The SA Skagit Extreme Intermediate, Better Casts, Better Swings, More Fish

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Photo by Jeff Hickman

Photo by Jeff Hickman

In the end it all comes down to this. A better head means more fish.

I had the opportunity to try out the Scientific Anglers Skagit Extreme Intermediate head while fishing the Deschutes river this September. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love. The head was not only a pleasure to cast and to fish but immediately put me on fish where my floating head had failed.

Here’s the scenario. I was fishing a tough run at the head of a big rapid where I knew there were fish who didn’t get a lot of attention. The bite had been a little slow and I was really looking for one more fish on my last day. I knew they were there but I wasn’t getting them.

This run was tough for a couple of reasons. It was deep and fast. This made it tough to get the fly down and even tougher to get a good slow swing, but it also made casting tricky as I was in chest deep water with poor footing. On top of that, the water was boiling over big boulders, making it hard to get a good consistent swing. A good run with a lot of challenges.

I fished through it with my floating head with no success. My buddy Jeff Hickman was with me and generously offered me his rod with the SA Skagit Extreme Intermediate. From the first cast it was clear that this was the tool for the job.

First, it solved the casting struggle. This head is one of the best casting heads I’ve used. It almost casts itself. Secondly, by sinking below the surface current it produced a sweet buttery swing. All of the slack caused by the boiling current was gone. I had a slow deep swing with a very straight connection to my fly. Within a few casts I was rewarded with a nice steelhead.

2skagit_extreme_head_smI wouldn’t have thought of an intermediate head for summer steelhead but it turned out to be just the ticket. The 1.5 fps sink of the head allows you to fish shorter tips and makes for easy casting and great presentations. I’ve seen Jeff use this head effectively, paired with a clear intermediate tip for spooky fish in shallow water. It’s a much more versatile tool than I would have guessed.

The taper is very powerful. It turns over heavy tips easily and feels like it cuts the wind better than a floating head. It has a strong braided mono core and welded loops. The blue color is easy for the angler to see and a little more stealthy for the fish. A solid piece of work from the guys at Scientific Anglers.

At the end of the day a better head means more fish. That does it for me.

Get yours HERE!

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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5 thoughts on “The SA Skagit Extreme Intermediate, Better Casts, Better Swings, More Fish

  1. Great to hear that a top company is putting out a line like this! Yet, after I have become a bit educated on the subject, several questions come to mind, to fish this line right: First, do we use this type of line on a single handed, switch, or spey rod? Second, if we do use it on a switch and/or spey rod, do we go by grain weight, and/or rod weight, to match the line to the appropriate rod? Third, will a mid arbor 7 to 9 weight fly reel work with this Skagit line, or do we need a bigger reel with those heavier grain lines, like a 9 to 11 weight mid or large arbor reel?

    I’ve learned enough now to know that switch and spey fishing with the appropriate lines, rods, and reels are a different world than the typical single handed outfit, especially the lighter weight outfits. And I believe the Skagit tipped line is a shorter head than its brother, his name eludes me now. No doubt a larger, switch and/or spey setup would be great to include into a complete arsenal, for salmon, steelhead, char, and the like. But I know now I have to be detailed and critical, to do the job right.


  2. Scandi line is the thinner, longer taper brother to the heavier, shorter taper Skagit spey line. It may be that this new line follows the Skagit concept, but is a new line all together, to meet the needs for the newer switch rods that are being used today. As stated before, I am a newbie at these mentioned concepts, yet interested in expanding my arsenal with an appropriate switch or even spey rod. If someone can be patient and benevolent, and answer all my above questions, you will also help educate other anglers in the process, and earn the right to be called a ‘switch/spey guru’.

    Tight lines to the one who attempts Nirvana,

    Jim Murray

  3. I use the SA intermediate heads for fishing coaster brook trout on a large river system in canada. As to sizing the heads, I drop down one line weight from what I use in a floater skagit head. I find the intermediate head has more stick and needs less weight to load the rod.

  4. As someone once said, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.”. I did the appropriate research, and I probably know more about the answers to my questions than you do. And no, I’m not sharing my knowledge, unless paid.

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