MOW Tips Explained

MOW Tips Explained

For those interested in learning more about spey lines and the basics of the system designed to harness the capability of modern spey rods, check out the Spey Line article also released in this week’s newsletter.

MOW tips are an essential component to the Skagit shooting head style of fly line, and provide the versatility and depth control essential for effectively fishing runs of various depths and speeds in a variety of conditions. The tips themselves are 10-12.5ft sections of level fly line with various densities and integrated loops on both ends. They are designed to be quickly and easily attached so that anglers can carry multiple tips to swap throughout the day as water conditions dictate. The versatility that these tips enable is tough to beat, especially for anglers fishing high winter water conditions where sink tips are required to get flies down in the water column to where fish are holding.

MOW tips are organized into 4 different families that are defined by sink rate and ideally matched to a specific range of Skagit Head weight (for casting purposes). Each family utilizes a different color material to make them easily identifiable, the chart below provides more detail on the specifics of each family.

Color Sink Rate (Inches Per Second) Skagit Head Weight (Grains) Fly Size
Light (T-8) Dark Red 7 IPS <475 Light
Medium (T-11) Dark Green 8 IPS 475-575 Heavy
Heavy (T-14) Dark Blue 9 IPS 575-675 Heavy and Large
Extra Heavy (T-17) Dark Grey 10 IPS 675< Heavy and Large

Each family of MOW tip includes options to further specify the depth at which the fly is presented. Floating, intermediate, and various integrated (half float-half T-8, 2.5ft float-7.5ft T11 etc) tips truly allow anglers to present flies in a way not possible through any other spey line system.

Most Anglers who fish the Skagit system will carry a wallet of MOW tips with them to be well equipped for any situation they might encounter in a day on the water. It is important to consider rod weight and the grain weight of the Skagit head when selecting a MOW tip, as poorly matched tips can make casting difficult to impossible. Remember that while having the correct MOW tip will allow us as anglers to put flies at various depths, a multitude of other factors including current speed and mend stroke play vital roles in achieving our desired depth and presentation. Finding the optimal balance and developing a sense for matching the correct tip to a specific run or water condition takes some experience, but the payoffs for actively changing tips to search the likeliest of holding water can be incredible.

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