If you follow the progression of Skagit-style spey lines on our blog at all, you know that we’ve been pretty excited lately about two trends – the development of better shorter heads, and the development of intermediate density Skagit heads.
Short Heads, Intermediate Heads
We like fishing modern short Skagit heads (like the RIO Max Short and the Airflo Skagit Switch) for a few reasons. They’re fun to cast, they perform great with little backcast room and/or overhanging branches, they turn over big flies and tips, and they match really well with the shorter and shorter rods that we’re fishing more and more.
We like fishing intermediate Skagit heads (like the RIO iFlight and the Airflo Skagit Intermediate) too. When fishing sinktips they provide a straighter connection to the fly (there’s less hinging than with a full floating head), and in heavier water they help the fly swing sweet and sloooow.
Until very recently we had to choose between short and intermediate, because the intermediate heads were only made in ‘full’ Skagit style lengths. No more – enter the Skagit iShort from RIO!
Short Intermediate Heads
After all that intro, you already know what these things are. RIO’s Skagit iShort heads are short/switch style Skagit heads, ranging from 18 feet and 350 grains to 20 feet and 575 grains. They’ve got a floating back section and an intermediate front section that sinks at 1.5 ips. They’re intermediate heads for your short spey rods.
How They Cast
They cast just like you’d think they’d cast. Like their longer intermediate parents, you need to use a more deliberate casting stroke throughout, since a bunch more of your head/tip system is below the surface of the water. Since the intermediate section of the head is denser than a floating section would be, they absolutely fly once you get them pointed in the right direction – and they’re especially effective in the wind.
How They Fish
Just like you’d think! The most obvious difference when you swing an intermediate head is the super slow swing. These heads aren’t appropriate for skinny, bony water or for fishing inside edges – they just hang up too much. When you’re fishing heavier water and/or want to maximize presentation time ‘way out there’ in the gut, nothing beats ’em.
If you like short rods and short Skagit heads and you want that intermediate swinging experience, your time has come. Head on down to your local RIO dealer and check out the Skagit iShort!
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