Interesting discussion. Especially the part about having a taper at the front of a skagit head being mostly useless. Since you’re adding a tip anyways, theoretically, it should make the system less effective.
Curiously, the beaulah tonic line is widely favoured (by myself too), and it has a front taper. But I have noticed that it doesn’t cast heavy junk as easily as my OPST commando head. Which I guess now makes sense.
Factory, tapered, or otherwise, a "head" is no more a flyline than a section cut out from a DT. There's running section and tip that must be attached making a shooting head system that is tapered forward. For efficiency.
I read through page 1 of your post entirely from start to finish. I read page 2 loosely and kind breezed through page 3. Forgive me if I type some repetitive stuff.
~ Lets all stop calling them Micrometers...like we are in the closet scientists or something. They are dial calipers and anywhere from insanely cheap at Harbor Freight to extremely expensive and accurate if they say Starrett on them. Micrometers are generally a machinist tool and don't work on fly line for accurate measure to to the elasticity of fly line. Each measurement on a given point of line should be taken twice, 90 degrees away from point to point. Fly line is rarely perfectly in the round.
~ I think the "takes mass to move mass" can be interpreted a few different ways: One...Kind of like you are talking about with the final couple of feet towards the business end of the Skagit being less than 14 grains/foot. I think the stored energy in a "D" Loop is Kinetic (not the misspelled marketing term) the actual energy which a body possess by way of being in motion. That has to account for something (defining that active load is very hard in fly rod world with so many factors in play at the same time) or nothing would be able to move T17 or T20 and we know that can be done. That said, individual satisfaction mileage will vary due to differences in casting style, ability or even known feel from previous experience or a particular rod of similar length and power that seems to deal with the exact same payload convincingly better than another rod. Two...When it comes to mass moving mass, it could be like this: I like Tonic Switch 475 on our G2 13'2" 7, G2 12'8" 7 and O.G. 13'2"7 Platinum rods, although I would rarely rec those lines for two-hand guys. 500 Tonic is the number that never disappoints generally speaking. Once at 500 do you go Switch length or Spey length? Depends again on a variety of factors, but we know that works! Then, a good buddy and respected guide now turned shop owner almost always goes Tonic Switch or Spey 525 if not 550. He makes good casts, develops good line speed and never shrugs his shoulders as to why he could not get the goods from A to B under any circumstance (impossible casting lie, deep wade, super windy or any combination of the mention). This was 10+ years ago (When N.W. rivers still had good numbers of fish). I would cast his, he would cast mine, we ask a couple of questions and I finally figured it out. He always thought mine cast surprisingly well and I always thought his felt bogged down and not very crisp. Once I figured out he was usually somewhere between 10'-14' of T14 and I was always 10'-12' of T11 the pieces of the puzzle started to fit together. My flies were always designed to be easy to cast. His were large/heavy Intruder types often checking the limits of what Steelhead would eat! I rigged my rod one day with 14' of T14 and a "JUMBO" sized Intruder. Right then and there I realized why 475 would be a no go on his rods, tough enough for somebody familiar and skilled...almost impossible to hand that set up to a guided client and expect to see consistent turn over at any distance. So, Mass to move mass could be as easy as matching the head weight to the tip and fly you chuck. Neither of the choices are wrong for the rod as in, no lack of recovery in the tip, on and on although there will end up being better and worse choices depending on tip, fly, distance, experience even though 475, 500, 525 and 550 Switch or Spey (short or long) are all correct lines for the rods.
~When geeking out and measuring line, keep in mind a measurement difference on the way forward from the rear loop up into the body of the line from 0.093 - 0.096 and on the way down from 0.096 - 0.094 - 0.092 and fifteen feet later ending up 0.072 definitely represents taper and profile even though the numbers do not seem as drastic as one may think they should.
~I think if I remember right I designed the Tonic Switch Tapers for final destination from 0.070 on the lightest Tonic Switch up to 0.080 on the heaviest Tonic Switch and from 0.073 on the lightest Tonic Spey to 0.082 on the heaviest Tonic Spey. All should terminate in line via density and diameter that is at least 14.1 grains/foot in the last foot on the lightest Tonics to 15.6 grains/foot on the heaviest Tonics.
~To answer your question from page 1. If you are truly looking for a 22' line at the heavier grain weight that rips and still has good manners like ability to not break anchor too easily while forming a "D" to surprisingly good flight time for distance and moving decent flies and tips give our Tonic Switch 500 and 525 a shot. The lines spec at 22 1/2' but if you can deal with 6" you might really like it. They are under sold for sure! I know what they can do and I also get to see the sales numbers. I know we are not one of the big 3 but we have a few really good ****ing lines!
Man...there is so much more to write, but don't want the post to get so long that nobody would read it. "Beer Can" old school Skagit lines fly a little sloppy. Want proof, find one and cast it. After having all these newer and extremely good tapers to cast you'll be surprised what you think of the old lines (when Skagit cheaters and which one to use was a daily conversation piece in fly shops and river banks from Canada to California). going directly from what you know by feel to what you remember being good is a night and day difference. There is a reason taper hit the Skagit or should I say Skaggit community. I can't remember exactly, but measuring the old "Beer Can" Skagit, the level line portion was either 86% or 92% of the line. The choke on either end of the line was definitely for the ability to create a loop along with a diameter that would go in and out of the rods w/o taking guides off or hanging up severely.
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