A friend of mine recently coined the term “Skagititis” to refer to the syndrome of the inability to cast a ‘normal’ flyline after spending a given amount of time with a Skagit head.
For those of you that don’t know what a Skagit head is, it is a highly shortened and thickened flyline designed to allow the user to throw larger flies with heavy sinking tips. If your standard floating flyline weighs 600 grains in a 55 –65 foot head, a Skagit line for the same rod would weigh around 700 grains in a much shorter length- say 25 to 35 feet plus tip.
Sufferers of Skagititis exhibit one or more of the following symptoms when casting longer belly lines.
- Weak D-loop formation
- Lack of body motion
- Lack of body twist
- Too much anchor in the water
- Too short a stroke
Not everyone suffers with Skagititis. Some casters can switch back and forth and adapt the length and timing of their stroke appropriately. Others however, may suffer acute Skagititis and feel that they can’t cast at all. Skagit heads are so easy to cast that my Neanderthal friend Og can do it.
I suffer from this syndrome from time to time myself, but it is curable. Simply pick up that old windcutter, delta, long-belly, or even DT line and start casting in slow motion. It all comes back.
Skagititis sometimes comes with complications. Some of these are:
- Runninglineitis: The malady of buying every running line on the market in search of one that lasts and does not tangle. A related problem is forumitis, which is the widespread but minor disease of dominating internet forums by obsessively posting about running lines.
- Tangleitis: The problem of compulsively cussing at and picking knots out of your running line.
- Sinktip tinkeritis: The disease of constantly tinkering and futzing with length, weight, and construction of homemade and custom modified sinking tips. In extreme cases the sufferer no longer actually goes fishing, but spends all his or her time in the garage late at night with the shades pulled and grows a long beard.
- Sinkintheriveritis: The issue of carrying so many different heads and sinking tips stuffed in your vest and waders that you actually sink into the bottom of the river.
- Depthitis: The syndrome of losing all confidence that a steelhead will move to your fly without a heavy sinktip even in 50 degree crystal-clear water.