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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Streams in the GW Nat Forest, Shenandoah NP,Potomac, Salmon River, NY. Exploring rivers in PNW
    Posts
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    Default Skagit, Scandi, various bellies..Sorting it all out for the beginner

    So I just got back from a quick trip to PNW for family stuff and got in a day of fly fishing for steelhead on the Cowlitz River, a trib of the Columbia, in Washington. I had planned on single handing with my 8wt but my guide convinced me to try something new, spey casting for steelies. I jumped on the chance to learn to spey cast in PNW. I later found out that I had been Snap T casting the entire day, who knew. I tried to do research into the tackle, specifically the lines, based on what the guide explained we were working with. What a rat's nest of gobbldy gook for anyone not deeply in the spey world to deal with. As such I thought that I'd offer a couple of links to some very clear explanations of the various types of lines, the pros and cons of each and situations for best use. I am a newbie to fly fishing and an actual newborn babe to this spey jazz so I offer these links for my brother babes in the woods who are just trying to find their way around. I chose them because they were really clear, concise and understandable explanations. I assume that there are others as well, my bet there are books and treatises. This thread is not an attempt to replicate the books just to give new guys a foothold into all of this. Others who know of links to other clear, concise and simple explanations like what is in these links should feel free to post those links up here as well. Perhaps we might end up with a thread that new people can go to to get the basics on spey tackle. Thanks.

    Demystifying Spey Part 1: Lines - Skagit vs Scandi Heads — River Salt Outfitters - Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guides

    Demystifying Spey Part 2: Tips and Leaders — River Salt Outfitters - Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guides

    Demystifying Spey Part 3: Shooting/Running Lines — River Salt Outfitters - Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guides

    Skagit vs. Scandi

    Understanding_Spey_lines_2013.pdf
    Last edited by City Rat; 07-11-2019 at 08:43 PM.
    "To many afflicted Eastern fishermen, the 'Green Drake Hatch' is as irresistible and habit-forming as black jack, whiskey, or easy women."
    Caucci and Nastasi, Hatches II

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Skagit, Scandi, various bellies..Sorting it all out for the beginner

    Catch anything? There’s always a steelhead to be had in that river.


    “If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago.”
    ~Zane Grey

    " . . . shouldn't a man stand on his own two feet and catch his own steelhead? Maybe put out some effort and find his own fish just for the fun of it?"
    ~Syd Glasso

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Streams in the GW Nat Forest, Shenandoah NP,Potomac, Salmon River, NY. Exploring rivers in PNW
    Posts
    176

    Default Re: Skagit, Scandi, various bellies..Sorting it all out for the beginner

    They were in there, just not biting. I saw one guy, spin fishing from a jet boat land one all day. Maybe it was all the boats with big engines buzzing up and down through some really good pools at speed, right while I was drifting my flies into them. I got a couple of bites and tugs but no big boys. I was able catch 2 juvenile steelies, one juvi salmon and a whitefish about the same size while nymphing for steelies with my 8wt. I sent all of them back home to their moms with two messages, go home, eat more spinach, get big and come back and tell your mom that your big brother is sending you to go check out the cool new shiny thing rather than do it himself,lol. It was a beautiful river, different than anything I've ever fished before, a great day on the water and a great trip. I now get the why behind spey casting.
    "To many afflicted Eastern fishermen, the 'Green Drake Hatch' is as irresistible and habit-forming as black jack, whiskey, or easy women."
    Caucci and Nastasi, Hatches II

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Snake, Clearwater and tribs
    Posts
    598

    Default Re: Skagit, Scandi, various bellies..Sorting it all out for the beginner

    Good for you! Two-hand rods can be very addicting!

    The terminology is its own world
    skagit vs scandi vs short belly vs mid-belly vs long-belly
    poly vs mono leaders
    and it goes on.
    nymphing vs swinging: this can raise the "tone" of the conversation in a hurry for some...
    Important thing is to just have fun. For me at least, there is nothing better than two-hand rods and steelhead.

  6. #5

    Default Re: Skagit, Scandi, various bellies..Sorting it all out for the beginner

    My first encounter with jet boats was on the Cowlitz. I had found a good public stretch of water, which isn't easy there for a wade angler. Spotted a nice seam to target some swimmy things. Geared up, scoped out the run. Started casting and swinging and 5 minutes later a jetboat comes charging up and then another down the river. I just shook my head. How the heck is that peaceful or stealthy.........

    Oh well.......I agree....they're in there.


    “If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago.”
    ~Zane Grey

    " . . . shouldn't a man stand on his own two feet and catch his own steelhead? Maybe put out some effort and find his own fish just for the fun of it?"
    ~Syd Glasso

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Streams in the GW Nat Forest, Shenandoah NP,Potomac, Salmon River, NY. Exploring rivers in PNW
    Posts
    176

    Default Re: Skagit, Scandi, various bellies..Sorting it all out for the beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by flytie09 View Post
    My first encounter with jet boats was on the Cowlitz. I had found a good public stretch of water, which isn't easy there for a wade angler. Spotted a nice seam to target some swimmy things. Geared up, scoped out the run. Started casting and swinging and 5 minutes later a jetboat comes charging up and then another down the river. I just shook my head. How the heck is that peaceful or stealthy.........

    Oh well.......I agree....they're in there.
    On this point I have to give my guide a lot of credit. First, his drift boat was powered by his 20 something arms and oars, no motor. Second, he really knew that river and after he could see the dismay on my face and me cringing as they roared very near to or over my drifting fly, he said there is no not having them around but we're going to try to use it to our advantage in a mile or two. and he had me cast into buckets on the side of the river opposite to the path of travel of the boats as they were approaching on the theory that the boats would push the fish into where I was casting. He was right, you could see them move over to the bucket, they just weren't biting. Last, he was a great casting instructor, he found a quiet spot early on where I could wade out and he could teach me how to spey cast with the Skagit rig. It took me an hour to get down the Snap T well enough to be able to drop the fly into buckets and seams 60-70 feet away, distance that are completely beyond my comprehension single handed. He even took video of my casting so that I could replay it at home, remember the technique and practice on smoothing out a particular rough patch in my nascent spey cast. Once I get my technique smoothed out I would absolutely make another run at the steelhead in that river if the opportunity arises, jet boats be damned!
    "To many afflicted Eastern fishermen, the 'Green Drake Hatch' is as irresistible and habit-forming as black jack, whiskey, or easy women."
    Caucci and Nastasi, Hatches II

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  9. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Snake, Clearwater and tribs
    Posts
    598

    Default Re: Skagit, Scandi, various bellies..Sorting it all out for the beginner

    Sounds like a great guide! I have never fished that river but jet boats are very common where I am. Your guide has a good attitude. A friend of mine who is a guide told me to cast right in their wake. Steelhead do not "bite" for food, as much as they get pissed off and hit. His theory was that the boat upset them making them more likely to hit swung flies.

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  11. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Streams in the GW Nat Forest, Shenandoah NP,Potomac, Salmon River, NY. Exploring rivers in PNW
    Posts
    176

    Default Re: Skagit, Scandi, various bellies..Sorting it all out for the beginner

    Last edited by City Rat; 07-12-2019 at 11:58 AM.
    "To many afflicted Eastern fishermen, the 'Green Drake Hatch' is as irresistible and habit-forming as black jack, whiskey, or easy women."
    Caucci and Nastasi, Hatches II

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