This shooting head setup for coastal fishing is both inexpensive and very easy to cast
A couple of months ago, I was fishing with a friend for seatrout on the coast in Denmark. It was a nice day with lots of sun and a nice breeze blowing almost directly into our faces. My friend was having some serious problems getting his fly out over the area where the seatrout would be hunting. He was taking about ten false cast and then shooting some line, but always coming up just a bit short of his target. I counted one time where he made 13 (thirteen!) false cast to try and get his line out. I on the other hand had a great day fishing, two false casts and shoot enough line to reach the target area. After landing a nice seatrout my frustrated friend made a comment about his casting ability, and wanted to know what he is doing wrong, I simply responded, what you needs is "Henning's Setup"
Henning is a good friend,
who has over the years been a big help to myself and many other seatrout anglers on the coast of Denmark, with his generosity of knowledge with running lines, knots, weight and lengths, for using shooting heads on the danish coast, even going so far as borrowing out his equipment for a day or two of fishing to get the general feel for shooting heads.
OK, first lets get
a few things on the record, to try and avoid any hassle from people saying "hey wait a minute, I've been doing that for years, and I've never even met Henning" or that this setup is the reinvention of the wheel. It's just the setup the Henning uses, and him convincing us that this setup will make covering lots of water easier, and will require less effort, because that is what seatrout fishing on the coast is about.
I met Henning
during the first GFF summit that Martin organized in 2006, and I, like many at this summit were beginners in the world of coastal flyfishing for seatrout. I was somewhat in awe of Martin, Henning and many of the other danish fishermen, who have been fishing and catching seatrout for many years. But more than anything, I was amazed at their ability of them to cast effectively, effortlessly, and with distance, despite strong winds, with a what I considered at the time a light rod.
I had always fished
a weight forward line, and was happy with my casting ability, although it would take me 5 or 6 false cast to get my fly in the water, a lot of time casting, less time fishing, is how I like to put it. Coastal flyfishing is about covering lots of water, and I wasn't doing it as much as I could have.
A few years later
myself and friend Kai Nolting met with the GFF crew for a week of fishing on the island of Fyn. Kai like myself was a man who believed his WF line is the way to fish, and it took Henning, Martin, and the other guys on the trip the whole week to convince us that a shooting head is the way of the future. Henning let me use his reel that was setup, and I fished for two days, the first couple of hours I wasn't convinced, as I was having lots of trouble getting the feel of the whole concept. I was still making way to many false cast, and the shooting head was to far out of the tip. But eventually I got the feel, and was amazed how much easier the fishing was becoming. Less effort, greater distance, basically fishing more and less casting.
As I said
I was new to shooting heads, as have been many others on our annual fishing trips. But Henning has over the years turned us into shooting head fishermen, with his persistence that our fishing will become much easier, and more successful by using a shooting heads. Being new to the idea, with no knowledge, or equipment to start, Henning took the time, and though his generosity, provided us with the start up knowledge, and many times startup setups.
His setup consists
of nothing that hasn't been done before, it's an Amnisia monofilament running line of 20 or 25 lbs, attached to a self made shooting head from an DT line, two weight classes higher than the rod weight, cut somewhere between 9 and 10 meters, leader and fly.
Now I am fishing more than casting. One or two false cast and my fly is in the water where it belongs. And with a nice breeze from behind, or a cross wind, even I can shoot line a long way! Even wind in your face won't ruin your day, just shorten up your cast a bit, no problem.
I would like to say
it once more to avoid misunderstanding, it's not so much about the setup itself, because there are all kinds of running lines and factory made shooting heads. It's more of the idea, and the way he has convinced us to change thinking, and of course with his supply of running lines and shooting heads, that he is so generous with.
My father would always
harp on us boys when we were growing up, and learning to fish "Boys you can only catch fish if your lure is in the water". The same goes for your fly.
One of the things that I didn't mention in the article, is costs. My last shooting heads that I put together were from a mill end DT8 intermediate line, that I purchased though eBay for less than 10 Euros or 14 USD. It was 33 meters or about 100' long and I made 3 shooting heads from this line (2 with front tapers, one level), along with a roll of Amnesia running line, which is about 5 Euros or some 3.5 USD I have a complete setup for less than 10 Euros or the equivalent of 13-14 dollars.
I was in the fly shop the other day and had a look at the newest hi-tec, super taper, half intermediate half floating, blah blah blah... it cost 79 Euros or a whopping 100 US$! I'm no genius but Henning's setup seems like a pretty sweet deal...
Tying the shooting line to the shooting head using a Turle knot.
Video: Paul Kalbrener