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Discussion Starter #1
I had an hour this past weekend with a very good speycaster who was helping me (relative beginner) with my 13' 6" 8 wt. I'd like to practice with a floating system and have the appropriate Rio compact skagit that matches the rod. He suggested adding a 15' floating tip in an 8wt or possibly one size larger as he uses one on his own setup. He then attaches a saltwater tapered leader to the end of his tip.

I've got a 10' light floating tip and have a friend who mentioned that he'd let me try his 15', 8wt tip on my line as well. So my question is does one need a floating tip in any size/length to attach to a skagit head to both practice and also fish, or can one just add a leader and be good to go. When I bought the skagit the dealer never suggested to add a floating tip. I have different lengths of T11,14, etc. and have to summer to get ready for the fall season.

Thought I had this dialed in but it's not like buying a 5WF line to use with your 5wt single hand rod in the old days when it was pretty simple. Thanks for any suggestions.

Terry
 

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FISHIN' FREELANCER
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Yup, you should have appropriate tip and leader when speycasting
 

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If you're intent on practicing & fishing with a floating set-up, then you've been sold a lemon (Skagit), as they're generally NOT for floating work, although it's do-able [hard work as a relative beginner!]. Essentially, when you add a floating tip to a Skagit head, what you're actually casting is then a Scandi line!!!

What you should try is a Delta multi-tip in either #7/8 or #8/9; with that, and the set of tips it already comes with, you're covered for floating presentations, and sinking tips in 3 different densities, and there's essentially no alteration in casting technique when switching between the matched tips.

Keep the compact Skagit (with T-whatever) for your late autumn/winter fishing.
 
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I only have 2 hands
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You can do a floating tip skagit style. My girlfriend learning to spey cast quite well with it. 12'6" 8wt. But here is the catch (pun fully intended) The 15' float tip we have on the skagit head was cut from the backing end of a heavy diameter running line .042". A 7.5 foot tapered leader should work o.k. for setting the anchor on the lighter tip. Play with your hangdown length a bit if you are blowing anchors. I have NEVER seen a pretty skagit cast EVER. So I wouldn't worry to much if it isn't perfect. If any forum members post a video of what they think is a pretty skagit cast and I will be happy to stand corrected.....knee deep in hot water for making this statement I'm sure. Skagit casting will never be pretty. But it works so good in high winds and with heavy flies and tips. Eye of the beholder type thing maybe.
 

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In an effort to provide a simple answer to your question, I offer you the following based on my own experience as a beginner.

I started with a Delta line. I found it hard to learn with, so I went to a Skagit. At first, I fished a floating head exclusively. It made casting immeasurably easier than I had found it with the Delta. It should be noted that I was practicing (and fishing) only sustained anchor (a.k.a "Skagit") casts - the double spey and the circle spey. I found that the Skagit line was more difficult to cast when using "touch and go" (a.k.a. "Scandi") style casts, regardless of whether I had a floating or sinking head attached to the front end. This, again, was just my own personal experience; it may differ from yours and others on this board.

Yes, it's true that Skagit lines were originally developed, and are still used mostly, for sinking heads. But that in no way means that a floating head can't be used, or that a floating head won't cast or fish well. As I mentioned above, they work a charm when using sustained anchor casts. I also find them to be much better suited than Scandi lines to casting the big, wind resistant wakers that I favor. I would go so far as to recommend a floating Skagit set up for beginners because it allows you to track the whole line and fly as it fishes; you will learn a great deal about fly speed and mending.

As for no such thing as a pretty Skagit cast, let's just say that casting styles are like fly styles. I've never seen what I would call a pretty Intruder, but that doesn't mean that they aren't pretty. Lots of excellent tiers and anglers find them to be very pretty. It's a question of aesthetics, not function. Similarly, I find a well executed Skagit cast to be extremely functional - and no less beautiful than any other style of cast.
 

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Very balanced and well thought out post Aldo. You have a great perspective


In an effort to provide a simple answer to your question, I offer you the following based on my own experience as a beginner.

I started with a Delta line. I found it hard to learn with, so I went to a Skagit. At first, I fished a floating head exclusively. It made casting immeasurably easier than I had found it with the Delta. It should be noted that I was practicing (and fishing) only sustained anchor (a.k.a "Skagit") casts - the double spey and the circle spey. I found that the Skagit line was more difficult to cast when using "touch and go" (a.k.a. "Scandi") style casts, regardless of whether I had a floating or sinking head attached to the front end. This, again, was just my own personal experience; it may differ from yours and others on this board.

Yes, it's true that Skagit lines were originally developed, and are still used mostly, for sinking heads. But that in no way means that a floating head can't be used, or that a floating head won't cast or fish well. As I mentioned above, they work a charm when using sustained anchor casts. I also find them to be much better suited than Scandi lines to casting the big, wind resistant wakers that I favor. I would go so far as to recommend a floating Skagit set up for beginners because it allows you to track the whole line and fly as it fishes; you will learn a great deal about fly speed and mending.

As for no such thing as a pretty Skagit cast, let's just say that casting styles are like fly styles. I've never seen what I would call a pretty Intruder, but that doesn't mean that they aren't pretty. Lots of excellent tiers and anglers find them to be very pretty. It's a question of aesthetics, not function. Similarly, I find a well executed Skagit cast to be extremely functional - and no less beautiful than any other style of cast.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you all. As usual one can always get very good answers to questions on this forum and options. I'll borrow a few lines and give them a test.

Regards,

Terry
 

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As stated, you need a floating tip. I started both my sons out on a Skagit. With a 15' floating Rio tip and a 13-15' leader. While I'm not a huge fan of Skagit lines, this was a good way for them to learn and it allowed them to also better punch through the wind that is common on one of the steelhead rivers we fish. After they had mastered the Skagit, they both traded up to mid-bellied lines. The transition was not too difficult with a little coaching.
 
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