Skagit Line/casting- what & how??? - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-01-2008, 10:27 PM Thread Starter
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Skagit Line/casting- what & how???

I've gotten bits and pieces of the Skagit Spey Casting for a while from these Spey Pages and must confess that the more info I get, the more confused I am. Now, I need a lot of help with this issue, please. Do you use sink tips or floating heads. Or maybe both(at different time of course)? Do you use your backing as the running line after the head and leader are out? What can be done more efficiently with the Skagit set up as opposed to a normal Spey Rig and say a Windcutter with a 20' length of T-14 or maybe just the standard Windcutter tip as a floating line? Then, what rods/actions might be best suited for the Skagit route? Next, how do you rig and set up your terminal tackle? I told you I was confused, did I not? I primarily fish the cold winter months for Chrome in MI Rivers and the fish are often deep and very lethargic; thus, this Skagit route might be the best approach for me to pursue. BTW, I fish from a drifter and seldom wade the big waters. Thanks for any help, Stiver

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-01-2008, 10:47 PM
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Howdy Tom,

Here are some links that will explain a lot about skagit lines and fishing.

http://home.att.net/~slowsnap/spey16.htm

http://www.ggacc.org/docs/Sites/1/Bulletin-2006-07.pdf

http://www.redshedflyshop.com/simonlines.html.pdf

http://flyfishingresearch.net/forums/index.php


The guy you used to fish with a couple years back knows the skagit methods well.

Poppy=Red Shed Spey Rod Pimp
FRSCA-Founding Member


How you get the line out and fishing is personal preference so as long as it works and is easy no one should care but the caster. MSB
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-02-2008, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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Much here to digest

Poppy, thank you for this info. It will take me some time to read and re-read all of this, however. I have read some of this material and presently have a question that bugs me. As to leaders, it appears that one part of this Skagit set up is using a long leader? If that is so the flies must be heavily weighted streamers or tube flies as my experience with long leaders is that the fly does not get deep enough?? Next issue with leaders being long, it appears that the rod loading is done by a sweep of the rod and dragging the leader as opposed to the snap to get a good V loop followed by the touch and go that I'm used to. Am I following this correctly? If not, please explain. Thanks, Stiver

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-02-2008, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
As to leaders, it appears that one part of this Skagit set up is using a long leader? If that is so the flies must be heavily weighted streamers or tube flies as my experience with long leaders is that the fly does not get deep enough?? Next issue with leaders being long, it appears that the rod loading is done by a sweep of the rod and dragging the leader as opposed to the snap to get a good V loop followed by the touch and go that I'm used to. Am I following this correctly? If not, please explain. Thanks, Stiver
The skagit jedi's can explain this much better then I. From my point of view a simple explaination goes something like this. I think most of the guys skagit casting with a sinktip use a leader of about 4', maybe 5' and as short as 18". The way I understand it the loading comes from the sinktip sticking on/in the water for a short time ala the term "sustained load".

Scandi casting an entirely different casting style using touch and go casts uses a short head and a long leader, maybe more then 20' to create the line stick to load the rod.

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How you get the line out and fishing is personal preference so as long as it works and is easy no one should care but the caster. MSB
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-02-2008, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by speyflyman View Post
I've gotten bits and pieces of the Skagit Spey Casting for a while from these Spey Pages and must confess that the more info I get, the more confused I am. Now, I need a lot of help with this issue, please. Do you use sink tips or floating heads. Or maybe both(at different time of course)? Do you use your backing as the running line after the head and leader are out? What can be done more efficiently with the Skagit set up as opposed to a normal Spey Rig and say a Windcutter with a 20' length of T-14 or maybe just the standard Windcutter tip as a floating line? Then, what rods/actions might be best suited for the Skagit route? Next, how do you rig and set up your terminal tackle? I told you I was confused, did I not? I primarily fish the cold winter months for Chrome in MI Rivers and the fish are often deep and very lethargic; thus, this Skagit route might be the best approach for me to pursue. BTW, I fish from a drifter and seldom wade the big waters. Thanks for any help, Stiver

Hi Stiver,

being quite a 'newbie' myself as regards Skagit casting, Skagit lines, rods and general set-ups, and the application of this expansion/offshoot of 'Spey' casting (first exposure on this forum - theory; first exposure - the practice - on the Skeena system April 07 with the Skeena Spey School), I have 'distilled' the vast amount of info on this subject to a few lines, which I regard as 'the basics' [shoot me down anyone if I have made errors of ommission or commission!!];

1. Skagit lines are really short and relatively bulky/heavy shooting heads, and may either come as a Skagit line, with the running line and head factory made and continuous, so no seperate running line needed, or just the Skagit head, to which you need to attach a dedicated running or shooting line. Each of these types of Skagit lines are then treated as a standard line in respect of needing whatever fly line (dacron) backing to fill the fly spool, and allow for fish running off with more than your fly line length when required.

2. Skagit lines were developed with some particular purposes in mind - as expounded by Ed Ward to name just one - in that the heavy short head can deliver a relatively long sinking tip, and cast relatively large & bulky (but not necessarily heavier [weighted]) flies, and cast a relatively long distance.

3. Thus, the Skagit lines/heads main 'advantage' is in the use of longer and heavier sinking tips, eg T-14 or similar, in lengths from 6 to 20+ feet. It appears to defeat the objective, therefore, to use floating tips on a Skagit set-up, although it can be done.

4. The Skagit casts, for the main part, incorporate 'water borne' anchoring of the part of the head and all of the tip, so 'touch & go' casting is not really utilised with such lines & casts.

5. The Skagit heads are short (relative to standard Spey lines), being around 24 to 33 feet (mid-'Spey' lines having 55 to 65' heads, standard 'Spey' lines have heads of 65 to 80', and long belly 'Spey' lines have heads 80 to 95') {Scandinavian shooting heads are usually around 35 to 45'}. As the Skagit heads are so short, it means that during D loop formation for loading the rod, the loop itself is relatively shorter than that created when casting standard 'Spey' lines, so, with the Skagit lines, you can still cast from near-bank situations with much less back-room (trees, bushes, rock etc).

6. The Skagit 'rods' are really just rods capable of casting such lines, and tend to be a tad shorter than those used for casting standard 'Spey' lines, the rod lengths being in the range 11 to 13.5', whereas 'Spey' rods tend to be in the range 12 to 16+ feet.

7. End tackle (leaders & flies) is much about personal preferences & confidence, and factored into the particular fishing situation (deep & fast runs, deep pots & pockets, or other situations) and mono leaders of 4' to 20+ feet may be used. The flies are no particular to 'Skagit', but the above Skagit set-up will allow you to cast, and the head and tip to turn over and nicely present relatively large and bulky feathery/furry options, whereas those same flies may be more tricky to cast with traditional 'Spey' lines.

Hopefully, the "Skagit-in-a-nutshell" as above may be a start to the end of your confusion.

Mike

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-02-2008, 04:13 PM
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No Jedi am I but....

No Jedi am I. But exception must I make. Floating tip effective is and "traditional casts possible are" "Floating line-Greased line" techniques effective are also. No Jedi am I though.....


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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-02-2008, 07:10 PM
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I believe Ed is "on the road" to Texas. Otherwise I would not wade into this. Little bit too much misinformation to let it percolate too long and confuse people.

Skagit lines are not designed for long sinktips or long leaders.I know/have fished a lot with the guys behind the development of these lines.When I first fished with Ed back when he was making his own lines he usually had a 9ft sinktip and a 2 1/2- 4 ft leader.Thats basicly what I do.Except I use 10ft[got to be different!] mostly and 13ft sometimes.Last time out I used a 7ft tip. Last time I fished with Ed the water was a bit low and he was using 7ft tip.I have never fished with him when he used a long sinktip.That's not to say they won't cast one .Bob Pauli seems to rave about them paired with RIO BigBoys.Mike McCune was fishing standard sinktips of 15ft or less when I've been around him,Same with Dec...Usually the 15ft tip with 3-4ft leader.
Another thing..Scandi heads...it was stated above that you need a long leader for an anchor due to their short head when fishing dry line.I've heard it elsewhere ,too.It may be true with some lines or some casters.It was not true for me chucking a RIO AFS.I started with a 14ft polyleader and did not like the turnover in the wind.I switched to a Airflo poly 10ft leader and did great for 2 days in still windy conditions launching perfect Deschutes length casts with nailgun turnover at the end!

Just because it is a "Skagit" head does not mean you can't execute perfect "touch & go" casts.Last couple of times out I cast perfect river left cackhanded snakerolls of 90ft++ with Skagit heads and tips of 7ft to15ft with a TFO DC 7/8, a Sage 5126 Z-zxis,a 1308 Flylogic and a 7130 DH ECHO.Gee,I'm not supposed to be able to do that!So just to stay "inbounds "I did a bunch of Ed style doubles[same river left],cackhanded with a 'POKE " tossed in before the flick across the river.
Beau

Last edited by beau purvis; 04-02-2008 at 07:35 PM.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-02-2008, 08:20 PM
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The Skagit catapult

Hi Stiver,
1. The link to the GGACC page will take you to the best article I've seen on the technical side of this.
2. To me it's easy to explain the concept in one-hander terms*:
Put a 12wt floating line on a 7/8 weight single hand rod, cut the line to a 23' belly, and attach a 7-8' 8wt sinktip. When you do a double spey cast with that, you've got a small D-loop with lots of mass, so the rod loads deep. There's so much mass in the belly that you don't need touch-and-go timing--the fat belly will pull the tip out and the whole thing will fire like a big pyramid sinker on a surf rod because of the big mass loading the rod deeply (lots of momentum and resists wind great). You'll shoot quite a bit of line.
*(made up example-untested)

3. In the great lakes we use longer tips, and they work great with Skagit lines too. The above article explains how. The shortest (winter) tip I use on the Muskegon is 15' of T-14 (210gr). These Skagit bellies are fatter by far than the Windcutter bellies we played with in '04, and that mass and short length helps bring T-14 up better than thinner lines.

Best wishes,
Carl
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-02-2008, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
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re: GGACC page

Carl, as I look at that page I see the suggested lengths of Skagit heads to be 3 to 3.5 X rod length. Now, that must(??) include both the length of the floating head plus the length of the sink tip...do I read this correctly? Now, if I would need to go deeper than say my 20' T-14 would take me I must cut back/alter my floating head length to compensate, eh? Sorry to be so dense on this, but thanks to all, please bear with me. Thanks for all help, Stiver

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-02-2008, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by beau purvis View Post
I believe Ed is "on the road" to Texas. Otherwise I would not wade into this. Little bit too much misinformation to let it percolate too long and confuse people.

Skagit lines are not designed for long sinktips or long leaders.I know/have fished a lot with the guys behind the development of these lines.When I first fished with Ed back when he was making his own lines he usually had a 9ft sinktip and a 2 1/2- 4 ft leader.Thats basicly what I do.Except I use 10ft[got to be different!] mostly and 13ft sometimes.Last time out I used a 7ft tip. Last time I fished with Ed the water was a bit low and he was using 7ft tip.I have never fished with him when he used a long sinktip.That's not to say they won't cast one .Bob Pauli seems to rave about them paired with RIO BigBoys.Mike McCune was fishing standard sinktips of 15ft or less when I've been around him,Same with Dec...Usually the 15ft tip with 3-4ft leader.
Another thing..Scandi heads...it was stated above that you need a long leader for an anchor due to their short head when fishing dry line.I've heard it elsewhere ,too.It may be true with some lines or some casters.It was not true for me chucking a RIO AFS.I started with a 14ft polyleader and did not like the turnover in the wind.I switched to a Airflo poly 10ft leader and did great for 2 days in still windy conditions launching perfect Deschutes length casts with nailgun turnover at the end!

Just because it is a "Skagit" head does not mean you can't execute perfect "touch & go" casts.Last couple of times out I cast perfect river left cackhanded snakerolls of 90ft++ with Skagit heads and tips of 7ft to15ft with a TFO DC 7/8, a Sage 5126 Z-zxis,a 1308 Flylogic and a 7130 DH ECHO.Gee,I'm not supposed to be able to do that!So just to stay "inbounds "I did a bunch of Ed style doubles[same river left],cackhanded with a 'POKE " tossed in before the flick across the river.
Beau

Now I can see perfectly why speyflyman gets confused!!

MIke

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-03-2008, 03:03 AM
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Actually...

...not on my way yet... tomorrow.

I'm not going to get into this particular discussion because if'n one does a search on this subject, they would find that the answer to each and every question has been covered multiple times over the past few years.

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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-03-2008, 11:02 AM
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Carl, as I look at that page I see the suggested lengths of Skagit heads to be 3 to 3.5 X rod length. Now, that must(??) include both the length of the floating head plus the length of the sink tip...do I read this correctly? Now, if I would need to go deeper than say my 20' T-14 would take me I must cut back/alter my floating head length to compensate, eh? Sorry to be so dense on this, but thanks to all, please bear with me. Thanks for all help, Stiver
I'm at work, so must be brief:
1. Yes, the 3-3.5 includes both floating and sinking portions.
2. Your current lines are probably not big enough. The floating portion needs to have twice the mass of the sink tip (example: a Skagit 450 head can handle tips up to 225 grain).
3. This style was developed by wading anglers fishing heavy tips. You don't need as much belly for overhead casting from a boat.

Regards,
Carl

Last edited by Carl; 04-03-2008 at 01:12 PM.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-03-2008, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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RA, my apology if I've ruffled your feathers

RA, thanks for your input. Indeed thanks to all for your inputs. RA, please know that I have indeed pursued many of these posts you make reference to. I may not have keyed in on all, however? I observe with this Skagit discipline there seems to be so many opinions as to this/that, how is a newbee like myself able to sort out the wheat from the chaff-too many opposing views IMHO? That's my dilemma. Now, likely I should just let this issue go and not pursue it any longer; however, I do not give up that easily. I won't ask any more questions, however, after this one: where can I get a GOOD video of the whole spectrum of the Skagit Casting routine? Thanks, Stiver

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-03-2008, 09:23 PM
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RIO has a good video with RA in it as well as Mike McCune & Scott O'Donnell doing Skagit type casts .
Beau
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-03-2008, 09:59 PM
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Thomas...

...my intent was not to quell any questions you might have. Just wanted to point out that the info is already available through proper channels. Try "Mo' stuff on Skagit" - that thread should provide answers to at least a couple of the questions you have.

As far as videos... what Beau said.

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