Scandi Spey Shooting Heads, October Caddis, Tippet Rings

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Scandi Shooting Heads
October Caddis
Tippet Rings

Al Buhr SchoolSALE ENDED

Scandi Spey Shooting Heads Defined
The Science of Spey Casting/Fishing seems to have diversified along three main schools (or philosophies). Those are regularly called the Traditional, Skagit and Scandinavian methods.  Traditional Spey casting methods have evolved slowly over the past several hundred years. This evolution was fueled by incremental changes in rod/line technology which resulted in improvements in the use of materials that were available. Understanding of casting dynamics often arose from these changes in technology. More responsive tools lead to new casting techniques. Progress was slow because of the relative sameness of woods and animal fibers from which all fly rods and lines were constructed. When superior synthetic materials for rods/line construction became available, casting techniques also began to change.  During this same period, scientific methods also became available for analyzing the dynamics of fly casting. This lead to a quantum leap in how much fly line speed could be developed. 
  The Scandinavian and Skagit methods, have each evolved over the last twenty years. The two methods have evolved independently on opposite sides of the planet.  The Skagit method could be termed a Pacific Northwest winter steelhead method. Skagit and Scandi methods each have applications appropriate for steelhead fishing.
At first the differences between Scandinavian Style and Skagit Styles doesn't seem very apparent.  Both styles employ lightweight, medium-length two-hand rods and shooting head fly lines. Both methods insist that the cast is thrown with emphasis on the under-hand (if you are Scandinavian), or bottom-hand (if you are North American). Yet, within the subtle differences between rod/line designs and casting methods, there is an interesting divergence in actual fishing application.
Scandinavian rods are stiffer and faster action than Skagit rods, which are actually fairly "Traditional Action".  Scandinavian Action rods are very fast and Skagit rods are pretty slow.  The Scandi rods store the most power in the tip of the rod, and Skagit rods concentrate power lower into the butt. The difference in casting strokes between the two methods might be characterized by the fact that the Skagit cast can uses a hard, extended anchor on the water and a continuous acceleration to the stop. Scani lines are normally lighter in weight than Skagit lines. Skagit Casting uses the weight of the line to load the rod. Scandi Casting relies more on line speed to load the rod.  The Scandinavian method uses a very light anchor on the water and a slight deceleration and then reacceleration in the formation of the D-loop.  The Scandinavian cast ordinarily uses a longer, narrower D-loop than the Skagit cast.  Part of the reason is that Scandinavian flies are usually slightly smaller and lighter in weight than many of the flies used in the Pacific Northwest during the winter season.  Also, apparently Atlantic Salmon are more prone to come to the surface than are our winter steelhead.  The Scandinavian method fishes the fly downstream at a steep angle that brings the fly across slowly on a steady predictable course.  The Skagit method often presents the fly more across-stream, or even slightly upstream, then the fly is allowed to drift and sink before coming under full tension.  When both methods are applied in their purest form, you can readily see how the tackle and casting methods evolved along divergent paths. The main differences between the fly lines is that the Skagit line concentrates more weight in a shorter mass, especially in the sinking tip portion, which helps turn over heavy, bulky flies. 
  The Scandi Head often uses a Polyleader to extend it's length. Polyleaders are actually made from fly line material and when added to a shooting head, become part of the total length and mass of the head. When their influence on the line is portrayed on paper, the overall design of the Scandi shooting head doesn't seem radical. Interestingly, the favored methods that have been evolving along the Sandy and Clackamas Rivers are kind of in-between or a cross-between the two methods, and both Scandi and Skagit methods are gaining popularity here.
  Scandi Shooting Heads are hugely popular on rivers that enter the Columbia east of the Cascade Mountains. Redband Steelhead are prone to rise to smallish flies that are best fished with pinpoint precsision. The ability to control fly speed during the presentation is often the difference between blank days and the ones that result in many fish pictures. The long front tapers on Scandi lines enable each caster to predictably dissipate line speed at the end of the cast for perfect landings, which enables each cast to land on the water tight and straight. Fewer mends are needed keep the fly travelling at a perfectly constant speed, which enables it to become the most predictable and most vulnerable target for the fish. Remember there isn't anything the matter with "easy", and that includes from the fish's perspective.
  Ultimately longer lines powered by long rods will cast further. No Spey tournament casters use short heads or shorter rods during competitions. The longer the head, the longer the cast, this is logic. A line only casts for as long as it is unrolling in the air, and the longer the head, the longer time it will take to unroll. However the longer the head on the line, the more room it takes to form an efficient D-loop. Long belly lines are also hard to cast when there is wind because they take a longer length of time to form a cast.
  Shooting heads concentrate the weight for loading a rod into a more compact area for ease of presentation while fishing. Because of various factors, most steelhead fishing in the Pacific Northwest is done at ranges of under 100', even by angler who can cast much further. Every angler would like to fish with the lightest rod possible to minimize fatigue and maximize enjoyment. Short lines are more easily propelled by shorter rods. Two-hand rods are becoming both shorter and lighter in weight. Twenty years ago the most popular steelhead rod/line combination was a 14' #9 weight. Now most rods for summer fishing rarely exceed 13.5'.  Most are 12-13 feet in length and throw from #5-#7 lines.
  This is due to changes in rod design and construction materials, but probably even more so because newer fly line designs have allowed rods to change. A deeper understanding of fly line taper designs have allowed lines to become shorter and still reach fishable distances. Remember that lines retain casting energy only as long as they remain in the loop. As soon as a line straightens out in the air, all of the energy is gone and forward momentum stops. A front taper on the line dissipates energy and slows turnover down, enabling the line to stay in the loop longer, thus enabling the line to travel further by retaining energy longer. For that reason, modern Scani Heads have long front tapers.
The common Scndi design now incorporates heads that are 2.5-3 times as long as the rod used to employ them. Like their Skagit line cousins, Scandi lines are getting shorter and fatter. Many new line designs are barely 2.5 times rod length. For instance a 13' #6/7 rod now is normally lined with Scandi head of 31' to 33' weighing 385-420 grains.

Rio Steelhead Scandi Line
Rio's latest Scandinavian style shooting head is designed for the two-hand and switch rod steelhead fly fishers. With shorter head lengths and shorter front tapers than previous Rio Scandi designs, they are ideal for casting larger steelhead flies and sinking VersiLeaders. The head size options have been carefully selected, and tuned for the most common rods used by modern steelhead fly fishers, and feature Rio's newest skinny welded loops on each end for easy rigging. In 31' lengths they are meant for very short spey rods and switch rods of 12' or less in lengths. In lengths of 32' to 34' they are meant for rods of 12' and longer.
Item Description Size Price To Top
20101 Rio Steelhead Scandi Line, Color Ivory 310 grain
31 ft.
20102 Rio Steelhead Scandi Line, Color Ivory 350 grain
31 ft.
20103 Rio Steelhead Scandi Line, Color Ivory 385 grain
31 ft.
20104 Rio Steelhead Scandi Line, Color Ivory 480 grain
31 ft.
20105 Rio Steelhead Scandi Line, Color Ivory 435 grain
32 ft.
20106 Rio Steelhead Scandi Line, Color Ivory 450 grain
33 ft.
20107 Rio Steelhead Scandi Line, Color Ivory 480 grain
34 ft.
20108 Rio Steelhead Scandi Line, Color Ivory 510 grain
34 ft.
20109 Rio Steelhead Scandi Line, Color Ivory 550 grain
34 ft.

Tactical Steelhead Spey Shooting Head
Take the tight loop and casting ease of a Scandi Compact head and couple it to the versatility of a multi-tip line and you have the basis for the Airflo Tactical Steelhead shooting head. To help cut through the wind and to make casting modest sink tips and larger flies easier, the Tactical Steelhead has a larger tip diameter than the Scandi Compact. With a smooth front taper and removable floating tip the newest two-hand line from Airflo will convert from a floating line to sink tip better than any existing line. The mint green colored heads come in a #5 weighing 400 grains all the way to a #9 weighing 670 grains. Unique to the Tactical Steelhead is the 8 foot removable ridged floating tip. The ridged tip helps anchor the cast. Airflo's indestructible heavy duty loops connect the tip to the head and the head to the running line. All sizes are made on a low stretch 30lb core. Remove the floating tip and connect your

 favorite sink tip and get down. Color: Pale Mint Green
Item Description Size Price To Top
511227 Airflo Tactical Steelhead Spey Shooting Head Line #5
390 grains
37 ft.
511203 Airflo Tactical Steelhead Spey Shooting  Head  Line #6
460 grains
38 ft.
511210 Airflo Tactical Steelhead Spey Shooting Head Line #7
520 grains
39 ft.
511180 Airflo Tactical Steelhead Spey Shooting Head  Line #8
590 grains
40 ft.
351197 Airflo Tactical Steelhead Spey Shooting Head  Line #9
660 grains
41 ft.

Rio AFS (Advanced Flight Spey) Shooting Heads

 Olive                             Orange 

AFS Shooting Head  Buy Now!
Advanced Flight Spey Shooting heads have a very unique taper design that easily loads up a spey rod either for overhead casting, or for spey, or the underhand casting style. I was able to spend a lot of time on the Deschutes River fishing the Rio AFS Shooting head system during August, September and October, 2007.  My clients and I found the AFS Line to be ideal for most of the steelhead fishing we did there.  It works in both calm and windy conditions.  Because the Deschutes is a river where the

riparian zone is allowed to flourish naturally, back-cast room is always a problem.  The short-head configuration of the AFS allows an angler to form very shallow D-loops and still cast remarkable distances.  By and large all the water that needs to be covered, can be covered easily with the AFS. The short body section and long, fine front taper efficiently transfers energy down the length of the head and results in great turnover and a precise presentation of the fly. Incredibly tight loops and effortless casts of easy distance are a result of this unique taper design.
Each AFS floating shooting head is two-colored with the majority of the line being a subtle green color to avoid spooking fish in low and clear water. The rear 15 ft is a visible yellow, allowing the angler to track the line and control how it fishes as it swings through the current.
Both ends of the AFS head feature a small, neat welded loop. Attach a suitable shooting line to the rear loop – either SlickShooter or one of RIO’s Powerflex core shooting lines for the best in performance – and one of RIO’s Powerflex core leaders to the front end for complete depth control. The rear loop is bar-coded for easy recognition.
Essentially this is Rio's version of the popular Vision Ace line.
For rods 13' and shorter in length use AFS with a standard tapered leader or with a PolyLeader 10' or shorter.  For rods longer than 13' a PolyLeader of 10'-15' might be desirable.

Item  1 Description Size Price To Top
21576 Rio Advanced Flight Spey, Full Floating Shooting Head, OLIVE AND YELLOW, 4/5, 300 gr. $49.95 SALE ENDED
21577 Rio Advanced Flight Spey, Full Floating Shooting Head, OLIVE AND YELLOW 5/6, 340 gr. $49.95 SALE ENDED
21578 Rio Advanced Flight Spey, Full Floating Shooting Head, OLIVE AND YELLOW 6/7, 400 gr. $49.95 SALE ENDED
21579 Rio Advanced Flight Spey, Full Floating Shooting Head, OLIVE AND YELLOW 7/8, 460 gr. $49.95 SALE ENDED
21580 Rio Advanced Flight Spey, Full Floating Shooting Head, OLIVE AND YELLOW 8/9, 520 gr. $49.95 SALE ENDED
21581 Rio Advanced Flight Spey, Full Floating Shooting Head, OLIVE AND YELLOW 9/10, 580 gr. $49.95 SALE ENDED
21582 Rio Advanced Flight Spey, Full Floating Shooting Head, OLIVE AND YELLOW 10/11, 640 gr. $49.95 SALE ENDED
Item 2 Description Size Price To Top
21553 Rio Advanced Flight Spey, Full Floating Shooting Head, ORANGE 5/6, 340 gr. $49.95 SALE ENDED
21554 Rio Advanced Flight Spey, Full Floating Shooting Head, ORANGE 6/7, 400 gr. $49.95 SALE ENDED
21555 Rio Advanced Flight Spey, Full Floating Shooting Head, ORANGE 7/8, 460 gr. $49.95 SALE ENDED
21556 Rio Advanced Flight Spey, Full Floating Shooting Head, ORANGE 8/9, 520 gr. $49.95 SALE ENDED

Compact Scandi Shooting Heads
The Scandinavian Compact lines are designed to perform with modern shorter rods or where back cast room limits the available space for your "D" loop. Scandi Compacts come in ten sizes from the scant 270 grain 29' #4/5 to its largest brother, the 540 grain 34' #8/9. These heads have made casting so easy it isn't fair to those who had to learn with a conventional long belly line. Whether it's steep banks or tough winds ripping up the canyon, the Scandi Compact helps anglers of any skill level cast like a pro in no time.
Color: Pale Blue
Item Description Size Price To Top
RS-SCC-270-PB Airflo Scandi Shooting Head 4/5
RS-SCC-300-PB Airflo Scandi Shooting Head 4/5
RS-SCC-330-PB Airflo Scandi Shooting Head 5/6
RS-SCC-360-PB Airflo Scandi Shooting Head 5/6
RS-SCC-390-PB Airflo Scandi Shooting Head 6/7
RS-SCC-420-PB Airflo Scandi Shooting Head 6/7
RS-SCC-450-PB Airflo Scandi Shooting Head 7/8
RS-SCC-480-PB Airflo Scandi Shooting Head 7/8
RS-SCC-510-PB Airflo Scandi Shooting Head 7/8
RS-SCC-540-PB Airflo Scandi Shooting Head 8/9

October Caddis Hatches
October Caddis Adult. Photo: Mark Bachmann
Big fish on the surface is the attraction.
The Pacific Northwest has spectacular hatches of giant caddis. Most of these hatches are in the fall, but some cold spring creeks have hatches through much of the winter and into the spring as well. The fat bodies of winged adults are in colors that range from light tannish orange to yellowish orange to bright orange to burnt orange. Wings are usually gray but there are also brown tones. There are apparently a number of different sub-species in what is commonly called October Caddis or Fall Caddis or Giant Caddis.  Most belong to the family Dicosmoecus.
They range from California to Alaska. 
This steelhead ate an October Caddis dry fly. Photo: Patty Barnes
The larva of these giant caddis build tube-like cases.  During the winter months when the larva are tiny, these cases are made from vegetable matter attached to a foundation of silk.  As the larva grows in size through the spring months they abruptly switch to cases made from small gravel.  You can observe these larvae crawling around on the streambed dragging their cases with them as the forage for algae and decaying plant and animal matter.  During the the summer months of June and July Dicosmoecus larvae are important trout foods.  Daily behavioral drift cycles occur in the early afternoon, usually peaking about 4:00 P.M.  They are one of the few families of caddis that leave their cases before behavioral drift cycles.  This makes them extremely enticing to large trout.  In August these larvae seal themselves in their cases and by September they are ready to emerge as adults.
October Caddis Cased Larva (under water). Photo: Mark Bachmann
Emergence occurs from late afternoon until dark. The pupae usually swim and crawl to shallow water, but some emerge mid-river. Many actually crawl from the water to hatch on rocks along the shore.  Even when adults are not active, you can tell if October Caddis have been hatching by observing their shucks on stream margin rocks.  If prospecting with a dry October Caddis pattern doesn't turn up any interest, try a pupa pattern.  Pumpkin orange color is usually the best.   Try fishing your pupa suspended from a dead drifted dry fly.  This technique can be very productive late in the evening when both egg laying adults and hatching pupas are both active. Steelhead as well as trout can be fooled by this trick.
Egg laying occurs in the afternoon and evening.  The big, fat juicy females flop around on the water exuding their eggs.  They are a prime attraction for fish of all sizes.  Fishing a big orange body dry fly can be productive any time of day if you fish in shady spots under overhanging trees.  Some caddis are active during moderate temperature days.  Most of the big caddis rest in the shade of vegetation throughout hot days.  These caddis are perfectly camouflaged to hide during the day and wait for evening flights.

October Caddis, Dry
October Caddis is the big fall hatch. This pattern has a tightly stacked elk hair wing for maximum floatation and feelers for realism.
Item Description Size Price To Top
11461 Sloan's Paralyzer October Caddis, Dry 10 3 for $6.25 SALE ENDED

Tied Down Caddis, Orange
Sometimes called the Full Back Caddis, it is effective for representing both large caddis and stone flies.
Item Description Size Price To Top
5070-06 Tied Down Caddis, Orange 6 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED

Improved Sofa Pillow
This fly is generally used as a stone fly imitation, however, it is also a very good October Caddis.
Item Description Size Price To Top
6075-08 Improved Sofa Pillow 8 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED

Tungsten Bead Head Pupa
Trout and steelhead will target October Caddis pupas. The pupal phase of this life cycle happens inside of a stone encrusted case which is attached to the under side of stream bed rocks. At emergence, the pupa cuts its way out of the case and drifts along the bottom of the river until it reaches a place where it can crawl out of the water. Fish usually target the pupas as they are drifting along the bottom of the river.
Item Description Size Price To Top
18120 Tungsten Bead Head October Caddis Pupa 6 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED
18121 Tungsten Bead Head October Caddis Pupa 8 3 for $5.85  SALE ENDED
18122 Tungsten Bead Head October Caddis Pupa 10 3 for $5.85  SALE ENDED

Oct'phat Ass Oct'phat Ass
Heavily weighted October Caddis puppa pattern commonly used for both trout and steelhead. October Caddis usually crawl out on mid stream boulders or stream side vegetation to hatch. However a long drift period can happen before they crawl out of the water. Emergence usually happens strongest during low light conditions.
Item Description Size Price To Top
ST195 Cone Head Oct'phat Ass October Caddis Pupa 8 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED

Peaking Cased Caddis Larva
Trout often intercept cased caddis larvae as they are drifting down the river. Best time to fish this fly is May through July.
Item Description Size Price To Top
9115-06 Peaking Cased Caddis Larva 6 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED
9115-08 Peaking Cased Caddis Larva 8 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED
9115-10 Peaking Cased Caddis Larva 10 3 for $5.85 SALE ENDED

Anglers Image® Tippet Rings
Sometimes you discover solutions to problems where you least expect to find them. Tippet rings used in trout leaders can become the perfect connection for droppers used in steelhead  fishing. These tiny stainless steel rings are very strong. To build a very efficient "two-fly-cast" for fishing tandem wet flies, start with a Rio 6' - 16 lb. leader and attach your tippet ring to it with an improved clinch knot. To this ring attach 30"-36" of ten pound test Maxima tippet. To the same ring attach a length of 15 pound test Maxima tippet. This will become your dropper.  This dropper should be about four inches long when the fly is attached with a non-tightening loop knot. Usually the largest fly is attached to the dropper and a smaller fly is attached to the tippet. This is a deadly rig when fishing rivers such as the Deschutes.
These Extra Strong Fine Diameter Tippet Rings can be used for many types of fishing.
Allows for faster tippet changes and longer leader life. Tippet rings are only 2.25 mm in diameter. The use of tippet rings originated in Europe. During a fishing match, competitive anglers valued a fast and easy system to change the size of their tippet. Our Anglers Image® Tippet Rings allow the angler to simply knot the tippet end of their leader to the ring (using their favorite knot).
Unlike a blood knot or a double surgeons' knot, the use of a tippet ring allows the angler to connect a tippet that is significantly different in diameter than the end of the leader. For example, it is difficult to connect a 3X leader to a 7X tippet via a knot, but, with the use of a tippet ring, it is possible. The advantage to the angler is that they can rapidly change tippet diameters without the need to drastically rebuild or restructure their leader.

Aside from making tippet changes fast and easy, here are some tricks to employ while on the water:
1: Pinch on your split-shot above the tippet ring so that it will not slide down to your fly.
2: To create a dropper, extend a short section of tippet material off of the ring and connect a fly to it. A split-shot sinker can also be added in the same way.
3: To keep stick-on strike indicators in place, stick them on the tippet ring. The added benefit is a level tippet between your indicator and fly. This will sink the fly faster and make for a natural dead-drift.
4: 9 to 12 ft. leaders that taper down finer than 5X usually have long tippet sections. Knowing this, it is a good idea to cut back the leader 18 to 24 inches before adding the tippet ring and new tippet section.
Anglers Image® Tippet Rings come 10 per pack and are CNC spot welded in Germany.
Item Description Price To Top
ACCTPR Anglers Image® Tippet Rings,
10 per pack

NEW FOR 2011  Featuring The Best Of The Best !!!
Deschutes River Summer Steelhead Spey
Your next step toward excellence!
Al Buhr
FFF Certified Master Instructor, Al Buhr is always one of the most popular presenters at the Sandy River Spey Clave. His casting & fishing talents are truly legendary. Al joins our team for a Summer Steelhead Fly Fishing School on the Deschutes River September 18, 19, 20, 21, of 2011. Also instructing in this school are Mark Bachmann, Josh Linn & Ron Walp. Luxury river camp with two big jet boats. Six sessions on the water with the best guides and instructors you ever fished with.

The popular PhD School has been further refined and super-sized.
Don't wait to sign up. There is already a waiting list.
Each part of this school features four guides, two big jet boats, and the best camp on the river.
Mid-September is prime time for Deschutes River steelhead fishing. This school intends that you will graduate with extensive proprietary knowledge of steelhead fly fishing and spey rod casting.

We will camp on prime water and we will have boat access to miles 
of steelhead runs that will present a diverse array of angling opportunities and challenges.
Classes will be held mid-day.  You will fish with a guide each morning and evening.
Brunch and dinner will be served at times to give you the best fishing periods.
This will give you the best advantage for hooking as many steelhead 
as possible during your stay with us.
Nothing teaches you more about fishing than being where 
fish are being hooked and landed.

You will learn all aspects of spey rod fishing with both floating and sinking-tip lines. 
Learn how to locate steelhead water and how to approach it. 
Watch an expert guide as he fishes and discloses the secrets
 and proven methods that put fish on the beach.  
Get a lot of hands on help (4-guides for 8-students) so that you too can be productive.
Save yourself years of experimenting on your own.
You will be pampered!
You will stay in a very comfortable tent camp on the water.
A Camp Person will be available at all times to make your stay as comfortable as possible.
All cooking and eating will be done in a spacious screen-house.
Comfortable sleeping cots and pads are supplied in double occupancy tents. 
All food & non-alcoholic beverages are included.

Bring your own sleeping bag, clothing, toiletries,
waders, rain gear, rods, reels, flies & tackle.

Price includes your Deschutes Boaters Pass.
Price does not include your Oregon Fishing License, which may be purchased online.

Price: $1,895 per person.     
More Excellence !!!

Price: $1,895 per person.     
Meet at Mack's Canyon Camp Ground at:
Noon 9/18 arrive back at Mack's Canyon a Noon 9/21.
Date: September 18, 19, 20, 21, 2011
8 students only !
First come, first served. 

Do to the logistical nature and the demand on these schools,
deposits are transferable to other students, but not refundable.
Item Description Price To Top
SPEY-SCH-091821-11 4-day Deschutes steelhead school with Mark Bachmann, Josh Linn, Ron Walp and Al Buhr, September 18, 19, 20, 21 Deposit

The Fly Fishing Shop HOME. The Fly Fishing Shop, Welches, OR

1(800) 266-3971

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Fish long & prosper,
Mark & Patty