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chrome-magnon man
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Discussion Starter #1
Several folks from the Great Lakes have been posting about Skagit casting and related topics. In which direction(s) is GL Spey casting moving? Is Skagit casting the developing Spey methodology in the Great Lakes?
 

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Ghetto caster
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My thoughts/opinion...

Dana-
I am a relative newby to the two-handed rods (I've got about two years under my belt) and don't have extensive exposure to all techniques. With that being said, I have had the opportunity to use Skagit lines and setups on a couple different occasions. I was impressed with the ability of these systems to huck an enormous fly, a considerable distance, with relative ease. I feel that on certain river systems, Big Manistee comes to mind, they could prove to be deadly fishing weapons. The Big M has lots of pocket water, in the upper river, that require a fly to get down quickly and stay there. It seems that T-14 on the end of a Skagit belly would be good for this. My biggest obstacle to this system comes from the fact that much of the season the air temp falls below freezing and with the amount of line that you are shooting and therefore retrieving, Skagit lines will lead to icing problems worse than I'm currently experiencing with the Windcutter lines. In fact in an effort to minimize the icing issue I'm starting to cut my teeth on the Midspey lines in an effort to minimize downtime on the river :Eyecrazy: . I spend the majority of my time on the Muskegon River which I feel is better suited to the longer belly lines. I'm sure that Skagit lines can and will be beneficial there but I don't see myself rushing out to buy any. So I guess to summarize my thoughts, I can see the advantages of the Skagit system but feel that for my fishing, the disadvantages still outweigh them. However, I'm keeping an open mind and am willing to learn more about them.
A question for you guys in the PNW. As I stated, icing of the rods becomes a nuisance in the winter months for the Great Lakes area. Do you guys experience the same type of climate out there or are below freezing air temps and rod/line icing not an issue for you?
 

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Junkyard Spey
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I was impressed with the ability of these systems to huck an enormous fly, a considerable distance, with relative ease.
The skagit lines should be perfect for throwing that GL's "killer fly",
the Jamey McLeod "Wet Sock Special" :lildevl:
 

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Ghetto caster
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MJC said:
The skagit lines should be perfect for throwing that GL's "killer fly",
the Jamey McLeod "Wet Sock Special" :lildevl:

It was with Jamey that I first got to cast a Skagit line. There is no doubt that it will turn over some of the large creations that we are prone to tying.
 

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What he said

Peter-s-c
Wow! Very thoughtful and accurate characterization!

Sva01,
In your post you mention that you fish the Muskegon. Are you typically fishing from a boat?

John
 

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Ghetto caster
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Big John said:
Sva01,
In your post you mention that you fish the Muskegon. Are you typically fishing from a boat?

John

I sure am, although I'll probably do a few walk-ins this fall on short notice.
 

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Member FRSCA
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MJC said:
The skagit lines should be perfect for throwing that GL's "killer fly",
the Jamey McLeod "Wet Sock Special" :lildevl:
Rambo is our local Skagit head here in MI. After rummaging through his boxes yesterday, I think the fly should be the "Rambo wet sock special". Part of me thinks "If he hits a fish on this thing, I will be amazed", the other part of me looks at that fly and thinks "A steelhead would be stupid to turn that up".

We need some pics of that olive and orange monster bud. (if your willing)

I have leaned away from the skagit set up because of the icing problemand big words like "continouswaterloadedsustainedanchorcast". MS 10/11 body with a 300grain big boy on the end if I need to get super deep, if not I plan to stick with the stock tips selection. A mix of the MS and Scando heads (Guideline) in the fall and spring, as the short fast stroke suits me better, and the Mid Spey should cover most everything and only need to shoot line on occasion.

We did a scouting run yesterday to get a good idea on a bunch of runs when the water is low. The main thing that stuck out to me was that in "ALL" of my good walk in spots, I am typically casting 20-30ft further than I need to be. Part of it is undoubtedly due to last year being the first season I was really confident enough in my casting to spend most days with a two hander, and the seduction of seeing all that line going zinging through the guides had me casting as far as I could. I quiver at the thought of all of the fish I probably spooked last season.
 

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Jamey McLeod, Registered Addict, posted:

"The main thing that stuck out to me was that in "ALL" of my good walk in spots, I am typically casting 20-30ft further than I need to be. Part of it is undoubtedly due to last year being the first season I was really confident enough in my casting to spend most days with a two hander, and the seduction of seeing all that line going zinging through the guides had me casting as far as I could. I quiver at the thought of all of the fish I probably spooked last season."

The second year long range casting itch. I did the same thing with a Grand Spey with my 7141 and ARC 1409.

Then last year I bought my Sage 6126 and used my MS 7/8 or WC 678 with the upgrade. I caught more fish in the first 4 weeks than the entire season with the long lines and bigger rods.
 

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GL SPEY "FISHING"

I think the big thing here in the GL is that people want to simply get on the river and cast adequately enough to fish. That being said most people get the standard setup pushed onto them which seems to be a W/C or a W/C style line and a 13-14' 8/9 weight rod. For those who have been doing this a little while here in the GL area tend to lean to one of two camps. I use this term lightly but one is "skagit" style casting and the other is more traditional spey casting with mid belly type lines. I cant speak for everyone in the GL area as I have only fished in WI, MI and Canada but it seems that the shorter belly skagit type lines seem to be picking up a lot of momentum. I for one have gone through a number of rod and line combinations over the past 5-6 years trying to find the one that best suits the rivers I fish and the way I prefer to present flies to these fish. That being said I have firmly gone the route of skagit casting. Granted in the colder months a lot of people tend to complain about shooting line and ice on the guides etc. But I have tried mid belly lines and I simply dont enjoy it and feel the I can not present the fly in a manner that I think will give me the best chance to catch fish. The other issue that I see is that there are not a lot of knowledgeable people around to teach the finer points of skagit casting vs traditional spey casting vs underhand or scando style casting. So a lot of us are trying to learn from books, videos and or web pages such as this in order to figure things out for ourselves. This is my .02 on what I have seen over the last 5 or 6 years in regards to fishing with two handers in the GL areas.
 

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Green Highlanders, Bricks & Pink Ladies

I don't see why there has to be a “Great Lakes style” of two-handed casting or fishing? Yes, the region does have generally cold river temps throughout much of the season, and on average some of the rivers are small to medium in size, but cold temps do not equal short-head lines. And if you call fishing for steelhead and salmon in creeks that are the width of a car, “angling”, whether it is with conventional tackle, a single-handed rod or double-handed rod, I think you should take the time to reflect on your “angling” ethic.

Some medium-sized rivers do lend themselves to double-handed rods, but that is true as much of the rivers of the Great Lakes as it is for the rivers of northwest Scotland. Most medium sized rivers tend to be by their very nature spate streams, which on the Great Lakes means that once the fish are in so are the crowds. Not the greatest way to single-Spey or even Perry Poke while you are in a line of 10 guys with the closest being less than a half a rods length in either direction of you.

That leaves us with larger rivers; some like the Niagara would rival and surpass any steelhead or Atlantic salmon river in the world for its sheer size and volume. But with its deep heavy flows it is not overly conducive to fly-fishing. There are rivers with steelhead in them, and then there are steelhead rivers. One should never get the two confused. I'm fishing rivers as much for their makeup and design that is conducive to my approach then I am for the simple fact that they have steelhead in them. Most Great Lakes double-handed rod anglers should, theoretically, gravitate towards larger rivers, each state and province has some pretty good ones, some better than others, but all have something within reasonable access.

There is no reason why anglers fishing their home rivers in the PNW, BC, Quebec, Iceland, Scotland, Norway etc. are not fishing rivers with similar stream dynamics. We all have a lot more in common than we have differences if people would just open up to their surroundings. It is the personal preference that should dictate the style of setup you fish and not your geographic location. I fear that a lot of the short-belly mentality coming out of the Great Lakes is simply an extension of the right-angle nymphing, float fishing attitude that is the only way you can catch Great Lakes steelhead. Yes, linking short-belly Spey lines with float fishing is a bit of a stretch, but I'm speaking of more of a mind set than anything else.

If you would like to cast, as Willie Gunn says, “bricks” then all the power to you. But promoting short rods and short-belly or Skagit type setups as the way to fish for Great Lakes steelhead, which many experts and Fly Shops are doing is misleading to all of the options new double-handed rod anglers have at their disposal for fishing Great Lakes anadromous fish.


B.
 

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Junkyard Spey
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Hey Begbie...

But promoting short rods and short-belly or Skagit type setups as the way to fish for Great Lakes steelhead, which many experts and Fly Shops are doing is misleading to all of the options new double-handed rod anglers have at their disposal for fishing Great Lakes anadromous fish.
Don't stop there. Tell us more.
 

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swing'n Lemmings
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Deep thoughts by rambo

I agree with Chrome fever that we unfortunetly have very very few jedi's at our disposal. neil is a few hours away and he is about the closest thing we have that is say certifiable. any how I Too have embraced the Skagit lifestyle.

I am horribly dissapointed by the amout of visual material or lack there of on the subject. I am impatiently waiting for the new Rio vid that has been rumered to be coming this winter.


I like the Skagit system because it is a easy means of delivering big heavy flys and sinktips. I personally feel that Most of our fish in the larger michigan water have been so bombarded with lead raining down from above that idea of them coming to the surface for a fly is slim. so I am sinktip fishing 100% of the time. I also fish out of a boat 99% of the time so it reduces the amount of running line I have in the water thus reducing the freezing guide syndrome greatly. think about it I am standing 1 to 2 feet higher (which makes my sudo skagit cast a bit more difficult) and I have all of my shooting line in the boat. it may also have to do some thing with the rec guides on the loomis rods that they collect less water or some thing. but I had fewer problems than I expected last winter.

flys.

my favorite subject of conversation.

So The usual reaction when a person looks at my bly box is.... what in the world are you going to catch with that thing. some people who Get what my crazy mind is thingking or already have the same sickness that I have fuel my passion for new Big Flys that seduce Fish.

In my previous fly fishing life I fished size 14 to size 10 nymphs and eggs with CHUCK and DUCK I came to the conclusion that alot of the "soft" bites I was hooking fish on were unintenional lining of fish and this really bothered me.... so 4 or so years ago i started fishing with a guide friend of mine and he showed me some new flies that were "top secret" that a fellow guide had been working on and doing very well with on teh swing. that fly was a Feenstra sculpin tied that was about 4 in long. I was skeptical at first but the moment I got slamed by a freight train Hen that fall and I too was hooked so to say. I am now a firm believer in fishing to Agressive opertunistic fish who are looking for a big meal or dont want some other mid size predator in its domain will move to Hit a fly and hit it hard. I get such a big rush from hooking the fish that sometimes it is better than landing it. so my mantra is make it big and make it move. Ill post some flys later.
Flys must have Movement. Big wool, artic fox and opossim heads create eddies behind it and materials like maraboo and rabbit just dance and come to life behind it. most flies are articulated in some way. right now I am a firm addict of Jameys braided mono bodies. they give me a way to extend the fly that is flexiable and I can still glue materials to them and not worry about fouling the fly on itself as some 2 hook articulated flys will do.
well that is it for now I am sure I will add more later and I will gladly take the name Rambo.... Wet Sock Flinger.
Rambo
 

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Ghetto caster
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peter-s-c said:
Toni Kauvaara whacked a bunch of fish with his S3/4 on his first ever steelhead trip while a whole bunch of us so-called expert steelhead sinktip flingers scored a big, fat zero. That's a lesson I took to heart.

Peter-
I think some of this has to do with Toni being one of the "fishiest" guys I've ever run across. Combine the Muskegon trip along with his 45lb Atlantic from the Orkla and it tells me that he could probably catch fish with any setup, wherever he chose to fish.
 

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Encore presentation

I have remained qiute recently but I'm in a mood tonight and am going to climb up on my soapbox this evening. I know that while standing there I will be an easy target.

There is spey methodology developing on the Great Lakes.......to be more precise it is a culture rather than a methodology. It is a culture of Misinformation !! .

Unfortunately some local anglers have decided to flounder their way through learning and pronounce themselves experts. My frustration arises not from the fact that these anglers have opinions but rather that they are presented as fact. Through the spey pages and a well needed increase in clave activity the GL's now have access to experts and pioneers within the casting community. However, this area seems to spend more time disagreeing with them and explaining why they are wrong rather than taking advantage of the opportunities to learn from them.

I want to make it clear that I am not referring exclusively to activity on this and other forums. I have been at claves in the GL's region where I have been watching a presentation, only to hear others on the bank pointing out that what the presenter is doing is wrong or he doesn't know what he is talking about. I have had stories of these sorts of behaviors shared with me also. What is most frustrating is that when you watch these individuals take to the water their casting is far from noteworthy and much worse than you would expect from someone who speaks so confidently about their expertise.

Healthy questioning is good. It forces the instructors and pros to remain sharp and keeps them from embelishing the truth. But I think when we look at "debates", some credence has to given to those that have established themselve's. There are reasons why some can pass the THCI and others can't. There are reasons why some are asked to design a line of rods and others aren't. They bring something above the norm that others do not. Often the techniques being criticized or questioned have never been seen by the individuals questioning them.

I was fortunate to attend to the Sandy River Clave earlier this year (and plan on returning next year). I was shocked by the combination of facts that their average attendee was a much better caster than the GL caster (that was not too much of a surprise as it is a more prevelant and practiced form there), and the fact that they were interested and greatful for the knowledge being shared with them. Instead of "X is really just a version of Y", it was "what about X makes it different than Y, and what do I need to do differnt to accomplish X" . When the answer was given there was an inherent degree of trust / faith that the answer had credibility, and that if it didn't make sense it had more to do with the students inability to grasp the concept than the fact that the teacher was wrong.

I work in health care and I teach at two different colleges. In my career I have always been struck by this idea that everyone is entitled to their opinion. Your not !!!!The fact that you do not have a full understanding of a concept does not entitle you to dismiss it and reclassify it. The correct response is to go back and continue to work on it until you see the distinction, not just dismiss it. The truth lies in the details.

Geography does contribute to the development of the local spey culture / methodolgy. High concentrations of fish in short, narrow streams has made it easy to catch fish despite poor casting technique. That has resulted in the attitude that I must be a good caster because I'm catching fish.

I know that I am going to be lambasted for this, but I have been frustrated by the lack of willingness to learn and the self righteous expertise that has flowed from posts these days. If you know as much as you say you do go pass your THCI and establish yourself as an expert.

I want to make it clear that I am not talking about the angler who occasionally posts an objection or points out that others may have been doing a similair technique despite the fact that somebody else popularized it. I am talking about the individuals that are new to speycasting and come upon confidently presented inaccurate information that will lead them astray.

I don't want to be all negative. The recent increase in claves has been a temendous bonus to the area. Many shops like Oak Orchard Fly Shop, Tightlines, Colemans and Buffalo Outfitters are contributing greatly to the the local development of spey techniques. We are fortunate to have at least 3 (that I know of) THCI in the region, and we are fortunate to have the speypages up and running. Let's just utilize them instead of arguing with them all the time. Those who I speak of behave like this consistently and know who they are.

I now stand on my soap box with all the self righteous indignation that I can muster, let the tossing of rotten tomatoes begin
 

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Member FRSCA
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Rambo said:
Any how I Too have embraced the Skagit lifestyle.

It may also have to do some thing with the rec guides on the loomis rods that they collect less water or some thing. but I had fewer problems than I expected last winter.


Rambo
Case in point: Remember the first day we fished together? Your Loomis was ice free, my Sc....... was like a snow cone, same line on both rigs.

This "Skagit lifestyle" you speak of? Does it involve brightly colored knit hats, dreadlocks, and ceremonial herbs used in elaborate worship rituals? :smokin:

Peter,
Thats the thing about the Mo, especially on weekends like that one when those fish get hammered, the ultra deep presentation is needed more than not. In the fall during the week its not unheard of to takle fish on floaters and intermediate tips.
 

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David,
I think you are suffering from dejavu :hihi: . Seriously, I did, I deleted it because I didn't want the controversy, and then tonight I restored it. Hence the title of "encore presentation". I received a few messages via PM that the post was well received and that they didn't know why I erased it. So it's back :devil: .

Gillie
 

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swing'n Lemmings
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206 Posts
nickel and lifestyles

Peter they are the nickel titanium recoil guides by REC. so that may be the trick but I know I did not have to use my ice off paste all year. as to trying the Scando heads well I have pondered if I wanted to do that or not and I have come to the conclusion that it is very cool from watching tony K and the syrstad twins throw those tight loops. But I have decided to stick with one style or system and learn it well. that is my story and I am sticking to it

Jamey that is a negitive on the plaid hat, dreadlocks and herbs. all that is required is that you like single malt beverages from spey or orkney and enjoy a fine cigar from time to time. oh yeah and like to throw big flies to deep locations.

on another note this afternoon I saw the Rio 2006 catalog today at the dealer and it is gonna kill me to wait till jan for the new rio modern spey video. you guys are killing me. the list of people and the cast are incredible. 2 dvds ouch I am am sure it will be worth its weight in gold.
to any sponsors out there ill pay double for a advance copy:hihi:
and what in the world is the Jelly roll.


Rambo
 

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swing'n Lemmings
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206 Posts
mjyp said:
as for fishing, call the style what you want, but my friends and myself use short heavy lines with goodly lengths of sinking stuff with a BFU attached.

it could be a bastardized WC, a boxed skagit, scando lineor a homemade slice and dice line. the needed result is the same. get down deep as quick as possible and keep your bfu in the fishes face.
AMEN TO THAT
 

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Speyladdie
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429 Posts
Gillie.
Very nice post. :)
It's a shame it will fall on deaf ears though.
I personally don't have a problem with individuals posting whatever they want but please get your facts right so you don't mislead others.
One of the major problems I come across is when a student tells me they heard or read this and that from where ever and it is completely off the board which starts them off on the wrong road to spey casting.
A novice or newbie reading the Spey Pages doesn't know who is who for quite a while so they soak in every bit off info they can,but I'm sure it doesnt take them long to figure out who they should be listening to in the end.
Not trying to up set any body here but maybe try listening instead of yipping off all the time.
Speyladdie :smokin:
 
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