I’m casting my trustee Beulah Classic 7/8 Spey rod with a 19′ 570 grain chopped beer can Skagit head and 10′ of t14 with a weighted fly. It’s pretty old school and too heavy for my personal liking but the rod can handle it and it’s what I had for Skagit artillery at the moment.
For one of the casts I’m using a 325 grain OPST Commando head and 12′ of T11 and a lightly weighted fly. Its about 100 grains low for what OPST recommends for that particular rod. Truly it does not put quite enough bend in the Beulah to push it to capacity nor does the head weight flying through the air have the balls to rip the running line off of the water like I prefer but it does pretty darned ok and its about 250 grains less than the old Beer Can and T14 so its more pleasant in terms of fly fishing nimbleness.
Any died in the wool C/M C/T (continuous motion, constant tension) Skagit caster will tell you that drifting high after the sweep, ie. lifting of the hands or pausing too long any time after the sweep is initiated will produce slack in the system and kill the cast.
Except it doesn’t kill the cast. But it does wound the cast if you pause too long or basically do anything that allows the tip and fly to dig in too deep and cause your D loop to get all saggy.
Why? Because if you’re casting heavy junk, which I am in these video clips, any slack in your D loop will cause it to sag and your tip and fly sink rapidly. This makes extra work digging that heavy tip and fly out of the water and casting it forward. It can be done, especially with this big tank of a shooting head. And it can be done impressively but it does make it necessary to hammer that forward stroke pretty hard. Its definitely more work. Fun work but it can wear you out fishing like that all day. Particularly if you like to pop the forward cast.
You don’t want to rush the cast but you don’t want to dilly dally around either….Santa Clause
Nevertheless for effortless and efficient Skagit casting I have found that the lighter the anchor, the tighter and more fully inflated I keep the D loop; the better the cast flies and the easier it is on my body after a day of fishing. Except I’m just getting it dialed after years of fishing less efficiently so I have not fished all day casting as economically as I do now. That is keeping my hands closer to my body, using smaller hand and arm movements and not letting my casting arm flail around outside the box as if it were an unruly chicken’s wing. Its all good clean fun no matter how you slice it. Skagit casting is the easiest way to fish with a two handed rod but it does take practice if you want to hit the sweet spot, effortlessly, every time!
Merry Christmas and tight lines everybody!