Short shooting heads

Caecilius

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Oct 15, 2020
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Has anyone used or made compact shooting heads, say around 20ft or shorter? I I have just bought a standard 30ft sinking head, and want to experiment with shoter heads.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a shorter head? One issue with the 30ft head is that it requires a fair amount of line outside the guides - for a 60ft cast, that only leaves 30ft of line to retrieve before having to cast again.
 

speytime

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This might help.
The joint is pain, I've found the best one is to use a line with a braided core so that you can feed/poke the running line up inside it whip and aquasure, I barely feel the joint coming through the tip guide.

Al
 

micka

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Apr 12, 2010
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The length of the shooting head will generally reflect the size of the rod I'm fishing. If it's a switch rod between 11/12' I'll use a Switch Chucker of about 23 feet in length in size 7 (it's a sort of scaled down skagit and great for casting in tight spaces and bullying out bigger flies and faster sinking tips - it's an integrated line so no join). I wouldn't use it on a River like the Scottish Dee as it lacks the delicacy often needed in that shallower, clearer river (in normal heights) - the Snowbee Switch or Barrio are more delicate in that context BUT they are by necessity longer. The Airflo Skagit Switch is a pure short head requiring loop to loop joining - not integrated like the Rio Chucker - it has a new name now - search out Tom Larimer's casting demos to see how brilliant it is.

Maintaining short heads for longer. more conventional salmon rods (14' plus) means you are going to do a lot of stripping to get the head in and this can become very tedious (though perhaps necessary if your rivers are cramped and you need smaller D loops - which is why Goran Andersson developed the short head concept teamed with the underhand cast to cope with such conditions - it's been the greatest influence on modern salmon fishing) which is why I use Rio integrated Outbounds of about 36' or so. If I use a short Skagit heads it's to get big flies down deeper via a fast sinking tip of one sort or another - usually in higher or colder water.

There are some brilliant casters (on this Forum and in the world at large) who love much longer 'traditional heads' and achieve wonderfully delicate presentation. However, they need enough space to perform these casts, but I like the forgiving nature of the Outbounds and their commercial equivalents - ease of use means a lot to me as the years add up.

Mick
 
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Caecilius

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Thanks for the replies all. I'll mainly be using these heads in the salt for overhead casting. I have an 8wt and an 11ft 6wt switch rod which I'll be pairing with a 30ft, 300 grain sinking head.
You can retrieve line into the rod rings and roll cast it out again.
Yes, I'll need to practise doing this a bit while on the water.
 

running bear

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Oct 23, 2009
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Thanks for the replies all. I'll mainly be using these heads in the salt for overhead casting. I have an 8wt and an 11ft 6wt switch rod which I'll be pairing with a 30ft, 300 grain sinking head.

Yes, I'll need to practise doing this a bit while on the water.
I’d say 30’ is fine in the salt, you can roll 30’ out as easy as 20’ more or less. But if you want 20’ handling huge amounts of running line isn’t easy, without a good tray and the shorter the head the more running line to handle.
Although if looking for 60’ it’s actually hard to restrict something like a airflo 40+ to 60’, never mind a home made one.
The best thing in the salt, with short heads, is a decent line tray, it makes everything easier to handle. Roll it up, a double haul and let it fly. I’m convinced after using many different line trays, the best is home made.
I was talking about trays with someone chasing bass a month or so ago and I actually couldn’t remember the last time my line tangled in my home made tray. If you want the details I can post a photo.
 
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chrisrfoster

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Sep 23, 2012
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Check out OPST commando heads, I use one on my 9ft 5wt they are a skagit head so you then stick a T-tip on, but you can use a Rio float on it as well
 

Caecilius

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Oct 15, 2020
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Australia
But if you want 20’ handling huge amounts of running line isn’t easy, without a good tray and the shorter the hea
Good point. I have purchased a nice Linkerv line basket which will hopefully serve the purpose well.

I'm also experimenting with running lines - everything from a floating .032" line to 50lb braid. The latter performs very well on grass, but I'm not sure how it would fare on the water.
 

PaulD

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I'm also experimenting with running lines - everything from a floating .032" line to 50lb braid. The latter performs very well on grass, but I'm not sure how it would fare on the water.

I too have done quite a bit of experimentation with running lines. Dry braid will 'fly' on grass but fishing it will be a nightmare, I'd suggest that, if you're tempted to use it, wear gloves. Something else to avoid is any running line that has a flattened section . . . people with straight hair have hair that is round in section . . . people with curly hair have hair that is more oval in section. We don't want curly running line.

The best I found was 30lb Fluorescent Yellow Stren.
 

running bear

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Hi there - if you have a pic of the line tray that would be grand! (y)
See below. Washing up basin plus plastic ground sheet pegs, some epoxy and an old wading belt. The children’s toilet stools also make great line trays, slightly smaller but curved. I have one of those with a hodge man wading belt, but not to hand. Again, groundsheet pegs glued in.
I have small drain holes, I know some like without to lubricate the line and if I was fishing surf I’d have bigger holes, but I fish estuaries.
also handy for pike.
 

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speytime

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If you want maximum distance you can't beat nylon (Amnesia imo) hollow braid is quite rough and won't preform as good as a plastic coated line.

Al
 

tingvollr

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Jul 19, 2017
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I have been using shooting head lines for about 20 years. For a running line I use a reversed WF3 or 4 mill end floaters and needle knot it to 19 or 20 feet of double tapered mill end floater. You need to experiment with the weight and length of fly line depending on the length and weight of fly rod. For my #4 9ft 6inch Penn Gold Medal I have a 6 rated floater cut to 19ft 6inches. For my 9ft 6inch #7 Grey's rod I use a 21ft #8 floater. I use aquaseal to bond the line to the running line. The joins are extremely smooth and I am able to cast without needing to false cast which means I no longer get tennis elbow.
 
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