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Outerhebrides
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Discussion Starter #1
I need a new skagit head for my 8-weight Meiser. I have been using an Airflo Skagit Compact 600 on it, and that has been fine. My local shop is out of stock, and they recommended a 600 grain F.I.S.T instead. I mainly fish silvenators and tips about 10-12 feet; usually T-11 or T-14. Will the combination of the F.I.S.T., sink tips, and weighted fly get me into the rock garden too much? I know that is not a simple question, but I am hesitant to make the change as I know how to cast the floater. Thanks.
 

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I cast a friends Meiser MKS a couple weeks ago that he had just bought an Airflo F.I.S.T. for and was trying out. The water was up that day after some recent rain and I was really impressed with how well that line fished in the higher water. It really bit in well and slowed the swing down.

I would think if you found yourself hanging up too easily, you could switch up to a lighter tip. I think that’s probably the beauty of that line is that it casts as well as a normal floating skagit yet swings slower and allows you to either fish a lighter easier casting tip, or get down even deeper with the same tip vs a full floating head.

He had bought the fist in the same weight as his floater. I would of liked to of tried the fist in a size lighter. I think it would of cast a bit nicer as the front does want to also stick more so than a floater on your lift as well as on your anchor as you cast. I would be interested to hear others thoughts that have played around with that line a bit more.
 

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I fish the FIST a lot on my Meiser Highlander 11'7" 789 during the colder months. I don't fish heavy flies or real heavy tips. I shorten my tips on the FIST as well (7-8').

The main thing you might find is that if you have a habit of automatically up mending with a floater once it lands and you carry that over to the FIST, you will be fighting hang ups, and when you don't hang up, your fly won't be fishing where it could be on the outside and all the way across to the inside.

I don't think the FIST gets a whole lot deeper than a floating head and a 'normal' tip, but it fishes considerably slower and really digs, which might give a weighted fly ample time to hit a snag. That said, downstream mending can really help.

I fish around a 500 grain floating head and 450 FIST, that's just my preference. For being a 3D line, it casts surprisingly well and fishes top notch. I'd probably start at 550 if you fish a 600 floater (need more rod details).
 

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After a lot of experimenting with Airflo Skagit heads:
I am fishing the F.I.S.T. for huch hucho in Bavaria in Winter and use them on two rods, 12‘6 and 13‘.
Because of turnover for the huge flies needed for this specific species, I went down from the Airflo Compact to the Airflo Switch first and use longer tips up to 15’ (just as an additional information for better comparison and understanding).
While there was no reduction in weight needed urgently from the Compact to the Switch, it was definitely from the Compact/Switch to the F.I.S.T.
For both rods I had to go down 30 grains immediately after first test casts (480/450 and 570/540). The latter for the F.I.S.T., using 10‘ to 12‘ tips.
The experiences are based on many different lines for my friends and me and our different rods.

Very good casting performance in distance and wind cutting abilities. Compared to the Floater Compact (and even more of course to the Switch), the turnover is suffering, because of both, weight reduction and mass distribution. It’s more mass spread over the entire length of the head to the middle and front and less weight in the rear part, compared between Compact and F.I.S.T. in the same weight.
It’s the most „Scandi-like“ Skagit head I know. I can’t take it for the biggest flies, but for smaller flies, fishing slowly and deep.
And sometimes it’s a big benefit, to have a slower swing.
When upstream mending is needed, a quick air mend to finish the cast is the only thing that makes sense.
It goes down at once, but not that far, depending on the current of course and the tip. It’s very good adaptable, also with lighter tips, to avoid bottom contact with the fly.
But I wouldn’t use it in a stone garden.

Talking about Airflo lines/heads, consider the production variations in length, weight and mass distribution, when discussing rod-line pairings.
It’s worth to try at least two/ better three heads in the same weight

Hope this was some help.
 
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Outerhebrides
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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for all the good advice. I will give this head a try.
 

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I fish around a 500 grain floating head and 450 FIST, that's just my preference. For being a 3D line, it casts surprisingly well and fishes top notch. I'd probably start at 550 if you fish a 600 floater (need more rod details).
This is my experience too. My floater is a 510, but the FIST is usually a 480.
 
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On my 12 1/2 to 13 foot long 7/8 wt. rods, I fish Nextcast FF45/FF55 floating heads in the 570 to 590 grain range.

And I fish a 540 grain FIST head. I occasionally wish the FIST head was 10 to 25 grains heavier.

Seems the ratio of floating to FIST head grain weights is roughly proportional to what JonT and coalbe are reporting.
 
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I use a 600 grain airflo skagit floater on my mks13079, which seems about right for me. The F.I.S.T that i use is 540 grains and along with t11 or t14 tips throws just as well. A 570 is maybe even better. This is probably a tribute to Meiser grain windows. The F.I.S.T is a heck of a lot slower than the floater with the same tip. If you dont downstream mend you may find yourself hung up most the day. Unless im swinging into a deep, fast inside run i prefer a floater.
 

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Coming into this late, but Brian Silvey did a lot of field testing on this line and recommended staying with the same grain weight as your floater. The reality is that going up or down 30 grains will not dramatically change how the line casts...though there is a difference.

This line is a great winter line and definitely slows the swing and adds some depth, I usually fish the same tips but can go lighter and still fish in the zone.

DH
 

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Yup. This is a terrific winter head. Good large system head too.

It can get the fly a lot deeper, especially noticeable with a sinking type III tip. If I happen to work my way down into a shallower tail-out, I put on a large silhouette weightless tube fly which tends to ride higher than the sinking tip. Does not snag and the fly is well presented for 2C-4C cold water. The tip slides over the rocks.
 
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JD
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It's not about casting. It's about fishing, specifically rock gardens. Very few people have that figured out like Ed did. If what you are using works for you, why change? Sounds like a sales pitch to me. If your fly shop is unwilling to order what you want, it's not that hard to find a 600gr Skagit Compact floater. They come up on here all the time.
 

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Two things. 1- most shops would prefer to sell inventory rather than order in if they can help it and 2- how soon are you fishing?

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Much wisdom here. After talking to a few folks, I decided to stay with the floater. The FIST is no doubt a great head, but I am trying not to end up with too many of these, and the floater works well. I have spent MANY hours learning to cast it, and I am not overly thrilled about taking on a new head. Maybe the next one! The FIST has too many fans to ignore, especially for winter fishing and slowing down the swing. I am getting to banged up to be out there in frigid air and water anyhow! Thanks again for much good counsel.
 
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