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Shooting heads DIY
2nd section - cutting and splicing fly lines
Calling for help
In which you learn that having friends is a nice thing
If you have no experience casting a shooting head, now is a good time to use a telephone! Call a friend or fellow fisher who has some experience with shooting heads, and have him or her come over for a cup of mocca and some lawn casting.
Where you are warned that the first cut might be the last
It's not nice to cut a fly line in two. Especially if you have - contrary to my advice - bought an expensive brand name fly line. One wrong cut and what might have been a great shooting head - maybe even two - is ruined and ready for the trash bin.
When all else fails
In which we learn that everything can be overdone
If the shooting head doesn't load the rod in the first few casts, let out a couple of feet of line and blind cast again. If it still doesn't load, you let out even more line. When the rod overloads, you can start the above process.
In which we prepare the newly cut head for the first step in the trimming process
The best way to trim the shooting head is by casting it. Mount a leader on the tapered end - with a nail knot, a loose loop, or by splicing a permanent eye on the line.
In which we learn that iteration can lead to perfection
The mark indicates where the line loads the rod well. We will not cut here immediately for two reasons:
This time the line should cast well at some point where the connection between the shooting head and running line is in front of your hand, but not out of the top eye.
If this is the case, bring the connection out, and cut one or two more feet or 30-60 centimeters. Connect again and test again.
Repeating the testing and cutting with still smaller trims should eventually lead to this result: at some point the connection will pass a foot or so beyond the top eye before loading the rod so well that you can hardly resist shooting line. When this happens, you should stop cutting and start the real casting. Do some practicing with a couple of blind casts, double hauls and the works, and shoot line.
The trimming process is a question of iteration - cast, cut, cast, cut and so on, until the head casts well.
Your shooting head should now ideally be somewhere between 9 and 10 meters (27' and 30').
This link will bring you there.