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What is a Grain Window?

A grain window defines the engineered grain  [weight] carrying capability of a fly rod blank under line load.

The primary purpose of printing the grain window on two handed fly rods is to guide the caster in achieving a correct and balanced rod/line set up.

Dialling in to the lower end of the grain window:

The low end of the grain window defines the minimal amount of grains that will allow the rod to load efficiently.

  • The low end of the grain window would most often be applied by those fishermen wanting to use the power in the top 1/2 to 2/3 of the rod. Many experts often refer to this as casting off the tip of the rod
  • Casting off the top of the rod is often used by those casters that want to use light [grained] shooting heads combined with minimal anchor. This is typical of the Scandi style “touch-and-go technique”. This type of cast is best performed with an extremely compact economical stroke, minimal energy with the power coming predominantly from the “under” hand.

Dialling in to the higher end of the grain window:

The high end of the grain window defines the maximum amount of grains [weight] that  will allow the rod to load efficiently.

  • The high end of the grain window would most often be applied by those casters wanting to distribute power and grain load so as to utilise the loading capability of the whole rod; taking power way down into the cork. This is also known as fully or deep loading the rod.
  • Normally The type of casting stroke required to best load the rod deeply varies with the type of line used:
    • Skagit Style Heads: Skagit or sustained anchor casts are best accomplished with an extremely compact economical stroke, minimal energy with the power coming predominantly from the “under” hand.
    • Spey Lines: Classic or modern Spey casts are best accomplished with an open stance, long stroke with the power coming from a balanced combination between the upper and lower hand.

 

 

Skagit Casting a Short History

The casting method called “Skagit” originated in the early 1990’s to describe an offshoot system of spey casting methods used by U.S. steelheaders on Washington State’s Skagit River. This approach was developed to cast the relatively short shooting heads and heavy sinking-tip lines needed to to fish bulky flies up to roughly six inches (15cm) long in deep, fast water. The large flies proved to be enticing to steelhead when no other fly fishing methods would move them during cold winter flows and as an added bonus the take of a steelhead attacking one of these monsters was mind-blowing. Early disciples of the mega fly approach to steelheading included such legends as Mike Kinney, Scott Howell, Ed Ward, who developed the original “Intruder Fly”, and Dec Hogan who,  along with Tim Rajeff, developed the ECHO Dec Hogan Series of fly rods. The term “Skagit” describes a method of casting using a sustained anchor point rather than a “kiss’n-go” approach of a scandi or modern Spey cast. The theory behind the Skagit cast is to use the drag of the water in a continual motion during the D-loop, carrying the load into the forward stroke. The guys that created this cast used this method because it takes very smooth loading of the rod to deliver large heavy flies efficiently and safely. This type of casting and the slower rhythm employed proved to be less fatiguing than most other approaches. Some of the more popular techniques used in the Skagit method have interesting nicknames… the Snap-T, the Circle Spey, the Skagit Doublelspey and the Perry Poke. The casting stroke is precise and efficient, requiring the least D-loop space of all spey casting methods. Skagit casts and Skagit equipment has migrated far from the Pacific Northwest, and is now employed from the tip of South America, across the Baltic and out into the most remote fisheries in Russia and Mongolia.