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 Post subject: Switching It Up
PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:32 am • # 1 
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After watching loads of YouTubes about micro Skagit casting I decided it was time to give it a try.

Two handed spey techniques look like fun but traditional spey rods are anything but ultra light. I'm mostly chasing bass and panfish, not steelhead or salmon, and I want to feel the fight. Fortunately a few pioneers have changed the rules and introduced the world to micro Skagit with rod makers following suit.

I like the bang for the buck Echo provides, so I ordered a switch rod package from Red's Fly Shop that's built around their gear.

Echo SR 3106-4 3 wt 10'6" switch rod
Echo Ion Reel
OPST Commando Pure Skagit shooting head (200 gr)
OPST Running Line
RIO 10' MOW Sink Tip
RIO Backing

The prospect of casting without needing space to back cast is very exciting. Here in the northeast, trees and tall brush line most river edges.

The rod should arrive in a few days. Then it will just be a matter of learning and practicing the sustained anchor casts used with Skagit. Since I don't have anyone to learn from in person, I'm hoping to learn from the experts here on ULFF. I'll use this message thread to ask questions and post updates. Stay tuned.


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 Post subject: Re: Switching It Up
PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 3:07 pm • # 2 
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Good for you Knotty, I am cheap and will be using my regular rods to do the same thing, have not had much opportunity to get on the water but it is on the top of my bucket list.


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 Post subject: Re: Switching It Up
PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 7:16 pm • # 3 
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Now that really sounds like a good set up for tackle.....keep us posted and Im gonna need some pics....I am so jealous :)


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 Post subject: Re: Switching It Up
PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 9:50 pm • # 4 
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linecaster: I'm a pretty frugal guy myself but I had a $500 debit card from VW (due to dieselgate) burning a hole in my pocket. Also I figured I'd end up spending a lot experimenting. This time I let someone else figure out the setup for me. However, I did also spend a whopping $19.95 for a butt handle to convert my $25 fiberglass Eagle Claw Featherlight 8' 5 wt into a two hander. Talk about cheap! I think the deep bend of that glass rod should lend itself well to Skagit. Also, I'm hoping you'll chime in a lot on this subject. Get the feeling you know a thing or two about shooting line.

Joe: Don't worry. Pics and updates coming soon. I'm sure one pic will be me with my first body piercing. All the cool kids have woolly buggers hooked in their ears.


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 Post subject: Re: Switching It Up
PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 10:50 pm • # 5 
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"linecaster: I'm a pretty frugal guy myself but I had a $500 debit card from VW (due to dieselgate) burning a hole in my pocket. Also I figured I'd end up spending a lot experimenting. This time I let someone else figure out the setup for me. However, I did also spend a whopping $19.95 for a butt handle to convert my $25 fiberglass Eagle Claw Featherlight 8' 5 wt into a two hander. Talk about cheap! I think the deep bend of that glass rod should lend itself well to Skagit. Also, I'm hoping you'll chime in a lot on this subject. Get the feeling you know a thing or two about shooting line."

Knotty I have been interested in the short heads for some time and use them for a quick pick up and cast,i.e. "lazy". However I learnt of the OPST Skagit on this forum and purchased the 150 Gr head and Lazar line. Fished it twice the last time caught a few small white bass and a big carp but used it overhead casting. Still have to learn the Skagit style. Shortage of time on the water is the biggest problem.


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 Post subject: Re: Switching It Up
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2016 10:22 pm • # 6 
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Looking forward to reading this thread Knotty. As I've mentioned before on this forum, I used some old level 8 wt to make some shooting heads and like Linecaster I use them for short backcasts.


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 Post subject: Re: Switching It Up
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 3:02 pm • # 7 
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Knotty wrote:
linecaster: I'm a pretty frugal guy myself but I had a $500 debit card from VW (due to dieselgate) burning a hole in my pocket. Also I figured I'd end up spending a lot experimenting. This time I let someone else figure out the setup for me. However, I did also spend a whopping $19.95 for a butt handle to convert my $25 fiberglass Eagle Claw Featherlight 8' 5 wt into a two hander. Talk about cheap! I think the deep bend of that glass rod should lend itself well to Skagit. Also, I'm hoping you'll chime in a lot on this subject. Get the feeling you know a thing or two about shooting line.

Joe: Don't worry. Pics and updates coming soon. I'm sure one pic will be me with my first body piercing. All the cool kids have woolly buggers hooked in their ears.


This should all be very interesting to follow and see how it develops. Knotty, I have one doubt. How long is that butt handle you're getting to convert your rod for two-handed use? My reason for asking is that, despite still harboring my initial doubts about the numbers involved in using the heavier line weights, I plan to do something rather similar soon, and even have a "blank" on its way. I'm thinking of using a total of 16 inches as a length for the reel seat/rod grip, but with a moveable ring system for holding the reel. That would give about 6" below the reel and 10" above it. Do those proportions seem right for an 8-foot rod?

Regarding the possibility of a wooly bugger in the ear, that seems like nothing to worry about. Just make sure it's barbless. I clearly recall having a steelhead fishing trip interrupted in the early '70s to take my fishing buddy to the emergency room to have the treble hook of a Little Cleo spoon removed from his scalp. The medical personnell didn't even ask how it had happened. They probably just figured it was the latest in hippy jewelery.


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 Post subject: Re: Switching It Up
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 5:55 pm • # 8 
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PampasPete - It's a 4" butt from Custom Fly Rod Crafters. A number of people in the past had played around with converting the Featherlight to two hander and I think this product was created to address that idea. Unfortunately one of the main pages on the subject is no longer on the web. I'm doing the Eagle Claw mod just for fun.

https://www.thisriveriswildflyfishing.com/2012/06/eagle-claw-switch-rod.html
http://thefiberglassmanifesto.blogspot.com/2012/11/featherlight-switch-project-complete.html

All - The Echo SR arrived today. Hoping to make my first casts Saturday morning, probably on still water. Don't even know what cast to start with for that situation. Suggestions? EDIT: This YouTube provides a great starting point. He spends a lot of time explaining spey, which annoyed me at first but ultimately it helped me better understand Skagit. If you want to jump straight to Skagit, start at 4:30.

Skagit Casting - Defined and Simplifyed https://youtu.be/Ga-3oGMprxU


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 Post subject: Re: Switching It Up
PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 12:38 pm • # 9 
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Knotty,

I also have the Echo SR 3106 rod and am impressed at how it casts both Skagit Short lines and Scandi lines.
I have used OPST Commando 175gr through RIO Skagit Trout 250gr with various heads.
Your OPST 200gr with MOW tip will be fine. It also works nicely with a Polyleader in floating or intermediate with that line.

If you want additional discussion on the rod and lines feel free to PM.

Check out Speypages.com section on "Trout" we had a discussion with title "Echo SR 3wt line testing" and many threads on the new ultra short RIO Skagit Trout and OPST Commando lines.

I like Scott Howell and his instructional videos,, one caution, his video is for conventional longer Skagit heads up to 26ft not the ultra short OPST heads. When you place the anchor,,,, be certain is it close to your body and slightly to the rear,,,, swing the rod low to the water and very slowly,, then bring it up into the key position for the forward cast,,,, again think slow and then cut the speed in half.... the forward cast is a slowly increasing gradual acceleration to a firm stop. The little rod will really launch large wind resistant flies 70-80ft with little effort.

Check out the OPST videos by Ed Ward,,, he initially developed this "Micro Spey" concept with 14ft-16ft lines on 8ft-9ft trout rods with home made extension butt. We were experimenting with this concept for many years prior to the current offerings on the market.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pp-ecqHPaYk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M24h0SHBSCg

Regards,
FK


Last edited by fkrow on Sat Oct 29, 2016 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Switching It Up
PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 3:52 pm • # 10 
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FK - You're timing couldn't be better. I went out this morning and had limited success casting at the edge of the water, standing on a sand beach. I had my wife watch Scott Howells video and then critique my casts, which certainly helped, but I kept blowing my anchor. Now I see why. There just didn't seem to be enough head not to when following Scott's instructions.

Will definitely check out the other forum and most likely PM you at some point. Thanks for offering that.


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 Post subject: Re: Switching It Up
PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 4:58 pm • # 11 
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Knotty, I have experienced the same problem by not standing in the water, by standing on the sand bank you are too high up and not able to anchor properly. I think it was Ed Ward who made the observation that you need to be in the water. I tried it from the bank and destroyed the leader and fly.


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 Post subject: Re: Switching It Up
PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 7:07 pm • # 12 
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Thanks linecaster Went back again before sunset with waders.

Did a little better but it's still not clicking.

Basic Questions:

1. Do I bring the back of the head all the way up to the tip of the rod before starting over?
2. Does the heavier MOW tip make things easier or harder than a lighter sinking polyleader?
3. Which is easier, a small or bulky fly?


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 Post subject: Re: Switching It Up
PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 7:27 pm • # 13 
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Knotty,

The head should hang out of the rod tip about 1ft,,, that is 1ft running/shooting line outside rod tip.

The heavier MOW tip makes casting easier,, the sinking tip helps anchor hold the line head in place while you sweep into forward cast.

Bulky fly also holds anchor better than small light weight fly.

How long was your leader from the MOW tip,,, I normally use about 2-3ft max total leader.

If you are blowing or pulling anchor,,, perhaps too much power to soon in the forward casting stroke,,, very common problem with new TH casters. Slow down the forward stroke,,, start very slowly and gradually accelerate to firm stop.

The short head is difficult at first until you get the anchor close to your body and slightly to your back side. Remember with the short heads,,,the D loop is very small and you cannot place the anchor out away from your position very far. The CMCL must be slow and steady.
Think of a NASCAR race track with one straight section just above the water surface,,, the other straight section is in the vertical path your rod takes for forward cast,,,, the curved bend is the change of path from low sweep up to the vertical for forward cast. You are pulling the line around the race track,,,, not lift it up like in overhead casting. Once you start the CMCL it is a continuous motion,, this is explained very well by Scott Howell.

CMCL is an Ed Ward phrase = Constant Motion Continuous Load

Once it clicks, you will find Skagit casting very smooth and comfortable,,, both with TH and single hand rods.

Regards,
FK


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 Post subject: Re: Switching It Up
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2016 11:18 am • # 14 
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Even though I use the shooting head for short back cast most of the time, I do get a decent enough ( 30 ft plus) spey cast standing on the bank under certain circumstances.
I know 30 - 35 ft is not much, but it's a good start using makeshift shooting heads that are too light and short rods of 7 ft or less (and running lines that are not ideal).
The you tube video subjects are getting their drag from the rear and slightly in the front, the D loop. I am loading by forming a D loop in front standing on a bank.
The other circumstances: there cannot be any head wind and the fly needs some weight, like a wolly; I have not been successfull with spey casts with
my 5.75 ft 3 wt CGR; the running line needs to be lite, lite, lite.
Maybe the expectations are too high, thinking that we can duplicate on the first outing what those you tube videos demostrate. It takes time to develope the muscle memory to execute
any fly rod cast.

I have a picture in my mind of those Scotts who developed spey casting standing on a rocky bank and casting across the river, the river not being wadable. If the river would have been wadeable,
maybe they would have never developed spey casing.....they wouldn't have needed to.


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 Post subject: Re: Switching It Up
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2016 4:29 pm • # 15 
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Tried again today. Did better but acceptable casts were still the minority. Having a hard time figuring out how to place the anchor close and slightly behind me. Most of my better casts actually came with the anchor at slightly less than a rod length in front and to my right (I'm a righty).

Please help me understand the anchor. Per my understanding it's anything beyond the Skagit head. So in this case a sinking MOW tip and a short bit of mono and fly (#4 bugger). Correct or no? I get the impression from videos that tear and the cast should occur before any of the anchor gets pulled out of the water. Is that correct? My best casts (for what they were worth) actually occurred when the first maybe 3' of the anchor started to come out. Also, should the direction of cast be essentially right over the tail part of the anchor?

JimRed - You may be right. Scotts being Scotts, they probably would have waded the waters, no matter how cold, in the days before waders, if they could have. :lol

EDIT: Watching Ed Ward in one of the videos FK recommended, I see the fly being placed as described. I also see him tearing the line from the water with his starting point being in front of him. I'm always starting with my line and rod tip to the far left, like in Scott Howell's video, which just wasn't working with a slightly behind anchor. This link takes you directly to the moment of the cast. https://youtu.be/M24h0SHBSCg?t=2m40s


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 Post subject: Re: Switching It Up
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2016 5:25 pm • # 16 
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Knotty,

Yes, the anchor is the fly, leader and in the case of Skagit the sink tip. With Scandi casting the anchor is only the leader and about 2-4ft of the fly line tip section. I also convert the short OPST heads into floating lines with a floating Polyleader and longer mono leader when casting smaller wet flies.

The anchor placement is one of the most demanding components of Spey casting. Practice only lifting and placing the anchor,,, forget about the cast,,, just practice the timing for anchor placement.

In the videos most are using a Snap-T type of cast to set up the anchor. Without instruction this is rather difficult and requires timing and practice.

I suggest you use the very early Skagit cast method of beginning the cast with rod tip low to the water, even touching the water. Slowly lift the rod tip like a shotgun almost level with some angle to the rod. Do not pivot the rod tip upward from the wrist. This has an important function,,, it lifts the fly line head from the waters surface and allows the next step. When you see the fly line lifting from the water and just prior to lifting the sinking portion of the MOW tip pull the rod back towards you and the line and MOW tip will follow the rod,,,, when the anchor is near where you wish to place it,,, stop the rod and just drop the tip vertically,,, do not make a forward cast motion, this is very common mistake with beginners and it is muscle memory taking over.
The rod tip is now gently moved down to the waters surface, the fly line is a pile of spaghetti on the water to your RH side. Now the CMCL begins,,, swing the rod tip parallel to the water and around your RH side,,, when it is about 45 degrees in back of your shoulder,,,, begin the upward circle around the race track curve to the vertical position,, this forms the D loop. The forward cast now begins with slow acceleration,,, if you accelerate too quickly the fly will pop out of the water and sometimes make a crack and end up in the woods. This cast is called a Perry Poke or Downstream Perry Poke. Very simple and powerful cast to easily load the rod and launch a nice fly.

Picking up the line and placing the anchor is a basic move for the classic Skagit cast which was developed in the Northwest and named after the Skagit river. The Skagit cast will drop the anchor as above but the next step is not to drop the rod vertically,, the rod is placed to your LH side tip close to the water and the line head is in a curve towards your LH shoulder, The rod tip sweep will now be almost 270 degrees from left to right and will give you more distance and loading or pre bending for the circle up and forward cast.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iylcJdxQld0

Notice John Hazlet does not drop the rod vertically, he dumps the line loop out in front with the rod,, we have very short heads and not enough line to do exactly as he demos. The creator of the cast was Carl Perry who was using a single hand line under some overhanging trees, he developed this cast and when the Spey guys observed him they adopted it to the long rods.

Anchor
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnvLMqNxSB0

The first cast he does (46 sec) in the anchor demo is a Snap-T to place the anchor,, it is a lift and circle back down to the water,,, the line is lifted from the water and then the rod tip describes a upstream C and ends back down to the water,,, the fly line tip will accelerate back over your rod hand side and with practice land next to you ready for the sweep toward the rear. The C starts slowly and the last 2-3 ft accelerates to a stop.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_LtqhEInm4

Direction of the forward cast should be parallel to the lay of the anchor,,, not directly in line or they will crash or tangle,,, think railroad tracks toward the target,,, the forward cast is in line with the track closest to your body and the anchor on the outside track.


Ed Ward the guy who invented and popularized many of the Skagit casting principles along with the Ultra Short Micro Spey heads.
http://yuenmah.blogspot.com/2012/11/ska ... -ward.html
This site: Mah's Spey casting notebook if loaded with trout Spey and short line information.

In your Edit video reference,,, as noted the Scott Howell video has a much longer head about 26ft,,, the Ed Ward video has a short OPST head and a short Micro Spey rod of about 9ft. With the very short heads, it is difficult to perform a traditional Skagit cast with rod tip over to the left side and 270degree sweep,,, Ed is using a 180 degree sweep. And the spray is called the Mouse or White Mouse as the line is pulled away from the water by the rod.

Remember none of these demo videos are exactly how the cast should be performed,,, everyone has their own style and timing,,, observe 5 good casters and they will all be somewhat different,,, all do appear to be in slow motion and then the line flies out amazing distances with little effort.
I like my anchor slightly to the rear, it allows a better formed D loop,, some will place the anchor in front,, then drag the andchor/fly back with the sweep to a new position prior to the forward cast,,, again different styles of casting, not correct or incorrect. Observe the fly dropping in the water by Ed's side and slightly to the rear in your ref video.

I like to stop my rod higher at the end of forward cast, you will notice Ed has a very low stop position for his casting style. I like the high stop which allows mending the running line in the air while the cast is rolling out toward the target. If you stop low the running line is laying out straight with little opportunity for mending.

Regards,
FK


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 Post subject: Re: Switching It Up
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2016 9:53 pm • # 17 
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Thanks FK. I'll do my homework and watch/read the links.


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 Post subject: Re: Switching It Up
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 11:20 am • # 18 
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This two handed casting just isn't clicking for me. Time for a lesson.


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 Post subject: Re: Switching It Up
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 12:34 pm • # 19 
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Knotty, just a thought: if you posted a video of a cast I'll bet some folks on this forum would provide some input.


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 Post subject: Re: Switching It Up
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 11:27 pm • # 20 
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Jim, that's a great idea but I have a lesson this week and probably no opportunity to video myself before then.


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