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Hi, I'm based on the south island of NZ and recently purchased a 5/6 double-hander matched with a 450 grain skagit head. I matched that up with some 10ft T11 and T14 MOW tips. The intention was to use the outfit to swing for winter rainbows in large rivers and to fish the tidal estuaries for sea-run browns in spring and summer. Although casting the outfit was fun I found I was unable to get deep enough. E.g. a 10ft MOW tip in a decent current is only getting you down 5ft or so, even with appropriate mending and line control. The productive zone is much deeper (10-15ft) and catch rates obviously were not great.

Eventually I ended up going back my 8 weight single-hander with a 20ft sink-tip, with some creative mending to get into the zone.

From what I've read I know that a 450 grain Skagit head cannot throw much more than 150 grain head, so going heavier is not an option is it? I don't want to go for a bigger rod as that would be overkill for fish in the 2-8lb range.

I also noted that when stripping streamers for sea-run browns the skagit head system was a bit problematic. Where I fish pulls could come right up to your feet so ideally you want to fish the fly as close in as possible. having to get the whole shooting head out the rod at the end of each retrieve is a pain.

I'm sure i'm not the first person to run into these issues so would appreciate any advice that may help.
 

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I'm surprised that a 5/6 DH could be matched to a 450 grain Skagit, that's the sort of head I used with a much heavier rod, a 11'7 Meiser 678 rated at 450-650. I found it struggled with any more than 10' of T14/Z15. Failing that, some T17/Z19 could be the shot but it may be too much for that 5/6 rod.
I guess you could try a traditional fulllsink line ie one of the old WetCel lines if you're not getting enough depth, or even as you say one of the 30'+ sinking tip lines like the Teeny lines.
S

PS interesting, I didn't know there were any runs of sea running browns in NZ, I did read on FlyLife of one run in Tasmania
 

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Java,

I would try longer lengths of lighter tip material, say T8, or better yet SPGs Z7 on an float/intermediate skagit head. You could get some bulk material and experiment to fin out how long a tip your outfit will throw. Try a 17' or 20' tip and cut back til it casts well. The longer tips worked well for me this winter fishing for steelhead in 10'+ deep runs. The lighter material won't get down as fast but the length will get you deeper.

CT
 

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JD
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my $0.02 fwiw

I figure a 30 degree sink angle is about the best you can achieve with any sink tip. Therefore, sine 30=.5 so a ten ft tip will get down 5 ft max. Txx is only a matter of time & carrying capacity. meaning the light wt stuff has limitations on size/wt fly it can turn over, and how long it takes to achieve max depth.

So the choices are, lengthen the sink tip, lengthen the leader and add wt to the fly, replace the floating head with some other combination of float/interemediate/sink, or find another place to fish. When I was new to this game I was advised, "edit your gear to suit the water or, edit the water to suit your gear" (or the way you prefer to fish).
 

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You are very correct that skagit head systems are not the best for stripping flies, they really aren't meant for that. One of the issues one has to address when choosing a line system, is how you want to present the fly. Too many variables to go into with a short reply.

As for depth, JD put it very well I think. To be honest, I don't think I've ever fished a fly 10' deep or more (though I have fished waters that ran that deep, knowing my fly wouldn't be bumping along the bottom). If you have some good current, I can't imagine getting a streamer that deep and really working it no matter how long your sinking material is.

There must be some good water that doesn't have that sort of depth requirement nearby? Fwiw, I have used a Rage head a few times with a 10' and a 15' sinking leader for trout streamer fishing (when I'm trying to go deep): usually casting across, dead drift/twitching, then moving into a swing as the fly gains depth, finally stripping it back upstream to the leader connection. Have had grabs at all stages, and depths depending on the conditions. The final bit is an extra step of a roll cast to bring the head back out of the guides before making the final cast... not perfect, but workable for me. A slightly longer head works well for me, and the waters I typically fish for trout; but it really comes down to the waters you're fishing and how you like to fish them.
JB
 

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Sometimes a 2hander isn't the right tool for the job. But that doesn't stop most of us from trying. haha Maybe using a switch rod with a full sink might make the stripping easier. I try to use my 2handers as often as possible but sometimes it just isn't the ticket.
 

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''Speydo-masochist''
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Buy a full sinking scandi head a size or two heavier than needed for your rod then trim it back from the rear end to get the correct casting weight.

This will produce a shorter head allowing you to retrieve the fly closer in but still then re-cast more easily as you can extend the short head beyond the tip by allowing it to slip through your' fingers as you swing the rod back, then roll cast it [but clamp the running line to prevent any slippage] to the surface before making you back sweep & re-cast shooting line this time.

Cutting back from the rear will also:

a] protect any faster sinking tip if the head is a dual or triple density compensated type of head.

b] produce a shorter heavier bullet type head which will deal with cross winds better than a longer head of the same weight.

It will be abit more "clumpy" & less elegant to cast - but if you are fishing deep in 10 ft + of running water this won't matter too much & a line in such a light rating will still be pretty quiet compared to say # 11/12 rated lines.

You can then add a 5 ft ultra fast sinking poly tip or 2-3 ft of T8 or T11 to help get the fly down fast - remember to use a short fluoro carbon tippet of no more than 3 feet to ensure the fly follows the line down quickly, & a tungsten cone head pattern fly will also assist here.

Important points -

Don't buy a head with a floating rear or belly - this will cause the head & fly to plane upwards on the retrieve. In fact a dual density like a sink 5/6 or sink 6/7 will be better than say a triple density 2/4/6 or 3/5/7 as the rear of the line will go deeper ensuring it rises less as you retrieve.

Use a sinking running line for the same reason, either a proper sinking fly line type [probably an intermediate in most cases], or a sinking mono shooting line, both of which should be given a good dunk in a strong water/ washing up liquid mix [dishes rather than hand soap, cheaper & more grease removing ability] as this will enable them to break the surface tension & start sinking immediately.

As soon as you cast make an airial mend, then take a couple of steps downstream allowing the line to sink with everything slack as this will get it below the fastest surface turbulence, then lift the rod to keep as much of the running/ shooting line off the surface as you can in strong flows.

The above combined will enable you to achieve considerable depth with a shotened Scandi head which you can tailor to suit your' rod & which will enable you to retrieve closer & re-cast more easily than a longer head - but it will need a bit of practice.

Hope this helps.

Regards, Tyke.
 

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Hi Java

Rivers I fish in the south island and north island (the T) often yield better results from fishing the seam of the flow.
That is working on the idea that generally speaking trouts will move into a pool and sit in the softer water off to the side of (or under) the faster surface water.
King salmon on the other hand will charge up and stay in the bulk of the flow so the need to get flies deep and stay deep with kings is evident.
I only express these points from my experience, generally speaking I use nothing heavier than t11, cast at 90degrees across thr river or more and mend to allow an uninterupted sink of the fly (as much as possible anyway), varying the weight of the fly to aid the sink speed always pays divdends, lead eyes matched to a fly and oversized where needed will always help.
As I said this is in my experience on rivers in NZ, im sure others will have a different perspective.
As yet im yet to find a reason to go to an intermediate or full sink head, I am thinking about one for king salmon though as the rivers are deeper and faster generally speaking.
 

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i have only ever reached those depths in moving water whilst fishing for striped bass - i use this in 350gr for a 9 ft 9wt :

http://www.bearsden.com/product501.html

its has an 8 ips sinking head and a intermediate running line sinking at 2 ips. the density compensation means it sinks level.

whether you could cast it on a skagit rod is debatable as you need a fast action rod with a pretty decent water haul to fire it out.

i have reached depths of 15-16ft with it. which is about the max for flyfishing on foot i think.

you could try a longer MOW tip 12ft of T-14 and quarter upstream then do a BIG mend in the running line to get your fly down. but to be honest my 1309 is about maxed out with 12ft of T-14, so good luck with a 5/6.
 

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if you are using a single hand it seems that you can in fact use overhead casts unless you single hand spey casting. If I needed to get deep I think I would use a shooting head with a running line - a 30' T-14 head is right around 420 grains and expect that would handle pretty well on that rod. Would likely use mono running line- you can very possibly spey cast this set up though will likely need to roll cast it to the surface at the start
 

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For "relatively" light shooting heads like the Teeny 3x0, 4x0 series you normally just roll (or double,circle spey, snapT) the line out and as soon as it touches down, haul back once and shoot it all out. I'm sure this would work well with a DH rod as well as long as you could/wanted to OH.
For heavier, Teeny 5x0, 6x0 series (or RIO Leviathan), rolling/speying onto the surface doesn't work as it sinks too quickly. My friend in Slovenia fishing for hucho and Pike in very fast water in deep undercuts more than 10' deep, starts with a short amount of lines out, and works out the head with each false cast and finally shoots it out. Rods are not 5/6 weights though, 9' 12wt singles or 10/11 15' DH!
 

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JD
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There comes a time.....

One has to ask if it is all worth it. 500+ grain full sink heads, on a 5/6 baby spey? Ah, er switch rod? Ten foot + depths in moving water? Get real here. All this trouble just so you can say you caught a 2-8 lb fish on a fly rod???? :Eyecrazy: A spinning rod set up with a slinky rig would be sooooo much easier, not to mention, a much more effective method. :devil:
 

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One has to ask if it is all worth it...

A spinning rod set up with a slinky rig would be sooooo much easier, not to mention, a much more effective method. :devil:
(snipped)

I was thinking the same. At a certain point casting a small spinner starts to look quite light and fun...
JB
 

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Increase leader length with a heavier fly

If your present set up can handle a little more of a heavier fly increase your leader length and use a fly that sinks faster than your MOW tip. This should get you deeper without changing a lot to your already established Skagit system.
 

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Hi
Go to this site My Unconventional Way of Sinking Things. on Search
I tried it and it works. Tips do get down farther using Ard's method
 

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One has to ask if it is all worth it. 500+ grain full sink heads, on a 5/6 baby spey? Ah, er switch rod? Ten foot + depths in moving water? Get real here. All this trouble just so you can say you caught a 2-8 lb fish on a fly rod???? :Eyecrazy: A spinning rod set up with a slinky rig would be sooooo much easier, not to mention, a much more effective method. :devil:
The 500-600 grain 30'+ heads are for big predators, 20-30lb pike and hucho (Danube salmon). I did say that these heavy heads wouldn't be able to be cast on a 5/6 DH rod.
As for the spinners, yes in Slovenia where there are lots of deep clear gorges probably 15' or more feet deep of fast flow (white water rafting is a popular pastime here also), it's almost a necessity to fish with jig "flies" if not fishing dry flies. These are flies with #2 long shanked hooks with a pea sized sinker on the eye. The fly is cast like with a spinning rod, the weight of the fly pulls the fly line out, sinks quickly and drawn through the depths with pulls of the line with the stripping hand. Very effective, though not exactly purist. In this situation, it's either that or go home skunked as no fish would rise to a dry in the middle of the day and no fly line would get down that quickly unless they were 600 grain lines! This way you can fish with a 4wt rod fairly easily.
 

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Scandit sublima virtus
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Tyke already said what I would have said, but I'd add one additional idea to try:

a T-14/T17 head, cut to suit your rod, spliced into your shooting line or with at least the smoothest connection possible. Then you could strip to your feet, slip out the head with a roll cast, and go again. It wouldn't cast real pretty, but it would go and it would sink like a rock.

If that doesn't get to them, there's always dynamite:eek:
 
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