Best New Thing is a new section dedicated to products and services in our industry that switch up the game, make things easier or are just sweet!
OPST Commando Heads- How Shorter Than Super Short Isn’t Too Short
So here it is… time for another installment of stuff I thought would never work… skagit heads that are shorter than already short skagit heads.
Skagit lines are great. We all love em despite our reluctance to say so while casterbating our way through spey claves and online forums. They aren’t for every situation but they sure are for many of them. They really make a guides life easy and brand new clients are often only minutes of practice away from very fishable casts. For a lot of people who learned on windcutters or midspeys (myself included), it wasn’t until everything really shortened up that the spey thing clicked.
When the first wave of shorter Skagit heads like the Airflo Compact or Rio Skagit Short started showing up in lodges I couldn’t help but envision days guiding on the water full of broken anchors and repeating phrases like “stop trying to kill that cast” and “is there a reason your elbows are over your head?” The thought of the commando head, the one shorter than the rest, made me wonder how short is short enough? How short is too short?
I always consider Haida Gwaii the micro gear testing ground. Obviously OPST, short for Olympic Peninsula Skagit Techniques had Washington’s OP rainforest battleground to product test in but in BC, if the Thompson is where you take 16 footers and with 80 foot heads then Haida Gwaii is where you use 12 footers and short heads. If anywhere, the commando heads would have a home here and do they ever! Clients on small creeks who just can’t handle having 8 feet of Skagit head inside the tip while fishing runs can now work out the entire belly and save themselves from my subtle scolding and their pride from breaking another fly off in the trees on the far bank. Zero back cast… no problem! Lead core… piece of cake! Flies more aptly called jigs… yep!
The commando heads are available from 150 grains up to 475 grains. The most recent application I’ve seen for them is as a single hand spey line. Capable of delivering bulky dry flies absurd distances with punch, this line should have a home in the trout fishers arsenal. Of course, its casting a brick in tight quarters that makes it the best new thing.
The OPST Commando Head will surely be a staple for many years to come.