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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-11-2019, 09:42 PM Thread Starter
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Questions about heads

Okay so I have a basic knowledge of spey technique and equipment, but am trying to figure out how to do the type of fishing I want to do and scandi vs skagit heads if those are the right choice. I would like to use a two handed rod in salt and for bass in lakes, but want to fish with a floating or intermediate tip. What does this mean for me in terms of line selection? Also is there a way to present the flies without scaring every fish in a lake? Skagit heads seem to have the presentation value of a sack of portland cement in my hands.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-11-2019, 10:24 PM
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Also is there a way to present the flies without scaring every fish in a lake? Skagit heads seem to have the presentation value of a sack of portland cement in my hands.

Practice makes perfect. The right combination of head, tip, and leader can actually land nicely on the water. Not every Skagit system is a 700 grain head and twelve feet of T-17 trying to cast a frozen turkey.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-11-2019, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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Also is there a way to present the flies without scaring every fish in a lake? Skagit heads seem to have the presentation value of a sack of portland cement in my hands.

Practice makes perfect. The right combination of head, tip, and leader can actually land nicely on the water. Not every Skagit system is a 700 grain head and twelve feet of T-17 trying to cast a frozen turkey.
True, but any recommendations on how to setup this system?
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-11-2019, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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I got some previous feedback that skagit heads really needed sink tips, is this incorrect?
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-12-2019, 12:31 AM
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I got some previous feedback that skagit heads really needed sink tips, is this incorrect?
Yes, skagit heads REQUIRE a matching “sink tip” (I include floating tips in that category) to work as designed. You should just think of them as only a part of a full line, where the tip is the missing part, but if you mean they have to have a sinking tip as opposed to a floating tip, then no, that is absolutely NOT the case. You have to adjust of course, and use a long leader instead of mere tippet in front of the floating tip. Casting a skagit head with a tip that sinks is honestly the lowest common denomenator skill-wise. But the RAGE, a very popular line right now, is in essence nothing more that a skagit head with an integrated floating tip. You might consider trying one of those.

A skagit with a sinktip (or floating tip) is somewhat similar in taper to a shooting head for overhead casting, and some people have experimented with them as overhead casting rigs for two handed rods. In particular Nick Curcione developed a surf casting method for spey rods that made use of a skagit head plus a tip cast overhead. I was curious and it really works. WELL. A lot of shooting head lines like the Rio Outbound and many others have a fairly level head, just like a skagit. The flip side is you can cast an Outbound or other shoting head with a spey cast, but for fast sinking ones you have to dig the sunken heads out with a kind of “multi-poke” technique. But it all works quite well with the right technique.

As for making a splash free presentation, you are on your own there. But there is absolutely nothing preventing you from using a single hand line cast overhead, like a delicate trout line, if it has the right weight for the two handed rod. A approximate rule of thumb is to use 2 wts up for a switch rod and 3 for a spey rod for overhead casting. So a 9wt single hand line could probably be comfortably cast overhead with a 7wt switch rod and 6wt spey rod. You can even do spey casts with those lines, but you might prefer going even heavier. But the rules of thumb are just a means to get close, and you may want to fine tune a bit to your personal tastes. And even a scandi cast overhead would certainly be an noise mprovement over a skagit anything. The advantage of the overhead skagit system is you can throw really huge, heavy gamefish flies, and making a splash is just as likely in many cases to attract the kind of fish that go after these flies, like a striper in a feeding frenzy. I find that the lower handle on a 2-handed rod, when tucked under your arm, works really comfortably doing fast striping all day long, so it’s not that crazy, just different. Also if you are fishing 20 ft deep the splash is not going to matter much.

A well known spey instructor in the Sacramento area, Jeff Putnam, says he has used a spey rod, and sometimes even spey style casts, fishing for Bonefish and Tarpon. If the will was present there would be nothing preventing this from being developed into an established method if done right, and taking into account all the constraints required. Nothing except for the fact that Bonefish and Tarpon guides are some of the most critical and judgmental SOBs on God’s blue planet from all that I have heard.

“Gravity is a harsh mistress!”, The Tick

Last edited by Botsari; 10-12-2019 at 02:45 AM.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-12-2019, 11:34 AM
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Keep in mind that in the typical Spey river type application, you are not casting directly over the fish, but somewhat upstream allowing the current bring the fly to the fish.

I fish because the voices inside my head tell me to.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-12-2019, 12:15 PM
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I usually use the lightest head I can get away with. Usually a commando head and a floating tip. The long floating tips are nice for this. Mind you I’m not trying to bomb out a hundred feet, just a light pull on the bottom cork. Usually present upstream of where I think the fish are.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-12-2019, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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All super helpful! Thank you. A couple follow ups. Do the Rage heads still require a tip, or just leader? Also what do you consider a good tip choice for softer presentations? Also how do polyleaders compare to floating tips? Can I use them in place of a floating tip? Thanks again so much good information. I'm really looking to adapt the two handed casts to my needs rather than go the overhead route. I've tried that and it works well but I really like the not needing back cast room.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-12-2019, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by kinigit View Post
All super helpful! Thank you. A couple follow ups. Do the Rage heads still require a tip, or just leader? Also what do you consider a good tip choice for softer presentations? Also how do polyleaders compare to floating tips? Can I use them in place of a floating tip? Thanks again so much good information. I'm really looking to adapt the two handed casts to my needs rather than go the overhead route. I've tried that and it works well but I really like the not needing back cast room.
The RAGE can use with tapered mono or polyleaders. It can carry a bit heavier polyleaders than a scandi of the same weight. A littler better in the wind. Less delicate than a scandi.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-23-2019, 04:49 PM
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This may help: https://meiserflyrods.com/lines/bala...ine-marriages/
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Bob Meiser...R.B. Meiser Fly rods
www.meiserflyrods.com
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-23-2019, 05:03 PM
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Striper fishing I used an intermediate weight forward sh line fo the appropriate grain weight (a 450 in this case). It's like a an integrated scandi, and can be overhead or speycast, depending on conditions. Sized appropriately for your rod, it should work fine.

And Bob's line clarification he posted above is always worth a read.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-23-2019, 09:39 PM
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That write up is the best base for getting it figured out.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-24-2019, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
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Excellent write-up! Thanks for sharing. I just got a Rage based on some of the above feedback. Also going to try to setup a good scandi combo.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-24-2019, 11:30 PM Thread Starter
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One other question, surprise, surprise. The article by Bob had some recommendations based on lengths of rod and head length, but a lot of the newer lines are super short (OPST, skagit max, etc.). Is the approach just to go for the same grain weight as the skagit recommendations? I'm guessing the downside of these lines is presentation is even rougher, but needs less backcast room and can carry the heavy heads. Thanks all.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-25-2019, 11:38 AM
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You can use a Scandi with sinking Versi or Poly leaders. The problem is casting big or heavy flies on a Scandi line is no picnic. I would consider a Rage line matched with Versi or Poly leaders.

I, however, would probably go with a Skagit set up.

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