 6 weight specially for shooting this 200gr skagit as I feel like approaching the limits of the 4 weight with this.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riveraddict View Post
What is...
... the weight, in grains, of the sinktip you are using. A 200 grain Commando on a 9' 5 weight is generally on the light side of the casting spectrum, very good for overhead casting or Skagit casting with a floating tip, or possibly the lighter, shorter 5' sinktips. For longer and/or heavier sinktips, the 225 or 250 are usually better choices. One fairly good way to determine where on the rod's casting spectrum your line is, is how it feels with an overhead cast. If an overhead cast feels "light" and "peppy", then your line is for sure on the light end of the spectrum and is best suited for floating tip or very light sinktip work.
Thanks for everything as always, Riveraddict. Yesterday, we did some testing of the single-hand system for tailwater nymphing from the boat on the Missouri. Frequently, the rig I use here with clients is a 9 foot leader with a fast taper to 4x, two tungsten nymphs and a BB under an Airlock indicator. False casting this setup can cause a lot of problems for some folks. I rigged up my Sage DS2 #6 (very slow rod for a Sage) with a 200 Commando and the short floating tip. It was awesome to see just how effortless it was to cast. Only issues were that mending the heavy head is pretty tough past 20 feet and the head wasn't floating high enough, so casting angle and accuracy were more important than with a conventional line. We did have a lot of ice building up on the line, though, in the cold temps. Would greasing the head help this issue? Do you have any tips for this kind of work? I'm almost always swinging and hardly ever nymph fish anymore, but I know a lot of folks who would love how this performed. Also we talked about splicing the head directly into the running line to make it easier to fish short. Have you thought about a line like this?

"Science is magic that works." - Kurt Vonnegut
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 07:26 PM
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KilgoreT, to answer your questions I will start a new thread, "Commando Comments" so as to not hi-jack the original direction of this thread.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-15-2017, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Ok I'm trying to digest all this input. Bartas claim that it is obligatory (I like that word) to try different weight/ length tips and leaders compels me to buy some additional tips from OPST. Perhaps a 12' floating tip and long leader might be worth a shot as suggested in 4sallypat's post. Also Jason's input regarding the "bloody L" was very helpful (I had to google the term) and perhaps a longer tip would be detrimental. And then there is Riveraddict's input that would suggest that I might find more success with a shorter lighter tip. My OPST 7.5' "run" tip appears to be "the middle of the road" tip so now I am intrigued by the other ends of the spectrum. Maybe a 5' and 12' floating tip just to see the difference. Being accustomed to full sink "regular" lines makes me want to get the fly down deep so maybe a couple of "bucket" tips in different lengths might be worth a try in the future. But right now I simply want to learn to Skagit cast and I am very appreciative of any input from you folks, Mike
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-15-2017, 10:23 PM
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Mike,

Instead of buying more gear spend your $$ on a casting lesson. Best investment you can make.

Esa,

The fundamental goal of fly casting is to load the rod. Unless the rod is loaded it will not cast. Probably semantics on your end but it is an important point.

Regards,

John
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-16-2017, 01:19 AM Thread Starter
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HandPlanedCane there is no doubt that I am in dire need of casting lessons. Your input has urged me to seek instruction, however ,in my location, this seems to be limited at best. At this time it seems my options are to study online, ask some questions on forums (such as this one) and try out different combinations of tips and leaders. Self learning to effectively Skagit cast is proving to be a challenge. That being said, with the you tube videos available combined with input from this forum and spending some dough on different gear I am confident that an expectable level of Skagit casting is within my reach. Much of the fun is in the learning process (for me) and even a short lesson would be invaluable, but for now trial and error appears to be my only option. If it was easy it would not be nearly as much fun. Thanks again for the input, Mike
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