Simple Spey Line Breakdown

Spey Fishing Head Types - Skagit, Scandi, Rage and traditioinal with United Women on the Fly and Fly Fish Instruct
 

Choosing a Line for your Two Hand Rod can be confusing.  Mary Ann Dozer of Fly Fishing Pursuits has written this blog post to help lessen the confusion.

An infinite number of lines are available for your two-hand rod, whether you’re chasing trout, steelhead, or salmon. My goal is to help you understand the key distinctions between the core classes of lines: Skagit, Scandi, Hybrid and Mid/Long Belly. 

Factors to Consider when Purchasing a Spey line

  • Your fly line delivers your fly. Mass delivers Mass (grains per inch). Thus, the bigger your fly, the more mass your will need in your fly line. The smaller your fly, the less mass you will need in your fly line. 
  • The fly line is delivered by the quality of your cast. The shorter the line, the easier the cast. The longer the line the more casting finesse is needed. 

Ultimately your choice of line is a function of what fly you want to deliver, how deep you need to fish, and your casting skills.  Lines can be broken down into two categories.  Integrated and the Head System.

LInes Systems

  • Integrated
    • The Head and Running Line are Constructed to be One Piece
  • Head System
    • Are Composed of Multiple Pieces that only Perform when Used with One Another

Skagit

If your goal is to present a big heavy bulky fly close to the river bottom, then a Skagit style line is your best choice. These are short fat heads with a high number of grains per inch, allowing you to attach a sink tip that enables your fly to sink. You can deliver a small fly with a Skagit if you attach a floating tip.  

For a 6/7 wt rod, the Skagit head would be approximately 23 feet roughly a ten-foot tip and 2 foot of tippet, your cast would go 35 feet. To cast beyond that you will need to shoot line and then strip this line in before your next cast. 

Scandi

If your goal is to present a small fly on the surface or just below the surface then a Scandi Style or Hybrid line is your best choice. These are long skinny heads with a lower number of grains per inch, than a Skagit line. You can attach either a mono leader or a floating to sinking poly leader. 

For a 6/7 wt rod, the Scandi head would be approximately 36 feet and a 12-foot leader, your cast would go 48 feet. To cast beyond that you will need to shoot line and then strip this line in before your next cast. 

Mid to Long Belly

These lines have a similar taper to the Scandi. They present a small fly on the surface or just below the surface. For a 6/7 wt rod the mid-belly head would be approximately 52 feet and with a 12-foot leader, your cast would go 64 feet. A long belly head would be an equivalent of cast 76 feet. To cast beyond that you will need to shoot line and then strip this line in before your next cast. The Mid to Long Belly lines mean less time stripping in your shooting line, allowing you to cover water faster. Mid/long Belly lines require more finesse in your cast.

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