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Shooting Head Connections
« on: April 20, 2008, 23:40:26 PM »
Anyone got a sure fire tidy method of forming a 'seamless' loop on the back end of a Salmon shooting head belly?

I'm planning to remove the outer coating (do you still use nail varnish remover?)
Form a 'Shepherds Crook' type loop with the core and whip securely
cover the joint with heat shrink.

I worry that the exposed core loop will be flimsier than I'd like.

Any comments would be much appreciated.


Magnus Angus

Re: Shooting Head Connections
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2008, 05:29:20 AM »
"I'm planning to remove the outer coating (do you still use nail varnish remover?)"

Depends on the coating plastic and the core type. It'll work on most lines - PVC. You don't need to do that to strip the core - form a tight monofilament noose around the line and pull - the coating will peel/pull off.

"I worry that the exposed core loop will be flimsier than I'd like."

The core is the strong bit if that's what worries you? Typically a fly-line tests at 20lb or a bit more - almost all that strength comes from the core. If you mean it'll be too floppy and cause the joint to hinge? Since the shooting line will probably be mono or similar the sudden change from thick heavy fly-line to thin light mono means there is always a discontinuity in the mass - thats what causes "hinging" not stiffness- just keep the overhang short enough and you'll be fine. shows how to make a strong loop if the core is conventional Dacron type braided multi filament nylon.

Since you're using shrink tube - you could try folding the end of the coated line back on itself then slip inside the tube and heat. If you use high temperature shrink tube the PVC coating fuses to itself inside the tube when the heat is high enough - cigarette lighter hot. With a little practice and care, before folding the line back on itself you can shape the end of the line to an angle where if folds back and get a really neat loop in the line.

For emergencies - fold the end of the line on itself and tie a nail knot around the folded end and the main line to form a loop.

I've been playing with a couple of sets of Shooting heads for the past couple of weeks - casting very good fishing distances is astonishingly easy - far less effort than a full line.


Re: Shooting Head Connections
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2008, 06:58:51 AM »
Is it really all win/win with a shooting head? If so why are we still buying full lines? Are we just stupid? (Distinct possibility in my case)
I had started looking into this but hadn't come to any conclusions about it.


Re: Shooting Head Connections
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2008, 09:30:25 AM »
I use shooting heads for about 90% of my fly fishing and I have several methods of attaching them....

....depending on the actual shooting line...

First, is I buy the Rio shooting heads as they already have a loop formed in its easy to to a loop to loop

Second, if i am using a head that needs a loop formed, I use a braided loop (Extra large from Rio..but thats because I am using 10 weight heads). I use three bits of shorter tubing rather than one long bit, and add a touch of glue between them. Been doing this for about 7 years now and never had one fail. It does not stiffen the line too much this way.

Third, I do have 2 floating lines that I peeled back the outer, doubled over the core and whipped it. I then applied epoxy to make a smooth transition. What I ended up with was 2 inches of still line that rattles through the rod rings :( However, you cannot use this method on "slime line" intermediates.

The type of shooting line makes a HUGE difference to the cast. Because i am fishing for Pike using heavy gear and i am expecting big fish, I found standard shooting lines to cut my fingers badly (Amnesia, Corba etc) so I looked for something a bit thicker. I switched to hollow nylon braid that is a bit kinder on my fingers when double hauling. This allowed casts almost as far, but I had better control over it. However, like normal nylon its prone to tangles if windy. Both of these lines can be attached with a grinner knot to the loop in the head..or..the hollow brad can be slide onto the shooting head if it does not have a loop...and secured like the braided loops.

I now use a running line from Hardy, which Andy Murray put me onto. Its like a very very thin fly line in feel, is orange and it floats.  Its designed for salmon fishing but suits me perfect. You lose some distance, but you gain much better control in bad weather, plus for me, the fact I can see it when a big fish runs is a bonus! I use a braided loop on this I just loop to loop the various heads to the line and away i go. I just carry the heads coiled up in my pocket :)

Hope that helps a little.


Re: Shooting Head Connections
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2008, 10:07:25 AM »
Firstly thanks for the info. gents.

Magnus - it was the flexiness of the joint as opposed to the strength that was my issue. I appreciate your point about the the joint always going to be fairly flimsy due to the difference in diameters of running line and's just that the loop on my current belly has some form of 'glue' coating (aquasure?) around the looped core which makes for a nicer more 'standy outy' job.

I don't know if I described that very well but its very neat and as if the looped core had a thin diameter sleeve threaded over it prior to whipping.

I don't know the core material as yet but it's a Guideline DDC shooting head system.

As for the shooting head style of lines I can only comment on my very short experience in fishing with a double handed rod - had my first casting lesson in February this year. I find the style of set up quite easy to use as the novice knows exactly how much line to have out on each and every cast ,allowing your casting technique to be ingrained more easily.
I also only need 1 spool to cover all the permutations of fishing depth. IM Personal experience decent distances can be achieved from what I would condsider tight spaces. Fishin' Kev uses an Ian Gordon Spey line with a long belly and he has quite a lot of line outside of the tip to deal with prior to casting. Which brings me to the three points of concern I have with the system;

While making longish casts there is a lot of retrieving of the running line to do.
When fishing from the bank (very often on the Don) the running line can get severly attracted to the undergrowth.
I still get concerned about the possibility of joints getting hung up in the tip ring when playing a fish.

This said I really like the system

Thanks again


Magnus Angus

Re: Shooting Head Connections
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2008, 11:04:56 AM »
Hi Iain

Strange - the heads I've been casting are RIOs on a single hander and Guideline on a double hander.

Those are all genuine issues and the price you pay.
Nothing you can do about retrieving line.
Shooting line can be better controlled with a line-basket or tray - not ideal with a DH rod. Rather than using hard thin tangly shooting line, you can use a thin level coated shooting line - essential thin fly line similar to the running line on a WF line - exactly what Rob describes - all fly line makers sell one.
Joints can get hung up in the tip. Chances are you have a modern stiff/fast rod? If so you should not be playing fish with a vertical rod (probably not with a softer slower rod either) - the join is very obvious, so long as the angle between the rod and line is not too dramatic it slips through without problems. If you're worried about that bit, fish at all times with your personal low-paid net-wielding flunky or beach your fish without bringing the head inside the rod :grin (I'm working on the flunky - yet to find one  :z6)

The Sexyloops link includes the glue coating thing. As Rob says, braided loops, very well fixed, work well.

As far as casting goes I've not found a downside.

If so why are we still buying full lines? Are we just stupid?

 :grin because we don't? Whole lot of reasons including tradition, the style of casting we were taught and the rods we were taught with. That said, if I want to cast longer I need a longer head, meaning, I may as well use a modern Spey line (or three - floater, inter and sinker.) If I want to re-present a fly more quickly I'd have a modern Spey line.
I don't believe the idea that I can't control the fly in running water as well with a head system - I can mend a full line - I can steer a shooting head, the shooting line is so light I can lift the rod slightly and change the angle so the fly does what I want it to do.


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