I was just reading the replies on the 'Running Line' thread and realized that I had nothing to say. Not that that's a bad thing but it did give me the thought that people like myself who are using conventional Spey lines are in limited numbers.
My short heads are 55' and I'm wanting to get an 85' line for my 15' 7/8 rod. I use the 55's on 13 foot rods, a 65' on my 13'9" rod, and a 70' on my 15' 7/8. Have you guys who use the shooting heads ever used the traditional lines and switched or are the heads the way you learned?
I'm not trying to push long lines but would tell you what I've found out using them. Generally you do very little stripping of the line and the only time that 'shooting' comes into play is when you are casting over 80' out. The control you have over the drift and swing are as good as it gets given the fact you have such a long rod and 55 to 70 foot of floating belly out in front of you. The vinyl running line that is integrated into the lines floats and will allow mends reasonably well and will shoot through the guides provided you've done everything right and are about to deliver a 100 foot cast.
I will be getting a short head experience soon because I wait every day for an 111.5 foot Hardy rod to be returned to me by Hardy. For this rod I have a Rio Outbound which has I believe, a 37' head and integrated running / shooting line backing the head. I figure that the rod will be used on streams where a long cast will be 55 - 60 feet maximum. Currently I use 9 foot single hand rods or shorter on these streams and I'm looking forward to the more relaxing 2 hand style there.
I guess that if your fishing medium size rivers and creeks the shooting heads and running lines make sense. However, if you are out there trying to cast 70 - 80 feet or more and having to strip all that line before re-casting, you may want to give the longer lines a try. All I can say is that it is very relaxing when you fish this way.
This is an honest question that I'll try to frame so that it makes sense. I use the Beartooth braided lead heads spliced into leaders of 13 to 15 feet to help sink my flies. I've never weighed a 36" braid but they are heavy enough to get the flies into fish catching territory. They may go 1 - 150 grains, they seem that heavy. In really heavy water I've coupled the weighted leader with the use of 3.5 - 4" long bunny fur sculpins some of which have the Sculpin Helmet heads for added weight. I've had to adjust timing to accommodate the additional load but still have pretty easy fishing / casting.
The question is; would you call that a heavy payload or are you throwing really big stuff?
I am learning just this year on Scandi, Skagit lines but I can see that I'm going to want to try a looong rod and longer bellies someday especially on the Saint John river which is wide and heavy flowing in many places. Pretty exciting stuff!
I add various lengths up to 12 feet of T-8 and T-11 to my Skagit head. I also use conehead or dumb bell eyed flies to the mix. Hook sizes are as large as size 4. Sometimes I will dredge with a size 6 lead wrapped stonefly nymph.
I just find it easier to manage the payload with the shorter Skagit head.
Been some time. I love to cast the mids out to 70 feet. My issue is my shoulder.If I know i only have a short window to fish, I love the longer rods and lines.If I am out for the day,its my switch and heads.It is very hard to beat the head system,but I love the feel and look of a long rod shooting out a perfect loop.
I too have been at this a short time; this is my third year with a two handed rod. I did not know what I was doing when I got my first rod and the dealer told me to start with a scandi head, and I got similar advice for a second rod last year. I think dealers in general push the heads because they are easier to cast. This year I was using 55' heads for both rods and really loved it. I just got tired of the stripping. I would like to go longer once I get better with the 55' heads. I live about 30 min from the Clearwater and Snake so ours are all summer run and floating lines, so skagit is not common among the people I fish with.
As I've noted in other posts, I just started fishing with a double handed rod a couple of years ago, and a number of people advised me to start with a Skagit set-up as it's easier to learn for newbies. I'm using a Rio Flight (old style) with medium weight MOW tips. I actually don't cast big heavy flies, I don't think--mostly Alaskabous, various streamers and "traditional" steelhead flies, bucktails and hairwings. If the water's high I'll use weighted woolly buggers or Clousers or something similar. Nothing bigger than a #2 hook, most of them I tie on 4s and 6s. Not sure if those are "big stuff".
I'm kinda envious of you guys who cast the conventional, longer belly lines. I don't think my casting is anywhere near good enough for those yet--still learning to manage the Skagit set-up--but hopefully one day. And when that day comes, you can be sure I'll be asking a bunch of questions of you more experienced anglers on this forum!
You are not alone. I use mid to long belly lines on a regular basis. Every line wether it be a skagit short or a full 100 footer has a place and a time. When I am fishing the small creeks and rivers I use a skagit. As soon as the rivers get bigger I switch to longer rods and longer lines. The less stripping that needs to be done means more time with your fly fishing.