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Single hand Trout Spey :
Rods and Skagit heads


You can Spey cast with any 9 ft rod, but one with a progressive action that flexes evenly through the upper two thirds is more forgiving and easier to cast. Since swing weight is seldom an issue, a retired medium action rod may be a good option, e.g. a TFO professional.


Recent developments in technology have made it possible to produce rods that flex deeply but recover quickly, e.g. Sage X, Loomis NRX LP and Scott Centric. This new breed of fast action rods provide great feel for Spey casting, but with more distance than their medium action predecessors.

Skagit Heads

The two most useful types of lines for Trout Spey are Skagit heads and compact Scandi-style heads I refer to as Hybrid heads. The Skagit head being the workhorse in the New Zealand single hand scenario.


Skagit heads are short fat shooting heads designed to cast interchangeable sinking tips.

New Zealand rivers are relatively short by international standards, but they have high gradients and deceptive flow rates, that often require decent sink tips to get down to fish.


Ideal Skagit head length for casting proper sink tips of 9-10 ft (I.e. not coated leaders) on a 9 ft rod, is 11-12 ft. The length of the head plus the tip should ideally be around 2.1-2.4 times the length of the rod for casting level-T sink tips.


The ultimate Skagit head for casting decent sink tips on single hand rods is the Scientific Anglers Skagit Lite.


Apart from being the only current product of suitable length, the long front taper on the Skagit Lite heads results in surprising distance and presentation for 11-12 foot heads. Rear weight distribution is particularly suited to Spey casting and also allows a lighter head choice for a given rod.


Choice of line weight depends on both the rod and the caster’s ability (increasing skill equals lighter head), but my general recommendations for the Skagit Lite series are:


150 grain: dry fly or presentation 5wt rod, e.g. Loomis NRX LP.
180 grain: standard 5wt rod.
210 grain: powerful 5wt rod, especially if it requires over-lining with regular fly lines.



Single hand Trout Spey : Getting started with a 9 ft 5wt rod

+ Getting started
+ Rods and Skagit heads
+ Sink tips for Skagit heads
+ Tippet for Skagit heads

Intermediate Skagit heads

+ Hybrid heads
+ Floating tips for Skagit heads
+ Running lines
+ Cost effective approach
+ Learning to Spey cast
+ A final word

What is Trout Spey

+ How it all began
+ What is Spey casting?
+ Fly lines
+ Sink Tips for Skagit Heads
+ Single versus two handed rods
+ Effective Spey flies for New Zealand Trout and techniques for fishing them
+ Favourite Trout Spey outfits
+ Conclusions


Single Hand Skagit - Science behind the magic

+ Where it all began
+ Head design
+ Sink tips
+ Casting heavy sink tips
+ Running lines
+ Reels
+ Rods
+ Intermediate heads
+ Favourite outfits
+ Conclusions

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