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Skagit Line Single Speys

Is there a place for Skagit lines when Atlantic salmon fishing with floating lines?

Fishing for Gaspe's Atlantic salmon is more casting intensive than the steelhead fishing I have done. I believe the reason is the pools are shorter than west coast steelhead runs and it is often recommended by guides [when no one is waiting in rotation] to make two casts and one small step. When folks are waiting in rotation the ZEC literature recommends 3 steps for every 4 casts.

Additionally the local rivers are narrower than most on the west coast and casts shorter and directed more downstream than in steelhead fishing, resulting in reduced cycle time between casts.

This means casts, casts in huge numbers and the single Spey is the stroke of choice. It is effective, graceful and easy on the fisherman.

Winds can be factor in the Gaspe area; I recall one afternoon with constant 20-knot winds plus gusts that would destabilize my standing position.

Using a Sage 8150, T&T 1307 and T&T 1409, in high winds or calm, it was effortless to present a 15' leader and fly with Rio's Skagit 650 looped to an 18-foot 182-grain floating tip from a WC 11.12.13 set. This setup also made very short casts easier [for me] than with lighter floating tips.

Fish were landed on the 8150 and 1307, and the 1307's lightness in hand was pure joy. But does it have the strength to handle big fish? It does, taking 5 minutes to land a 43” x 22.5” salmon.

Disadvantages of a Skagit line
There are situations where considerable stripping of a fly will excite a salmon to strike, and when casts are short and the fly line belly is stripped into the guides, a Skagit head is inconvenient. For this I carried a line with a 65' head on a backup reel. A single-hand rod would also be useful.
 

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Nice fish!!! If it was 5 minutes you can guarentee that was a "traveling fish". There are a lot of those in June, hard runners that get upriver fast. Find one that's been on hold for a day or down low and just and it may be a different tale. 30 pounds of silver is quite an achievement and good on ya.

At any rate, I will say that the Gaspe fish are sensitive to the "Skagit tear" of the actual Skagit cast. If you can execute a single or a "quiet snake" it's much better regardless of the posts that are no doubt going to follow this one. The rivers aren't that big and they run clear. Even on a large river like the Matapedia I had fish rolling a rod length out and I didn't dare tear. That white mouse really sends the "elephants" scattering.

I'm glad you had a good trip. I was taking the Gaspe sampler this year, fishing end to end, and the York/Dartmouth/Gaspe area was the place to be.

-Chris
 

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"But does it have the strength to handle big fish? It does, taking 5 minutes to land a 43” x 22.5” salmon."

Wow, that is one magical rod. One fish, I believe you said a first, sets the tone for all large salmon? Food for thought...might the short play duration have something to do with a tired fish? Possibly?

William
 
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