A few years ago I was able to get my hands on the SGS Scandit lines that are built by Steve Godshall. There was no turning back afterwards. I use the Scandit system on almost all of my two handers now. Here is the review I did back then.
My new lines arrived a couple of days after my new rod. I ordered two Scandit line systems to match our 12’6 6/7 Meiser MKS spey rods. Each line system was packed into a nice large head wallet and consists of a Skagit head with 4 zinc 11 tips (6,9,12, and 15 feet), a floating tip that converts it into a Scandi head, four poly leaders, a level running line and a tapered running line. An instruction page was a nice touch to help it all make sense. I was a bit skeptical regarding the idea of changing between skagit and a scandi. It sounded all too easy. Nothing’s that easy…… and I would have to wait to find out for myself.
I spent some time tying up leaders, waiting for a chance to get on the water and test things out. The line sat on the table mocking me and it wasn’t until about a week and a half later that I was able to make a trip to the river. What other river than the Thompson would be best to test out some new gear? I threw the line on my reel, loaded up the truck and hit the road at 4am on a Saturday morning. The weather network called for a low of -12 and a high of -2 but I knew it would be colder. That didn’t include the ever present windchill factor. I was on the water as the sun was coming up and as usual there wasn’t a single person on the water where I was, a popular run that usually requires waiting in line. December usually means cold weather and few anglers on the T. My favourite time of year.
The water temp was a solid 40 degrees farhenheit so I decided to start by swinging a huge black streamer along the bottom. I chose to loop the 12′ zinc tip on the skagit head and added a 5 foot leader and a big articulated leetch. I was using the tapered running line. I had a few problems making the line work for me at first. My fingers were aching from stripping the wet line in the cold and I was getting a little frustrated. I had to sit down for a minute, warm up and figure out what the problem was. I realized, while sipping some Makers Mark from my flask, that I needed to try something different and then come back to this set-up.
I took off the zinc tip and looped on the floating scandi tip. I added one of my home made 12 foot leaders and a purple egg sucking leetch. This set-up felt great and I was able to launch 70 foot casts fairly easily. I realized right away that the problem I was having with the Skagit set-up was that I was still casting it like a Scandinavian line as I’ve been using them almost exclusively lately. I still felt that I needed to add something so I removed my homemade leader and added a floating poly leader and two feet of tippet. Immediately my casts improved. I was able to easily make 80 foot casts, a few longer ones when I needed to. I tried out a sinking versileader and it casted just as well. I tried a few different casts from both shoulders and felt comfortable with them all. Everything except large and weighted flies worked great which seems the norm for scandi lines. After about an hour my “testing” was interuppted by a sharp tug on the line. I set the hook and was into a fish. The line didn’t peel off of my reel and I knew that I had a trout and not a Steelhead. I quickly landed and released it.
A gear fisherman turned up and low holed me soon after releasing the Rainbow. I had fished most of the run and decided to try somewhere else. A few more vehicles were around now that it had warmed up slightly. Luckily there are plenty of places to get away from people on such a big river. I drove just out of town, pulled over and got ready for a hike. Down an embankment, up another, under a fence, along a switchbacking goat trail, down a cliff, across the train tracks, down another cliff, half a kilometer along the ice slick grapefruit sized rocks. This run begged to be fished and no-one seemed to have been here in awhile.
I decided to try the Skagit set-up again. This time I paid close attention to my cast and everything came together. The line casted extremely well once I adjusted to it’s short length and concentrated on sustaining the anchor. I was able to easily manage 80 feet of line and lost enough flies to know that I was getting into the zone. I was rewarded with two more trout. Both were football shaped and heavy.
In the end, I came to two conclusions.
1. This is the best and most versatile line set-up. Just remember to alter your casting styles when you change between Scandi and Skagit and you will love being able to cover so many types of water with one rod, reel and line.
2. Short bellies and heads are not my preferred choice when it’s 12 below zero. I will stick to mid bellied lines in these conditions and avoid having to strip line as much as possible.
The SGS Scandit is without a doubt my favourite line. Custom built to match both the length and grain window of the rod, this line casts easily and is extremely versatile. The Scandit is available on its own or as a full package including a variety of poly leaders and zinc tips.
To order yours contact:
R.B. Meiser Fly Rods
2757 Honor Drive
Medford, OR 97504