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Discussion Starter #1
A buddy of mine just recently got into spey casting. He got his gear at a legit knowledgeable northwest fly shop. But one thing they did that I found curious is that they set him up with a ~20ft switch skagit head rather than a more standard (or so I would think) ~25 foot skagit compact.

Any particular reason for this? Easier for a beginner to cast? Random mistake? Matter of preference?
 

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If you check back in another 5 years, a "standard SKAGIT" will be around 15', as the general evolution is to sell more & more 'easy to start' gear so that more & more can "Spey cast" with less & less skill & time practicing - do you actually wonder why the rivers are so crowded?

The eventual 'Skagit' will be around 2' (yes, 24"), [aka hi-viz indicator line] cast off a 6' glass rod, with a reel sufficient to hold ~150 yds of mono backing/'running line' by anyone with at least one arm.

Cynical - hell yes!
 

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All Tangled Up
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to be short. Yes. The 20 ft Skagit switch has become the norm and is an even easier casting line thAn the compact...
Really? Why? Serious question. I have seen a couple new people with these setups (13' rod, 20' head) too and it has me scratching my head. Personally I don't find that short a head relaxing to cast on such a rod. But being the unfashionable person I am my use of skagit heads has been slowly declining so I guess I'm not keeping with the times.
 

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from a personal view I have found that a 20' head has a great place on a 13' 7 as a tool when wading deep and along overhanging trees and willows. then switch to a longer head if wanted when you have more room . my 2 cents
 

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I bought a 630 Skagit head from member and didn't realize it was a Skagit switch. I did fine as long as I was wading, but when I stood on a rock with my feet above the water I struggled to make a decent cast. I kept blowing the anchor. Once I realized the head was short, that is when I found out the problem wasn't my casting. It wasn't the caster it was the line. I still have this line and it works good when wading, but not for that one particular area where I fish from the rocks.

I use a 13'6" rod.

Cast your buddys set up and see how it works for you. Come back and let us know what you think of it.

Hope this helps.

Dan
 

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Realistically, and without cynicism, a 20' head works fine on a 12' to 12'6" rod.

13' & up, you will have to significantly change the sweep & pre-load into the D-loop otherwise, as others have said, you may well blow the anchor too easily.


Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Interesting.

I may have to get a switch head and compare the differences. I'm not exactly a total beginner, but I'm a fairly crappy caster in general. So I'm curious to see what I think.
 

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FISHIN' FREELANCER
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I've heard from a few people complain they are more difficult to anchor.. in the immortal words of MJC "BACK OFF THE GAS" :chuckle: ;)

Also hearing they may (on the average) require a few more grains than standard length skagits to achieve similar load / feel.

Josh, drop a dime and call that shop. Ask them what their reasoning is.
 

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If I'm going the skagit route on my 12'6 I use the Skagit switch. With any of these short heads it's certainly helpful to keep a compact casting stroke with your hands in tight, otherwise blown anchors await.
 

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13' 7 wt Deer Creek with 450 grn Skagit Switch

Lately I've been using a 450 grain Skagit Switch on my 13' 7 wt Deer Creek rod. This head is 19.5' long. I frequently fish tight to the willows and rarely need to cast farther than 70 feet, and this set up works really will with 10 feet of T-10 and a 3.5" dirty hoh type fly. It is surely different than using a longer head; but it works well where I fish most. As someone already said, you have to lay off the gas when using a short head on a long rod. If you do, it's nearly effortless. The shorter head makes poke type anchor placement a little easier, too.

If you fish a big river characterized by wide open gravel bars, a longer head might be a better tool. I think one has to consider the character of the river your going to fish. Telling someone 20' is too short, regardless of where and how they are going to fish, might not be accurate.

Finally, regarding payload, a 20' head of a given grain weight will have more grains per foot than a 24' head of the same grain weight. This means you'll be able to launch heavier tips and bigger flies more easily with the shorter head, all other things being equal.
 

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I think one has to consider the character of the river your going to fish.
Yes, but, well, a head choice is also relative to the rod, and no info was given about specializations to particular rivers. A 13' 7wt is something of a middle-of-the-road, go-anywhere/anything choice, and, a 20ft head is not. More of a specialized tool. If the vast majority of fishing is tight quarters behind and short casts, then why not an 11ft or 12ft rod? It's the oddness of the pairing as a default choice, as opposed to a situational choice, that I believe has several of us scratching our heads.
 

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The Dude abides
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I use 510 skagit switch on my 7wt 13'1" Anderson Nova Rod. oddly the big brother to this rod does not like the same line, so it fishes a rage 475. I like the short head with a 10-12ft tip of T something. I was shown this setup by Marty Sheppard on the Sandy. It is a great head to get shooting big bugs and heavy material. I do not like this little cannon with lighter flies or tips.

people who grab the Nova shoot it no problem. its a great combo.
 

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Work great!

The Shorter heads work great on 13' rods. Easy for a beginner. Staying off the gas is good advice for anchor blowing, should that happen.
 

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Where is this trend headed?

You know, I'm really questioning this easier to cast short head thing. I mean, how much easier can it get? How much easier does it need to get before it's not even a fly cast? 13ft rods, 20 ft heads. Not really a cast, more like a lob of fly line over the water. Pretty soon we'll see the transition to a spinning reel on a 13ft rod spooled with running line having a 2ft, 1000 grain shooting head an a ½ oz lead ball so we can get the fly out there! :eek:
 

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JD
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blowing anchors

"Slow down" "back off the gas" common terminology advised. Very little, however, is heard about soak time. Sustained anchor casts, especially the double spey, are just that. Stop & think about it. Phssst..."Oh ****, I just blew my anchor. What can I do about it?" Back off the gas? Yeah, but I need to get it out there. Slow down? What? the sweep? No. Soak time. Let the tip dig in, sink a few inches below the surface. Keep in mind too, that anchor point is going to drift with the current while it digs in. Adjust accordingly. Arms/elbows in tight to the body throughout the sweep, side arm cast, sans any lift at the back of the sweep. Bang, out she goes.
 

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"Slow down" "back off the gas" common terminology advised. Very little, however, is heard about soak time. Sustained anchor casts, especially the double spey, are just that. Stop & think about it. Phssst..."Oh ****, I just blew my anchor. What can I do about it?" Back off the gas? Yeah, but I need to get it out there. Slow down? What? the sweep? No. Soak time. Let the tip dig in, sink a few inches below the surface. Keep in mind too, that anchor point is going to drift with the current while it digs in. adjust accordingly. Arms/elbows in tight to the body throughout the sweep, side arm cast, sans any lift at the back of the sweep. Bang, out she goes.
Excellent and often overlooked.
 
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