Spey Tech Alert: Rio Skagit MOW Tips

Ed helped design 'em so you should probably try 'em.  Photo: Cameron Miller
Ed helped design 'em so you should probably try 'em. Photo: Cameron Miller

Rio has just announced a new line of sinktips for Skagit-style spey casting called ‘Rio MOW Tips’.  The tips are mostly 10 feet long, and they combine different lengths of floating and sinking sections to allow for more consistent fishing and casting performance while fishing sinking sections of various lengths.

Problems MOW Tips Solve

  1. Sinktips made of different lengths of sinking line like Rio T-14 cast and fish differently, due to their differences in length and grain weight.  Swapping out your 10 feet of T-14 for 15 feet of T-14 adds 5 feet of length and 75 grains, and that changes your casting stroke quite a bit.
  2. There’s been a trend lately towards fishing very short sinktips in certain situations, and these rigs can be kind of ‘boomerangy’ due to their super short length.
  3. Making sinktips in custom lengths is kind of a pain in the butt.

These tips were designed by Mike McCune, Scott O’Donnell and Ed Ward (figure out the name yet?), and they’ll come as 3 different sets, with all the sinking sections in each set made of Rio T-8, T-11 or T-14.

This is not production packaging.
This is not production packaging.

What’s In Each Set

Each set contains 6 tips.

  1. A 10 foot floating tip
  2. A tip with 7.5 feet of floating line connected to 2.5 feet of sinking tip
  3. A tip with 5 feet of floating line connected to 5 feet of sinking tip
  4. A tip with 2.5 feet of floating line connected to 7.5 feet of sinking tip
  5. A 10 foot level sinktip
  6. A 12.5 foot level sinktip

For any application other than really dredging, you ought to be able to find something that works in a kit like that!

Welded loops and seamless transitions.
Welded loops and seamless transitions.

Each tip has welded loops on both ends, and the tips that combine floating and sinking sections have a ‘seamless integration’ between the floating and sinking sections.  Each kit of tips will cost $149.95, and the tips will also be available individually.  The Medium and Heavy sets (with sinking sections of T-11 and T-14) will be available in May, and the Light set (with sinking sections of T-8) will be available in August.

Here’s a video of Simon Gawesworth from Rio giving some background on the birth and design of the MOW Tips.

NOTE: If you’re viewing this in a newsletter or a reader, click here to see the video on YouTube.

We’re planning on getting our hands on a set of MOW Tips in the next few weeks, and once we’ve had a chance to fish with ’em will be back with a full review!

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  1. says

    Hi I have two switch rods(TFO) a#6 and 8wt. I intend to use your Skagit Short heads and the MOW tips with these rods. What weight heads and tips would you recommend for these rods?
    Thank you,

  2. andrew says

    Hi Chuck,

    Are your TFO switch rods in the Deer Creek series? Let me know and I’ll get you some recommendations on heads and tips.


  3. Thomas Sullivan says

    Hey Andrew,
    Similar question. I have a Beulah Classic 6/7 Switch. I currently have a 425gr Skagit Short Head. I was wondering what MOW tips you would recommend.

  4. andrew says

    Hi Thomas,

    With a 425 grain head and that rod, the Light MOW Tips should be the ticket.

    Have fun out there!

  5. Fred Lee says

    I’m using an Echo DH 6126 with a Skagit Compact 450 grain head. For a beginning spey caster, would you recommend the light (T-8) or medium (T-11) MOW tip set for this outfit? I’m assuming there would be a significant grain weight difference between the two, thereby affecting casting performance. Thanks for a great website.

  6. andrew says

    Hi Fred! You’re probably going to want to go with the Light Tips. Rio says to use the light tips with any head lighter than 475 grains.

    Welcome to the world of spey – have fun with it!

  7. Keith says

    Hi I have a 6wt single hand rod with the wulff ambush line. Was wondering if the Rio mow tips (light) would work in this application. I believe my ambush 6wt is 235 grain. I’ve been using the virsileader and it casts great, just can’t get the fly deep enough.

    Thanks Keith.

  8. andrew says

    Hi Keith,

    My guess would be even the light MOW tips would be a little much for a 6 weight single hander. Rio recommends the Light tips for heads up to 475 grains…I just think you’d have a problem turning over the tips with 235 grains of head.

    Have you looked into a more conventional set of sinktips made for a 6 weight, like those that come with a VersiTip type system?

  9. Patrick says

    I have a TFO 12’6 #6 Pro Series lined with a Skagit Spey line 450 grain 27′ head.

    Rio specs says I should go with a light tip but I’m wondering since it’s common knowledge to always ‘line up’ the TFO rods should I consider the medium tip.
    Also,considering best anchor characteristics,if I was to choose one of the tips to start which would you recommend,I was thinking the 7.5 sink 2.5 float or the 5 sink 5 float.Or would both tips offer the same anchor?


  10. andrew says

    Hi Patrick,

    The most important part of the tip equation is to match the weight of the tip to the weight of the head. The general rule of thumb is to use the light tips with heads under 475 grains, so I’d go with the light tips. Adding a heavier tip is probably not the best way to ‘line up’ the rod – if you wanted to load it deeper I’d look at a heavier head instead of heavier tips.

    The amount of anchor is going to be really similar between the 7.5/2.5 and the 5/5. The 5/5 would probably be a tiny bit easier to learn on, although honestly I’m not sure it would be a noticeable difference.

    Have fun out there!


  11. chris cook says

    I have a TCL deer creek 11′ 7wt switch rod currently loader with whiff ambush 10wt line (400gr). I’d imagine the light tips would work. Would the medium tips get me deeper in faster moving water? Would that even be feasible? Also do the Rio now tips have a more consistent downward sink than say the verileaders? I heard they can often hinge back forward the surface creating an arc. Thank you

  12. Kyle Shea says

    Hi Chris,
    The light tips would definitely work on your 7wt. switch, as would the medium tips. Not only do the tips vary in grain weight (light, medium, heavy, and so on), but the density of the sinking material increases as well. The sinking portion of each tip in the light series are made using T-8, where as the sinking portion of each tip in the medium series are made using T-11. T-11 sinks faster than T-8, so as far as getting you deeper in faster water, you bet!

    The tips do tend to have a ‘hinge’ in them as is the case with most sink tips/polyleaders attached to a floating head. However, the beauty of the mow tips is that you can regulate the hinge by changing tips with different floating to sinking ratios. For example, a 2.5 float/7.5sink tip would hinge differently than a 5float/5sink tip.

    Also, versileaders typically only reach sink rates of around 7 inches per second.. That’s about the sink rate of T-8 material. In other words a sink tip constructed of T-11 would most likely sink faster than any versileader or polyleader.

    Hope that helps, and thanks for the comment!

  13. David F. says

    In general what is the length of leader or tippet material should be used with the MOW Tips? I understand water conditions, fish depth vary & play a big part but what would be a good starting point with the different weight/length ratios? e.g. How long a length would I start using 10 or 12 Wt. Maxima or similar with a T-11 MOW Tip in the 7.5 Floating 2.5 Sinking Tip?
    Is the formula basically the same as using a single had rod in that sink tips/lines get way shorter leaders than a WFF? Now that I understand!!!
    Thanks for whatever sense you can possibly get through my lifelong singlehanded dry & nymph fishing head! But I’m determined to get this Switch/Spey thing down.

  14. Kyle Shea says

    Hey David,

    Great question and glad you’re determined to delve into the world of switch and spey as its a great deal of fun! You’re absolutely right in that a much shorter leader is desirable when fishing a sink tip. Otherwise, your sink tip will stay deep, while your fly will hang much higher in the water column. This is assuming you are fishing an unweighted fly of course. As you can imagine, there are times where a longer leader is beneficial off of a sink tip if fishing a heavy fly that plummets to the bottom on its own, but that’s another topic on its own.

    However, for a general answer to your question, we typically use a leader made up of a straight shot of Maxima Ultragreen somewhere in the range of 3 to 6 feet depending on water conditions. Hope that helps and let us know if you have any other questions!


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