We have often been asked what the difference between a [std] Double Spey and a Skagit Double actually is, just recently “Kush” over on Spey Pages came up with this excellent explanation:
” … there is a real difference (if you are talking about the way Ed Ward does it – I call it the Edgit style). The standard double spey is where when on river right the line is lifted and the rod tip finishes low to the water – with the belly lying on the water. The pick up of the line involves lifting the belly out of the water water and swinging it around into the firing position – this results in a long “white mouse” as the belly moves around. The Skagit double (as done by Ed) does not allow the rod tip to fall to the water when the anchor is set, rather the tip ends up in a vertical position with the right hand at the left shoulder of the caster. This keeps most of the belly out of the water with the exception of the T-14 tip and maybe a foot or two of the belly. The tip is allowed to sink for a count (the so-called sustained anchor) after this patient pause the rod tip is swung out and around and circles up into the firing position. There is at most a very short “white mouse” maybe a foot or two as the belly is moving around and up in the air – not ripping through the water. The Skagit double relies on the deeply sunk sustained anchor to allow the rod to be loaded and line cast in a smooth continual motion – the resulting line speed generated by this is the hallmark of Ed’s casting. …”
In his quest to learn more about steelhead fishing and skagit casting – Kush spent many days fishing, casting and generally just hanging about with Ed Ward … he is also an administrator on Spey Pages and vice president of the BC steelhead association.