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Discussion Starter #1
I have been reading about these lines a lot lately, here on the forum, but I need some clarification.
My understanding is that in the past, skagit lines have basically been customised by cutting and splicing other commercial lines. Is this correct?
Obviously this requires the know-how etc. That`s something I don`t posess.
I also understand that Rio has just released a skagit line, (Dana`s cool stuff at the Sandy Clave). Any views or comments?
I can`t believe that this is the first commercially produced skagit line?
When I checked their web site recently (Rio`s that is) there was no reference to it.
Skagit casting is not common over here in our part of the world, but having had the pleasure of watching Ed and Steve fishing this style on a recent visit to Ireland, I believe it has a big future.
Any help in "lifting the fog" would be appreciated.
 

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Peter,
To have the same effect as fishing with a skagit cast, cast with a normal line then take a breeze block and throw it into the water.

I have a Rio Skagit line, I have been using/trying it a shooting head.
I can see no great advantage in Skagit casting, just roll the fly to the surface and single Spey cast it.

Passing fad.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
:chuckle: Now that`s going to get the devotee`s out of bed ! :eek:
Malcolm,
I have to say that when I saw it performed (admittedly by two highly proficient casters ) I thought it was a very effortless way to cast, and cover the water.
Also, it appeared to have an advantage in windy conditions, over the alternatives. (One of our April weeks)
If someone could define specifically the "Skagit" style, it would be a great help.
It appeared to be a variant of the Spey, but what "qualifies" it as Skagit is what I need to know.

Peter.
 

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Peter,
The line is about as thick as a rope, no matter who is casting it, it still spashes like someone throwing in a brick. Imagine two Windctters glued together.....thats about the thickness.
 

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Peter,
Skagit casting is basically a modified form of Speycasting that was "customized" to meet the circumstances of flyfishing Pacific salmonids. The largest single "catalyst" was the fact that a majority of fishing opportunities for these fish requires that the fly be presented subsurface, and in most instances traveling at a swing "speed" that is slower than the current. The sinktip flyline is the best way to accomplish this end, far superior to a full sink line in this case, because it can be mended THROUGHOUT the swing. However, sinktip lines - especially superfast sinkers -have a dramatic change in density where the sinktip itself meets up with the floating belly, and this change in density makes for a line that does not want to "skid" into the water in a very consistent fashion when one is attempting to establish a "splash-n-go" type of anchor. Skagit casting uses a "sustained" anchor , which means that the line is allowed to come to a FULL stop on the water during the "anchor phase", which means that skidding the line onto the water in a nice orderly fashion is not necessary with Skagit casting - in fact "orderly landings" are not even desirable in Skagit casting. And that is the major "technical" difference that defines Skagit casting - the sustained anchor - which is in direct opposition to the "brief" or "momentary" anchor used in the other styles of Speycasting.

Since Skagit casting uses a completely different approach of anchoring, it only follows that optimum line designs would differ from other types of Spey lines. In a nutshell, the lines need to be 3 1/2 times the length of the rod being used (or less) to enable the ENTIRE line to be "activated" during the dynamic parts of the casting procedure, along with more weight than a "standard" Spey line because Skagit casting derives most of its casting energy from waterloading rather than "aerial momentum".

Commercial lines are just now becoming available because Skagit casting is relatively new, having evolved from standard Speycasting principles only since the early 90's.
 

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Mr. Gunn,
Whether or not Skagit casting will have any application to the rivers you fish I cannot say... I do not know the character of your rivers or the nature of the fish you pursue. However, here in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., Skagit casting is becoming more and more popular each day. As commercially made Skagit lines become more available, along with competent instruction, I foresee it becoming the premier approach of Speycasting for Pacific salmonids. Here is why:
- the method makes the casting of fast sinking sinktip lines and/or weighted flies not just viable, but actually enjoyable.
- Skagit casting allows the casting of fast sinking sinktips and/or weighted flies with rods of a lighter designation than could be used with other styles of Speycasting. This means that we can use rods more aligned with the size of our fish to maximize the fun of our fishing experiences.
- because it is a "waterload" type of cast, negating the need for "hard stops" or "instantaneous pops" during the casting stroke, Skagit casting exacts very little physical strain on the caster.
- the waterload aspect of Skagit casting provides increased capabilities for fishing in conditions of wind.

As far as water disturbance goes... ALL of my demos are done with a T-14 sinktip. This is to illustrate the ease with which this casting method develops power. T-14 is some of the densest flyline made (sinks at 9" per second), and expecting such a line to land "delicately" with ANY method of casting is wishful thinking (especially with a weighted fly). All other disturbances that happen during the "sweep of the line" portion of the casting process - occur WITHIN A ROD LENGTH of the caster's wading position - an area which is LEAST LIKELY to yield a fish, and also an area that should have been covered BEFOREHAND if deemed as possibly holding a fish! Also, where we fish we swing the fly TO the fish - we DON"T cast on top of it! Some of you folks of "other" casting method persuasion that have been concerned about "water disturbance" need to stand back and evaluate "where" YOUR OWN water disturbance is occurring (yeah, that's right! Out in the river where the fish ARE!).
 

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a/k/a loophitech
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I was skeptical of the Skagit lines at first. Then one day fishing with a few buddies on the Skagit, one of my pals loaned me his 14' 9/10 MKS with a Skagit line, and after a few tinkering around casts and a little instruction it was on and I found a new line and rod configuration to add to my spey fishing tactics. It is just another means to go about fishing and it is an extremely effective way to get the fly to the fish.

Vinnie
 

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Riveraddict,
We to swing the fly to where the fish are, at a slower speed than the current, we have been doing so for hundreds of years and actually invented a cast called the Spey cast, it is a very elegent cast and causes very little water disturnbence. Mending a full sinker is not that difficult.

I have tried casting the Skagit line at San Francisco and found that if I rolled to the surface and single spey cast cast it I found it very simple.

I cannot understand your comments regarding rod weight and fun of catching fish. Are you suggesting a longer fight is more fun than a short one? I assume you practice C&R?
 

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Re Noise with Skagit lines. The only time I have heard a loud noise was when Bob Pauli attached a big rabbit leech fly to a Big Boy tip to a Skagit 750 and Doubled Speyed this combo in March on our local Russian River with his 15' T&T. That was loud. However, few of us can do what Bob can do with this combo, nor do we need to.

To me there is less noise with the Skagit 450, 550 and 650 using Ed's Perry Poke or a Circle C cast than with a Double Spey with a Wind Cutter or Mid Spey. The cast is done in a slow motion manner and doesn't seem to make a lot of noise.

There is significantly less noise with these Skagit lines and the above casts than with a Double Spey with a Grand Spey or a Carron Jet Stream. Some of the really good casters at Speyorama with the Jet Stream or Grand Spey produced a noise that sounded like a fresh 30 pound King Salmon charging up stream in about a foot of water.
 

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Dave,
I think that you are confusing distance casting and fishing.
Standing in still water trying to throw 40+ yds is bound to cause a fair amount of line tear. Especially, Gordon and Scott who tend to use a terrific amount of anchor, far more than should actually work.

I am not talking about the splash close to the angler but the splash when the line goes out, just compare the thickness of the skagit line and compare it with the thickness of a full sinker. One resembles a line, the other a rope.
 

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Mr. Gunn,
I realize that you folks also swing your flies to the fish... I just could not resist making that particular sarcastic implication!

I agree that "your" style of Speycasting is very elegant and stylish, absolutely no arguments there. In fact I have great respect for "traditional" Speycasting, as without it there probably wouldn't be such a thing as "Skagit casting". But, one core value that I am constantly being "re-educated" about is the fact that it is the circumstances of fishing that have the greatest influence on the approaches of fishing that are used. Here in the PNW, our rivers are very streamy and heavily currented, literally quite rough and tumble in many places. Our main concern in sunk-fly presentations is to sink our flies, not necessarily very deep, but rather as quickly "into the zone" as possible. Super-fast sinking sinktips, often combined with weighted flies is the most manageable way to do this. Skagit casting allows us to cast these rigs in an efficient, AND enjoyable manner. The Skagit lines being presented on the market at this time were designed to throw the fastest sinking sinktips in as efficient a manner as possible. They are not intended to be "finesse" lines, as finesse most often does not play a part in our sunk-fly fishing. HOWEVER, if one desires to introduce some finesse into the system, it can be done by lengthening the dimension of the head, thereby decreasing the amount of grains per foot in the line.

Also, unless constantly and consistently harrassed by human activity, I don't believe that steelhead or Chinook salmon are at all bothered by the "plop" of a sinktip and/or weighted fly hitting the surface of the water. In fact, I have experienced numerous instances of catching steelhead and Chinooks from cutbank pockets where the slap of the fly actually seems to have attracted the fish!

Rod weight/fun of catching fish - we have many instances of fishing where the required method of fishing, if using "normal" Speycasting approaches, outclasses the size of the fish being sought. For example, the majority of Puget Sound hatchery winter steelhead average around 5 pounds. To top this off the water temps are usually so cold as to really put a damper on the "pizzazz" factor of these fish. Yet, because of the turbidity often associated with our rivers at that time of year, we are "forced" into using very large, highly visible flies. Casting a 4" long weighted string leech on a Type 8 sinktip with standard Speycasting techniques pretty well demands that the rod be AT LEAST of 9 weight designation, and in fact most people opt for a 15' 10 weight. Well, a five pound hatchery fish on a 15' 10 weight just doesn't produce a whole lot of "feel". The same fish on an 8 weight however, definitely "feels" mo' fun, and yet can still be landed in a responsible amount of time. The Skagit casting method is very capable of casting 4" long weighted string leeches on Type 8 sinktips with 8 weight designated rods. In fact I do about half of my winter steelheading with a 7 weight.
 

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Riveraddict said:
I forgot to ask. How do you mend a full-sink line once it has gone under the surface of the water?
One doesn't one mends it before it sinks.............obviously.

I will reply later just rushing to the river
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Question answered !

RA, Willie, et all,

Many thanks for the replies and explanations. Much appreciated.
Have fun on the river.

Peter.
 

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The River Spey where I do a lot of my fishing has one of the steepest drops of any Scottish river and is renowned for the speed of the current, it is similer in stature to many Norwegian rivers. John Ashley Cooper said similer on many ocassion see his books.
Now to get a fly down quickly it is not necessary to weight the fly as this destroys any action the fly has. The angle of the cast is of great importance instead of casting at 90 degrees to the bank cast at about 30 degrees. You will need to cast a long line to cover the same area of water, but if you have a nicely balanced outfit and well designed tapered line with a bit of technique and practice it is not too difficult.
Because the angle is less the current acts very much less on the line and the fly sinks and swims quite slowly. At the start of the cast a quick upstream mend will slow the fly even more.
At the end of the cast the long rod is raised slowly to the vertical and the fly and line will come to the surface, a simple roll cast will then reposition the fly ready for the next cast. Simple elegent effortless and effective. The rods do not need to be overpowerful B&W produced a 15' 5-7 weight a few years ago so if you want a light rod to play lttle fish this is still quite easy.
I think Chaytor described a similer technique in 1887 in his book Letters to a salmon fishers son, but I have not got my copy at this moment.
Seems a lot easier than throwing a horrible short line with the taper of a house brick.
 

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a/k/a loophitech
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AHHHAAHAAAAAHAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAA!!!! :chuckle: :chuckle: dude you are too funny. :saevilw:

but my house brick skagit line is yellow not brick red.

vinnie
 

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Real issue? Use what you can get ahold of?

Both types of 'sink systems' have their good/less than good points. The real issue may be is 'we' on this side of the Pond, don't have ready access to either intermed/full sink length spey lines.

Full lines take a bit of getting used to (see Malcolm's casting instructions above), but once you get the idea down, full and intermed. sink lines really do an effective job. Meding is done with an 'air mend' before the line hits the water.

Only other question is do you (using the Ian Gordon lines as an example) choose a 65 or 75 foot head. 10 foot doesn't sound like much ... but it will 'seperate the men from the boys' when it comes to casting. (Yes, you may call me: "Boy." You may call Malcolm: "Sir.")
 
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