Fly Fishing Forum - View Single Post - Niagara River, Skagit, and two-handers
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Old 12-05-2004, 07:39 AM
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juro juro is offline
Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Steelhead country|striper coast|bonefish belt
Posts: 20,594

Two points I would offer, although I have not fished your waters and am 'Sunday morning speculating'.

1) fish different water
Winter steelhead success came to me when I started walking away from bottom bouncing hotspots and finding suitable flywater for swinging. Eventually I had a suite of spots that were totally different yet very productive to hit each weekend, often alone.

2) forward snake vs / in addtion to perry poke
In these fishing situations I find myself using a 'forward positioned snake'. Although not 'officially' a Skagit cast per se, it achieves the same goal and solves the same problems on the river with a very concise and efficient motion. The same rod actions are suitable for this cast as with a perry poke, thus I use the Skagit Specialist for instance which also allows me to put on a mid-belly and fire out long casts in the next pool.

forward snake...
With a shorter stout line (Skagit, Scandi, WC with mid-removed, etc) and a rod that loads up well (read - not stiff) but recoils strong (high modulus) it's possible to create a snake roll "further out in front" that takes less than a rod length of backcasting room and consistently works casting distances relative to rod length and ability but for most 70-90ft.

No voodoo - just that the lift and initial spiral occurs further out front. The forward cast is similar to a perry poke because of the way the rod has to load in a more forward 'tilt'. When I was playing with the upriver snake, I learned that a snake roll can be made with the path of acceleration leading up to the spiral out front so far that it crosses the body to the other side.

In a normal snake roll this initial path of acceleration becomes the centerline of the spiral and it's in line with your body to the downriver side. In an upriver snake, this path of acceleration is made out in front and allowed to cross over to the upriver side, then turned inside out with a spiral. Or it can be dropped into a snake poke, my other pet cast.

However the out-front path can also be spiralled on the downriver side. This dramatically reduces the amount of backcasting room needed, and it can be adjusted as needed.

Care is taken to manage the shape of the d-loop and anchor so that an underhand-strong forward-tilted cast can be made. The final delivery feels very similar to a Skagit cast in that the angle of tension has a more downward force like the perry poke, and it's important to avoid excessive force or velocity such that the line lifts rather than tears from the surface. This is a gentle move that uses a deep load in the rod thus it moves sinktips very effectively. Even though the rod is used to pull tension further down toward the water, the line (wedge) is directed to go forward higher toward the target so that it all evens out. I'd bet that if you stopped high as you do with a traditional cast the line would fly too high.

It's very helpful to be ambidextrous because with one cast either bank / wind can be fished in tight quarters without much fuss.

This is definitely a short head technique but a reduction of backcasting room can be had with long bellies in a similar fashion, just not as easily and the risk of excessive anchor grip is greater with long bellies when fished in a forward orientation.

The snake has so much dynamic tension throughout that the forward cast can be made "Skagit style" (or any style for that matter) and the benefits can be had without the extra motions that a perry poke requires when needed.

That being said, only a poke can get you out of extreme situations and it's a good cast to have under the wader belt.

All this talk has got me pumped to do some casting this morning! Off to the river for a few.
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