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.