Integrated Shooting Head?

t44

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This season I joined a club with a large stillwater, no boats! Whilst the fish do sometimes come into the margins extra distance would be very beneficial at times. Having had a few lessons, plenty of practice and some tips off here I can throw my standard line to the backing, so looking to make a step up. I’ve heard it said that a full shooting head lacks feel, and as the fish at distance are regularly taking small buzzer in the top few feet of water I was thinking of a line such as the Airflo Forty +
Wonder if anyone has any views or suggestions to help my choice?
Thanks
 

PaulD

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First thing to comment on is that the fish will come into the margins more regularly than you imagine, often to feed on snails, shrimp etc, just because you don't see them 'rise' it doesn't mean they're not there. Morning and evening particularly at this time of year, if you sit and watch you may well catch sight of a tail disturbing the surface in the shallows. It is often anglers wading and searching for distance that drives fish from the margins.

Additionally, if you can cast your 'standard line' to the backing I don't feel you're going to achieve any advantage with a mono backed shooting head or overweight WF like a 40+, particularly if you think you're going to fish small buzzers at 30 yards plus.
 

BobP

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and you may not hook the fish at that kind of (long) distance.....
Very true. By the time you've seen the take and reacted, that is a lot of line that has to be shifted before contact is made and trout can spit out a wrong 'un faster than you can blink.
 

James9118

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"Not being able to hook fish at that sort of distance" is another excuse people use for why their casting is poor - they generally have zero evidence to back it up with.

Anyone who's fished buzzers across the wind, allowing a massive 'U' shape to form, thus swimming the flies directly downwind, will tell you of takes that almost rip the rod out of your hand. A straight(ish) long cast is going to have a lot less 'slack' than that huge bow.
 

James9118

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I find that distance has absolutely no influence on hook-up ratio.

Think about carp anglers regularly hooking fish at 100yds plus, or beach casters hooking fish at 150yds plus - these fish hook themselves against the resistance of the tackle used. Fly fishing at distance (or with a massive bow in the line) is similar, the fish hook themselves against the resistance of the line.

Those arm wrenching takes when buzzer fishing aren't the moment of the take at all - the fish has already sensed something is wrong after eating the fly and has bolted - it's this bolt that the angler feels.
 

roadrunner1000

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You describe bolt rigs perfectly . What if the trout is swimming towards you when it takes the buzzer pattern ?
 

codyarrow

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I find that distance has absolutely no influence on hook-up ratio.
Sorry have to disagree. It could be timing, it could be line stretch and I find it harder to hook smaller fish at distance. But there is a difference.
Having said that I would still go after them.
 

t44

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Interesting discussions guys! I’ll rephrase the initial question. I’d like to have a shot at grown on, educated fish at a catch and release lake with no boats. I’m an improving caster and can send a standard line 25 yds no trouble, and regularly the full 30. Rod is a snowbee prestige 10’ 6wt, I’d like a floating line to try to add more distance. Thinking of an airflo 40+ , but open to other suggestions. Thanks
 

PaulD

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If you can cast your standard line 25yds 'no trouble' and 'regularly the full 30', you're far in excess of an improving caster. In addition, you've heard it said that a full shooting head 'lacks feel', are you aware that the 35ft head of an Airflo Superflo 40+ Extreme, 6wt, weighs 13.61 grams? That's the equivalent of an 8wt line on the line weight table and possibly not an appropriate 'tool' for 'grown on, educated fish?
 

James9118

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How far do you think you'll need to cast? Are there any limitations on backcast room etc? Do you happen to know the length of line that you're comfortable with carrying (with sharp, fast loops)? Do you have any old lines that you can chop into shooting heads in order to get an idea of what head length/weight suits your casting?

I'll roll out one of my usual clichés here: you can't buy distance in a tackle shop. That said, shooting heads undoubtedly go further but can take quite a bit of experimentation to get them right. I don't like fishing with them myself (but I do practice with them quite a lot), but I know others use them to great effect.

James
 

AntonB

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Airflo 40+ are great lines but unless you can aerialise 45ft head stay away from the expert series and go with the easy distance 33ft head. No problem hooking at distance its a myth. Just make sure you get the correct line to balance your rod with the full head out.
 

t44

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Thanks for further replies….Paul, I take your point about the head weight landing in the vicinity and your previous comments on fishing in the margins. on prob 2/3 visits it’s not necessary as you suggest but sometimes you can see the fish feeding hard out of range, which can make for a frustrating day! Hence my search for distance. James, this venue is new to me this season, I’ve never regularly fished a place where distance can be so useful. I’m more used to casting 4 wts to rising fish on rivers. I’ve had lessons incl from a BFCC member, sought advice on here and elsewhere, watched loads of YouTube clips and have a football pitch near my house to practice on, so I’m getting there! Afraid can’t answer the question about loops not yet got that technical, and only owned a 6 wt a couple of years so no old lines. Guess I could buy a factory second for less than a tenner! I've seen a demo on making a shooting head but thought an airflo 40+ 6 wt might be the answer, as there’s almost no obstacles on the back cast.
 

karlsson

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The 40+ will be fine, and nothing beats getting a fish at a distance most frown upon.
And yes, it should be overweight!
Just know, that no matter how far you can cast, there will always be fish rising further away 🙂

Cheers
Lasse
 

t44

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Anton thanks just saw your reply, useful info. Recently an instructor tried the rod with a Rio LT on it and thought it felt a bit overloaded. I also have a snowbee xs high float which I think loads it even more! Both 6 wts on a 6 wt rod, looks like more work needed to get the right setup! Cheers
 

t44

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Ha Lasse yes indeed, there is an area of the lake which is def a safe haven 50 - 80 mtrs from the closest bank and I do see the fish feeding here regularly, the lake has fantastic buzzer, spooned fish usually stuffed with them!
 

PaulD

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Many moons ago I used to fish our larger reservoirs from drifting boats in a manner that required being able to cast 40+yards at right angles to the wind. In those days there were no 40+ lines and we made our own shooting heads. We cut them and tailored the length of them from AFTM 9 - 11 double tapers, used 30lb bs Stren nylon as backing and fished them from 10ft, 9 to 11 wt rods. Although the combination seems very 'heavy' in comparison with tackle generally used today it was, when well set up and constructed, quite comfortable to use all day. However, we were not fishing for rising fish, fish actively feeding on hatching buzzers in the surface. Our leaders were often 15lb bs and our flies size 6 longshank and larger, hooking fish was not any greater issue than fishing at 25 yards.

The 40+ is a bit of a beast and not something I would choose to use to fish to rising fish and I'd suggest you look again at what a custom shooting head could offer. I have a 9ft, 5wt Sage TCR which I sometimes use when bank fishing and when the need arises to seek longer distance I use a range of different density, home made shooting heads, cut from 7wt weight forwards. These are 'long' shooting heads, some 45ft or so backed with mono. The longer head helps with better turnover, particularly with longer, finer leaders and smaller flies.
 
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