The Scandit Approach
When I started on “this Skagit thing” about 5 or 6 years ago just after Tim Rajeff introduced the ECHO Dec Hogan Range of Skagit rods, I was extremely sceptical and like most other European salmon fishers I had all the standard clichés firmly embedded in my head: too much splash…, disturbance is enough to scare pheasants let alone salmon…, ‘don’t need lengths of T18 (what the #+*~% is T18 anyway?) …, what can a Skagit do that a sunk line can’t …you know what I mean. Now some years down the road I have been converted. Not only do I use Skagit heads but also Skagit-switch heads (approx 5m long), also crossover type heads like the ECHO Rage and more recently Skagit intermediate heads on my 1Handers, Switch-Rods and grown up 2Handers.
I’m a believer
But why? Simply because they are very very easy to cast with. Casting becomes a no-brainer. Skagit heads were designed by guides (not the industry) on the PNW to fulfill one purpose: to get their clients into fish, quickly. IMHO that’s totally customer driven from the guides if you like a “service” push: the faster the client gets a fish, the more he can catch (in a day) (the more he speaks about me as a guide, the more customers I get, etc etc) and not a product push from the industry.
Most of my salmon fishing is in the summer, simply because “my” spring time is full of shows all across Europe and I just don’t have time to get on a river. Because I fish in the summer I don’t generally need to use long lengths of Tx and large flies stuck on the end. I use normal sized salmon and sea trout flies. However I have adapted the line weight accordingly and I use a “Scandinavian underhand” casting style ie dominant lower hand for delivery.
If you like we could call this “scandit casting” (now there’s another one for the pundits )
Scandit what the #+*% is that?
I cast the Skagit Heads the same way as I would cast a modern scandi-shooting head, normally with a single spey (right or left), snake roll, snap-“x” and one of my favourites the perry poke. As mentioned above I go for [much] lighter head weights for this Scandit style of casting than our cousins over the pond would use for “normal” Skagit. I use at least the lowest weight in the grain window for a given rod, sometimes even going below it. As a general rule of thumb use the same weight as you do for a scandi head, however if you decide to use a skagit-switch (5m length) on a grownup 2hander, you might even consider going below this weight (grains per foot are higher for the short lines – enormous amount of mass – awesome to cast with). The same applies for a skagit intermediate; because of the reduced diameter you can generate much higher line speed (lower wind resistance).
Where do I use Skagit lines?
- In tight very tight corners or on heavily overgrown stretches of water. The short heads are ideal if you do not have room to form a decent D-Loop, combined with a perry to place the anchor its an awesome combination.
- On the coast fishing for sea trout in the sea
- Using large wake flies for sea trout or bomber-type flies for salmon
- When fishing in high winds
- Pike fishing
Give yourself a push, drop the clichés, find out for yourself try the “scandit” approach I am sure you will not regret it.
Have fun debating – I’m off to do a bit of scandit casting on my local sea trout river and to think about the next article in this series …