Skagit Lines for the GLs
Having had a chance to see, feel, and cast a genuine, Marlow Bumpus Skagit line, it’s given me a few ideas for GL adaptation. The general concept behind the custom Skagit lines is simple enough -- it forms the basis of the WC design -- a heavy, thick, short, floating head driving a sinking tip. The custom Bumpus Skagit lines take this a step further by making custom tips out of differing lengths of T-14 and level floating 11 wt. line to produce a set of heads of overall constant length of ten feet – very handy for consistent casting.
These T-14 heads likely will only be useful on certain GL rivers, while on others, they’d probably end up being counterproductive. They’re intended to produce a hinge at the level belly – head loop, drooping the tip sharply downward to fish slots and boulder gardens. The problem as I see it comes from trying to apply this sort of system to a broad range of conditions on various GL rivers. Some places it will work and some places it won’t so a more adaptable system is needed.
Some time ago, I bought a 11/12 Rio SSH, cut it back to 26’ – making it effectively a 9/10 line -- and reversed it, for use as a tip driver. The standard SSH has roughly a reversed WC profile, so reversing a SSH turns it back into roughly a standard WC belly. It’s a cheap, quick way to produce a head that is similar in profile to the belly of a Bumpus custom line. From that point, we can hang pretty well anything we like off the end of it.
The 11/12 cut at 26’ was chosen so that it the overall head length would range from 41’ to 50’ depending on whether I was using a 15’ tip or a 24’ BigBoy while retaining the total grainage needed to load the rod, and the average grains per foot needed to turn over the really heavy stuff.. There’s no doubt that there’s enough mass in it to drive lengths of T-14 as well if it was needed. The Bumpus line was 39’ overall so the 26’ SSH + 15’ tip puts us in the same ballpark.
Buying tips lines is damned expensive so if you already have one or two, then the acquisition of one or two SSH lines can cover any Skagit-type requirements. I contemplated buying a couple of Windcutters just so that I could employ the belly sections in this fashion, but it’s much cheaper, and I find more effective, to convert SSH lines instead. While SSH is supposed to stand for Scandinavian Shooting Head, it makes more sense to me to think of them as Skagit Shooting Heads.
Rio has been kind enough to post a chart on their website that lets us calculate total grain weight after cutting off the back end of the SSH. That’s how I ended up selecting the 11/12 at 26’ for use on my 9/10 rods.
If you want to dabble in Skagit lines and you already have a set of tips, then an SSH is a simple and relatively cheap way to make a custom Skagit line for experimentation.
Last edited by peter-s-c; 01-14-2005 at 11:45 AM.