Originally Posted by MacSuibhne
I get the impression from it that it requires less distance behind you than Scandi
The Skagit style and Scandi are both bottom hand casts. They are the same other than Skagit is for casting heavy, short heads and bigger flies. Skagit needs a more sustained anchor type setup, but the cast itself, is just a scandi cast. Both are bottom hand styles. Scandi casting was developed for places where you have less room behind you. In reallity, Skagit is an offshoot of Scandi. Neither require much room behind you, but that being said.... The style I like has slower rods, longer top grips, longer heads and the top hand does the bulk of the work. Here is a video of Eoin Fairgrieve in Scotland casting the style I do. Top hand. He's using a pretty long head here, and still you can see that even casting almost straight across the river, (keep in mind how the camera makes this look, I don't think the D loop makes it over dry land) he does not need a lot of room. I have 15' rods that if I cast even at a 60 degree angle across the river, I can do it without waders and almost flat against trees on the bank. If you look at the last cast he does, you can see there are trees right behind him and this is the style you need the most room for. So by saying one style needs more or less, you need to keep in mind, none of them need a lot. Where I see the advantage of Scandi is, you need very little room, but not by much. In Skagit you can chuck a heavy head and rip a half a chicken out of the water. In more traditional top hand casting you can still cast in tight spots and chuck a pretty good sized fly, I have Pike fished this way, but you can get more distance than Skagit or Scandi. When you look at the distance competitions, you won't see any (I don't believe) bottom hand casts.
I used this video, among others to learn spey casting from. I never get tired of this one. The next one is of Gordon Armstrong who did a 222' cast. I recently found out they auctioned off the rod he did it with to raise money for some charity. It went for about a thousand pounds. Had I known ahead of time I would like to have tried to win that rod. Dang, timing is everything. He used a Carron Jetstream long belly line to do it. You need a bit more room behind you for those.
As I have said, where I fish is very big water. According to my map, it's 1026 feet across the river at my favorite spot. My best structure is 140 feet out. It's 17 feet deep there. Last Fall a 180' cast would not have been to far. This is why I use what I use. You need to be sure that what you pick, no matter what it is, will be right for the places you fish and the flies you will use. Two hand rods as I have said in the past are just the delivery system for the fly. Decide what fly and where it needs to be delivered to, and base your purchase on that.