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About SSPey

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    steelhead, spey rods
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    N.E. then ... PNW now
  1. These sentiments have been expressed repeatedly in spey casting circles. I kinda see the point ... kinda ... but more think it can be unproductive and divisive. I started with DTs and moved to long-belly WF lines (in both single and two-hand rods), but eventually realized for many of my fisheries (especially bigger game) that shorter lines were more practical fishing tools. Short lines move mass well, and with skill can be cast in some very tight / tough conditions. That keeps me fishing more Being easier to cast, short lines can especially get newbies fishing (and catching) more quickly. Good for them! And if they stick with it, they'll inevitably encounter situations where longer lines are a clear advantage. At that point, they can step up or go home. If stepping up, they may need to unlearn some bad habits ingrained by short lines, but at least they'll have gotten to that point. So I fall squarely into the "who cares?" camp on this one. It is just fishing, live and let live. Across the board, we have far more line choices now than when I started 40 years ago. We're spoiled, so let's not also be too whiny about it.
  2. Skagit line:rod ratios include the tip, but in general ratios are not prescribed these days. Itis more a continuum that extends down to how-low-can-you-go. The initial 3:1 to 3.5:1 suggestion was from when skagit lines were first commercially available, and it seemed short at the time (against a backdrop of long belly lines), but people quickly started cutting lines down further and experimenting. Rods got lighter, too, which had a bearing on line-rod ratios. These days some anglers favor ratios as low as 1.8 on very light trout speys (2/3/4 wt). It works. On more powerful two-hand rods (7/8/9 wts), such short lines are harder to cast due to blown anchors, but overall most anglers are using ratios below 3:1 with most modern “skagit” lines. Ideally the entire line is in the D-loop and there is minimal line stick when the forward cast releases. Just the fly. Those casts sail best with least effort, IF the angler can control the D-loop consistently. As a practical matter that’s difficult to do consistently over a long day of fishing water anchored casts with short 3-5’ leaders (short leaders used to keep less heavy yet swimmy flies down with sunken tips). Rather than only anchor the fly, casters often strive to initiate the forward cast when half of the sinktip remains anchored By the time the angler responds to that visual cue, a bit more tip has come out, and stick is minimized.
  3. You have a mish-mosh of stuff. The main line is a skagit belly (yellow) with integrated running line (blue). The yellow 8/9/10 is called a “skagit cheater” and was intended originally as a way to extend skagit lines and make them longer. They also make them heavier. Cheaters don’t have much taper, might work for slinging a bobber, but are not as smooth casting as a tapered floating tip. You should be able to loop any floating or sinking tip 10-15’ long to the main belly (no cheater) and try casting that. It’ll run a wee bit heavy for the rod, but not terribly so. Esa’s comments about spey/scandi/skagit lines have some technical merit but IMO are generally misplaced when it comes to practical considerations of many North American fisheries. Many anglers here use lighter rods and larger heavier flies than Atlantic salmon anglers in Europe. Steelhead aren’t as big, and they often run in winter, where big heavy flies help provoke strikes. Skagit lines work well for this. They are vastly easier to cast big heavy flies with light tackle when compared to scandi lines. They also load a rod deep, which helps beginners feel load. That’s why they sell so well in the states. I learned 20 years ago on a double taper and have seen all the line crazes move through the states. It is still happening. Skagit lines continue to dominate here for good reason, though admittedly I don’t use them much myself these days, they’re perfect for getting a quick start in the spey game Stick with what you’ve got, don’t spend a penny until you’ve had that lesson!
  4. 650 skagit is too heavy for that rod unless you have one of the old lines with an integrated floating tip. Normally that rod takes 500 skagit belly + 150 tip ( = 650 total). How long is the main portion of skagit line? Is the front tapered down over 10’ or merely 2’ length? And the wallet of “heads” ... are they really heads, or tips, or just polyleaders? I agree with above, sounds like a hands-on lesson that clears up your tackle and provides learner’s basics is warranted.
  5. Deep may not be needed, but when it is, a good approach is 23’ of T-14 or T-17. Short lengths of this stuff works well from a boat, as it does cast awkwardly, so no false casting - just one backcast and let it sail. Try 23’ on both your 8 and 10 wts. I’d personally favor the 9’ rods (the shorty will make clearing and casting sunk line difficult), but experiment for yourself.
  6. Just to clarify this point. For spherical objects (basic Stoke’s Law), the sinking velocity increases with the radius squared. Quite a large rate of increase due to size alone. I’m not sure how the spherical law translates to a sinking line, as fly lines are only circular in one dimension, but the general idea is sound and empirically evident to those of us who fish fast sinking lines.
  7. You are correct that density is most important. Vastly so. However, size also matters, and size reflects weight. Stoke’s Law and its variants describe items sinking in fluids. Stoke’s Law tells us that for the same density, a bigger item sinks faster. A lead bowling ball sinks faster than a lead marble. And T-17 sinks more quickly than T-14. They’re the same tungsten mixture, same density, but the heavier line sinks faster because it is fatter. Fatter goes faster. Kinda counterintuitive, but that’s Stoke’s Law. So absolutely yes, density first, but mass (via size) also matters.
  8. I fished a friend’s rod and found the 9 wt CC works well with full-sink shooting heads due to that stronger tip .... that’s notable as so many rods have softer tips tailored for flats fishing.
  9. O-rings are cheap. Try it. I’ve not tried that, but a piece of tape works in a pinch.
  10. I know this rod first-hand (not that I’d ever troll herring for chinook salmon ... ). The Okuma SST herring rods are designed with a soft top half. This provides ample give and lets fish chew on bait on the troll, without being too quick to pull back. Very soft top half to strong butt and would be way too whippy for a two-hand overhead fly rod.
  11. OPST Lazar is not monocore. It is mono. Some kind of polymer, uncoated, monofilament. It is also a bit pricey. Less expensive alternatives, I recommend 40lb Stren Catfish orange or 40lb Berkeley Big Game in Solar Collector bright green. The color is important, these two specific colors are more limp and tangle less than the others. The key with any monofilament is to stretch it well before the first use. STrip off 40 to 50 feet, and put it in a bucket of warm water for one hour or maybe overnight. Then stretch it well. You can stretch without water, but once it gets wet it will really relax. If you don’t stretch before the first use, you are almost guaranteed to get a birds nest in your stripping guide.
  12. Airflo made their original skagit in 810 grains and both Airflo and Rio have current models up to 750 grains. Add 10-15’ of T-20 and it gets pretty heavy, real quick. Eat your Wheaties.
  13. I have a good many friends who are top comp casters, even flirted with it myself. Takes a lot of discipline and time, more than I could dedicate to distract from other things in life. But I do believe firmly that if a person took on a true comp caster as a mentor, spent the time practicing, learned all the intricacies, and then applied the best parts to surf overhead that it’d move things forward quite dramatically. These guys are often disparaged as “pond casters” rather than anglers, which is a shame and flat out ignorant. They know more real-world relevant technique that can help fishing than most people realize. I hope your efforts are rewarded, Mike.
  14. Good deal. Steve Godshall will make (for a very reasonable price) anything, including an integrated intermediate multi-tip line. I typically prefer swappable heads, but there are situations where an integrated multi-tip would come in handy.
  15. You might be missing really powerful fish. I have a bunch of Danielsson reels and from experience find that the max range drag in the old LW (same as current F3W) can’t stop stronger fish like tuna and big salmon on 15-20 pound test tippet, but works fine for most steelhead and stripers. The upgraded L5W has a true capable drag system, and now the H5D brings little to the party.