Shooting heads DIY


The sections

About lines
Sink rates

The more than Adequate Shooting Head DIY, a guide to building your own shooting heads for fly fishing

By Martin Joergensen

More and more salt-water fly fishers seem to choose the shooting head setup as their preferred setup, when fishing from the coast. Steelheaders also use shoting head setups and even salmon fishers, using two hand rods will in many cases prefer a shooting head.
In Denmark, where salt water fishing for sea trout is one of the most common types of fly fishing, the shooting head has become very widespread in the last few years.

In this article I will try to cover some advantages and disadvantages of the shooting head over the WF line, and I will thoroughly describe the way you can configure a good shooting head system for your rod. The article will teach you how to calculate, make and trim a shooting head. It will also tell you how to cast it - just on the introductory level.

List of contents...
Go to the first section...

The author's shooting head setup - click to see how you can make your ownThe construction
The shooting head is a simple construction, where a piece of fly line is attached to a thin shooting (or running) line. You cast the line in the normal manner and the heavier shooting head will pull the lighter running line and typically enable a longer cast with less effort.

This is the author's setup: reel, extra heads and running line   

1st section: introduction and preparation
1. Cast further
In which you learn why it might be convenient to own a shooting head

2. Backsides
Where you learn why a shooting head might not be the best thing since sliced bread anyway

3. Make your own
In which you learn that it's a good idea to DIY

4. Killer lines
In which you learn that some shooting heads sink fast - and just how fast

5. Line weight considerations
Where you learn to determine the proper line weight - and make the first cut

6. Using weight as a measure
Where you learn that weighing the line might sometimes be necessary - or just a good idea

7. Running line considerations
Where you learn the plusses and minuses of different running line types

2nd section: cutting and trimming the line
8. Calling for help
In which you learn that having friends is a nice thing

9. First cut
Where you are warned that the first cut might be the last

10. If all else fails
In which we learn that everything can be overdone

11. Casting tests
In which we prepare the newly cut head for the first step in the trimming process

12. Action! Cut!
In which we learn that iteration can lead to perfection

3rd section: finishing
13. One point casting
In which we learn how to cast a shooting head when fishing

14. Backwards or forwards
In which we learn that the head has a front and a back end - and that they're different

15. Finishing up
Where we learn different ways of doing the final cosmetics on the setup

16. Further trimming the head
In which we learn that the process might not be finished yet

4th section: casting
17. Casting a shooting head
Where we learn a few tricks to cast better with a shooting head setup

Go to the first section...

User comments
From: Alan Nolan · anolana·at·  Link
Submitted February 29th 2008

Top class article, where the information and methods to achieve the desired result are written in a clear and practical manner. Well Done and tight lines !

From: David Swain · wdswain·at·  Link
Submitted October 28th 2007


The weights quoted in the article are for single-handed rods - have you any advice for head weights to match AFTM ratings for double-handed rods?

From: marzio giglio · marzio.giglio·at·  Link
Submitted August 29th 2007

this is a very well organized and well written useful note!!

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