Fly fishing is another of my passions, but over the years it had become only a very occasional treat. This year I decided to revitalise my participation in the hobby somewhat. Memories of catching salmon on the Brora when I was perhaps 20 have always stuck in my mind, and I wanted to feel that excitement again. However, I am not particularly effective on the day, with far too many blanks. Nevertheless, the joy of casting a fly in the beautiful surroundings of a lake or a river is hard to beat, and the excitement when I do finally get a fish on is second to none.
Surprisingly much of my gear from back in the day had survived long term storage, although there was a dire need to replace some of my fly lines as the (presumably) PVC lines had not enjoyed the last 30 years - degrading to such a point that they fell apart as I unwound them! When looking for replacements, I was remembering "double tapers" and "shooting heads", but the fly line world is now far more complicated with "Skagit" and "Scandi" now seemingly being the terms of the day. This got me thinking. Who came up with these new terms and are there any patents or trademarks on them? After all, a skagit line was very different to the double taper that I was familiar with... This article from flyfishusa.com seems to offer some of the answers for the word Skagit. Should it have been trademarked, and the form of the fly line protected with a patent?
The term "Skagit Line" is attributed to Ed Ward, who was a fly fishing guide on the Skagit River in Northern Washington. On the Spey Pages discussion group, he was describing a new form of fishing with two-hand rods for winter steelhead. He called it Spey casting. An angler from the British Isles challenged Ed and said that his approach wasn't really traditional Spey casting, so Ed, who tries to get along with everyone said, "Okay, then we'll call it Skagit casting." The terminology stuck in the form of Skagit casting, and Skagit lines. There are now companies marketing special flies, leaders, tying material, etc. using the term Skagit and even pure Skagit.
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