Just wondering... - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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Just wondering...

I've been exclusively fishing floating scandi heads for smallmouth bass around home here in Pa for the past 3 months or so since the water has been low enough. I was fishing a deeper hole this weekend, so I changed out to a skagit head and sink tip to get my fly down. To my amazement, I had a heck of a time readjusting my stroke for waterborne anchored casts! Even when I began using t & g casts with the skagit and tip, and got my stroke down, I was still irritated by the feel of the heavy head... it took that nice lively feel away from the cast. I found myself hurrying through the deeper water (stupid on my part, because this is where the fish should be on a sunny day at noon) just so I could put a scandi back on and enjoy casting again. It got me thinking I should try out a lighter scandi body with and poly/versi leaders to maintain the casting characteristics I like and still fish deeper water. Anyone else have this experience when changing from a full floating head to one designed for tips? By the way... I highly recommend skating flies for smallies in the low light times of day! Those smallies sure can put a bend in a 3wt trout spey!
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-Sean
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 08:15 PM
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How deep were you fishing. It takes drastic measures for me to loop on a skagit head with a tip. Extremely high and dirty water and no other option. Even then I can't cast a skagit head to save my life. I get it out there and fishing but it's not pretty. I will stick to scandi and belly lines with poly's/tips. I just can't get the feel and rhythm with a skagit.

Dan

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-20-2019, 12:19 AM Thread Starter
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The hole I was fishing is deep... Too deep. Just how deep, I have no idea. A coworker said he has luck in this hole when the sun is high, but he fishes gear out of a boat so depth isn't a problem for him. All I know is my fly never got hung up... and I was casting straight across the river and making mends to get the fly down. I started fishing this hole with a polyleader on a scandi body, but I wasn't touching bottom or getting bit, so i went to the skagit head and 10' of T8, and I still didn't touch bottom. For the record I plan on skipping this hole (or any hole this deep) next time. To be honest, this was the first time I've seriously fished a skagit head (on a rod longer than 7.5') since I bought the scandi body. Like you said, I can cast a skagit head, I just don't like to. I didn't realise how little I like to though. Up to this point, a poly and/or a weighted fly has gotten me deep enough to reach fish.

-Sean
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-24-2019, 10:38 PM
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Rewrite for clarity and message >

My home river is a part of a limestone long chain of lakes, with joining river, with waterfalls, rapids and dams. Complex with deep lakes, shallows, river that is 100 yards wide and you can walk across, sections long enough that float planes will land, and holes deep enough that you must use metal that are beside a rock island and a shallow bay. So I fish the sections, for the time of year and how I want to fish it.

In the early season, I am likely casting with a Scandi FHI or FH2, to get the below just below the surface. There are enough ledges that going deep is not good, and there are a lot of fish that hang out in the boulders, racks and edges where the river transitions from deep to a run. Then I move down to shallow pools in the run. Flies are unweighted and as the water is fast, I believe-observe reluctance to hit top water for the energy spent.

As season progresses, and water slows, I move to Floating Head. Best action is sunrise and sunset, and I prefer sunset to get the evening flies up.

Also have good days, when the wind is high, by casting to the banks and strip, but if I know I am going this, I goto SH rod.

In the high heat of summer, I am either swinging a fly on a 2H Rod below the rapids-falls or casting into the lily-march edges along the deep pools. With the 2H, I will shift between the various heads, depending on flow, depth and what I know-believe about the water is.
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In one section, the water is extremely complex .... just before the rapids, depth slow, holding pike and bass. At the mouth of the rapids, where this is a lot of structure, redhorse (10lb+, protected) sitting on the bottom, moving to the rapid, I am back to bass, and then below the waterfalls, everything, but it is deep with little shoreline. (You need a watercraft here, if fly fishing). In this section, I am fishing a SH, as some of the best opprtunities means casting upstream.
I will carry multiple heads and change, permitting it is easy and possible to do so. I have no desire to change heads, when I am 100' away from the bank.

By the end of summer, the fish are slowing down. Do have learnt to avoid the Osprey, Blue Heron, Loons and snapping turtles, by being "off-the-bite" during the day, and deep. I have a couple of times, snorkel the section, drifting and watching. Activity picks up, and as the water is slower, I am back to a floating head when swinging.

By autumn, they are down, weed is breaking, so I start thinking about a long drive for steelhead, where I will eventually transition to tip.

Then fill-in winter with fishing Bonefish with a SH.

So I am constantly moving from SH to Floating Scandi and Tips. As my experience with Spey is way less than SH, it takes sometime to re-adjust when changing to Spey or even the heads, but for me, I know this will get better with practice, practice .....

.....

The water has so many selections available, so I select the water I wish to. Yes, I avoid deep pools.

.....

My strategy is a little different for trout (such as brook) as most of the moving trout water are runs closer in and not deep. Pools are not very deep <6', but can be fast. Floating lines win! and mending is important. I select the fly for depth, from wet fly to muddler to conehead muddle to scuplzilla.

Last edited by raspberry-patch; 08-25-2019 at 10:48 AM.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-24-2019, 11:04 PM
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Oh yes! I have the same experience every winter when I first put on a skagit head. The feeling is always “jeeze, how can anyone put up with these clunky things?” After a few hours to a day the feeling wears off. I kind of know in the back of my head that something has been lost in the elegance department, but I can appreciate that something has also been gained, like the ability to easily get off a cast with heavy sunken tip and fly without needing to pay too much attention. But the feeling is strongest when doing what you are doing - switching up. In cases like that I also feel the tug of choosing the fishing situation to fit the more elegant setup rather than what makes more sense logically in terms of the highest probability fishing. I had that big time on a trip up to BC where we were switching back and forth between tips and skating flies.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-25-2019, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Captcaveman View Post
The hole I was fishing is deep... Too deep. Just how deep, I have no idea. A coworker said he has luck in this hole when the sun is high, but he fishes gear out of a boat so depth isn't a problem for him. All I know is my fly never got hung up... and I was casting straight across the river and making mends to get the fly down. I started fishing this hole with a polyleader on a scandi body, but I wasn't touching bottom or getting bit, so i went to the skagit head and 10' of T8, and I still didn't touch bottom. For the record I plan on skipping this hole (or any hole this deep) next time. To be honest, this was the first time I've seriously fished a skagit head (on a rod longer than 7.5') since I bought the scandi body. Like you said, I can cast a skagit head, I just don't like to. I didn't realise how little I like to though. Up to this point, a poly and/or a weighted fly has gotten me deep enough to reach fish.
You could replace the Skagit Belly with a heavier T-tip and with long mono leader it is light to cast and sinks fast. If you add a polyleader you have a head which has quite nice taper.

Esa
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-25-2019, 08:34 AM
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I don't have much to offer on the switch from Scando to Skaigit (I'm not that handy with either :-) ), but I do almost all my smallie fishing with a Scandi outfit. When I want to get down, I run a floating Scandi head, 7 ips poly leader, and a relatively sparse fly. Cast UPstream and across, mend until it's just below you, and then let 'er swing. Admittedly, I'm not scratching the bottom of 20' holes, but I'm also not spending loads of time getting hung up and trying to retrieve or tie on new flies, either.

That said, I would rather catch one smallie on a waker than ten dredging, ....So, this time of year, when the water is warmer and dissolved oxygen levels considerably lower than ideal, I hunt the right water. What you want is highly oxygenated stuff, found at the base of falls, rapids, and/or long riffles that are above long, slow sections of river. Fish that inhabit the long, slow sections when the water is cooler and holding more dissolved oxygen will congregate in the frothy stuff in mid to late summer, even if it's relatively shallow. Even the big girls. A couple years ago in August at the end of several months of drought conditions and crazy high temps, I stood in one spot at the end of a series of rapids and hooked 25 smallies without moving. The other magnet is cooler water, but it's much less obvious and harder to find. This comes from springs or (generally) smaller tributaries. Not all the tribs are cooler, and some of the best ones are tiny and hidden by riverside vegetation. I find them by wet wading. Fish will stack up below these as well.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-26-2019, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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I too select the water I fish by where the bass are apt to be, but in most cases this time of year, all that is required to reach them is a scandi head and polyleaders. Most times I don't even need polys. I don't typically start fishing deep until after the fall feed is over. In this particular extra-deep water case, the deep pool was immediately below faster broken water, so I figured the oxygen, food, and depth (predator protection) were all there in one spot. That's the only reason I tried to fish it. No bites however. The fish in the pic attached to my original post was caught directly above the fast, broken water, and 40' into the main river at the mouth of a cold feeder stream in about 3.5' of slow water. It hit my skater as soon as it touched the water! I 100% agree, skating is the way to go when they're looking up!!! #6 to 1/0 Klamath Skater-ish flies are awesome for smallies!!! For fishing those deep spots however, I'll have to try cobbling together a full sinking head using tips and polyleaders. I've read on other threads that full sink heads/lines typically are lighter in grains than a floating head for the same rod, but how much lighter is typical? Should the head length stay the same as a full floater? Is there a rule of thumb such as a full sink scandi head should weigh ×× grains less than a floating scandi? I'm willing to try it out!
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-26-2019, 02:52 PM
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Bit shorter line head is easier to lift to recast and when fast sinking line is thinner its lower wind resistance lengthens the cast so perhaps it can be lighter but does not have to be. My shortest shooting heads are only about 23ft and I cast them using even 15ft rod but I use at least 15ft mono leader.

There used to be line material which really did sink fast I still have this one (30ft of T-33 or LC-33) which I make heads when I go fishing very deep and fast water. I had another which I made two heads but I lost other half to river bottom. Other half has got cracks obviously because there is lots of tungsten or lead and not much PVC or the core is too thin for the stress it see when line is cast?

I propably cut this to three 10ft 330gr sections and make them rear bellies and splice two lighter T-sections to be front taper so head will come longer and Spey cast better than plain level head.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-26-2019, 05:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tip! I'll try that out!

-Sean
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