Spey Pages banner

1 - 20 of 50 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,042 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I just returned from a trip to Vancouver Island. The weather didn't cooperate - AGAIN - last year I was flooded out, this year I was snowed and low watered out. No fish were found in the 3 rivers we sampled, but I did manage one pull - yippee...

However, it was still a great trip and I did get to try out the CND Skagit and Steelhead Specialists under fishing conditions. The first couple of days I fished the Skagit with one of Marlo's SA Skagit prototypes. While I am an avowed long belly guy I have decided to give the Skagit Style a fair trial.

To this end I have been watching Ed and Marlo and asking their advice, so far some of it seems to be sinking in! I must admit that I am suprisingly pleased with the way the set-up performed. I did well with the Perry Poke, but it seems that my default cast - the Snake Roll - can be effectively adapted to the Skagit style. Really all I had to do was slow down and smooth the snake into a compact continuous motion and the casts were effortless.

This effortless aspect is a very attractive part of the Skagit style. However, what will get me using it with regularity is its effectiveness in close quarters. The first day I fished a river that I cut my teeth on - with a float rod 25 years ago - and I fished the tight spots that I remembered held fish. These are surrounded by overhanging trees and with few or no gravel bars. I would not have been able to fish with my standard long belly set up - period. The Skagit head and the Skagit Specialist made it a piece of cake!

The second river was wider and shallower with plenty of backcast room, but I gave the Skagit set-up a go. I didn't have trouble covering the water, the rod/line combo can really rocket it out there and mending was effortless. However, the stripping was not to my liking. The freezing temperatures made it painful - as well as a pain in the ass. For a river like this one a longer belly set-up would make more sense. Never-the-less, where the river is less open and/or where there are only a few wide runs the Skagit set-up is sweet!

The 3rd river was pretty much like that, fairly open bars, but some tight quarters. Here I decided on the Steelhead Specialist and an Airflo Long Delta 10/11. This proved a great combo as well. The 65' belly kept any stripping to a minimum yet in the tighter spots the still relatively short head loaded the rod well and maintained a small D-loop - an entirely good thing.

This first excursion with short belly set-ups for fishing has definitely encouraged me. I will be using these where conditions warrant as they are effective and pleasant tools to fish.

Now I just need to find some damned fish...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,100 Posts
Kush goes Skagit Style

Happy New Year Tyler and Sandy.

Kush, your enthusiasm for the Skagit line and casting mirrors my experience in April 2003 fishing the north Oregon coast with Mike McCune.

You used the word effortless, as I did several months ago. Because the word effortless is frequently misused, the impact of the Skagit style's ease is not well communicated to those who have not cast such a setup.

Do you know, or will Marlow share, the head length and weight of the Skagit line you used?

Mike McCune set me up with a WC8.9.10 body 23-feet long weighing 295 grains plus a tip 1 15-feet long weighing 150 grains. The total head was 38-feet long and weighed 445 grains. This setup fished perfectly and cast effortlessly [not exaggerating] with a T&T 1307, using a type-8 tip 1 casting a barbell lead eye articulated leech.

Interestingly, and not coincidentally, the head weight of Rio's WC6.7.8 is 455 grains.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,732 Posts
I have not been a fan of the windcutter and almost exclusively use xlt's and on occasion long Deltas. This fall I fished the Grand Ronde with Scott O'Donnel and Mike McCune. I used the xlt the first day but they convinced me to try a WC on the second day and subsequent days - they removed the mid tip section when casting the Scott 1287 and I was truly impressed at the ease this system cast with tips. So little effort required though I was in the habit of overpowering things and any time I did this Scott would scream at me -"Harder - you have to throw it harder!!" The last day the high was around 32 and the stripping was not fun due to ice build up - but I am now convinced these short line systems have their place and I have added to my arsenal!

As an aside when I got to the lodge, Mike and I got to talking and realized we knew each other. He said he had a photo of a guy lowering me a beer on a fly line off the Mott Bridge on the N Umpqua from the early '80's to celebrate a fish I had just released - it was great meeting Mike again and discussing old times!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,042 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Don't get too excited gentlemen!

I tried 'em - and I liked 'em - but I won't be mothballing my longbellies!

This expansion of horizons is part of something that a few different threads over the past few years has started. I often tease Dana about "casting as a sport" and insist that the bottom line is catching fish. Of course being able to cover fish in any situation makes casting a key element of fishing - duh.

I believe that a variety of casts (some recognized standards - some rather impromptu) are necessary to get the fly over the fish. It does therefore, make sense that in the interest of covering fish in any possible conditions one should also have various casting styles in the arsenal.

I spend much of time on large open rivers where large D-loops are possible - therefore I can use the long-belly lines I first learned with. However, for rivers like I fished last week the short belly was the answer. As well, I must admit that learning about a new casting style is fun - don't tell Dana... :tsk_tsk:

Bob,

All the best to you as well. The line I was using was a prototype from SA, I don't even know the length - I just know it is shorter than I've used before! Maybe Marlo can answer the question - I'll check the length and get back to you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Skagit line specs

Kush

Sorry for the delay. I haven't been paying attention. I would be even later but it's too cold to fish today.

Glad you like the line. I hope to see it on the market soon though it may not be the exact line you are using. Haven't talked to SA lately so I don't have a date.

The line you are using should have a 26'6" belly weighing 500 gr. with a 10' tip weighing about 125 gr. Total weight is about 625 gr., if I remember correctly.

I am currently using a little different head on the 13'8" Skagit Specialist, just to see what the rod can do, Its working great but takes a little more effort and better timing. The belly is 30' at 530 gr. The 10' sink tip is 110 gr. for a total of 640 gr. This is just an incredible rod. It would probably cast a clothes line. I should try that. I think Ed is casting well over 700 gr. and a fly the approximate size and weight as a wet wash rag, maybe a little smaller than that, and just loving it. I believe his head lingth is around 42' with a heavy sink tip. I hope SA runs some of Ed's lines too. I think they will work better for some people, the non-arthritic, under 50 crowd.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
184 Posts
Excuse me, but I may not understand. These "short belly lines" have been around for a long time now. You are a moderator on this forum, are cnd prostaffer, quick to respond (and give advice) to questions about lines/rods etc , and you have only just tried them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,042 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
PKK,

Good question. I have certainly tried short belly lines - I just never liked them enough to stick with them. There is quite a long history of discussion re long and short belly lines and their merits. There was a time when I was decidedly in the long belly (some would say extreme long belly) camp and disdained the short heads. I like to think I've got past that period and have "grown" as a double-handed caster. I am now interested in more than just long bellies and I didn't mean to burst any bubbles by indicating I'm new to their use.

Part of the problem was the mechanical differences in casting the two types of lines. The longer more energetic strokes of the long belly cast and the short smooth compact stroke of the short belly cast are very different. When a caster has spent years with one type of the casting stroke it becomes an ingrained default motion and as such, is very difficult to change. Therefore, while I have played around with the short bellies a fair bit, I have not spent a lot of time fishing them - as I prefer to focus on catching fish rather than practice casting.

Your question does however have some merit, as a CND prostaff guy I felt that it would make sense if I could talk about the new rods (especially the Skagit Cast Specialist - as it was designed specifically for the Skagit style) in actual fishing conditions rather than merely test casting. Hence the decision to use them on the recent trip. As I reported, I liked them and will use them in given situations from now on.

Now if you question my ability to use these and any other lines or rods - fine - I make no claims as an expert. I do what I do and if people ask a question I will answer to the best of my ability. Maybe I'll see you at one of the casting events and we can chat - cheers.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
184 Posts
Kush,

Thanks for the response. Pat yourself on the back for your progress towards the "short belly" lines. The more you use them, the more you will like them. Eventually you will like them to the point where you won't use anything else. Good Luck! And no, you won't meet me at any casting clinic. I would rather be on a river fishing. (casting for the purpose to catch fish). We might meet there one day.
:smokin:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
630 Posts
A question for PKK

PKK wrote:
"Pat yourself on the back for your progress towards the "short belly" lines. The more you use them, the more you will like them. Eventually you will like them to the point where you won't use anything else."

I'll grant you that 'short belly' lines and Scand. heads are "in" right now, and that they are effective fishing tools. Do you believe that they are superior to long belly lines in all situations and on all waters? Please share your experience, as I still have a great deal to learn about spey fishing.:D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,732 Posts
PKK - I would question that short belly lines are the end all for all fishing conditions - with more open areas with room for a D loop you can't beat the long belly lines for mending and not having to strip. I was like Kush and for a long time only used the long bellies but have since started using WC's and other short belly lines and believe they also have their place - so I do not put myself in any camp. Using short belly lines in very cold conditions suck big time due to icing!! But long belly lines in tight quarters suck also. So someone who can effectively use both type lines seems to be better off in their ability to catch fish and match fishing conditions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,042 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Carl,

My response is that each "system" shines in certain situations and both will work in most situations. I do not believe one is inherantly superior, an individual angler's preference is the most important deciding factor.

As I stated in the beginning of this thread, I found the short head Skagit style an excellent option for close conditions with over hanging trees and pocket type lies. By the same token on wide runs where one needs to cover more potential holding water the amount of stripping required would be IMO excessive and a long-belly line would be superior.

As well, I didn't mention the cold factor! Line handling in true winter conditions is a real concern. When I fished the wide river it was also very cold. The ice build-up was a constant issue and my hands were very cold as they were usually wet from stripping. With a true long belly line I would not be stripping at all and could even wear fingered gloves - and be much more comfortable. The day I fished the Long Delta I found it a happy medium. There was less stripping required and the system still cast easily.

Finally, there is no graduating from one system to another. What I hope to accomplish is a useful arsenal of casts and techniques that will provide an ability to successfully fish in any situations that I might face. The waters I fish most often dictate that I will use long belly lines most of the time. However, I think it is a good thing that I can go to other tactics if I need to.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
184 Posts
Kush, Rick, and Carl, it seems that stripping in line and icing of the guides are "short belly" line faults. How cold is cold? And how often are you fishing in those temps? Fishing in temps around -2 to -5 celcuis icing doesn't seem to the much of a problem. Any colder isn't very comfortable. Rio slickshooter as running line also seems to pick up less water during stripping therefore less icing. Plus casts of a miracle mile aren't always needed (far less often than more), thus smaller amounts of running line in need of stripping. This seems to be a small sacrifice for being able to fish all runs on any river (not being resticted to certain runs). This includes the Mighty Thompson. Long belly rods seem like tanks in coparison, and the casts seem very energy consuming. I know I would be beat at the end of the day, then again I'm not your size Kush. Plus, fighting fish on shorter and lighter rods also seems like way more fun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,042 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
PPK,

Like I said, it is all good. This longbelly/shortbelly discussion comes around from time to time - though less often it seems lately (thankfully). There is a growing sentiment - and rightfully so - that both styles are good. So by all means use whatever suits your purpose - I'm just pleased that I found some situations in which the short heads shine for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,732 Posts
PKK - Last October I fished on the Grand Ronde and was one of the first times I spent time with WC's and felt they worked well in this situation mostly smaller water with well defined lies - the last day it got up to 32 degrees for a high and that really caused icing problems. That day I would have been better off using a midspey or xlt. I also fish the Trinity in the Winter and have had my felt soles freeze on rocks - in those instances the longer belly lines just seem more user friendly - I am 5'8 and 170# - not big by any means and have no trouble throwing an xlt all day long! Once you get the technique down they cast quite easily. It is more work casting but on wide rivers you can cover more water more easily without stripping and with easier mending. That is not to say a Short belly line can't fish wide rivers effectively - they can and you can mend them but not as easily as the long belly lines. On wide rivers when there is no obvious fish holding spot, long casts cover more water and if you can cast take a few steps and cast again without stripping in 50 feet of line it just seems more productive.

Pat yourself on the back and go try one:) - you'll like it!!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
184 Posts
Hello guys, let's talk long belly lines ,big open d loops, and the wind usually associated with big open rivers. Rick, yes I used to cast a garden hose.:smokin:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,732 Posts
If you can cast a garden hose you should have no trouble casting an xlt - The Klamath is my home water and we sure have wind - I can still cast an xlt pretty well - if it is really bad I may go to a shorter belly line - but I have the option - I do not tie myself to one system in all conditons
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
200 Posts
Blah Blah Blah ~

Thanks Kush, I think that's the best perspective on this whole Belly issue i've yet to hear.

Each person finds conditions when they PREFER to use one system or the other. I heard Dana mention once that he likes long bellys in the winter so he doesn't have to strip, and often likes the shooting heads on the Thompson when he's fishing day after day (minimize fatigue, especially if windy).

I like shooting heads in the winter 'cause the shorter denser floating bellys can support heavier sinktips and I don't enjoy casting sinktips on a long belly line. Again, personal preference. I've got some great neoprene gloves and don't even notice the stripping unless ice starts to form. Not saying one is better than the other, just that I like to fish that way under those conditions.

And, as PKK pointed out, anyone can poke holes in another's chosen line system by pointing out that they ALL have weaknesses - as Dana's mentioned many times before, THERE IS NO PERFECT LINE SYSTEM. :devil: Choose what YOU enjoy fishing with and get out there! ;)
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
184 Posts
Rick, big heavy rods and long belly lines on the Klammath. Are there some good sized fish there. And what is a half pounder.
 
1 - 20 of 50 Posts
Top