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Discussion Starter #1
As some of you may or may not know, I've been dabbling into the realm of full-sink Scandinavian style shooting heads for use on winter steelhead rivers here in western Washington. Up to this point I've been using Rio's version of a DDC with very encouraging results, more on that here http://www.speypages.com/speyclave/showthread.php?p=1086409#post1086409 One of the things I found was that I really did not need the versatility of a modular line/tip system and more often than not defaulted to only 2 tip/polyleader pairings throughout the season. Being the kind of person who likes to minimize what I lug around in my boat bag, I've decided to go ahead and purchase a couple of Guideline triple density heads to use next winter.
So far I've been using a Winston 7133 B2X rod for my experimentation. I'll be very honest, when I first bought this rod my underhand casting was not at the level it needed to be. Those first few months of ownership saw only momentary glimpses of the magic that was built into this rod. Over the last 12 months I have been making a conscious effort to improve my touch & go casts to the point where I could see and feel the magic hidden deep in the character of this stick. These days, I am completely smitten with underhand casting. The touch & go set, the short forward stroke and the way the line flies off the hinges at Mach 4 to deliver a winter steelhead payload which can only be described as sexy.

Which brings me to my question.
Is there a rod currently in production that is better suited to casting full sink scandi heads instead of my B2X?
Not necessarily an easier casting rod, but a rod which lends itself well to this very specific task and purpose.
If so, what would you recommend?
 

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I like the idea of fishing the Scandi head as an intermediate line, but as much as I like casting those longer, lighter lines, there are just too many areas I fish where you end up with your back in the willows. I've gone to Skagit Switch lines for all my rods so I can create a very shallow D loop but can still punch out a respectable cast when needed.

How does the Scandi line head work for tight spaces with the larger D during winter conditions?

DH
 

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If you can get ahold of Brian Styskal he would be a good person to get an opinion on this. I saw him a couple of years ago touch-n-go casting a winter setup that included sink tips as well as huge winter fly (intruderish). It may have been a mid-belly line (most probable) and was easily casting 100ft or more on the Skagit, in the rain LOL. He's on speypages, wish I could remember his moniker, maybe someone else or Brian can chime in. He's a Burkheimer guy, but more than the rod he's probably the best I've ever seen in utilizing this type of setup.
 

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overseas advice...

Hi,

Scandinavia is the home of fishing with full-sink SHs Scandi style. So I too have some experiences on this (as well as some knowledge of steelhead fishing).

Generally, fishing with full-sink Scandi SH are done mostly with 14' # 9 and even more with 15' # 10 rods. This is the early season fishing on flooded, large rivers with 20 pound + salmon and tackling the lines and the rivers call for a strong rod. A few points of the differences between salmon and steelhead (fish and fishing) might however be worth noting.
1) Salmon, even in large, early season rivers tend to stay more out in the main current/and or in more current-rich places than steelhead.
2) Casting distance is often more extended than for steelhead.
So the full sink SH on the larger rivers (Gaula, Alta, Reisa, Namsen for instance) are often from 1/3/5 and heavier. (Personally I find the now mostly discontinued Guideline Powertapers of double density to be superb, as I find the heavier front taper to be better suited than the thinner taper on the 3d lines).

So my first comment, with the limitations that I do not know the size of the rivers you are fishing, nor the sink-rate and weight of the line you prefer, I would suggest maybe to look at a 13'6'' - 14' 9-weight rated rod. I would say a good rod is a good rod is a good rod independent of line- and casting style, at least more now that previously. YOu cannot do much wrong if you look at one of the major 14'#9 rods from Sage ONE, Loomis NRX, Orvis Helios 14. I do not know the recent Winston models but assume it would be equally good.

Good luck!
 

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Steelhead are cool!
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If you can get ahold of Brian Styskal he would be a good person to get an opinion on this. I saw him a couple of years ago touch-n-go casting a winter setup that included sink tips as well as huge winter fly (intruderish). It may have been a mid-belly line (most probable) and was easily casting 100ft or more on the Skagit, in the rain LOL. He's on speypages, wish I could remember his moniker, maybe someone else or Brian can chime in. He's a Burkheimer guy, but more than the rod he's probably the best I've ever seen in utilizing this type of setup.
Styskal's pages name is Highlander2.
 

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Rod

Take a hard look at a Sage One 8136. It seems that rod would be hard to beat and it has the guts to handle a full sink shooting head.
 

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There are some techniques that are helpful to effectively fish full sinkers regardless of rod.
Generally a longer rod is a big help also.
I like a 14 or 15 foot rod when fishing our sinking heads.
 

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Euro rod is the way to go.

I purchased a set of the Guideline 3D heads with a view to simplify my gear requirements for steelhead fishing. I then purchased a Guideline LeCie rod to match the gram window. There were three rod lengths to choose from, and on the advice from Helsinki Spey Clave I chose the shorter rod. So I have a set of the Guideline 3D DH 8-9 heads at 540 grains and a 12' 6" LeCie 9-10 rod. This has turned out to be an excellent system for our smaller PNW steelhead rivers (if you have ever seen the Gaula, or rivers on the Kola Peninsula, smaller indeed). The rod and line system was designed for underhand casting. Wonderful fishing tools.
 

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Not the most experienced guy on this topic but can share my experiences fishing several rods this winter with short/mid bellies (i.e. Delta, Vector) with 13' of T8 tips and hobo style tubes. (Also a former 7133 owner). For lifting sunk lines I ended up liking slightly longer rods, especially those with a stronger tip. I ended up settling on a VT2 8139 as it had a tip just strong enough to dig the works out from 6'+ depth with a single spey and no roll cast to get it up......most of the time.

My recollection of the 7133 was that it had a relatively soft tip so, to answer your original question, I think there are rods better suited to your task. Longer and stronger tipped for better lifting power. For what it's worth I ended up really liking fishing a mid-belly with a big sink tip much more than heaving a skagit head and stripping, stripping, stripping......When floating I usually had two sticks strung, my T&T 1307 with a skagit head (I know, saddling a thoroughbred with a plow) and the VT2 with Delta/Vector. The 1307 was just short enough and soft enough tipped that it couldn't quite lift the deeply swung tips like the VT2. Hope that's of some use.

CT
 

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Discussion Starter #10
How does the Scandi line head work for tight spaces with the larger D during winter conditions?

DH
The D feels larger than it actually is and more often than not I've been able to cast around stream-side obstacles. There are only a handful of places I can think of where I might have been able to fish were I fishing a shorter head, but those micro-buckets don't lend well to swung flies.


Hi,

So my first comment, with the limitations that I do not know the size of the rivers you are fishing, nor the sink-rate and weight of the line you prefer, I would suggest maybe to look at a 13'6'' - 14' 9-weight rated rod. I would say a good rod is a good rod is a good rod independent of line- and casting style, at least more now that previously. YOu cannot do much wrong if you look at one of the major 14'#9 rods from Sage ONE, Loomis NRX, Orvis Helios 14. I do not know the recent Winston models but assume it would be equally good.

Good luck!
Most of the rivers I fish are medium to smaller rivers; you won't ever see me sending more than 20 meters of shooting line out of the rod tip.

The two sink rates I would use the most in the winter would be a S3/S5/S7 and an I/S2/S4 respectively
 

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PiscatorNonSolumPiscatur
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As Norwegian said---
These folks have been doing this way before Skagit was invented. The sinking Scandi heads do well with the Scandi rods made by the same folks. I can't comment on most US rods, but for many years been fishing the sinking heads with LeCie and LPXe. The stiff tips pull the sunk heads out nicely.
These heads are often made to be cut, so with a little planning you can get the length and weight you desire.
 

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Anderson Custom rods seems to design his lineup for Scandi purposes. I was using a sinker on my 13'1" 7wt nova for a bit and it felt a bit sluggish, just didn't have the right match i suppose. the Nova for me likes its skagits and tips. really performs well there. but on the 13'3" 7wt sth, same line was a joy to fish. there is something to be said for swinging that sinking line in a deep fast run, just feels right.

just a bit more fuel to the fire. Give Gary a call and chat him up about it. couldn't hurt.
 

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Scandit sublima virtus
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Wow. An abundance of good advice here.
My full-sink scandi preferences fall in line with what's given here in this thread.

Dual-Density PTs: because they have a more aggressive tip, and allow use of polys and short lengths of T-material once you get used to handling it. 3Ds will do the job though I don't have any myself.

Long rod, stiff tip: because the biggest challenge is getting the head out on the dangle. 13'6" minimum. The rods people call "broomsticky" are the ones best suited for this. When they're doing their assigned job, they don't feel like broomsticks:) An unconventional choice but a real sleeper is Meiser's MKS, because of its strong tip and ease of timing. Doesn't have to be a heavy class rod, but an 8/9 (euro rating) will give you the beef for bigger flies. A stiff 7wt (Merkin rating) rod should be enough.

Shorter head: When you plan the cuts for your fullsink head, it might help if you go shorter rather than longer for the same given weight. This can make a huge difference in getting the line to pop loose for you on the lift. for a 14'er, think 2.6-2.7x rod length. For the OP, consider cutting the tip back to .048 at least for solid turnover and casting during those howling, sideways sleet days, THEN cutting head to length/weight.

Casting stroke: fullsinks ask for some modifications to get them working right. This is an individual thing. I wish we were standing in knee-deep water:hihi: but in short, you may find yourself using a more lazy and calculated pace when manipulating a fullsink after the lift, and hitting it more gently on the forward stroke... probably due to the increased density/decreased air resistance of the sinking line. This comment is subjective from my experience. You'll also find that the shorter leader used will ask you to pay attention to anchor placement.
If the swing ends in frog water, a spiral pickup will help you in popping that line loose.
 

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Long rod, stiff tip: because the biggest challenge is getting the head out on the dangle. 13'6" minimum. The rods people call "broomsticky" are the ones best suited for this. When they're doing their assigned job, they don't feel like broomsticks:) An unconventional choice but a real sleeper is Meiser's MKS, because of its strong tip and ease of timing.
I agree but single speys have always been easier for me with a progressive action rod such as a TCX or Highlander-ish action over rods with a "regressed" butt section. If that is the correct nomenclature. FWIW
 
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