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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi, I am quite new to the skagit world. I read a lot about it but can’t find an answer to this question.
I want to know what weight in grains I can add to my system as sinking tip.

Here is my system right now (this works just fine):
Rod: Sage TCX 7126-4 (skagit Rio recommendation: 525-575)
Head: Rio Skagit Max 550gr
Tip: Rio iMOW T11 5'-5'
Fly: 1,5" brass tube



Say I would like to try a heavier tip. Example: a 12ft T14 would add 168 grains to my system. 550+168 = 718. Too much? How can I know other than via expensive trials and errors?
Hope my question makes sense...

Thanks a lot.
Cheers and tight lines!
 

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Figure the approx grains/ft of your head (Weight divided by length). If it's more than the tip it should go. If it's more than the tip by 20% or more, it should go easily.

Without looking at the particulars, i'd say the 12' of T14 should be easy. You'll find a more substantial anchor than your used to with the mow tip, so may have to adjust your technique a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Figure the approx grains/ft of your head (Weight divided by length). If it's more than the tip it should go. If it's more than the tip by 20% or more, it should go easily.

Without looking at the particulars, i'd say the 12' of T14 should be easy. You'll find a more substantial anchor than your used to with the mow tip, so may have to adjust your technique a bit.
Very interesting. Thanks a lot. My head is 550, 23 ft, that means 24gr/ft. Minus 20% is approx 19gr/ft or T-19.
So pretty much any T tip commonly used would work, even T-17?
 

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SLSS pretty much nailed it. There isn’t a hard cap of course. There are two factors that partly separate out. One is the grains per foot (linear density) at the connection which controls the turnover. You want something with greater linear density to turn over something with lesser density as you move out towards the end of the line. The other is total weight which will slow things down. That goes with the length of the tip. The above said, with a skagit head the tapers of things are minimal and the calculations are easy - most of the time you will be within the workable window and it is hard to (technically) overdo it. But longer and/or heavier tips get a little harder to cast because you tend to need to be more precise - digging more tip out of the water, adjusting your stroke for the longer tip, etc.

Similar to what SLSS mentioned a quick rule of thumb for me is that it is “easy” to cast up to 15’ (12’ is a little more comfortable) of t11/t14/t17 with 7/8/9 wt rods. Those take approximately 500/550/600 skagit heads depending on the rod and the caster’s tastes. You might over time develope your own rule of thumb but it should not end up too far from this. These are more the sweet spots. In a pinch (like you forgot to bring the best tip) you can cast “more” of each but is gets substantially more of a pain to go heavier or greater density. While it is possible, a quick reality check will of course show that it will seldom be an issue as far as fishing goes.

The principles for matching tips to scandi type tapers are the same, but the application is a little more difficult because of the taper. Also there is far less wiggle room for more tapered lines. Skagit heads in contrast CAN cast most of what you are likely to actually try these days, and it is more about what is in your comfort zone.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
SLSS pretty much nailed it. There isn’t a hard cap of course. There are two factors that partly separate out. One is the grains per foot (linear density) at the connection which controls the turnover. You want something with greater linear density to turn over something with lesser density as you move out towards the end of the line. The other is total weight which will slow things down. That goes with the length of the tip. The above said, with a skagit head the tapers of things are minimal and the calculations are easy - most of the time you will be within the workable window and it is hard to (technically) overdo it. But longer and/or heavier tips get a little harder to cast because you tend to need to be more precise - digging more tip out of the water, adjusting your stroke for the longer tip, etc.

Similar to what SLSS mentioned a quick rule of thumb for me is that it is “easy” to cast up to 15’ (12’ is a little more comfortable) of t11/t14/t17 with 7/8/9 wt rods. Those take approximately 500/550/600 skagit heads depending on the rod and the caster’s tastes. You might over time develope your own rule of thumb but it should not end up too far from this. These are more the sweet spots. In a pinch (like you forgot to bring the best tip) you can cast “more” of each but is gets substantially more of a pain to go heavier or greater density. While it is possible, a quick reality check will of course show that it will seldom be an issue as far as fishing goes.

The principles for matching tips to scandi type tapers are the same, but the application is a little more difficult because of the taper. Also there is far less wiggle room for more tapered lines. Skagit heads in contrast CAN cast most of what you are likely to actually try these days, and it is more about what is in your comfort zone.
As clear as it can get! Thanks a ton!
 

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It is not quite the same topic, but I thought this link might be amusing. These guys experimented and basically came to the following conclusion: you can cast virtually any skagit head with virtually any rod. These guys are very good casters, but something to think about. In a pinch you could change your head to match the tip. :)

Fly Fishing Research

There is a lot of other great Information on the site. It is an old site, and doesn’t follow any contemporary ideas about how to organize information online, but with a little patience you can discover a lot of food for thought. There is a lot of stuff on tips there as well - possibly too much for the average guy.
 

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I have a very similar set-up (7126 Sage, Skagit Max 550) and use 10ft and 12ft tips of T-8, T-11 (most often) and T-14. I also have a set of the iMOW tips but have found these a bit niche (having bought them first, I probably won't replace them when they expire).

If I felt I needed to get deeper that 12ft of T-14 I'd look to do it through line management, mending etc - it's rare enough that I don't feel I can justify more tips and I also want the fish to come to the fly ideally. If I want to fish shallower than 10ft of T-8 then I'd switch to a Scandi head either with a poly/versileader or something like a 3D intermediate type - for salmon fishing it's nearly always a Scandi head that I use, unless we have high, cold water early in the season.

If I were you, the next tip I would look to get would be 10ft T-11. Though I guess it depends on where you fish, what size flies you use and so on.
 

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I have nowhere near the experience of the folks who have already commented, but one thing I'd throw out there is that you don't necessarily need to get Rio MOW/iMOW (or other pre-looped) tips, especially when you're still in that trial and error stage. You can get bulk T material (I just got mine from a local shop), chop them to length and put loops on the end (might look complicated at first, but so long as you can tie, or learn to tie, a nail knot, you're set).

I found this far more economical (like a quarter the cost), and it's value is not just for playing around to see which tip/weight you like best in general, but will also be useful tools as you realize that different options may be better at getting the desired swing in different situations.

I've started doing this, but unfortunately not until after spending (IMO) too much on a few packaged level tips with pre-made loops.

I do plan on picking up an iMOW in the 5/5 variety once I've figured out which 10' tip I feel fits best with my setup. But you've already got the 5/5 T11 iMOW, so you're probably already good there.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I have a very similar set-up (7126 Sage, Skagit Max 550) and use 10ft and 12ft tips of T-8, T-11 (most often) and T-14. I also have a set of the iMOW tips but have found these a bit niche (having bought them first, I probably won't replace them when they expire).

If I felt I needed to get deeper that 12ft of T-14 I'd look to do it through line management, mending etc - it's rare enough that I don't feel I can justify more tips and I also want the fish to come to the fly ideally. If I want to fish shallower than 10ft of T-8 then I'd switch to a Scandi head either with a poly/versileader or something like a 3D intermediate type - for salmon fishing it's nearly always a Scandi head that I use, unless we have high, cold water early in the season.

If I were you, the next tip I would look to get would be 10ft T-11. Though I guess it depends on where you fish, what size flies you use and so on.
I use my setup on Atlantic Salmon only, but in very high/cold water conditions. Weighted flies are not allowed here in Québec so we use heavy tips and metal tube flies to get it down to the fish early and very late in the season if the cold water rises fast. The rest of the time, like 95%, we use SH rods and floating setups with great success. Lots of dry fly fishing.
The 12ft T14 I will try is actually an Airflo Flo with 2.5ft of intermediate at the butt. So it is a 9.5ft of T14 in fact. Shouldn't be too heavy. And it should be close enough to 10ft T-11.
I also have iMOW T11 intermediate, 2.5-7.5 and the 7.5-2.5. Honestly, I don't see a difference important enough to buy each one. I guess i had to waste a little money to learn!
 

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One more option, other than buying MOW tips or making your own. Other guys are making DIY tips and selling on Fleabay. I just ordered three 10' tips in T8, T11, and T14 with loops on both ends, in one set, to try out with my setup, from a seller named Hardydeluxe, who was recommended to me by another forum user. I'm new to this as well.
 

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Hi !

the clearest and most Accurate explanation that it covers so far is the following, from Robert Meiser’s web page
[/https://meiserflyrods.com/spey-sh... Enviado desde mi iPhone utilizando Tapatalk
 

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....and the most important thing I’ve learned in skagit casting, is that first of all, you have to choose a certain fly with its weight and morphology,, secondly a tip weigth which can turn over this fly, then a skagit head with a certain mass which can carry both, the tip and the fly and also can turn over both, and finally the choice of the rod which will be able to launch the head, the tip and the fly
So the selection of a certain skagit tackle should begin, first of all, in the species to be fished, second the fly and its weight and finally , the rest of the tackle


Enviado desde mi iPhone utilizando Tapatalk
 

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Again, it is not total tip weight per se that turns over a fly but to first approximation tip gr/ft. Weight and linear density are somewhat mixed, but “mostly” separate casting factors. If it helps to visualize - as the last few feet of line turn over the rest of the line behind it is basically just moving forward with constant momentum and can’t exert a force on the front. The ”weight” behind the turnover at any given point is proportional to the gr/ft there. We are talking about line physics here, not “rules of thumb” - but I agree rules of thumb are generally easier to use.

Even if you look at bobs grain windows you will see they are much wider than the “sweet spots” summarized above. Example, my 7/8 MKS likes a 550-570 skagit head but has a labeled grain window that extends out to 800. I find that setup casts 15’ of t14 (210 gr) with relative ease, so already a bit out of bounds even for the sweet spot.

These things can easily get confused, weight and linear density, especially if you end up using the same(ish) length tips most of the time, but sometime do try the experiment of casting twice the length of a tip material that you find easy to cast. This will change the dynamics but only minimally the turnover capacity, and the heavier tip will have marginally LESS capacity due to its length gradually attenuating the energy.

Just as I commented before about skagit heads being overkill for turning over most tips that actually get used to fish, once you get to t14 and heavier (as the OP was wondering about) for example, you are NOT at all choosing it for turning over your fly but obviously because you want the depth due to the greater sink rate. OK, maybe it’s still and issue for some kind giant 10’ Muskie or striper fly. But in most cases NO, with a skagit head you are usually choosing the tip and length (at the heavy end) for depth, not the fly.

Another strategy is to maintain the TOTAL weight of the tip you use while varying the diameter - for a fixed gr/ft smaller diameter means faster sink rate. You can do this for example with Rio replacement tips which are density compensated to have the SAME gr/ft for all sink rates (float, int and 3,6,8 ips) in a particular wt set. These are more expensive than simple t-stuff, and have the disadvantage that the maximum sink rate is about 8 ips, so approximately the same sink rate of t11. So to get faster sink rates you need to use t14 and up.

There are multiple strategies for getting multiple depths with sink tips, like

1. (Old school, simple and cheap) use different lengths of the SAME stuff, like t11. 6ft of t11 will turn over the same fly as 18 ft (actually a little easier) in spite of the fact that the latter weighs 3 times as much. Disadvantage: you are casting a different total weight and length for every depth ‘setting’.

1.5 same length different stuff.

2. (Aesthetic solution, Rio replacement tips) use the same length and same total weight for every depth setting but change the sink rate. Advantage - exactly the same casting mechanics for every tip. Disadvantage - can only get 8ips max.

Etc, etc. - there are other strategies for this as well. MOW tips have the consistency of 2 but are just “wasting” part of the length - basically 1 with a built in extension of the head. But fine if you don’t want to go that deep. Plus lots of people would prefer the shortest, fastest sinking tip that gets the depth they want.

At the lighter end of the wt spectrum you do have to chose sufficient gr/ft to handle flies you want to cast, but once you have sufficient linear density then all the rest is about what depth. When you are in the large gr/ft domain of skagit heads most of the time for the wt of rods and flies you will use for the fish you are looking to catch it will be “overkill”. If you want to use sink tips with more slender lines like scandi heads and so on (lower gr/ft at the end) then you are more likely to have to worry about having enough to turn over the fly as well as the other factors mentioned above.

But like a sledgehammer, if smashing is the intention then in most cases you will not have to worry whether your hammer is too light to do the job. That’s a skagit head. :)
 
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