It's pretty cool to see a surge in two hand fly fishing over the past couple of years, and with hardcore groups emerging from Queenstown, the Skagit Bombers in Christchurch and the die hard Turangi crew keeping it real it gives us a chance to play with a bit of new gear to suit the conditions.
In the deep South Ive been playing with a few different lines of recent, and the standout for me has been an Intermediate Compact Skagit from Airflo.
Quite simply it has me swinging down in the water column, avoiding the pull of all those pesky surface currents and gives a smoother, more controlled swing of my fly. Here are a few other things I rate about them:
•Tips get deeper simply by not being bouyed up by a high floating head. They sink more freely and are followed by the head.
•Slower swing than a line racing across currents on the surface, and slower swings are better for lethargic winter trout (keeps the fly in the zone, in front of their nose for longer)
•The currents even a few inches beneath are often slower than those on the surface, and so the intermediate gives you a controlled, more in-touch swing down below than you would get with a floating head.
• This line anchors amazingly. You will experience more 'stick' with your head being subsurface so you can chuck more line into your D and less into your anchor.
• You can fish a lighter tip as your line assists in getting your fly down
•The floating rear taper of the Airflo Intermediate Compact Skagit is coloured scandi blue so you can easily track your swing and know just where you are at all times.
Note: once this line sinks you can no longer mend so for all you 'serial menders' out there, its best to throw that mend in as soon as your line touches down. However with short 18' - 20 something foot heads, you don't really need to mend anyway if you pick your drifts.... Just leave it alone ??
So consider adding an intermediate head to your arsenal and open up new ways to swing that fly, on both big, and smaller waters.