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How should we define Skagit Casting?

  • sustained anchor

    Votes: 83 28.2%
  • sustained anchor with continuous loading

    Votes: 101 34.4%
  • Casting styles originating in the PNW

    Votes: 110 37.4%
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chrome-magnon man
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Discussion Starter #1
while the debates rage among those of us posting on the topic, let's see what everyone else thinks.

The question:

"How should we define 'Skagit Casting'?"

This is a question specific to technique rather than tackle.
 

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It seems Ed defines Skagit Casting as using a sustatined anchor. He also uses continuous load but it can be very difficult to tell if someone is really applying continuous load. The heads are so short that the pause can be very short. In a previous discussion I recall Scott O indicating that when he saw himself on video it almost looks like continuous loading but he said the truth is in watching the hands and his hands stop ever so briefly so he really is not applying continuous load. I don't think that the difference between a slight pause or no pause is enough of a difference to define a type of cast whereas a sustained anchor is pretty obvious.

But maybe I am off base. How would someone define a belgian cast? It really is a sustained continuous load - if someone put a slight pause of the hands in the middle, would it still be a belgian cast?
 

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loco alto!
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the traditional double spey has a sustained anchor. So according to Ed's current definition of skagit = sustained anchor, it would seem that traditional doubles are now skagit casts. Previously Ed argued that a Skagit Double is defined by continuous loading, to distinguish it from the traditional double.

Its natural for ideas to evolve and attain clarity over time, but sadly I do not see that happening with skagiting. I feel as though we are going in circles, or snaps, or something .. :Eyecrazy:

............................

But I essentially agree with Rick on this one: the presence or absence of a slight D-loop pause is really a nit-picky way of defining an entire casting style.
 

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well duh!!!!! That kinda went over my head though I know I often wondered about those casts in the past - both the double and snap type casts are really sustained anchors.

So maybe it has to be a skagit type system that takes into account not only they casting style but the equipment - ie a skagit style line?

So you can do a double or snap with a long belly or WC but that might not be a skagit method without the line? You are right - I am getting a headache!!!
 

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loco alto!
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The traditional double is omitted from that post of Ed's. It does not fit "touch and go", yet it is among the oldest of traditional spey casts.

If an alien from outerspace read only that post, it (he/she?) could rightfully assume that the Doublespey is a Skagit cast and quite distinct and exclusive of traditional spey casts. I'm not sure that's right.

but, just as formative elements of the single spey are shared in traditional and underhand spey casting, so can the double be shared. I'm fine with that, but it leaves the definition of skagit as a little fuzzy.

A clear definition of underhand casting can also be considered a little fuzzy in that regard. There are all sorts of top-to-bottom hand ratios involved in casting, amounts of shooting line, stroke lengths, etc. so that there's no magic point demarcating a traditional single from an underhand single. But the extremes of these styles can be quite different.

And so is the case of the Skagit vs traditional double. A THCI type can illustrate how they differ, perhaps in the idealized sense, but there are infiinte shades of acceptable casting in between that work just fine for each of us, in our own individual styles.

However, to exclusively claim that a "cast" (the single, the double) defines any one style gets complicated.
 

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Sustained Anchor

I think that a large part of confusion is stemming from the term "sustained anchor". Sustained anchor does not mean that a majority of the flyline makes contact with the surface of the water. The term is used to describe allowing the flyline to come to a FULL STOP during the "set" of the cast (in between the pickup and the sweep) - ALL momentum or motion in the line is abolished at this stage of the casting procedure. Using this definition it is very easy to distinguish a Skagit Double from a Traditional Double, as trying to conduct a T Double with a longbelly line AFTER letting the line come to a FULL STOP would be an exercise in futility. I believe that this definition of sustained anchor should help clarify a few issues.

Rick,
I would agree that just the presence or absence of a slight pause between the loading motion (sweep) and casting stroke seems a pretty minor detail. But, that absence of that little pause is the result of much greater factors. It would probably illustrate the significance of it better to think of the cast with the pause as being linear in motion (as viewed from above) - back and forward, which requires that there be a pause in between to form the D Loop. The constant load cast is circular in motion (as viewed from above), requiring completely different hand movements. But, as I stated in another thread, I now think that the sustained anchor should be the defining trait of Skagit casting, and the constant load as a defining characteristic of an individual style within the genre.
 

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not as gullible as most
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Riveraddict said:
Sustained anchor does not mean that a majority of the flyline makes contact with the surface of the water. The term is used to describe allowing the flyline to come to a FULL STOP during the "set" of the cast (in between the pickup and the sweep) - ALL momentum or motion in the line is abolished at this stage of the casting procedure. Using this definition it is very easy to distinguish a Skagit Double from a Traditional Double, as trying to conduct a T Double with a longbelly line AFTER letting the line come to a FULL STOP would be an exercise in futility. I believe that this definition of sustained anchor should help clarify a few issues.
You don't seriously believe this, do you?
 

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Elaboration on the Double

Try explaining the difference between a "Traditional Double" and the "Underhand Double". Except for the types of lines used, I cannot personally see any major difference in methodology. But, try taking either of those casting systems and stopping the momentum of the line completely between the pickup of the line and the sweep when doing a Double. That should point out a big difference about the Skagit Double.
 

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Ed,

I am a bit confused on the point of stopping the line completely. Are you saying that a long belly line pretty much can't be stopped between the upstream fulcrum/pick-up/whatever before sweeping the rod around to ultimately form the D? Stopping momentum is stopping. If you let it sit there, dead, for a 'long' time while the tip of the flyline/leader merely floats down, out of range, you are right. Futile. Stop long enough to let it anchor in the water, dead, and I guarantee you it works just fine. Obviously for you to believe so strongly that it's not doable I am not exactly getting what you are saying. Neither is Zo2.

There certainly has to be more in your equation, and train of thought/experience, than just letting the line stop between the pick up and sweep. Preferred rod action? Grain weight/foot?

William
 

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...

William,
The sustained anchor Double uses a "stop" that lasts a MINIMUM of a "one-thousand-one" count (relatively speaking, a "long" time)... the line becomes completely dead in the water. Under ideal conditions, for demo purposes to illustrate how "dead" the line must be, I have let the line sit for two or three seconds before resuming motion into the sweep. Many people don't believe that this maneuver is possible, or that the difference between a 1/2 second count and a "full" one-second count can make that much a difference until seeing one of these demos.
Perhaps you can enlighten me by demonstrating that the same thing can be accomplished with Traditional casting aspects. Personally, I have yet to see a Double successfully conducted with Traditional type techniques/long belly lines if the line was allowed to come to a TOTAL and COMPLETE stop. The examples I have seen only worked when there was an immediate transition from the time that the line re-contacted the water after the pickup, right into the sweep. Maybe you can show me different... but bear in mind that casts that "roll" out ON the water rather than being aerialized ABOVE, may not qualify in my mind as Speycasts. Where I'm from such casts are considered Rollcasts.

And yes, there is more to the equation - mostly having to do with line weight and length - the "Skagit" formula, rod action being a matter of personal preference. But, what I'm trying to point out here is the difference in actual technique.
 

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Ed,

When executing a DS with longer lines you certainly can stop and still make a very nice cast. Not a roll cast. But a DS. The stop isn't very long, but still a stop.

I think your head systems have to be included as an integral part of defining Skagit Casting. If not, why in the world would you have taken the time and effort to dial these lines in over the years? And now market a 'Skagit Line'. These short, heavy heads, both allow and require moves like you describe. Required to get the fullest from line and rod. Along with 'sustained anchor'.

Otherwise I do Perry Pokes, Snaps, circles, etc with a long belly line maintaining a sustained anchor. Not nearly as extended (time and line anchored) as your heads but damn well sustained. But that's not really Skagit Casting. Thats fixing blown anchors or because there is something requiring a different cast (trees behind, bank, goofy wind, and so on).

Now to splitting hairs. If you cast a full float Scando head using the identical moves of 'Skagit Casting'...does the tapered head really make that much difference? Enough that it isn't Skagit Casting anymore? Or howabout using a Windcutter with it's 54' head? Kinda a crossover line that still remains effective with traditional casts and casts 'well' enough 'Skagit Style'. Not ideal but doable. Where does the line get drawn? A line that really does not cast well at all with traditional/underhand casts? One that pretty much requires your Skagit moves?

The poll results indicate exactly why it goes around and around and around. Evenly split when I opened the thread to type this post. Sustained anchor isn't enough of a definition. Line system is an integral part to making it work.

William
 

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William,
And now we get to semantics. What's your definition of "not very long"? The key for sustained anchor is - long enough to obtain ZERO motion/movement/inertia in the line so that the surface tension of the water gains an ABSOLUTE and UNDOUBTABLE "grasp" on the line. Can you still make your Traditional Double?

Of course the lines are part of the method description, but Dana specifically stated at the start of this thread, "specific to technique rather than tackle".

If you cast a Scando head that is weighted for Scando casting, the results will be subpar. If you use a Scando head that is "heavy enough" in relation to the rod for Skagit casting, it will do great. Its not the taper that is of primary importance, it is the length and most critically, THE WEIGHT IN RELATION TO THE ROD.
 

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Riveraddict said:
The key for sustained anchor is - long enough to obtain ZERO motion/movement/inertia in the line so that the surface tension of the water gains an ABSOLUTE and UNDOUBTABLE "grasp" on the line. Can you still make your Traditional Double?
Sure, what's the problem?
 

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I'm going to excuse myself from doing micro-explanations for a while - too frustrating. Terms like "the line comes to a FULL STOP" seems pretty self-explanatory to me. Look at your LINE - is IT hanging absolutely inert from the rod? Notice that there is no inference to YOU or YOUR motion because YOUR motion/status is not necessarily indicative of what your LINE is doing at the time. If anyone wants more info, everything explained here in the past few days has already been previously covered, in plain English, at some time or another on this forum - look for it.
 

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OK, just had a consultation with Dana who informed me that the T Double CAN be done with a full stop in line momentum... with a floating line. But that sinktips may be questionable (am I correct on this Dana?). My apologies to all you dryline fanatics out there. Now a question for William and Zo2 - and Zo2 this is a sincere query, not trying to get your hackles up - what's your take on the T Double with sinktips?

This whole exchange re-reminds (as needs to be done too danged often) that we all have different perspectives on what the qualifying points are for our individual opinions on subjects. My fishing with a DH rod is 90+% with sinktip lines in conjunction with weighted flies, therefore if a cast cannot efficiently and effectively be used on the total spectrum of lines that I use (floating or sinktip), then that cast is relegated to the "doesn't work" category of my mind. Once again, apologies to the floating line contingent of Speycasters!
 

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Sorry people, about three posts in a row, but in the past when I've done one long one, they sometimes "disappeared" to who knows where and that really @$#% me off!

Just how important is it to define Speycasting methods? Judging by some of the posts throughout this forum it seems as though some people don't think it worthwhile to make a differentiation. Trad. Spey, Underhand, and Skagit, the difference between them... what's the big deal? A big enough deal for one major rod manufacturer to dedicate a specialized series of rods to each of the three methods. Enough of a deal that at least two line manufacturers now offer lines specifically targeted to each of the three methods.

So, how important or "real" is this "supposed" difference? I've tried explaining that throughout several years on this board, apparently with questionable success... my last alternative is to present "proof". I have been fortunate enough, through acquaintances established at casting demos or claves here in the U.S. or Europe, and/or through chance meetings on the river, to have fished and/or cast, and conversed with many of the top ranked, most respected, and acknowledged experts in the arena of Speycasting, covering the spectrum of all three prominent casting methods. Without exception, when "testing" or "experimenting" with one another's line/rod setups of a different casting methodology, any one of these casters schooled in a specific type of casting could not accomplish any other method of casting without first making/allowing for CHANGES in their casting technique. Some of the most notable Underhand casters in the world could not cast my Skagit outfit without making a MAJOR change in how they established their anchor, and a moderate change in casting stroke. Some of the most respected "Longline" Speycasters of North America faced the same dilemma when trying out a "true" Skagit casting outfit. At the same time, when faced with the challenge of casting their outfits, I sure could not accomplish much of anything without making CHANGES in my technique. Need I say more?!

And, to illustrate the "validity" of Skagit casting, the "youngest" and seemingly most controversial Speycasting method - lil' ole me, standing at 5' 9" tall, weighing 165 pounds and of "average" athletic skills (throw a "surprise" ball at me and I will miss, drop, or fumble it most of the time), with wrists like a chicken's ankles - am ranked by many as amongst the best Speycasters in North America... whattup with that?! Hmmmm... could it be my diet?!

Those of you that will not recognize the importance of the differences between casting methods - that they DO make a difference - your ignorance will only serve to place you forever into the annals of casting mediocrity. Have a nice day!
 

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Maybe the Syrstads will pipe in and we can tear their style apart also. Seems like some people are getting a bit riled up, may be time to leave it alone before we lose input from from some of the greats.
 

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In Praise of Skagit Casting

RA
Your point with regards to manufacturers is a very important one. Those of us who use the Skagit cast exclusively in the pursuit of steelhead are enjoying a wealth (relatively) of tackle designed specifically to complement the casting technique (CND Skagit Specialist, Loomis Dredger Series, etc…) I hope this burgeoning selection of rods and lines will be accompanied by a similar growth in the number of evangelical fisherman that can give witness to the virtues of Skagit casting, you need a break from your singular mission.

I tend to think most of the animosity directed toward this technique is coming from people that don’t perceive a need for this method of casting. I can’t imagine how awkward, ugly and unnecessary Skagit casting must appear to them. But from experience I can tell you that the Skagit trinity, casting technique, tackle and presentation offer to beginner and intermediate anglers a framework to approach the ominous task of winter steelhead fishing. My guess is that very few anglers who have discovered Skagit casting in a time of need -- to solve their big-fly-sink-tip blues, ever seriously contemplate another casting technique for their winter angling needs.

So, I think a definition/white paper on Skagit casting is important even if only to prove to tackle manufacturer that those of us that practice the black art of Skagitry actually know what we are looking for in a rod or a line. However, I would suggest that we have to look no further than the archives of this forum to find bookfuls of suitable material.

Apologies for taking up more than my share of cyberspace.

John
 

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Ed,

I know Dana posted the poll about technique. But there is so much to your method that requires certain tackle that it is integral to identifying the changes between methods as you pointed out in a recent post. Mind you I am not arguing with your definitions as you have made it plenty clear in my mind. Crystal.

Yes, I do currently use a floater most of the time. But I also fish a weighted fly (up to 65 grains for a large shank fly, 25 grains for a cotter pin leech, and newly a bead head spey or dee of 22 grains) in the winter. 15' leader. DT 10, XLT 8/9, or 'old' 900 grn Grandspey 7/8 plus 15' 9/10 rod get the lions share for the method. This is what I had in mind when I first responded. Not much different when using tips.

The only reason I even asked was you said a dead line on a T Double, long(er) line, wasn't really doable. I know it is. Many others do too. I vote that Dana's poll be more specific to narrow down the definition.

Lastly, people even partially familiar with two handed rods, and PNW winter steelheading, know that you are one helluva fisherman AND caster. No need to toot your horn. I'll do it for ya. You have paid the dues. Please don't take these quibbles as challenging your seat in the Skagit throne. They are just other viewpoints from differing methods, styles, and skill sets. I have no inclination whatsoever to gain notoriety for casting skills or such. But please don't discount my experience just for this reason. I too have spent a considerable amount of time with a two handed rod in my hands over the past dozen years. I look forward to the next 4 or 5 (hoping!) decades to continue to learn and enjoy.

William
 
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