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Here we go again!
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Discussion Starter #1
Mike at Redshed was kind enough to send me a CND Skagit and Steelhead Specialist to test drive. I cast each rod on my own the first couple of days and then on saturday 5 of us belonging to the American River 12 step program for spey addicts fell off the wagon and spent several hours with the CND spey monkey. Some of these guys are very, very good!

The most surprising thing to us was how so many people could rave about the Steelhead rod while we found, in complete consensus, that the Skagit was the true gem. The reviews were that the SS was not bad but not great (the Salar and Winston DBF a better long liner, the Skagit and T&T 1409-3 a better tips rod), where the Skagit was light and lively and a pleasure to cast. Many different lines were cast on each.

But on the Skagit:
The 9/10 long delta was a pleasure with heavy tips and heavy flies.
A modified 7/8 XLT was sweet if cast off the tip.
The 8/9 SA mid head was very nice
A 10/11/12 windcutter cut back as a skagit head threw nice tips as did the full line 8/9/10
Even the Granspey 7/8 was pretty nice (Evan, I think you owe Larry a fly
:razz: ).

Here's my humble .02 cents worth:

The Skagit is a light rod (for a 9 weight) that throws nicely off the tip. It has the nice softness in the upper 1/3 of the rod that makes it forgiving and a joy with tips but had plenty of backbone above the cork. I formerly owned a 9/10 Expert and if it had this backbone in the rod above the cork I'd have never sold it. The rod is an enigma in that it is soft and forgiving with a lot of guts.

The SS is a bit stiff and though it may handle a variety of lines it lacks that certain sweetness that would set it apart from other rods.

I say this not to solicit verbal warfare or to insult, but it was just the opinion of a group of speybums on a certain saturday in the park.
 

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#&%*@^# Caster
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3,058 Posts
I would agree. I love the skagit rod and for shorter heads and tips there is not a better rod IMHO. It throws some of the nicest loops of any rod I own. Do yourself a favor and get an SA 8/9 short head on the rod. Sweet combo , especially when cut for tips.

Welcome to the skagit club,

-sean
 

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Here we go again!
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620 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Sean, that line is on my short list of lines to try on the Skagit. I've heard lots of raves about that line. I'm also waiting patiently for the SA Skagit head system (Ed Wards design) that our local SA rep told me should be available in the fall. I also intend to try a 9/10 delta and an 8/9 long delta. Though the 9/10 long delta turns over tips and big flies nicely, with the floating tip it's a bit too heavy for the rod (just not a clean turn over). I have an 8/9 Delta floater that was a tick too light, so the 8/9 long or 9/10 Delta should split the difference. I'm currently practicing my line splicing and am going to build a Skagit head based on Brian Simonseth's recomendations. I've purchased some heavy level lines from Aaron at the speyshop.
 

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Member
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124 Posts
Rod casting

Moose,
Any chance that you will let me the cast the two specialist rods before you send them back? I live in the Sacramento area and close to the American River. You can PM me if your willing to do this.

Thanks,
-Doug
 

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Junkyard Spey
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7,112 Posts
Hey Moose...

Any chance that you will let me the cast the two specialist rods before you send them back? I live in the Sacramento area and close to the American River. You can PM me if your willing to do this.
It is all right with me. MJC
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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1,771 Posts
Congrats! I owe you a cigar ;)

I've also spent quite a lot of time with the two rods and agree that the 'sweetness' factor is on the Skagit's side. Moose, it's good to hear that your spey gang is like minded in the appreciation of that unmistakable sweetness. I don't think there could be a better match than that SA 8/9 short for the Skagit.

I've also noticed that with the 8/9 Rio Midspey the Skagit throws laser loops off the top. If the stroke is started with a drift factor (back as well as up) before coming into that finesse stroke and the laser carries quite far while looking like as spearhead.

Of course the Steelhead has it's virtues as well. It does exactly what you ask of it with a surprisingly wide range of lines from short heads to extended belly lines and when you match it up with mid-length well-tapered lines like the Carron Jetstream it transforms into a easy casting weapon with serious range.

If you use the above extended drift / accelerated stroke for the Steelhead you might suddenly see the backing knot in the guides. Although the sweetness factor is less apparent in the Steelhead the muscle is astounding it's taper tends to direct hard arm power very well. I chose the Steelhead Specialist for my FFF cert testing because it was so easy to hit the requisite long casts off either side.

They are far from cookie-cutter, in fact they are very unique and different designs. So are the Salar and Thompson, which combine a little of both into lengths that carry longer lines (extended belly lengths) and provide more overall power into the cast by offering longer stroke acceleration / more material.

I say this a lot but they are like children - each has it's own endearing characteristics and don't ever make me have to pick one over the other!
 

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Here we go again!
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620 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Doug, I sent you a PM.

Juro, maybe you could make it down this way some time (we have claves from time to time. Jeff Putnam and Kiene's fly shop would be your contacts) and we could have that cigar and maybe a nip of the single malt! I know there are guys here (Grampa spey comes to mind) who would love to see you do your thing with the Atlantis. We have great runs of Stripers in the delta.

If they hold another spey bash at the GGAC in SF that would be cool too. Missed you last time, I couldn't get out of work. :(
 

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Here we go again!
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620 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Sean

sean said:
I would agree. I love the skagit rod and for shorter heads and tips there is not a better rod IMHO. It throws some of the nicest loops of any rod I own. Do yourself a favor and get an SA 8/9 short head on the rod. Sweet combo , especially when cut for tips.

Welcome to the skagit club,

-sean


Where are you cutting the 8/9 short head and what tips are you using with it? Just bought one from the Red Shed.
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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1,771 Posts
Moose -

Thanks for the invite, I hope to take you up on that but no cigar they are my weakness. :tongue:

I am curious to hear where people have cut their 8/9 short, I agree that line on the Skagit is nothing short of amazing and I can't imagine a nicer setup for fishing sinktips.
 

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#&%*@^# Caster
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3,058 Posts
Mine is cut at 14' which seems plenty. I have been able to casy 17' of t14 pretty easily. It handles 15' RIO type 8 9wt tips very nicely if you really need a dredger. Most of my tip fishing is with t14 in lengths from 6-10 feet. Cannot imagine a better setup than this line matched up with the skagit rod.

I have heard people also cutting them at 13 and 15. Mr. Simonseth will probably chime in as well as to a good cutting point.

It is also a great dry line. I just finished fishing the 1307 Custom with the 6/7 short head and that is a killer combo as well for dry line fishing.

-sean
 

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Jolly Buddha
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504 Posts
SA Spey Lines

I started cutting at 10 feet and ended up at 14 feet, With Ed style sink-tips at 10 feet makes it sweet. For you fans of 8/9 Custom CND 7/8 SA SSH is just as good!
Remember any thing over 50 feet is a long belly.


Hope to be out in the real world soon!
 

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Here we go again!
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620 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Intersting first impression

I took the SA 8/9 short out this afternoon for it's first fling on the Skagit. My first impression was that it felt heavy enough to launch heavy tips, I imagine (still uncut), as it has a lot of mass to it and really loads the rod. But I noticed something odd. If I have the color change near the tip top and don't try to shoot line the head casts beautifully with mono and poly leaders, both floating and sinking. But if I tried to shoot line the rear belly/rear taper part of the line collapsed prematurely on the water. It's like, as soon as you let go and give up some running line the weight of the head (gravity) takes over and the thing loses it's velocity and falls to the water ass end first. The forward area of head is still trying to turn over but is pulled down by the falling rear area of line. Anyone else experience this?
 

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#&%*@^# Caster
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I can shoot quite a bit and have never had that happen. When shooting I usually have about a foot of overhang and have never noticed anything except for the line launching like a rocket.

Sounds almost like your shock dimple is crashing into the water which could be because the rod is not getting a nice crisp stop on the forward cast???? One of the experts will have to chime in here....

-sean
 

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More help needed

Have wondered for some time now the pronunciation of your word Skagit? Seems like I saw this (River?) mentioned years ago in Ray Bergman's book, "Trout?" My being from the GL Basin am very ignorant about your PNW Rivers and especially most of the Spey language. Would someone be kind enough to educate me as to the correct pronunciation of the word, "Skagit"? Thanks much.
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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1,771 Posts
It's pronounced "sca-jit".

Moose -

Hard to tell without seeing. If you could get a mpeg on the thread I am sure many would chime in. I found the combination to be amazing as Brian and Sean did.

My first guess (keyword guess) without seeing it would be that you are releasing the tension on the line during the power stroke when shooting causing a loss of power and the loop to drop.

Two things I'd try:

1) cast and let the line try to pull it's way through the fingers with a reasonable amount of friction applied - if not, the cast needs more power to shoot (see #2); if so maybe the grip of the line is being released on the power stroke too early, hold on to the line a little longer and let the loop pull it out of the fingers for you

2) try adding stroke length and speed... stretch that d-loop drift back a little without dipping the tip and try to bend the lower part of the rod as you accelerate forward - this adds more stored energy in the rod. Then give the final burst a little more speed and stop the rod hard and high to make the line fly forward with more zip

Send a video clip, I am sure Dana will figure it out in a split second.
 

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one more building block

Thanks, Juro. I once was dumb, now am smart.
 
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