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Two hand fly lines for the salt

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32 mins ago, Ajefferslyon said:


2) Totally forgot to check out the specs on those scandi shorts.  Thanks for the heads up.  I'd probably experiment with adding tips to those UST Short heads even though I don't think they are designed to include tips.  


3) I have been meaning to try this running line.  Rich Murphy prefers tropical lines due too greater stiffness (i.e. less tangles) and I had all these used 8wts from the fly shop, so I'm currently using 8wt bonefish lines as running line.  I do like them, though a stretch every few outings is required.   I used to cut off the whole 8wt head, but the remaining running line would be too short.  I have been reluctant to just cut off the 8wt front taper, because I feel that it would promote the skagit head to turn over too quickly...so I just use the whole darn line as my running line.  


4) What specific skagit intermediate heads do you use?  I've had trouble fining larger int. skagit heads.  


5) I love the ability to change tips, but I think I agree that a seamless, connection b/t running line & head would be ideal.  Wish you could buy fly line coating material only...like a meltable coating to apply wherever.  


6)  I'm glad to hear someone state a head length minimum.  I think I would agree.  I forget if the "Head length should be no more than 3 times rod length" maxim only applies to spey?...or if it hold water (broadly) for overhead too?

The scandi shorts already have a fairly long front taper.  No need for tips, certainly not heavy ones, but you can add a versileader or polyleader.


The Airflo miracle braid's stiffness is somewhere between mono and a regular fly line.  But yes, you can use any old fly line running line as long as it has the right stiffness and strength for the heads being used.  I would prefer an intermediate line for use as a running line with an int, int/sink or full sink head.


The oldest ones I have are Scientific Anglers Skagit Extreme Intermediates (they are discontinued).  Then they replaced with what they called the Third Coast Skagit Extremes (still around as remaindered stock), and now called "Freightliner Intermediates"  The tapers and lengths are similar but the latter two are textured and use textured tips.  If you get a full set-up of them be aware that the length of the tips varies with the weight of the heads. I prefer to use 10ft to 12ft tips, not longer.  I think the tips that come with the 400g set are 10ft, and the ones for 440g are 12ft.  The tips themselves add around 100 to 140g.  The length of tips goes up from there.


I've thought about trying to use a light coating of pliobond on specific portions of a head to create added bulk and weight there but I think it would degrade and/or become too stiff.  Might try it with an old, already messed up head.


As Mike and I talked about, head length min/max will vary with the individual - some factors we mentioned are skill, user height, whether wading or not, steepness of beach, and obstructions or people in rear.  How able are you to feed additional line through the guides on your backcast without adding slack?  With a 30ft head and an 11ft to 12ft rod I am finding that I need to limit my max distance a bit or the loop collapses.  Esa on this site has stated that with a short, heavy head, you can "choke" the cast at the end to make the tip straighten out and land properly, but of course this is at the expense of maximum distance.  The 3x rod length is only a general rule.  Just so happens to work exceptionally well for me given my abilities, the rod lengths I use (11 to 12.5') and the limited saltwater situations in which I use a two hand rod.  In freshwater spey appications I sometimes go lower or higher than this ratio.  Lower for extreme bank obstacles and narrow streams and higher for max distance on wider rivers.

Edited by Killiefish
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On 10/13/2020 at 1:04 PM, Killiefish said:




RIO GT Flylines.jpg

Oh my god - I just wrote a very long post and lost it. If anyone knows how to find lost drafts, please let me know.  


Hate rewriting. 


Anyway, will try to recap.  FYI, I realize that all below discussion is sort of theory + can pretty much be ignored when it comes to reality and fishability. 




The Intermediate leviathan is similar to the rio outbound - which I love - with the weight near the forward section of the head.  (below is the original, superior, long head version)  They shoot well, they cut through wind, and they throw big flies.  That said, I still feel like the energy builds too much and the turnover blasts the leader and fly downwards too quickly sometimes. 




Now compare this with the standardish skagit head profile i.e. a horizontally squashed scandi. Diameter decreases as we travel towards the tip…frequently staying flat for the middle section like this profile. 



These heads are the ones that drove me nuts turning over so quickly.  ( yes I was using them with tips of all sizes, weights and lengths)


I think this problem is tied to AL Buhr's explanation of how mass ratios affect the unraveling loop.  Paraphrasing horribly: As a loop unrolls, and the mass of the lower section increases in relation to the mass of the upper section, so too does the tendency of the loop to unroll increase.  "Unrolling" is opposed to "shooting" in this explanation.  So, when you cast a line with the above taper profile, the mass of the bottom section quickly becomes greater than the upper, and the loop wants to unroll.  Reverse with outbound taper: the loop wants to shoot. 



So I've been using the below taper more: a triangle taper-esque taper which has a "rear taper" section before increasing in diameter and then tapering down to the tip.  Rear taper in quotes because of manufacturers inconsistency with taper profile section naming.)  Have included a Rio Flight taper here too -- the orange line -- for comparison.   Anyway, according to Al Buhr, with the center of mass closer to the tip because of the longer rear taper, the line should have a tendency to shoot for a longer period of time before wanting to unroll.   In reality, I find that yes, these are better than the regular skagit taper, because they don't turn over as much like a fly swatter, but alas still turn over too quickly. 







So I've been experimenting with attaching MOW tips & reversed skagit tips to the running line, which I then attach to the head…in an effort to mimik a rear taper…but I think the effect of the increasing diameter outweighs any benefits from changing the center of mass towards the tip.  They are some of the worst casting lines ever created, and the increasing energy created in the back taper really gets the head turning over WAY too quickly


Though I did raise my eyebrows when I attached a backwards skagit to the running line and then a forwards skagit to that. 2020-10-14_13-54-21.jpg.5fdfe94fd523cf1b39a6f09435077413.jpg


Enabled the longest cast I ever made, but way to unwieldy and long when fished.  But it was curiously simillar to GT tropical taper, those sought after old airflo beach lines, and some distance casting lines.


Long story short, I think this elongated football taper is the best of both worlds – the happy medium between Outbound and Skagit tapers. 




Edited by Ajefferslyon
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It is great to see some discussion of actual tapers.  I’ve done a lot of experimenting myself, and agree with much of what’s written above. Note that the weird weight-forward Outbound taper is only on the floating version. The effect of that forward mass is  exactly as described above - to delay loop turnover, followed by sudden turnover at the end.  Given all the tradeoffs in play, that’s not such a bad thing in a big game line.  However, the Outbound sinkers are primarily level lines with very modest, normal, forward and rear tapers.  The sinkers also have intrinsically strong turnover at the end because sinking lines are skinny, less air resistance, and so naturally sail through the air and turn over with more authority than floaters.  

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This is great stuff.  I want to add that I think (not sure) that the  Scientific Anglers Skagit Intermediates I've been using are not perhaps as rear weighted as the generic Skagit head diagram, above, shows.  I haven't pulled out a caliper, or weighed each foot.  I do know that they are thinner diameter in general than the Skagit floaters -- which I sometimes refer to as "bloaters."  

W.r.t. triangle tapers:

I love the triangle taper in general  for my single hand rods, but haven't been able to find any intermediates above 11wt or so to use with TH rods.  There are probably some Triangle Taper Spey lines, but in floating only I believe.

Edited by Killiefish
Emphasizing the lack of integrated intermediate lines for TH
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1 hour ago, HL said:

All this talk about Skagit lines - Just get a Wulff bermuda Triangle Taper Short Integrated line- goes up to a #15.  I think it's 650 gr.


An option if you want a floater but many of us prefer an intermediate.


Currently have aphasia.    Aphasia is a result of my head stroke causing a bleed.   Happened in my Maine vacation in July (2021).   Lucky me less than 1% of people get stroke aphasia.  :(      I'm making project but have been told this is easily 5 months to 1 year for this to improve.   Until then hope you don't mind making sense with what I text.   HT

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32 mins ago, ZAFisher said:

So a continuously tapering head, albeit a relativly short one, yes?



Problem with continuous tapers is ability to carry large heavy flies and casting into a wind. Scandi lines have long front tapers great presentation and for smaller flies. Not so good with heavy flies or I to head winds.

Personally not keen on very short heads. When fishing I need a general purpose line that can do most things pretty well. That for me is a wf profile and a head length on a 13 foot rod of between 33 and 35 feet. Sorry for me word but it’s based on 12 plus years of real life experiences.



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I'll take your word Mike.

I've finally found a rod to strip back and start with - Shimano Tribal TX4 12' 3.5lb TC 4 piece. Feels moe like a 3lb but I think doing a CCS evaluation might be more telling, When I get to start, I'll be hounding you.....

And to START with I'll look for a TT short integrated

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On 14/10/2020 at 5:39 PM, Suave said:

In a 2008 discussion on TH overhead casting, Steve Rajeff/Guy Manning wrote:"Lenght of head that times well in overhead casting seems like 3 to 3 1/2 rod lenght".



 3 times for a 13 footer.       = 39 feet.


 3.5 times for a 13 footer     =45.5 feet.


Now I do not know the context. Were  they talking fishing in the ocean, lakes or casting court.


In a fishing situation and wading just waist deep trying to cast a 39 foot head is a pretty big challenge for a good caster. 45.5 feet is a massive ask of the very best. Doubt many would stick with it.

The issue is caused by having to unplug a heavy fly and fly line with 13 foot rod and waist deep with rod close to vertical even with a 33 foot long head too much of it is left on the water. So we retrieve some of it inside the rod guides. To get a decent cast all the head needs to be outside the rod tip. To achieve this we shoot some  line If we can ( depends on wind strength) on the roll cast and the rest of the head plus a bit of running line on the single back cast.
We do this by letting the running line slip through our fingers by relaxing our grip momentarily. Mono or braided running lines are very difficult to grip and control when making this move. Often the cast will fail as way too much line passes through the fingers due to the energy stored in the line.

In flat water conditions longer heads are more doable but are likely to require an additional casting sequence to ensure all the head is outside.

This takes extra time. In a surf you rarely have that time before the next wave is bearing down on you.

Most of us who use TH rods for the ocean require a rod and line that will handle a variety of conditions.

In terms of distance performance a 13 foot rod 600 grain line with 35 foot head is capable in a side wind none casting side of casts of 90 to 100 feet with ease. 120 plus with a bit more application. This assumes a decent caster.

More could be achieved with longer rods and longer heads but more skill needed and I know of very few guys who have any interest in rods over 11 feet for the ocean.

Rods over 14 feet I have fished. They are great but more tiring. The 13 footer is nicely fishable  for a whole tide not so the 14 footer or longer.
I see the 13 footer 600 grain TH the equivalent to the 9 foot 10 wt single hander   
in terms of it being the general purpose rod. It is of course more powerful and can cope with tougher conditions which is why some guys have moved to TH rods for the beach.





Edited by Mike Oliver
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Wullf's "Bermuda Triangle Shortz" line is indeed integrated, comes in sizes up to 15wt, as HL indicates, but sadly it is floating only.  And the head length is listed as only 22-24ft.  There's a good chance that this line in heavier sizes would be quite useful on very short TH rods (10-10.5ft), maybe with an added poly tip (?). I think the two things going against this line are its shortz which are both Bermuda (tropical garb) and short-arse :p  Nice two tone colors though.   I'd pick the Rio GT line over it for a much longer rod.  Still no solution for a heavy, integrated intermediate, with the possible exception of the Rio Leviathan Intermediate, if it is really closer to a 33ft head.

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It was a very brief discussion although it referred to a few TH rods which I think were mostly Spey rods, and although the context is not clear, I think it was  probably about river fishing. There was a mention of an "emerging" TH rod for saltwater but no specifics given.Mind you, that discussion  goes back 12 years ago. P 

Edited by Suave
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2 hours ago, ZAFisher said:

I'll take your word Mike.

I've finally found a rod to strip back and start with - Shimano Tribal TX4 12' 3.5lb TC 4 piece. Feels moe like a 3lb but I think doing a CCS evaluation might be more telling, When I get to start, I'll be hounding you.....

And to START with I'll look for a TT short integrated

i tested NGT 12', 3 lb,it is to stif to heavy,NGT 12' 2.75 lb work good with 900 grain shooting head.

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