May 4, 2017

Scientific Anglers Spey Lite Micro Skagit Review

Swinging Micro Skagits 

Are you into mini micro skagits? Read on...

Not into the micro skagits? Could be time to reconsider. Do you swing flies or want to swing flies? Are you interested in spey but hold back due to the many facets of gear acquisition and/or line confusion? Read on!!!

Brief History - What is Micro Skagit

We can accredit OPST with the short (micro) skagit revolution and while it was born on the heels of the steelhead angler those guys had enough insight to realize an open door into the emerging trout spey world. They built their micro skagits heads all the way down to 150 grain and short enough to open up the whole scene of micro skagit single handed rod spey casting. It is a revolution in the fly world that whether you've experienced it or not has created a dramatic change in the way we will view spey casting and fly fishing forever.

When I first entered trout spey nearly five years ago, an area of difficulty that exposed itself very early on was the lack of ability to fish close. Pre-Commando, light grain skagit heads at that time were just downsized from steelhead gear and still way too long. Connecting loops constantly got in the way when trying to fish short. While attempting to boycott head loop systems I tried every integrated switch/streamer version of line on the market from then to now and they all just, in my opinion, failed on the trout stream.

Short micro skagit heads such as commando and trout max solved the situation for most anglers but still the ability to strip and fish very short was interrupted by a loop connection. Every time I attempted to strip in close the head loop snags the guides, every time I attempt to cast close the head loop snags the guides and now that I do so much single handed micro spey the loop to loop connection interferes with my ability to haul my single handed spey cast.

I've been asking for a micro skagit seamlessly attached to a thin diameter running line. You'd think this would be a simple request yet don't ask me to run down the list of past failures because some would not like what I have to say about their current offerings.

Scientific Anglers Listened and Responded!

S/A Spey Lite Skagit

Two versions of this skagit line, Spey Lite Skagit Head and Spey Lite Integrated Skagit. I'm going to kick off this review with the fully integrated running line version

Impressions from actual testing
Starting with a subtle color called horizon they extruded a slick, durable, short, micro skagit head while ending it into an easy to see, in any light, black marker section and finally seamlessly integrates into a thin diameter subtle horizon color running line.

S/A added one additional feature with texturing on the black head marker section to create an audible reference which indicates the head has reached the tip top. At first I didn't give this much thought but after using it I started to realize I was locating the head with my ears and no longer needed to watch for the head marker. The small subtle section of textured line created no interference and the added reference proved to be a cool benefit. The textured section starts immediately at the end of the head and runs about 3 feet of line. Note that this is the only textured part of this full integrated skagit line and the head only version does not have this feature.

Casting Performance

Very Impressive! This is a real deal micro skagit! I put the integrated version skagit through a variety of test subjects including actual two hand trout spey rods as well as four and five weight single hand rods. I easily adapted to all my test rods with many styles of cast including Snap T's, Reverse Snap T's, Snap C's, Reverse Double Speys, T&G's and Single Hand forward hauls. All cast where easy to execute with appropriate tips applied. The Spey rods of course handled T-8 with ease while the single hand rods are best to be equipped with polyleaders. I was able to cast 8' of T-8 with a 9' 5 weight rod with relative ease. I not going to elaborate more into this area because it is a grey area. Limitations of sink tip choice have more to do with the power in the rod being used and ones casting ability. With my equipment and ability I could easily push the limits beyond the printed S/A recommendations found in the product specs.

I'll save you the squalls of smooth, tight and precise analogies and tell you the way it is. It's a skagit! By design they are created to chuck spey cast with relative ease while utilizing sink tips and weighted flies. Spey Lite Skagit performs these duties precisely and effectively.

Test Subjects
Aside the qualities we already talked about this line also benefits from a very slick integrated shooting line. I measured the running/shooting line diameter on both a 210 and 240 grain lines and it micrometers at about .028".  I found the handling and shooting ability of the integrated running line to exceed my expectations on both trout spey two hand rods as well as single hand spey rod setups.

Specs -
Item #Head WeightHead LengthColorSink RateLength

I feel the integrated version of this line really benefits single handed spey rod setups. With the Spey Lite Integrated Skagit on a (for example), 9 foot 5 weight fly rod I can swing flies with mild sink tips or polyleaders and strip them in all the way to the leader. I can also add a "haul" to my forward cast for ease of distance without a loop connection interference. Whether fishing single hand rods, switch rods or trout spey rods the Spey Lite Integrated Skagit gives the angler more versatility "in tighter", on smaller water.

Brownie Likes the swing

Spey Lite Skagit Heads

For many anglers, separate heads and running/shooting/mono lines are better for their purpose. S/A Spey Lite Skagit also comes in a head only configuration. Same great subtle horizon color with black marker rear section. The head version does not have the textured audible section. The head lengths are identical to the integrated version and I found in testing, performance matched exactly.

Specs -
Item #Head WeightHead LengthColorSink Rate

Line Identification

One simple feature I really like about S/A lines is their vertical printed line identification. I find vertical is much easier to read then the horizontal printing others use. Also with the black rear section there is no guessing which end is what on the head only versions. 

Line identification easy to read

I think the integrated version is a slam dunk for those interested in single hand rod spey techniques and also a great choice for those wanting to get into trout spey and not be hassled with loops or too many running line and head choices. The head only version is perfect for those are already accustomed to these systems and/or want that versatility of head and running line choices. Either way they are both excellent performing and high quality that we've come to expect from Scientific Anglers.

Gorge Fly Shop 
Internet Sales Manager
Product Specialist

"Fly Fish the World with Us"


  1. Thanks for doing this review. Would like to use the integrated micro spey with a 10' Echo Ion 6wt...what grain wt would you reccommend?

    1. Leo, 240 grain should nail it. My general grain weight windows for single hand rod Skagits are 150 for 3wts, 175-180 for 4wts, 200-225 for 5wts, 240-250 for 6wts and 270-275 for 7wts
      Let us know how you like it
      Thanks for asking


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