Monday, November 30, 2015

All you want to know about RIO MOW tips

If you are still all fog up as to what is a MOW tip, George Cook gives a great concise introduction on MOW tip in this video.

Instead of the traditional sink tips, MOW tips are increasingly used as weapon of choice for the Skagit guys targeting Steelhead and Salmon. You can refer to this a great article by Asland Fly Shop on how to tactically make use of RIO MOW tips for swinging flies.

MOW tips were designed by some of the most influential pioneers in Skagit Spey, namely Mike McCune, Scott O'Donnell and Ed Ward. The MOW tip is named after the 3 of them.

MOW tips as part of the Skagit system were created for two main reason, consistency in depth control and consistency in casting control. In the past, people will just use sink tip of different length to fish different depth. For example if you are fishing a deep run, you may have been using a 10ft sink tip. When you next get into a shallow section, a 5ft sink tip may be more suitable. However, the 5ft sink tip will shorten the overall length of your Skagit set up and reduce the bite of your anchor. As a result you may find yourself ripping out your anchor more often than not unless you adjust your casting stroke to accommodate the change. With MOW tip, you will find that the overall length remains constant except for the fast sink portion. This consistency in length of the MOW tip results in  good depth control without sacrificing casting.

An article here by Gorge Fly Shop gives a good account of not only the MOW tip but also the newer RIO iMOW tips:

Please do not confuse sink rate vs grain weight of the tips. Sink rate is ips (inch per second) whereas tungsten tips are rated at T8, T11 or T14 for example. "T" stands for tungsten coated. So  a T14 means that the tungsten coated tip weighs 14 grain per foot. So if you have a 10ft T14 tip, the overall weight of the tip is 140 grain. Typical sink rate of T8 is 6-7 ips, T11 is 7-8 ips and T14 is 8-9 ips.

RO also makes tips rated in ips, for example RIO InTouch 15ft sink tips. So if you are using a 15ft sink tip rated at 3-4 ips you may be tempted to think that you are swinging your fly deeper than a person using 7ft of T14. You may be very wrong. T14 sinks at 8-9 ips so it will cut through the current much faster than a 4ips 15ft sink tip.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Fixing Spey Casting Faults

Here is a good video by Jon of Ashland Fly shop showing and correcting common spey casting mistakes.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Skagit Fishing Sweden

This is a very entertaining video on Salmon fishing in Sweden using Skagit tactics. For those who love fishing on wild rivers and Skagit casting.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Snap-T or C-Spey cast

Here is a good video by George Cook on the Snap-T or the C-Spey cast. Although both are essentially the same cast, there are subtle difference between the two as demonstrated by George Cook in the video above.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Perry Poke Revisited

Here is a very good instructional video I found showing the Perry Poke. Thought I will share it here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Sage ONE trout Spey

As an update to my earlier post on Trout Spey rod. Here is George Cook himself introducing the Sage ONE 2 wt (10'9") and 3 wt (11ft) trout Spey, new for 2015. He also talks about the various RIO lines that will be suitable for this rod including the new 11' Skagit Trout Max line.

He made a very good intro to the Skagit Trout Max explaining why the line is designed so short...mainly for streamer fishing for Trout where it is necessary to strip the line in close without hitting the loop to loop connection.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Trout Spey Line

Here is the new fly line from RIO to complement the new Sage Trout Spey for 2015. This line, the RIO Skagit Trout Max, is a Skagit line made specifically for trout fishing using Switch rod. It is a surprisingly short Skagit head.... 11ft only. I was caught by surprised how short this head is. I was expecting something in the 15ft range but I supposed RIO knows what they are doing.

This line being so short, one really has to be standing knee deep in water to cast it effectively. It is meant to be paired with a sink tip or versileader to have the right amount of anchor for the cast. Being a Skagit head, it is designed to lift heavy sink tip and fly to fish deep. This line comes as a head with no integrated running line.

I you plan to fish dry fly or emergers with your trout Spey, you will be better off with the RIO InTouch single handed Spey line, new for 2015.

Although designed for single handed Spey casting,  this line is suitable for 2 - 3 wt Switch rod as well. To boot, this line also overhead cast very well.

An alternative to the new RIO Skagit Trout Max is this OPST Commando Head. Developed by Ed Ward and Jerry French for sustain anchor casting. It is supposedly designed to turn over MOW tip and heavy stuff.

This line starts at 150 grains to 475 grain. For Trout spey, the lighter spectrum of this line, 150 grain (12ft) to 250 grain (13.5ft) should be of interest to those venturing into 2wt - 3wt Switch rod for trout.

You can find more info on this line here  <> and here <>

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Trout Spey Rod

Finally Sage will be coming out with 11′ 2wt & 3wt (200-250gr) true trout spey! When I first acquired my Sage ONE 4wt Switch, I did secretly wish that they would produce a lower weight double hand rod that I can enjoy for smaller fish. Now they are finally doing it.

Sage ONE 4wt Switch is one of my all time favorite rod for its lightness and great response. When ONE 4116-4 first came out, it was labelled a trout Switch rod. I think Sage had big Alaskan Rainbow trout in mind when they did that. It is definitely not your typical small river trout rod as the power level is way too high for small river trout. Now that Winston came out with the 3wt MicroSpey, I think Sage is finally taking heed. Not sure if Sage will be putting these rods under the Sage ONE banner but I suspect so.
**22 June update: It's confirmed...these 2 & 3wt trout Spey will be under Sage ONE banner.

It seems Mike Mccune is testing the final version of these new rods. To boot, RIO is also coming up with "trout Skagit" line to match these rods. You can read all about it here.

Monday, June 8, 2015

RIO Scandi Body S4 review

Peacock Bass caught with RIO Scandi Body S4 fast sinking line

Last Sunday, I got the chance to test drive the RIO Scandi short fast sinking line (RIO Scandi Body S4). I paired the 305 grain line with my Sage ONE 4wt switch rod and made a trip to a reservoir fishing spot nearby that I know will do well plumbing the depth.

When I first received the line, I was a bit skeptical. I normally judge a short head spey line by how well it can roll cast with minimal D-loop. This is because a lot of my fishing is done tight against the bank where D-loop space is premium. That is why I love the Wulff Ambush line. Wulff Ambush excels in tight space roll casting and has been my go to line all this while.

From casual inspection, the taper for this line does not seems to be very aggressive and I was half expecting the line to perform poorly in this respect.... how wrong I was! Rigged with 10 ft RIO versileader (7ips) and a 8ft fluorocarbon leader tied to my favorite peacock bass fly, I started out doing some simple roll to lay out the line. The line rolled out effortlessly, much to my surprise. Then I turned up the throttle and really started to zing out the roll cast. The line shot out with no hesitation. Now I am impress. 60 - 70 ft roll cast is easy with this line. The only other fast sinking line the preform so well in roll casting has been my custom fast sink skagit head.

Next I moved on to sustain anchor cast.  Perry poke was no problem and the cast fired out with very decent loop. I don't expect tight loop here since this is a fast sink line but the loop was very decent and it went a good distance. I did not get a chance to make 100 ft cast with this line that day because of the steep bank I am up against but I am sure it is possible if I am standing in open water with unrestricted D-loop. Somehow, fast sink line will cover the distance well even without tight loop because of how it slice through the wind.

I finished off the session catching five Peacock bass using this line set up in the one plus hour that I spent there. I am happy to report that this fast sink spey line exceeded my expectation and I have no reservation recommending it to anyone intending to fish deep with Switch rod.

Currently the fast sink version of RIO Scandi Body comes in 305 grain (#6), 350 grain (#7), 400 grain (#8) and 455 grain (#9). It is dark grey and rated to sink at 4-5 ips. This line comes in "body only" which means you will need to loop-to-loop it to your own shooting line.

Temensis caught with Scandi Body S4 fishing deep

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Switch Rod Buyer's Guide

Here are 2 good videos put up by Reds fly shop to guide you along in choosing the right switch rod. The first video covers the premium range of switch rods including Burkheimer Classic, Sage Method, Sage ONE, Sage Accel, Winston Boron III TH  and Echo 3 Switch.

The second video covers the value range of switch rods including Echo SR, TFO Deer Creek and Redington Prospector.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spey Casting Principles

Here is a good series of short videos with Simon Gawesworth conducting Spey casting clinic in Australia. He gives a good introduction to the various style of Spey casting and the principles behind Spey casting.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Traditional Spey vs Scandi vs Skagit

Here is a good video that clarifies the difference between traditional long belly Spey vs Scandinavian Spey (or Scandi spey) and Skagit Spey.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Grain Window for Switch and Spey Rods

Here is a good video explaining the meaning of grain window for Switch and Spey rods. A lot of people starting out in double hander get confused with the array of lines out there and how they should choose the right line for their rod. Most people are familiar with the single hand rating and it is pretty straight forward to match for example a 5wt rod to a 5wt line. However, things get confusing when it comes to the double hander arena.

Here are some notes that might be helpful to keep in mind.

1) Switch rod and Spey rod rating are typically different from the single hand rod rating. For example, the power level of a 5wt single hand rod is not the same as the power level of a 5wt Switch rod. Neither is the power level of the 5 wt switch rod the same as the power level of the 5wt Spey rod. You will need a heavier line to load a 5wt Switch rod compared to a 5wt single hand rod. Similarly you will need a heavier line to load a 5wt Spey rod compared to a 5 wt Switch rod.

2) The grain window listed for the Switch and Spey rods are typically rated for Spey type casting (either Scandi or Skagit type casting which forms a  D-loop) and not for overhead casting. Scandi type spey casting will typical make use of the lower end of the grain window whereas Skagit casting will make use of the higher end of the grain window. For example TFO Deer Creek 5wt Switch rod has a grain window of 250 - 450 grain. If you plan to do Scandi casting with the rod, choose Scandi line with grain weight around 250 - 300. If you plan to do Skagit, choose Skagit line with grain weight between 350 - 450.

3) Not all rod makers list the grain window of their Switch or Spey rods. If the grain window is not listed, a convenient way to find the suitable grain weight is to refer to the RIO website for Spey line recommendation ( ).

4) If you plan to do overhead casting with Switch rod using line designed for single hand rods, the grain window does not apply. In this case, a good guideline will be to over line the rod by 3 to 4 line weight. For example, if you plan to overhead cast a TFO Deer Creek 5wt Switch rod, do not use a 5wt line, use a 8 or 9 wt line on the rod instead.