Shooting lines are a key part of shooting head systems, where the main weighted belly of a fly line (i.e. shooting head) is connected to a shooting line that lets the head sail to distance. Shooting lines were used originally by competition fly casters, who replaced the skinny but sticky standard running line on their fly lines with even skinnier and slicker monofilament to get maximum distance. Anglers quickly adopted shooting head systems, which let them swap out shooting heads of varying sink rates, using just a single shooting line, giving great angling versatility without extra spools.
Today, these two factors – enhanced distance and fly line versatility – have solidified shooting head systems as standard tackle for anadromous anglers. The shooting line is key to this system because it connects the angler to the shooting head, and most of a fishing day is spent handling the shooting line. There are three main categories of shooting lines (and some variants) to consider when choosing a shooting line.
Continue Reading “The skinny on shooting lines”
Intermediate Skagit Heads are a relatively new product to the fly fishing world and have created a stir in the spey fishing scene. Rather than a traditional full floating shooting head, these heads sink at an intermediate rate. This allows the angler to achieve a slow, deep swing that keeps the fly in the “ZONE” for a longer period of time. The sinking nature of this Intermediate head enables you to break heavy surface tension, and maintain consistent depth throughout your swing. When coupled with a Type 3 or Intermediate sink tip you have the ability to fish shallow tail-outs and riffles. On the flipside, the short length of this head allows the heaviest tips to be turned over with extreme ease, allowing you to dig deep and cast the largest flies in your box. This shooting head really shines in the high water, winter steelhead scene where the fish are holding in slow, deep “tanks” as well as choppy water with heavy surface tension. This head produces a much slower presentation than your floating shooting heads because it travels lower in the water column, instead of on top of the water.
Total head length is no longer than 29ft on the heaviest 800 grain head. You can expect the same quality welded loops that SA produces, as well as a labeling system on the head determining front/back a grain weight. The only downside to this line, in my opinion, is at the end of your swing a downstream roll cast is required to break surface tension and bring your head to the surface. Overall I was very happy with the performance of this head.