Skagit Heads - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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Skagit Heads

Rio, OPST, Beulah, SA, ? Just looking for some opinions on the various Skagit heads out there. I am looking for a 500-525 for a 7wt. I know like everything else there are lots of varying opinions on heads just as there are on rods, running lines and reels. I am just looking for the pros and cons for the heads out there. Thanks
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 09:46 PM
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rod length ?

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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13 ft-2" beulah platinum 7wt
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 11:05 PM
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They are all good to be honest. I have an Airflo skagit switch on my 12'9" 7 weight and it is great - maybe a tad short. Then, I have a Rio skagit max on my 13'0" 6 weight and it is great too. I think all of the lines are really good these days.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 11:31 PM
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I would have said last year my preference was airflo. best loops imo. but they discontinued the skag switch and the scout is too short for all but the shortest rods imo. I love the 20' skag swtch on a 13'4 8wt. don't think anyone still has a 20' head anymore. the skag compact is great, the most versatile and I use them most, but I don't always want the longer head, as I regularly fish the longer rod with my ass in the forest. intermediate and triple density heads might be useful at times, but if I had only one head, it would be floater. all the companies tapers are fine by me. opst only has ultra short heads, I think Beulahs Q.C. and loops suck. I have seen heads from all of them that very +/- 20gr from spec, so buy a 10 dollar grain scale and weigh em if in doubt. haven't tried any current SA skagits.

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 11:48 PM
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I also have more or less slipped into mostly airflo, but use all kinds. With a skagit head you will have to go with secondary characteristics, like Mike with liking the loops, as skagit heads don’t have a bonafide taper. They are fundamentally just a section of level line with loops on the end. In that they are all the same.

Now if you want to match one to a rod that is a different question, as are personal style preferences. Since some matches that are especially liked by some (e.g. the ultra short, dense commando heads) are especially disliked by others - it is all a matter of taste. As Arlo Guthrie once said, “a light is not any good without a dark to put it in.” If this is a first skagit head I would recommend you just stick with either a 510 or 540 airflo skagit compact, one of the most popular skagit heads. Once you get used to that middle-of-the-road head you will be better able to judge your personal tastes. Or as likely as not you will just be happy with it and not bother with experimenting further.

Either of those should be great on that rod - as would probably also be the case with the 480 - but if in doubt maybe go with the heavier if this is going to be a new experience. The 540 may give you a little bit more tactile feedback - if you are learning that is.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 12:24 AM Thread Starter
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This is all new to me. I have been on the water with rods with different heads, but being such a newbie it is hard for me to know what is working. Mostly they have been Rio’s but used one rod with an Airflow. Really couldn’t tell the difference YET. And I am sure it will just take time on the water to get me tuned into the different feels. I am sure part of the issue for me on feel is that each rod I have used has been a loaner and the set up was for that rod. All cast well from my point of view. One thing I have been told is that most will use a 525 grain head but also that they felt their rods worked better with a 510..I think they were using their 510s on their rods while I was using the 525s. Thanks for all your insights.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 02:01 AM
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IMO, don't get too caught up on small grain weight differences - 510 vs 525 is essentially the same thing. Often, the different tips you are using will vary by many more grains than that - more so with scandi lines and poly leaders (some poly leaders are 35 grains, others are 75 grains) but also with skagit style sink tips. Also, some people will love one line and others love another for the same rod and the weights can easily vary by 50 grains or more.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 02:02 AM
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Originally Posted by vikingson57 View Post
This is all new to me. I have been on the water with rods with different heads, but being such a newbie it is hard for me to know what is working. Mostly they have been Rio’s but used one rod with an Airflow. Really couldn’t tell the difference YET. And I am sure it will just take time on the water to get me tuned into the different feels. I am sure part of the issue for me on feel is that each rod I have used has been a loaner and the set up was for that rod. All cast well from my point of view. One thing I have been told is that most will use a 525 grain head but also that they felt their rods worked better with a 510..I think they were using their 510s on their rods while I was using the 525s. Thanks for all your insights.
Yes, it is a matter of the feel more than “works better” at that level of difference - remember a dime weighs about 35 grains so I would not sweat it much. It is definitely hard to make a judgement on what you personally prefer until you get more experience, and that preference will depend a bit on the way you like to cast. This will be after you can cast them all just fine by making adjustments and have removed the technique part as a variable. There are even factors like which lines feel best when you are practicing and trying to impress your friends, and which you will enjoy more casting all day long. So there is no objective “best weight” - within reason of course. But 510 is about middle of the road for most 7wt spey rods.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 02:11 AM
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Because the head weight is up to 500grain, everything has to be heavy duty. The durability is the most important thing to be considered. Airflo>SA> > > RIO
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 03:01 AM
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Because the head weight is up to 500grain, everything has to be heavy duty. The durability is the most important thing to be considered. Airflo>SA> > > RIO
Everyone's opinion and experience differs. I happen to think durability is the least important thing to consider. Then again, I take pretty good care of my heads.
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks all, the quality of the heads is what I was basically looking for. If I am reading this right it looks like Airflow has a slight edge over the others. I am sure they are all good lines...and I am also sure there have been issues with every line manufacturer over the years. It's the same with everything, 99% great and 1% with issues. I appreciate everyones input a whole lot.
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 01:14 PM
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Actually in practice these days I just get the first one with the desired specs, regardless of brand, that comes up for half off or less in the classifieds here. The vast majority of the time they are being sold because of never being used. Works both for saving money, or if you just want to play with more lines.

You can even ask specifically for one in the classifieds and a lot of the time it works insanely well on here - 6 to 8 wt is the sweet spot with tons of stuff out there. Just sayin’

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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 01:30 PM
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Vikingson57, after you are well acquainted with whatever floating head you choose I have a recommendation for your second one. Consider the Rio Skagit Max Game Changer F/H/I 500 grains which has Floating/hover/intermediate sections built in to the head. I use it with a medium iMOW tip on a 12'9" 7wt fiberglass Spey rod. It helps present unweighted, easy to cast flies at an effective depth. Its "stick" in the water helps a beginner make good sustained anchor casts. It performs well in windy conditions. It has helped me improve my sustained anchor casts in distance, accuracy and presentation. It seems to get my flies to a "fishy" depth with a straight swing. If you fish deep waters they sell Skagit Max Game Changers with F/H/I/S3 and F/I/S3/S5 profiles which will present sink tips at depth with straight swings, but I don't know how easy they are to cast. I know the F/H/I is great to cast. Just one man's opinion.

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Last edited by bocast; 01-21-2019 at 02:43 PM.
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Botsari View Post
Actually in practice these days I just get the first one with the desired specs, regardless of brand, that comes up for half off or less in the classifieds here. The vast majority of the time they are being sold because of never being used. Works both for saving money, or if you just want to play with more lines.

You can even ask specifically for one in the classifieds and a lot of the time it works insanely well on here - 6 to 8 wt is the sweet spot with tons of stuff out there. Just sayin’
yep, that right there. what length/weight are you looking for ?
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