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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

I'm currently fishing on skagit and scandi heads but am considering going to a full spey line. My question: when going from a skagit to scandi it was recommended that I go down in grain weight, for example a 450 skagit to a 420 scandi. What would be the suggestion when going to a longer spey head? Do I continue the trend and look for a spey head that is even lower in grain weight than what I would normally use for a scandi?

For your reference I'm thinking of getting spey lines for my 5wt and 7wt two-handers. I currently cast a 350gr skagit and 330gr scandi for the 5wt and a 450gr skagit and 420gr scandi for the 7wt.
 

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''Speydo-masochist''
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The longer the head the more weight you will need to load the rod correctly.

A skagit is the shortest head, all the weight concentrated over say 24 feet, as a result the rod loads very quickly - but the loop is more static with waterborne casts than with touch & go casts so the skagit cast starts with less compression of the rod due to the line traveling backwards than with a touch & go cast but the rod loading is applied quickly as the angler begins the cast & the concentrated weight of a short heavy head generates the energy to pull the sinking tip from the water, shoot line & achieve turn over at the end of the cast.

A scandi is longer, the weight more spread out & it has a much finer tip intended for leaders or polytips not long lengths of T material. The cast is an underhand cast which generates great tip speed & so can load the rod with a little less weight.

The full line has its' weight spread out over a much longer belly of say 60 to 80 feet [or more] & the cast requires a more pronounced sweep backwards to energise the loop & hold this in the air during the touch down & forward cast phases. The rod loading builds more slowly, but usually more deeply, & the total head weight will be the greatest in a full line - but the lightest in terms of grains per foot.

It varies between individual casting styles but I suppose my long full lines have heads which are 15% - 20% heavier than the scandi heads for the same rod [although to be honest I have dedicated rods for each as I prefer a deeper loading rod with a stiffer tip for full lines than the rod I use for scandi heads].

Skagits are pretty new to me so I don't really feel I am qualified to comment on rod choices etc [except I did manage to snap the tip of a fast tippy scandi rod when chucking a slightly too heavy skagit on it one day [OK, probably a much too heavy Skagit head....].

Regards, Tyke.
 

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There are 3 categories of head lengths in spey lines: Short, Medium, and Long, and the standard grains are -
5 weight: 380, 420, and 560.
6 weight: 420, 460, and 600.
7 weight: 470, 510, and 650.
8 weight: 530, 570, and 710.

So - you can compare the lines that you are considering for each rod to see where they fall within those numbers in each category. It is often recommended for a beginner to step-up one weigh-class. These are AFFTA two-hand standards and can be helpful in getting the "ball rolling."

Because most line maker follow these standards to a degree, it is often simply a matter of matching the line weight to the rod. So for a 7 weight rod: 6/7 line or 7/8 for a novice caster.
 

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All Tangled Up
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Just to add a bunch of random thoughts to the above (all of which is good IMO):

What do you mean by 'full spey line'? Depending on who you ask that could mean anything from a 40' to 95' head. And what is your rod length?

For full floating lines, cast touch-and-go, in a given weight class, all other things being equal (taper design, etc.), weight goes up with length.

Grain weight isn't everything. For a short shooting head, grain weight tells you most of what you need to know as the taper is so short and there is not huge room for variation from line to line. But the longer the line the less the impact of raw grain weight and the more important where the weight is in the line. I don't track the specs on many of my longer heads, but I do know what matches with what and for which lines/rods I go up or down a weight.

Likewise, raw rod specs are not the whole story. The design of many rods favored by some here for longer lines is such that they also have fairly wide grain windows. Personal preference and experience grow large. What's your rod?

You are almost better off asking here about specific lines or families of lines than grain weight guidance. While in theory there is a standard, it is honored somewhat in the breach. If you pull a bunch of specs, you'll see different makers have different opinions about what, for example, a 7-wt line should weigh in at. Rio and Airflo have good tables, but if you are looking at NextCast, Beulah, Carron, Gaelforce, Ballistic, CND, you're sort of on your own for most rods, and the one thing you don't want to be worrying about transitioning to longer heads is, hey, did I get the wrong line?
 

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Lines for a given rod.

Both RIO and Airflo have extensive rod/line recommendations on their home web page. RIO's really is extensive!:eek:
 

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PiscatorNonSolumPiscatur
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Hunter,
If you decide to go longer just mention what rod you're using and I guarantee there will be somebody here using or has tried that combination. There's infinite wisdom on these Pages. :chuckle: :D
 

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Hunter: Assuming you can reasonably cast what you have. Don't be afraid to try using a longer belly line. Suggest mid-belly to start and go from there. I'm still learning with the mid-belly, but though it is a different type of casting, my abilities with Scandi and Skagit lines have improved. I'm finding I enjoy casting the longer bellies. And if you can find an instructor to work with you, so much the better!

My two cents for what it's worth. Oops. One more thing, stick with the 7-weight for awhile. Easier to learn with IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The rods that I have are Cabela's LSi switch rods, a 10'6" 5wt and a 11'6" 7wt. I'm still planning on keeping them as dedicated scandi/skagit rods, but I suppose I'm curious to find out what options I may have for a longer spey line should I go that route. Feel free to chime in if y'all got any suggestions, thanks!
 

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flailing less
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The rods that I have are Cabela's LSi switch rods, a 10'6" 5wt and a 11'6" 7wt. I'm still planning on keeping them as dedicated scandi/skagit rods, but I suppose I'm curious to find out what options I may have for a longer spey line should I go that route. Feel free to chime in if y'all got any suggestions, thanks!
I'm just taking a wild guess here :))), but the excellent information presented above by multiple casters might be better suited to rods longer than yours.

In really round numbers, if a given rod throws twice its length for Skagit, three times its length for scandi, it will tolerate four (and likely max out at) five times its length in a "longer" head.

It would therefore seem quite a challenge to cast a line with a head length of 55 feet (or more) on an 11 foot rod unless some of the head remained inside the rod tip, which kind of defeats the purpose.

I'm not saying you couldn't throw mid length (55-65') lines on your rods, just thinking that it might be a challenge learning to do so, and one heck of an accomplishment if you could!

As an example, in the "good old days", an Airflo delta 7/8, which has a head length of 52 feet--was often paired with a 7 weight 13 foot rod--four times the length of the rod.

My apologies if this posting creates any confusion, as the other contribuitions are excellent advice.
 

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I agree with Yoda1. It is a very simple set of rules and I am sure there are some exceptions according to casting ability. Steve Godshall told me about the 5:1 ratio and it has held true for me. This is about the maximum head length you can comfortably cast outside of the rod tip. An 11' rod would have a maximum 55' long head at roughly its maximum.

Doug
 

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The rods that I have are Cabela's LSi switch rods, a 10'6" 5wt and a 11'6" 7wt. I'm still planning on keeping them as dedicated scandi/skagit rods, but I suppose I'm curious to find out what options I may have for a longer spey line should I go that route. Feel free to chime in if y'all got any suggestions, thanks!
Airflo Delta 6/7, RIO Short Head spey 5/6/7.
 

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All Tangled Up
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I'm just taking a wild guess here :))), but the excellent information presented above by multiple casters might be better suited to rods longer than yours.
Thus my question about rod length....:)

I also agree with yoda1's last post. For your rods, particularly if you are just moving up in length from scandi heads, I'd stay under 45' in head length.

For the 5wt, choices are limited, maybe the Ballistic Vector in 4/5 (wild guess on the weight).

For the 7wt, in addition to the Vector and the aforementioned Rio Short Head Spey, you could consider the NextCast 45. Probably in 6/7, maybe 5/6 for a lighter load.

Given your existing arsenal and goals, I would recommend giving the NextCast WA45 a try. It comes as a head system, so, you can use the same spools and running lines you've already got set up for your scandi/skagit heads, so, it will be easy to experiment with. The full lines (Ballistic, Rio) are more of a commitment and harder to swap around. You can also go from a full floater to light sink tips without changing the head. Very versatile line and it is manageable on an 11'6" rod.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I didn't even think about rod length and come to think about it I guess I haven't heard about anyone casting a long line on a switch rod before. It could be interesting to try...but I'm thinking it would be more fun to get a longer rod;) Thanks for all the insight.
 

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... I guess I haven't heard about anyone casting a long line on a switch rod before. It could be interesting to try...but I'm thinking it would be more fun to get a longer rod;) ....
Your shoulders will thank you, even if your wallet hurts a bit.:chuckle:
 

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Full-lines are integrated (i.e. Delta and SA Short head) as opposed to shooting head/running line systems like skagit, candi, and Nextcast 45/50/70s.
 
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