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  1. Default How does head length affect casting?

    I'm trying to make my own Skagit head for a small ultralight rod (7'6" 3wt). I've tried the OPST 150 grain commando head but it feels too heavy. With the 25 grain floating tip it comes to 175 grains and 17'. I'm using the forward ends of cheap WF lines to make the heads. The trick for me is to get the best weight/length combination. The weight is pretty easy, I can tell when it feels about right. I'm not sure about the ideal length, however.

    Suppose you had a given head weight, 150 grains for example. What would be the differences between a 15' 150 grain head and a 25' 150 grain head?

  2. Default Re: How does head length affect casting?

    I found a good article written by Ed Ward about this. Basically he says that longer heads give you more distance, but require more room to cast and can't cast as heavy a fly. He says it should be between 1.75 and 3.5 times the rod length.

    The Myth about Skagit Rod/Line Length Ratios | Baltic Fly Fisher

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  4. #3

    Default Re: How does head length affect casting?

    This is how I've built SH skagit lines. For a 3 wt I'd take an old WF line, at least an 8 weight, load it on a reel, and chop off the front 10 feet. Assuming your line had a 30 foot head you now have a skagit line of 20 feet, and about 150 grains (probably more) with an integrated running line. You can cast this, maybe nail knot a leader on to get a better anchor, and start cutting line off a foot at a time and casting it again till you find the weight that casts the way you like it.
    Hope that makes sense.

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: How does head length affect casting?

    The flight stability of the 25' head would be better and cast further, and the delayed turnover of the line will aid in this, but 25' is quite long for Skagit casting such a short rod. The super short skagits turn over or unroll earlier and limit how much distance can be achieved, but also the 15'er will no doubt carry more payload and still probably able to cast plenty far enough for most situations. IMO I would stick to the short head for that short rod just to make casting less strenuous.
    Danny

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    Default Re: How does head length affect casting?

    There are time's/places where a 'long cast' is needed; for the most part you are fishing in the wrong place. Where will the fish hold?

    That's where you want to cast.

    fae
    When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost. - Billy Graham"

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  10. Default Re: How does head length affect casting?

    Quote Originally Posted by flav View Post
    This is how I've built SH skagit lines. For a 3 wt I'd take an old WF line, at least an 8 weight, load it on a reel, and chop off the front 10 feet. Assuming your line had a 30 foot head you now have a skagit line of 20 feet, and about 150 grains (probably more) with an integrated running line. You can cast this, maybe nail knot a leader on to get a better anchor, and start cutting line off a foot at a time and casting it again till you find the weight that casts the way you like it.
    Hope that makes sense.
    I was going to do that exact thing until I noticed the running lines kept getting thicker for the heavier line weights. For example the running line on a 5wt is much thinner than the running line of a 10wt. I didn't try it but it looked like I wasn't going to get much distance. I just assumed I'm going to need to supply my own running line. Maybe it's the type of line I bought?

    Amazon.com: Maxcatch Best Price Trout Fly Fishing Line; Weight Forward, Floating Fly Line (1F/2F/3F/4F/5F/6F/7F/8F/9F/10F): Sports & Outdoors

  11. Default Re: How does head length affect casting?

    Quote Originally Posted by huronfly View Post
    The flight stability of the 25' head would be better and cast further, and the delayed turnover of the line will aid in this, but 25' is quite long for Skagit casting such a short rod. The super short skagits turn over or unroll earlier and limit how much distance can be achieved, but also the 15'er will no doubt carry more payload and still probably able to cast plenty far enough for most situations. IMO I would stick to the short head for that short rod just to make casting less strenuous.
    Yeah, 25' seems too long, I'm thinking 15-20 is the ideal range the more I investigate.

  12. Default Re: How does head length affect casting?

    Quote Originally Posted by fredaevans View Post
    There are time's/places where a 'long cast' is needed; for the most part you are fishing in the wrong place. Where will the fish hold?

    That's where you want to cast.

    fae
    I'm not really trying to cast that far but remember, this is a short 3wt. I'm just looking for the best overall setup to comfortably cast small streamers in small waters.

  13. #9

    Default Re: How does head length affect casting?

    Yes, the running line does get pretty heavy for a rod that light. I've only built SH spey lines for heavier rods and didn't worry too much about it. You can always chop off the heavy running line, install a loop, and attach thin running line. If you want to go cheap use Berkley big game or catfish line. You need it stretch it before each use, but it's really good stuff.

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  15. Default Re: How does head length affect casting?

    Quote Originally Posted by huronfly View Post
    The flight stability of the 25' head would be better and cast further, and the delayed turnover of the line will aid in this, but 25' is quite long for Skagit casting such a short rod. The super short skagits turn over or unroll earlier and limit how much distance can be achieved, but also the 15'er will no doubt carry more payload and still probably able to cast plenty far enough for most situations. IMO I would stick to the short head for that short rod just to make casting less strenuous.
    You're right. I did a lot of testing last weekend and I'm starting to zero in on a 15' line that weighs 130 grains, made from that cheap 10wt wf. One thing I noticed with the longer lengths and lighter lines is that it's harder to roll cast your line when you're repositioning for another cast. You know how sometimes you need to just flop the line out straight to get it ready? It's super easy with the heavier, shorter line. It requires some effort with the longer, lighter lines to avoid having it land in a pile.

    One advantage of this setup on a short rod is that you don't even need to Skagit cast. I can overhand cast most of the time because you don't need much room with such a short head.

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