From backing to fly...what do I need? - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-11-2016, 02:39 AM Thread Starter
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From backing to fly...what do I need?

I have a 12'2" 5122 Echo coming from Brian but that's it. Just the rod. I am a fairly accomplished one hand caster with basic casts and good roll casts. The initial use of this rod is going to be on stillwater to get some learning done. I would probably start with lighter single hook streamers at first, barbless or maybe bend of hook cut right off. Then, as casts become smoother and safer (I hope) I'll start to move up and hope to be able to throw Hog Snares and similar and bass bugs. Later this fall I hope to make a trip to White River of Little Red River and a few years ago on the White I sure could have used some more distance than my 8' 6wt. Bamboo quad would give me. I'm done with accuracy there at about 60'70'.

Probably should start at the reel backing. I read of running lines that are just thin fly level fly lines. I also read of using plain old Mono in heavy test for this. Is it worth it to buy a line like OPST lazer line? What is most used out there for skagit running lines?

Okay, now with the rod on the way I've been reading all kinds of things to confuse me. It does seem like Skagit does get me fishing a little quicker and that's the way I'd like to start. I've read a lot on this rod and Skagit lines and it seems like the OPST Commando would be a good first line for me. I am confused when they recommend a grain weight of 250 - 275 on their Commando and Airflo recommends 350-420 on their Skagit short line. If I read this right I'd probably go with the 275 grain since I use a line size heavier a lot to shoot more and wave around in the air less. So, who do I believe? Commando or Airflo? One author claims the Airflo 420 on that rod is everything and more than a person could ask for.

And then, I have shooting line on the reel backed up with running line. Since my initial options will be bass in fairly shallow lakes that are usually looking up I need a leader. Now I have a pile of mono tied leaders I set up, plus a whole bunch of furled leaders in different materials and lengths from 4' to 12' steelhead leaders. I've been using furled leaders with just a single chunk of mono or flouro. Guess this doesn't work so what do I need? I have some sinking heads I might use later but for now I'd want to stay on top or drop a bit with flouro. What are these versileaders and MOW leaders I read about? And what is MOW an acronym for.

Thank you for any help you can give for probably the thousandth time on this site but I have no problem calling a company to talk to them before final order but would like some place to start.

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-11-2016, 04:07 AM
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Sounds like you will be fishing my old neck of the Ozarks. I'd suggest learning to skagit cast in moving water. Still water is ok, but tougher to set up your anchor and keep your rod loaded through the sweep and forward stroke...

The Commando heads are 5-7 feet shorter than the Airflo skagit compact heads (last I noticed), hence some of the grain/weight differences. And generally, step down 100 grains on the Commando to what you'd use for an Airflo or Rio skagit head. There are a ton of tips out there, and they all do the same thing - sink your fly. Some are tapered and some aren't. It all boils down to personal preference and takes trying out different configurations to get down to what you like. I could hand my rod to a buddy, and he might not be able to cast it, and vice versa.

Also keep in mind that different companies make many different lines with multiple tapers. When someone says "Aiflo 420", that could mean one of many different types/tapers. Probably talking about a skagit compact, and, not to discourage you or push one brand over the other, but just to show you the diversity of lines, here is Airflo's "spey lines" page - Spey Lines | Airflo Fishing Tackle - I would suggest viewing multiple line manufacturers' suggested grain for a specific line and that specific rod - most of them post that stuff on their website.

As you will find out, dialing in your rod and casting style is a big part of the fun of this type of fishing, but it takes time and lots of trial and error.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-11-2016, 06:58 AM
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Line first:

Rio line chart recommends (for Echo 5122-4) - Skagit heads 300 to 350 grains

Lines available:

[given as total grains of head/length of head/grains per foot]

Original Skagit: (may be n/a) 350 / 27' / 13

Airflo Rage: 360 / 28' / 12.9

Skagit Compact: 360 / 23' / 15.6

Skagit Max Short: 350 / 20' / 17.5

OPST Commando: 275 / 13.5' / 20.4

Skagit Trout Max: 275 / 11' / 25

the grains/foot of the head determines what grains/foot of tip you can cast, so choice of head determines what tip(s) you may huck

eg T11 = 11 grains/foot, T14 = 14 grains/foot etc...

Running line: for these lighter short heads, 25 - 30lb mono will do fine.

Leader: the length & diameter is determined by the size/weight/bulk of fly you will be casting:

Backing: whatever your personal choice is, but 30lb standard or 20lb if you're targeting fish that are either @ the smaller end of the scale, or aren't likely to take runs of >150 yards

Reel: large enough spool to accommodate the above selections, plus however flexible your budget is.


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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-11-2016, 12:23 PM
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Hey Nick you've got options other than the shooting head/line systems. What if an integrated Royal Wulf Ambush line attached to your backing and your leaders was all you really needed?

Make it an 8WF Ambush and be done.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-11-2016, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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Way to take the fun of the assemblage of proper components out of it fish4ever. I ordered the Ambush 8 earlier and will start there. While I'm experimenting with the learning curve I'll stick with that this fall but I'd still like to build a "proper" Skagit outfit down the line after the stroke is acquired and different casts are wanted.

Thanx to all and I know questions like this from newbies (ever 72 yr old ones) can drive a guy nuts like "can I use car oil?" in my motorcycle boards.

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