Is there a max rod length for Skagit Scouts? - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
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Is there a max rod length for Skagit Scouts?

So I have Scouts on my TFO DC 4110 and Sage One 8116. Just picked up a Loomis IMX 31111 that I’m planning on getting a Scout 270 for. At some point this summer, I plan on getting a 7 wt in a “true spey” length. But nowadays, it seems 12’ to 13’6” is considered spey (short spey?).

Anyhow, in that size, generically speaking, it looks like I’ll probably be lining it with a 480 or 510 grain Scout which are 18.5 and 19.5 ft respectively.

Scouts are marketed as single hand or switch Skagit heads. However, will they still be optimal on something like a 7126? Or will the short length start to feel a little choppy on casts? Putting preference for longer belly lines aside, should I be looking for a slightly longer head for better casting mechanics?


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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 01:24 AM
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I use the 510 skagit switch on my 7129 Winston with either 10 or 15 foot tips. It throw's that line really well. I think it's 20 feet. The skagit compact is a bit longer in those grain weights (23-24'), so you could also use that line.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 08:07 AM
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Eventually longer rod turns unnecessary weight and wind resistance. When you find short line head difficult to Spey cast you can improve it using longer leader but after 15ft or so longer line head comes better.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 10:22 AM
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Use slightly longer tips and maybe some more leader. And don't forget to work the overhang. I can use Commando Heads on everything I have up to 13' with the correct amount of overhang. It can be frustrating adding more overhang into the equation but it is worth figuring out and it can solve lots of problems that you thought were head or tip length related. Its like putting a one pound weight in a balance scale. The further out it goes the more it weighs. Before you know it you can cast an 18' (or less) head on a 13 footer.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 06:59 PM
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I use a 20' Airflo Scout in 510 grain size on my 13' 7wt. rod with no issues.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 09:49 PM
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Your head length and rod length match is going to depend on your casting style as well. Some casters are very much in the "phonebooth" with their casting (ie- arms tight to the body, high rod tip, close anchor) a short head on a long rod (lower line:rod ratio) is great pairing. Others, myself included, prefer a longer line/higher line:rod ratio, and a bit "wider" casting stroke. There's no hard and fast rule saying you MUST fish X' line on Y' rod, and shooting heads are fairly inexpensive (especially in the used market), so you can experiment until you find a setup that works best for your specific situation.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 02:46 AM
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Like many things in speycasting, to a great extent this is a function of the skill of the caster, and the caster's tolerance for frustration.

In my opinion and observation, for most people, the easiest casting setups are total head length (belly + tip) in the 2.5-3X rod length range. Past a point on either end, say for the sake of argument under 2X and over 4X, fairly definite adjustments need to be made in the casting mechanics. At the short end, if you are using a 10' tip, just under 30' total head length is in my opinion a little short but not super short. If you are a muscle memory sort of caster, used to a more 'standard' 25' skagit, you might find a few more blown anchors than usual and have to work to keep the stroke compact. If you are a watch-the-anchor sort of caster, should not be a problem. If you are a new caster, I personally would advise you to work with both a slightly longer head and a slightly longer rod until you have a better feel for how stroke length, rod elevation, and incline angle affect the cast.

For reference, I use one of the now-discontinued 11' Rio trout skagits on a 12'4" rod. With 10' tips that is a 1.7X line/rod ratio -- quite short. I don't really have any problem with it, as long as I focus on keeping all the motions compact and really watch where the anchor is going. And for context, I also spend a lot of time casting 70'+ heads (not on the same water, as should be obvious). Switching back and forth is in fact pretty jarring and requires some concentration, it is not something one can do 'on autopilot', but I can settle down into a routine after maybe twenty minutes of adjustment time.

The suggestions about playing with overhang and tip length are valid. But nothing substitutes for properly tuned casting mechanics. Keep your strokes smooth and compact, and stay off the gas. With a short head length and longer rod, you may end up using a little closer anchor placement, so straight, properly placed anchors are essential. Work on those. Watch your fly/anchor, and if you hook one behind or in front, abort the cast. We've already had a thread this year on nose jewelry.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troutless View Post
Like many things in speycasting, to a great extent this is a function of the skill of the caster, and the caster's tolerance for frustration.

In my opinion and observation, for most people, the easiest casting setups are total head length (belly + tip) in the 2.5-3X rod length range. Past a point on either end, say for the sake of argument under 2X and over 4X, fairly definite adjustments need to be made in the casting mechanics. At the short end, if you are using a 10' tip, just under 30' total head length is in my opinion a little short but not super short. If you are a muscle memory sort of caster, used to a more 'standard' 25' skagit, you might find a few more blown anchors than usual and have to work to keep the stroke compact. If you are a watch-the-anchor sort of caster, should not be a problem. If you are a new caster, I personally would advise you to work with both a slightly longer head and a slightly longer rod until you have a better feel for how stroke length, rod elevation, and incline angle affect the cast.

For reference, I use one of the now-discontinued 11' Rio trout skagits on a 12'4" rod. With 10' tips that is a 1.7X line/rod ratio -- quite short. I don't really have any problem with it, as long as I focus on keeping all the motions compact and really watch where the anchor is going. And for context, I also spend a lot of time casting 70'+ heads (not on the same water, as should be obvious). Switching back and forth is in fact pretty jarring and requires some concentration, it is not something one can do 'on autopilot', but I can settle down into a routine after maybe twenty minutes of adjustment time.

The suggestions about playing with overhang and tip length are valid. But nothing substitutes for properly tuned casting mechanics. Keep your strokes smooth and compact, and stay off the gas. With a short head length and longer rod, you may end up using a little closer anchor placement, so straight, properly placed anchors are essential. Work on those. Watch your fly/anchor, and if you hook one behind or in front, abort the cast. We've already had a thread this year on nose jewelry.
Your last paragraph is great advice and sums it up perfectly. As far as the jewelry maybe outerhebrides can chime in on that one.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-04-2019, 03:06 PM
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I'm certainly not the most experienced guy here so take what you will from my comments. Oh and I'm 6'2" so that likely makes a difference too
Regarding skagit heads.
I started out casting with commando heads for everything I had and still do use them occasionally. I really liked them on my 11' switch rods.
Early this year I bought a loomis imx pro #511'11" and the recommended skagit scout 360(which I think is too heavy btw).

However on a recent trip I decided to try a rio skagit max short 475 on my winston #611'6". The head is 20' a few feet longer than the 400 grain commando I'd been previously using and I loved the result with both 10 and 12 foot tips. I found the timing to be a little more relaxed and I could throw a bigger payload.
Anyway the hunch was based on the fact that I really liked the way my airflo f.i.s.t. heads cast on both my winston #611'6" and #712'9" but especially #712'9". The f.i.s.t. being around 23' I recall. So now I'm working with the theory that FOR ME I prefer heads at about 20' feet on rods between 11'6" an 12'6" and heads around 23' on rods 12'-13' and 25+' heads at13+feet of rod.
All of this fits roughly in the equation of head+tip+leader=2.5-3 times length of the rod etc.

So I'm off to dump some more cash on shooting heads.
My next purchases will be a rio skagit max short (20')in 350 grain for the imx pro #511'11"
And a skagit max (23') 500-525 for my winston #712'9"
I've also acquired an airflo skagit compact 570 for my dh2 #813'3" which is 25' if I recall correctly but have yet to cast it.
Anyway that's my working theory on skagit heads after a couple seasons fishing them. I suspect as my skill grows my tastes will change it'll be interesting to note what I'm fishing in a few more years.
I think those of us that are newer to the two hand game are like cell phone users who never had to deal with landline phones. We're coming at it from a different time and place than the folks that had to deal with huge rods and long long lines. It'll be interesting where this all goes with the lines being so advanced now.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-04-2019, 09:48 PM
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Advanced? Really? They are specialized tools, and useful as such, but skagit heads are all to lowest order approximation just LEVEL sections of different length and weight line. Perhaps you refer to “advanced” marketing. Personally I feel like “Advanced” should at the very least be reserved for a line with a subtle taper designed to transmit the energy from butt to tip as efficiently as possible. I’d say something like a Gaelforce equalizer deserves to be called “advanced”. If you try fishing one of these authentically “advanced” lines and you don’t wish after using one and genuinely taking the time to become proficient that more of your fishing scenarios would allow for its use you may not have a soul.

Maybe on the shopping spree pick up at least one line that is not a lump of boring, short level stuff - maybe an easy-casting head like the Beulah aero head. See if it doesn’t change your life a quantum leap more than the latest marketed lump of clothes line. See for YOURSELF if it is something you just have to “deal with”.

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-04-2019, 10:30 PM
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I would fish something longer. More fun, less stripping, and less BLOWN ANCHORS.

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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-06-2019, 04:10 PM
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I use different Airflo Scout heads on my 11‘ rods and some of the „longer“ Airflo Switch series, also some F.I.S.T., on my 12‘6 and 13‘ rods. It’s equipment I use intensively for fishing TroutSpey and Danube Salmon.

With this I already went down in length for the Skagits. The interesting point for me to use the shorter versions of Skagit Belly‘s was the possibility to adapt them for different scenarios with customized Cheaters and longer, tapered tips: combination of good rod load and more Scandi like presentation, with the option for a customized 3D line for better power transition for casting and depth control.

But I wouldn’t go that far, to use the Scout for the longer rods too.
As the shortest version for a 12‘6/13‘ rod there is the Switch. It’s already a step down and shorter than the average.
And it‘s nice. Adapted with an Intermediate Cheater of 1 m plus 10‘ or 15’ (depending on needs) Rio tapered exchangeable tips + tippet it’s really nice to cast. Same tuning with the Scout for TroutSpey.
Good anchor, deep load, long distances, 3D line with all benefits. Or downgrading to „classic Skagit“ combination with only 10’ of your T-material or a little longer for all the rest.

The OPST is a different story. It’s completely different tapered.
But the Scout on the longer rods? You would go down two steps in length, to deal with problems and to accept limitations.
Why make it more difficult than necessary and take options away?

I would try to build up the arsenal of rod and line pairings in the logic of best usefullness in the different categories of Skagit, Scandi, LongSpey or whatever. To maximize the adaption possibilities of the different tools, not to be forced to adapt yourself to a limited rod line pairing that is too much out of your average rod-line-length ratio you are used to. If there would be a benefit, of course. But there is none.

There are enough challenges left, to jump and adapt between different rods and lines and all the categories we can choose from for our fun.

Time is running... A little bit of work, a little bit married, fishing, hunting... What else?
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