For those of you that are always looking for something new and improved in the Spey market, lookout! Airflo and Scientific Anglers have released their versions of Skagit Intermediate heads. The intermediate heads are designed to get the mass of the skagit line to sink sub-surface not allowing faster surface currents to pull your line/tip out of the zone. In essence, slowing down the speed of the swing. These lines will allow for slower, deeper swings through prime winter steelhead lies. Sink tips such as type 3, 6, 8, and T-14 will still be used on the end of the head and can allow for maximum depth.
While these lines will be great for winter steelhead, they do have their pros and cons…
1. Will help achieve maximum depth in slower pools where a floating skagit may not.
2. Slower swings in medium to fast flows getting the head sub-surface.
3. Deeper presentations.
4. Will excel in spots where the current speed is consistent throughout and across a run.
1. Mending. These lines do not mend that well and you need to make sure to cast in the direction you intend the fly to start swinging.
2. Do not fish well in smaller runs, pocket water, and boulder lies.
3. They can be difficult to pick up/lift out of the water. Roll casting to the surface before casting is recommended.
4. Certainly not a do-it-all skagit line.
While these lines have their pros and cons, I believe they are useful lines in many situations. If you spend some time winter steelheading, they would be a great line to have on a spare spool for medium-large rivers with deeper, heavier water. Though they can also excel is slower moving pools with a light sink tip!
Airflo Skagit Intermediate Compact specs (grains/length)…
450@21′ , 480@21′ , 510@22′ , 540@22′ , 570@22′ , 600@23′ , 630@23′ , 660@23′ , 690@24′ , 720@24′
Scientific Anglers Skagit Extreme Intermediate specs (grains/length)…
400@21′ , 440@22′ , 480@22′ , 520@23′ , 560@23′ , 600@25′ , 640@25′ , 680@25′