Shooting heads DIY


The sections

About lines
Sink rates

4th section - Casting

by Martin Joergensen

17th chapter
Casting a shooting head
Where we learn a few tricks to cast better with a shooting head setup

If you are used to casting with overhead casts, the use of a shooting head will not be strange to you. It responds a bit more aggressively and will probably gain a bit more line speed than your usual WF line, but that's the whole idea.
There is some advice you should heed:
- Roll cast the line to stretch the line on top of the water before the first back cast.
- Use the tension of the line on the water to load the rod for the first back cast.
- Use as few blind casts as possible - one will often do. Excessive blind casting does not give more distance.
- Shoot line when the head is just out of the top eye with only enough running line free to work the cast.
- Use a double haul to increase casting speed and length.

The above animation and the video below shows the most efficient way to cast a slow sinking or sinking shooting head. Strip a couple of times when the base of the head passes through the top eye. Make a roll cast to bring the shooting head to the surface. Let the head and a bit of running line pass through the top eye in the cast. As soon as the line touches the surface, make a single back cast and cast the shooting head and running line.
In some cases one or two blind casts will aide the cast, increasing speed and distance, but excessive blind casting will rarely bring anything good. Never work out too much shooting line. This will only add length to the casting part of the line, but no weight and bring nothing but trouble.
The efficiency can be highly improved with a double haul — in fact a shooting head cast is almost impossible to do without.
Click to see articleRead about the most common casting errors - and how to avoid them
Notice how the cast is centered around the transition between the shooting head (red) and the running line (gray). This link will pass through the top eye under great stress several times in every cast. It has to be the sweet spot of the setup, and the head needs to cast well with just a bit of running line out of the top eye and still load the rod well with a meter or two (3-6') of the shooting head inside the top eye.


Video showing how to effectively cast a shooting head.
Missed the intro...? This link will bring you there.

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User comments
From: David Harvey · suzyanddavidharvey·at·  Link
Submitted February 15th 2008

This is really helpful. I am a returning SH fisherman who has formerly only used single handed SH lines. Now I am looking to increase my distace by speycasting sh lines and am putting together a few outfits made from old DT lines and airflo running line (looped already) and some floating hollow nylon running lines. Is the nail knot the best option for permenant connections (covered with varnish or aquasure)? I suspect my hollow running line will slip unless I heat the end to make a bump or roughen it slightly to create some friction- not too keen on this one! Any advice welcome.

From: Steve Porter · sporter·at·  Link
Submitted February 5th 2006

Great article. Wish I'd read it before I selected and cut my floating head.

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