Stupid Question 101 - Skagit vs. "traditional" spey casting... - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-23-2004, 09:11 PM Thread Starter
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Stupid Question 101 - Skagit vs. "traditional" spey casting...

Ok, so I've been "in the game" for a year now, and have played around with a variety of "spey" casts - circle speys, snake rolls, singles and double speys, snap-t's, Perry Pokes, etc. And have read alot of disconnected dissertations on Skagit casting and Underhanded casting et al.

So, Stupid Question 101 - after getting the idea of what a skagit cast is, that it uses/requires a much shorter bellied line per it's use of "line stick" to load the rod, as opposed to the D/V-loop of airealized (sp?) belly/spey line in the more traditional spey casting stroke: what is the practical advantage of Skagit Casting vs. "Traditional" Spey Casting? (and vice versa)

In my short time in casting the long rods, I've noticed that I tend to like a longer bellied line for mending purposes and control of the speed of the fly's swing. However, I do also like the concept of shooting line, particularly with sink tips, as the retrieval of line allows for the tip to come up in the water collumn (sp) and makes the subsequent cast easier for me. A bit of a trade off obviously. Haven't played with the true skagit lines yet, but am wondering about their use, particularly with what appears to be limitations in the ability to mend the line effectively. Are there particular situations Skagit casting/fishing techniques are "easier" or more effective than traditional longer bellied "spey" techniques, and vice-versa? Or is it simply a matter of preference and you work out the trade-off's accordingly?

Just seems to be quite the "debate" between the two factions - Skagit casters and traditional long-bellied spey casters. Kinda curious, I guess, if I'm "missing out on something...."

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-23-2004, 11:57 PM
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I have said this a few times.however it has been a while. I dont get the mending thing.Why do so many people get so concerned about mending?I watched people all last summer overmend as I played guest host on a famous steelhead river. over mending keeps people from getting grabs! If you make a 90 degree cast with a tip and make one mend as the line first touches the water you should be set for the foat.You hold the rod upstream until the line floats a little and then you follow with the tip lined up with the angle of the line. What I saw last summer was: cast at 45-60 degrees ,make an unnecesary mend and then make three more before the swing completes.I hook most of my fish before my line gets to where most casts land. on top of that they are jerked forward 3-4 times when they are in that second zone and where I make sure I dont disturb the natural movement one bit.I dont even think about mending ! when I need it I do it. usually only need one. I dont fish any really long lines, but when I fish a midspey type I dont notice any difference ,or difficulty vs a skagit type line.I really think two major faults of a large portion of the fly fishing population are:not making the cast at 90 degrees{ because it is more difficult] and making 3-4 mends out of habit! I see no reason to consider mending in my line choice.Beau
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-24-2004, 01:03 AM
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Feiger -

A Skagit cast requires significantly less space (room behind) than a fully formed d-loop. It also allows for a precision placement of the working dynamic anchor with effective sinktip lines and large flies to weed out the aggressors in the river. For these lines and flies the energy used is also much less, allowing the angler to work the river for a longer time and more effectively, ultimately increasing the odds of catching fish under these conditions.

There are times when a light touch anchor and a long belly line are ideal, and there are times when it is downright silly. Skagit casting provides another weapon in a well-rounded spey fisherman's arsenal.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-24-2004, 12:33 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy whooaaa.... Beau......

sorry about using the "m" word...... wow....

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-24-2004, 01:04 PM
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large flies

As I understand it, the Skagit cast and line evolved from the large "intruder" type flies Ed was developing and trying to cast. And, if I'm right on this, a perfect example of the design of a "system" to perform a task. Get the fly to the fish.

Rather then speculate any further though, I would rather hear it from those who were involved in this from the start.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-24-2004, 04:40 PM
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Feiger, obviously that was something I was shocked to see when I played observer last yr. I just used your posted ? to post my thoughts to help people to know there is another way.As I have said before, I dont do these to say my way is the only way. It is the only way for me. dont care how everyone else does it.Beau
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-25-2004, 02:48 AM
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Ed Ward, Tyler and I had about a 3 hour discussion of this subject last Wednesday night, and here's some of what I gleaned from that conversation about Ed's take on the advantages of Skagit casting:

1. casting a fixed head length/line weight beyond the rod tip for every cast (once the head is outside the rod tip)

2. greater margin for error: since you are laying the line on the water and allowing the fly and tip to sink, you have time to re-arrange a poorly placed cast, something harder to do with Traditional Spey casting

3. timing less critical: with Skagit, the whole point is to have the line anchored on the water. There is no" splash and go" as in Traditional Spey casting

4. less backcast room required: Skagit casting tends to produce a smaller D loop than Traditional longline casting, making it easier to cast in tight spots

5. As JD points out, Skagit casting developed out of a need to effectively cast big heavy sinking flies, so the whole point of the method is to deal with a fly that hits the water like a cannon ball and heads for the bottom. With Traditional methods you can easily be foiled by these sorts of flies if your technique isn't nearly perfect.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-25-2004, 06:17 PM
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It may be possible that "longliners" actually have to mend more than us head "heads". The thin running line that backs up a shootinghead system, is far less subject to being "dragged" around by river currents. It is also far easier to hold long lengths of running line up off of the water, where it is absolutely unaffected by drag. I bring this up because of the recurring discussion of mending shootingheads, and why it is that the longliners seem to be so baffled by this subject. I just realized that us head heads do many things to keep the need for mending to an absolute minimum. Is it possible that longliners have to mend because of the substantial amounts of large diameter flyline that they always have in contact with the surface of the river?

The whole point of Skagit casting WAS ORIGINALLY aimed at casting large, weighted flies. But, if large, weighted flies can be cast so efficiently with only a modicum of effort, what are the capabilities with standard, unweighted flies? Might be scary.

One point on Skagit casting that seems to slide by fairly unnoticed, yet I think that it is one of the most important attributes - line speed. I believe that Skagit casting achieves greater line speeds than the other casting methods that I have seen. While most casters focus on conducting perfect laser loops, hardly anyone talks about line speed. In my experience, line speed is far more important in situations of maintaining accuracy in wind than the fact of how tight one's loops are.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-25-2004, 07:18 PM
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Thumbs up Skagit Casting

"The whole point of Skagit casting WAS ORIGINALLY aimed at casting large, weighted flies. But, if large, weighted flies can be cast so efficiently with only a modicum of effort, what are the capabilities with standard, unweighted flies? Might be scary."

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-26-2004, 12:12 AM
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I fished windcutters (tips and floaters) and skagit style (tips only) lines for nearly a decade before moving to a long bellly (floating only). Everything you can do to manipulate line with the short head is just as easily accomplished with the long belly. (I must confess that the long belly's just 'feel' so much nicer.) There are so few runs that come to mind where a long head is going to require any additional mends to shooting head lines, so I find that a complete non-issue. Conclusion: The whole mending arguement is really a non issue FOR EITHER SIDE.

I will never go back to fishing the short head lines. Unless specific conditions call for it (Atlantic Salmon Fishing or spending several hours fishing in REALLY tight quarters) the long bellly is the default line as they are such pure pleasure to cast as opposed to 'shoot-n-hoot'.

In fact, just to stir the controversy pot, I spent about 30% of last week fishing lead eyed intruders (tied on 55mm wad shanks) on a full floating Grandspey 7/8 with 15' level leader. By week's end, I found the XLT 8/9 to be my favorite line to cast those jigs to execute the floating line deep wet fly swing. Conclusion- I don't even begin to buy the argument out there that cutting the XLT back is required to turn over weighted flies. These intruders weighed in dry at almost 65 grains- twice that of a lead eyed starlight leech.

Line speed is where it is at. Totally agree. That very reason is why I prefer the XLT over any other commercially available long belly line. (What is all this Poppy-Cock about the XLT not being a good fishing line?????????????? Complete, utter, BS I says.) As previously stated, probably a million times by now, I use the XLT 7/8 on the Salar because of the line speed generated while keeping the rod from being overpowered. Same holds true for the Steelhead- the XLT 6/7 is awesome. Once enough time is spent with these 'underweighted' lines to find the timing, going back to anything heavier makes the rod feel like driving an unresponsive land barge down a winding canyon road.

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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-28-2004, 01:17 PM
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The point that I was trying to make was why it is that so many longliners do not understand how it is that a shortbelly line can be controlled during the swing. Us head guys have had to learn to use tensioning/de-tensioning of the line by holding the rod back or leading the rod around as a major means of controlling fly speed. The really effective steelheaders that use heads usually make only one mend at the very beginning of the swing, and from there on out fly speed is generally determined by using the aforementioned tactics. In contrast, a longliner would instead be using smaller, "corrective" mends in place of line tensioning/de-tensioning manuevers. Both approaches accomplish the same goal (fly speed), but each was "developed" to work best with the differing requirements of each system. Tensioning/de-tensioning can be done with a longline, but because of the "extra" weight and surface drag displayed by such a line, it is not nearly so efficient as with a head system. "Corrective" mends can be accomplished with heads, but not as effectively as with a longline, because of the head's lack of continuous mass. And that, is pretty much the basic difference between the two approaches when it comes to on-river application as I have seen it.

It is interesting to see that you agree on the importance of line speed. I have seen very few longliners that are able to achieve "high" line speeds. I also know of very few longliners that are not given fits by sinktips and/or large, weighted flies. I note that you are using relatively light lines as compared to almost all other longliners, who seem to be into a trend of going heavier and heavier.

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