If I had to choose one all-round Spey line it would be the Rage Compact from Airflo. It’s rare to have calm days here in NZ so the Scandi doesn’t get out nearly as much as I’d like, yet a lot of waters I fish require a little more finesse, and distance than a Skagit can handle. The Rage is the perfect crossover between Skagit and Scandi, with a thicker, more powerful taper than the Scandi, while offering a more precise and delicate presentation than your Skagit with noticeably less kick.
While designed to work with a wide range of polyleaders and lighter tips, I can happily cast T-7 and T-10 flo tips which alongside an intermediate, and super-fast sink 10’ poly leader covers the vast majority of the waters I fish. Where Scandi heads struggle with anything heavier than floating or intermediate tips and regular sized, standard weight flies the Rage punches through. The longer head length of the Rage Compact allows more flight time and distance than your typical Skagit heads and more dynamic touch and go casts to be employed where desired.
At around 28’ it has several + feet on your typical Skagit heads yet still shoots well, the longer taper design allowing more flight time and thus longer casts. This additional length also eliminates a few extra strips at the end of your swing and gets you casting and swinging again quicker, and the more time your fly spends out there, in the zone, the more fish you’ll catch...write that down.
The decider however for me is the thicker, more powerful front taper. This allows your loop to fly true, less affected by crosswinds than my Scandi compact, yet still retain a more precise presentation than your compact Skagit. In true, Airflo style, the Rage Compact is 100% PVC free, featuring power core technology and a flexi loop, not relying on solvents to create a supple, flexible loop. Polyurethane allows the creation of some of the strongest, most supple loop to loop connections out there that will serve you for many years without breaking down.
The Rage Compact is the perfect, all round head for the rivers, and style of fishing myself and my clients do, and is the perfect alternative to your compact Skagit head when you just don’t need to throw too big or heavy.