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Discussion Starter #1
The Commando has been out for a while now, long enough to have established a legitimate record of performance in the field. In that time I have purposely avoided making much public comment about it up to this point in order to minimize any sort of influence regarding the formation of unbiased public opinions about the Commando. I think that there has now been enough time and public Commando interactions that I can thus present my own opinions and comments and answer questions about the Commando in a more relatable context.

To start with, KilgoreT stated on another thread, some question about how well his Commando was floating. So far, I have had no issues personally with the floatability of my lines. But, I do have a friend that has also stated the same circumstance of floatability as KilgoreT. I looked at his line/s and could see no discernible problems as far line integrity. The only thing I can deduce is that perhaps those lines have become "dirty" enough to negate the floatability and that they probably need to be cleaned and dressed with floatant.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Integrated Commandos

One of the most often asked questions about the Commando is whether or not there is going to be an integrated runningline version. The answer to that question is still in limbo. We did do some testing on some proto integrated lines over the past 6 months and I can tell you this... an integrated runner on heads under 300 grains induces a distinctly noticeable drag onto the outgoing cast. The most obvious effect of this condition is reduced casting distance. A less obvious, but I feel more important effect is reduced line speed. Reduced line speed means less performance in circumstances of wind.

My other major gripe with integrated runners is durability. Since runners are of such thin diameter, the plastic coating has to be very thin too and therefore they are very susceptible to being damaged, whether through accidental abuse or inevitable wear and tear. When I used to put in 3 to 4 fishing sessions a week, I would destroy an integrated runner in three months of use.

I prefer mono runners, mainly because they produce less drag onto the outgoing cast and are more durable than plastic coated runners. Also, if a mono runner is damaged while on-stream, they can be easily cut back past the damaged section and then re-tied back onto the head. Yes, mono runners are harder to maintain a grip on during casting, but there are ways to mitigate that circumstance.
 

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The line concept is awesome. Now I actually have a use for my beer can Skagits. Cut them back add a loop and a tip and boom you’re fishing. Economic way to get the kids on the water too. What’s not to like about that?
 

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Riveraddict, first let me say thank you for all your contributions.

The Commando Skagit lines are my favorite way to fish in freshwater. I don't believe I've fished another line in almost two years. I've been fortunate to use these lines from the beginning. I now own Commandos in all line weights several times over. This way I can provide one for all my family members when needed. They also love them. The Commandos even make perfect Christmas gifts for your angling buddies;-) My wife never fished before this summer. I handed her a single hand 5wt with a 200gr Commando and in less than an hour she was off catching fish by herself:) I stared my seven year old son with a Commando line almost two years ago. Watching experienced anglers seeing him cast always makes me chuckle. They're amazed at how well the little guy casts. You know you did something right when the rest of the industry tries to copy your lines. It seems the AirFlo Skagit Scout and the SA Spey Lite Skagit is a response to the OPST Commando. I haven't played with AirFlo Scout yet but the SA comes in an integrated version. I do like it for stripping all the way to the rod tip. However, you're right about sacrificing casting distance and wear and tear on the line.

The larger lines for steelhead are awesome. Especially in tight quarters. Only once did I experience frustration with the Commando lines. That was when fishing for steelhead and extremely long casts where required. However, I was able to fish well to moderate distances.

The "micro-Skagit" lines have completely changed the game for me. Living in Texas and splitting my time in Colorado, I've spent the last year and a half dialing in the Commandos for bass and trout. Turning over big flies on smaller rods is a game changer. (No pun intended. Although I have been known to throw feather game changers on a 4wt with a 175gr Commando.) Being able to cast in spots I never dreamed of casting is phenomenal. I will also say the Commando line is much easier to land discretely than other Skagit lines I've tried. I'm convinced its the design. It's not a "beer can" taper. Thank you again.

I'm excited to hear what others think of the Commando lines.
Tight Lines, Mike
 

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Ed, you are probably right that my lines need a cleaning after a summer of caddis swinging. I'll give that a try, and I'm sure it will solve the problem. As I said in the other thread, I think ice buildup was also an issue. In hindsight, we should have pulled over and done this, but we were freezing our butts off! Definitely understand your reasons for not integrating, but I think it would be great for the lighter lines you offer, specifically for single-hand applications like the one I described, because for me distance isn't as important in this context. I mainly use the larger sizes just to swing for steelhead, and the head/runner is definitely superior and I'm absolutely in love with the lines for casting big flies and tips for my favorite fish. Maybe some folks are stripping for larger predators and would like that feature, but for me it's a single-hand trout deal.

I know nymph fishing is bottom of the priority list for most folks on this forum, and it is for me personally, too. Just don't enjoy staring at a bobber when I could be looking at the canyon wall. However, when you're guiding the Missouri for trout, you pretty much gotta do it, unless you have special people like many here, who just want to dry fly fish or swing. This is extremely rare and a lot of times, even when people intend to just dry fly fish, they succumb to the temptation when they see people in another boat roping in trout. With the application I was describing (long leader tail water nymphing from a boat) the real advantage of the Commando is the ability to turn over the long leader, indicator, a piece of shot, and tungsten beads with essentially zero effort and maximum efficiency. Distance is relatively unimportant. In fact, the perfect cast is usually 20-40 ft at most. When dealing with frequent high winds and long weighty leaders and trying to false cast, even a good angler can sometimes lose valuable fishing time while untangling one of these giant messes. We were pretty amazed at the lack of effort needed to cast, and Sparsespeyhackle (my guinea pig) had zero tangles throughout the day. Also remember that with this style of fishing the drifts are very LONG, sometimes a few hundred yards. When we stepped out of the boat and waded, the line functioned perfectly, even being a bit dirty.

I think my favorite thing about the Commando lines for trout is the versatility. I still enjoy throwing a scandi for long-distance soft hackles, but I also love how easy it is to change between a streamer-style presentation and the floating tips for a near-surface presentation. Before the floating tips came out, I was making cheaters for this purpose out of the back taper of old, single hand lines. The floating tips are awesome and I love being able to dial in the length of the head and know exactly what it weighs. It's great to fish through a run with wets, then flip the tips quick and run a minnow imitation before heading to the next spot.

For winter steelheading, no line comes close IMO. Definite game changer and I can't wait to pair it with an even shorter rod for cramped, high-bank applications. My biggest issue, and one that many experts warn against, is switching back and forth between casting styles. I love to throw my longer dry lines in the fall, and it often takes several days of crappy casting to shorten up my stroke and stop blowing casts, and every September, I feel like I'm relearning on the dry line. I enjoy both so I hope to eventually practice my way to success.

Anyway thanks for the lines and for a great staff and all the other great products you offer. Your line recommendations have been spot on, your staff has been very helpful, and I look forward to whatever you come up with next. I'm a giant fan. Love my drabs!
 

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Very informative, Riveraddict.

I also like mono running lines. Re: Mono lines being harder to grip: I've solved my problems by gripping with the top hand, laying the line over the reel, then gripping with the bottom hand as well. I find this works very well, and I do it now w/o even thinking about it.
 

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Definitely understand your reasons for not integrating, but I think it would be great for the lighter lines you offer, specifically for single-hand applications like the one I described, because for me distance isn't as important in this context.
Splicing a running line to a shooting head which both have braid cores using a needle takes about twenty minutes. Some lines have tighter/thinner braid so it is easier one to pull inside the larger one which some instructions do not address.

Thread wrapping using a fly tying bobbin takes about ten minutes but is does not make as neat connection but works just fine.

Esa
 

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The line profile for commando heads are shown elsewhere here in recent posts. Or if you are a geek like me you can mic them out, it’s nit exactly a secret. They have a rapid short back taper, most of the line is a thick constant dia, then a short front taper of about a foot. Almost exactly the same as a cut back beer can,save for the front taper and whatever characteristics of the latest and greatest cores and plastics provide. Not exactly enough to make a massive difference. I’m not saying a cut back beer can is 100% as good as a commando. But it’s close and the concept is brilliant. In my experience they are 90% as good and in the spirit of using existing resources and saving $$ thats not a bad thing. I would also be willing to guess that Ed’s early prototypes were probably cut back beer cans or similarly spliced pieces of 12 or 13 wt floating line. If you are short on cash or big on preserving resources give those beer cans new life you won’t be disappointed.
 

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I also like mono running lines. Re: Mono lines being harder to grip: I've solved my problems by gripping with the top hand, laying the line over the reel, then gripping with the bottom hand as well. I find this works very well, and I do it now w/o even thinking about it.
Grip comes even better when a strip of bicycle inner tube or similar rubber is glued to the bottom of the reel. Cyanacrylate glue is fine for many fishing trips but eventually rubber needs to be glued again.

Esa
 

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Splicing a running line to a shooting head which both have braid cores using a needle takes about twenty minutes. Some lines have tighter/thinner braid so it is easier one to pull inside the larger one which some instructions do not address.

Thread wrapping using a fly tying bobbin takes about ten minutes but is does not make as neat connection but works just fine.

Esa
Thanks, Esa. Was already looking into this option.
 

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The line profile for commando heads are shown elsewhere here in recent posts. Or if you are a geek like me you can mic them out, it’s nit exactly a secret. They have a rapid short back taper, most of the line is a thick constant dia, then a short front taper of about a foot. Almost exactly the same as a cut back beer can,save for the front taper and whatever characteristics of the latest and greatest cores and plastics provide. Not exactly enough to make a massive difference. I’m not saying a cut back beer can is 100% as good as a commando. But it’s close and the concept is brilliant. In my experience they are 90% as good and in the spirit of using existing resources and saving $$ thats not a bad thing. I would also be willing to guess that Ed’s early prototypes were probably cut back beer cans or similarly spliced pieces of 12 or 13 wt floating line. If you are short on cash or big on preserving resources give those beer cans new life you won’t be disappointed.
The Skagit Flights cut back real nice; they had that odd taper with the bump in thickness in the middle (I guess to delay turnover?) but if you cut off a portion of the front taper and make a ~15 foot line you get a real brilliant single hand skagit line. I made one out of a 475 flight and got it down to 330 grains and it matches nice with my 9 weight RPL and RPLxi
 

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The Skagit Flights cut back real nice; they had that odd taper with the bump in thickness in the middle (I guess to delay turnover?) but if you cut off a portion of the front taper and make a ~15 foot line you get a real brilliant single hand skagit line. I made one out of a 475 flight and got it down to 330 grains and it matches nice with my 9 weight RPL and RPLxi
Hmmmm..... and me sitting here with a 450 Flight.

I've already done it with an old beer can 350 that gives me a sweet little 200 gr.
 

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I had an issue with grain weight. I ordered the recommended weight commando head for a Meiser 7wt swtich rod. The line was way to light. no way to Skagit cast at all but It was an amazing over head line. So, How do you determine what line to get and how do you set it up? Aka head, tip and leader or head and long leader. I like the concept but I haven't been able to get the line to cast, I usually blow the anchor or have not load in the rod. I currently am looking one for a older Sage 8124-3.

Thanks
Mike
 

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I had an issue with grain weight. I ordered the recommended weight commando head for a Meiser 7wt swtich rod. The line was way to light. no way to Skagit cast at all but It was an amazing over head line. So, How do you determine what line to get and how do you set it up? Aka head, tip and leader or head and long leader. I like the concept but I haven't been able to get the line to cast, I usually blow the anchor or have not load in the rod. I currently am looking one for a older Sage 8124-3.

Thanks
Mike
Obviously you start forward cast too soon and it cause the anchor blow?

You don't have to load the rod! You have to accelerate the line and then rod bends and there comes straight line path and line loop gets narrower. Rod load and unload (spring effect) has influence to casting performance but it is much less than many like to believe and rod as a lever has much more effect.

Constant Load CM/CL principle is not good because it can cause anchor blowing and shortens the actual casting stroke length which can cause Tailing Loops. It is called Creeping in some fly line casting associatons and considered as a casting fault. IMHO it is worth studying so you don't have to believe me only. There are good tutorials in various internet pages.

Do the back cast sweep as slowly as possible and direct it upwards and D-loop forms to the air and anchor stays light.

This link has the first Skagit casting video I have found which teach to use pause when D-loop forms but I believe there will be others when more and more fly anglers understand its positive influence:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=GcgS95HhrNg
 

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This video link shows the effect which cause the anchor blow and it just comes stronger if forward cast is started when there is still lots of energy in D-loop to opposite direction.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=_dQJBBklpQQ

Tendency to blow the anchor is stronger when line tip mass increase which kind the typical Skagit line is because line drag in water does not increase the same rate. Long mono leaders which typical Scandi and longer belly Spey lines use do blow but not as powerfully when leader is light and relative water resistance is high.

Esa
 

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thanks for the video, it was informative and I'm sure I cast to fast but I think my main issue is that my set up is to short and I don't compress my D-loop enough. I need to use a longer tip and leader. In the video he compresses his D-loop to accommodate for the short head and when he demonstrates a blown anchor he actually open up the D-loop a little bit and that blows the anchor not just the increase in speed.
 

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You can use longer mono leader with your Commando belly and tip and back cast bigger D-loop. Then there comes more line mass to the top of the D-loop which increase cast efficiency which increase casting distance and rod also bends more. Try 15ft leader and use smallish fly which has some weight.

Now when you have longer line you need to use bigger arch when you set Snap-cast anchors not to cause fly collision with the rod. Also you need to do higher and slower initial lift to free more line before you begin setting the anchor.

Long leader makes Spey casting easier but then light and big fly does not sink very well. Then when you can cast long leader line you can begin shorten the leader and soon you can cast your Commando line using short enough leader.

Esa
 

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If you're interested in an integrated running line just go with the SA Spey Lite lines. I believe SA is now making the Commando heads anyway, and if the tapers are much different in the SA Spey Lite Skagit heads vs the Commando heads I can't tell.
 
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