Learn Skagit casting
|Skagit casts - making the D loop
All of the Skagit casts complete in the same manner once the fly is correctly anchored. They are in reality all combinations of at least two casting movements; the first part e.g. a Snap T, Snap Z, Circle C etc element places the anchor in a suitable location. The second element is based on a Roll cast like the Double Spey except that it is performed on the upstream side and is common to all of the Skagit variations as it picks up the line to form into a D loop and complete the delivery.
The family of Skagit casts therefore provides several different methods of combining a suitable sustained or water borne anchor position for the D loop with a suitable line layout for picking up the line to form the D loop and complete the cast. So the secret of learning how to use the Skagit technique correctly is to perfect that ability to pick up line cleanly from the water, form a perfectly tensioned D loop (including about half of the sink tip) with a minimum anchor and shoot lots of running line or shooting line. Short fly lines (or heads) are necessary to allow the rod to pick up enough of the relatively heavy line to reduce the anchor drag, hence the commonly recommended 3 to 3.5 times rod length limitation on the line length for Skagit casting. And as previously mentioned a heavy line is in any case needed to cast a heavy fly and sinking tip and of course its weight helps to extend the running line.
| Skagit casts - all of them are completed with a roll casting method
With a downstream wind the Double Spey is used and if the wind is upstream any of the other casts are suitable. Skagit techniques are ideal where you want to cast a short, heavy floating line and especially if you wish to use a fast sinking tip and present a large or weighty fly with it. They can be cast long distances with minimum back space and because of their weight and short head lengths some say that they make casting long distances easier or at least that mistakes can be thrown further! On the downside they are not ideal for the presenting lighter flies and for smaller rivers they are a bit clumsy and I prefer the subtlety of a lighter line that swings better. Nevertheless Skagit has evolved to meet a need and it is another illustration of the versatility of roll casting methods which will prove useful on many large rivers.