In her last article Silja gave a few tips for casting pike flies, however in this short article I want to discuss how you can lift your game and start chucking chicken size flies.
I’m often asked if this or that rod can throw big flies. The thing is, it’s really about choosing the right line for the fly size, rods are just tools to move the line around!
So we want to throw half a chicken (not literally, but a big fly with lots of material, and sometimes some oversized dumbbell tungsten eyes and stuff) and want to make it as much of a pleasure as possible, and less of a pain. Now normally I would start talking about casting mechanics, offering a course and stuff, but no! Lets look at the tackle part. A really excellent caster can throw half a chicken on your average 5 weight rod and line, but that takes some really good skills, and is definitely not a pleasure to do all day. If that skilled caster is going to throw big flies all day, he/she will choose the right line for the job. Big flies are best thrown using a heavy line. And short lines are easier to move around than a long line. So short and heavy.
The twohanded people have long known that, but we also want to use a soft enough rod that fighting your average 5 lbs pike isn’t too much of a killer. Twohanded people have got that one sorted out as well;-)
Enter Skagit, soft rods for medium fish, but heavy duty lines to throw big bulky flies.
Well those twohanded lines are too heavy for my singlehander I can hear people cry. Nope, they come down in sizes that are easily matched to a singlehander. Your average 8 weight singlehander would have a grain window as a recommendation from 260-330 (17 to 21 grams) for normal scandi type shootingheads, but will comfortably cast even more!
OK, but Skagit is all about sustained anchor casting and you shouldn’t try to overhead cast them without a helmet and exstra life insurance I now hear. Ah, but we’re not going to go that heavy, it still has to be a pleasure and not a lot of pain to cast it. ECHO Skagit switch lines and ECHO skagit compact lines are very short, and even though they throw big flies, like the rubber chicken in the clip above, a little more length and less chuck and duck mentality is required. Enter the ECHO Rage compact! Originally a crossover between scandi and skagit (scandit!), it performs very well on a singlehander throwing huge flies 8)… and for the really huge ones, size up, turn it around 😎 😎 and shorten the leader
chicken chucking pike hunting!