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Driven by irrational exuberance.
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At lunch I went out on the grass and tried out a shooting head and amnesia running line for the first time. With the head outside the guides, I could shoot as far as the kinks in the running line would allow, maybe 40 yd. So I guess I can get a little more distance with this system. But I was hoping that a shooting head would be most handy when I didn't have room to back cast. And when I had less than the whole head out the guides, my loop to loop connection was sometimes hanging up going out. Maybe this amnesia is too stiff for a big bimini knot. Will a smaller loop in the running line help me shoot the running line/ head connection in tight situations? Should I coat it with goop or Knot Perfect?

It feels weird to be hauling on this thin mono. A little too slippery. It felt a little more secure to finger wrap it, but after a while I think I got the feel of it.

But I'm going to have to defeat the kinks. This forum told me I need to stretch the running line often. How do you do that: hang it, tie it to a tree and back up, or pull it through a pinch of rubber?
 

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I can't think of a good way to get rid of the connection bulk without getting rid of the loops. Waybe just a perfection knot would do it. As far as stretching the line, just start with the end and grab enough to handle between your two hands and just pull it until it straightens. The harder you pull, the straighter it will become.I do it about every feet but do however much you can handle at one time. Dont try to straighten it with rubber because it dulls and rids it of the slippery coating.
 

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Call me silly, but 40 yds (120 feet)is nothing to sneeze at; pretty gosh darn good in my opinion. Some would argue anything over 100 feet is difficult to set the hook and fish effectively due to the inherent stretch of monofilament. What sort of distances were you expecting before the kinks put a damper on things?

Even with a shooting head, you still need to have a little room behind you. To effectively cast a shooting head, you need to have the entire head outside of the rod tip with a few feet of overhang so you can fully load the rod on the backcast. In other words, if you're using a 30-foot head you'll have the head plus anywhere from 1 to 3 or 4 feet out. Something very useful to me is an indelible mark I placed 10 feet into the running line (30foot head plus 10 feet running line = the mark at 40 feet.) This is the spot I grab so I get a good load going into the backcast.)

You might get away with using a heavier head and cutting its length down, but once you shorten to beyond 26 feet or so, it starts to get awkward to comfortably cast. Some saltwater shooting head afficianados who have nothing better to do than study this stuff and run endless tests have suggested a head 3 line weights over a rod up to 7 weight gives a maximum effective load and 2 line weights for rods over 8 weight results in the same. I use a 30 foot 9wt head on my 6wt and it seems to do the job quite nicely, but that may also be a result of that rod's action; fast action rods appear to tolerate heavier heads better than moderate action rods. 300 grain heads on my 8wt and 350 grain heads on my 9 weight work best for me.

The method I use with a standard 30 foot shooting head goes something like this. Others may have differing or varying techniques:

1. Retrieve the line until I have the running line to head connection in my line hand. With a 30 foot head and a 9 foot rod, that leave approximately 21 feet of head plus leader outside the tip top.

2. Throw a roll cast forward and release the hold on the connection which sends the head and a foot or two of running line outside the tip top. Some rattling from the loop-to-loop connection going through the guides is not uncommon, even with a Bimini Twist in the shooting/running line.

3. Start the backcast with a water haul. For longer casts, I usually give another haul into the backcast and shoot an additional 8 to 10 feet into the backcast.

4. Give a haul on the forward cast shooting out the pile of line in the stripping basket.

Basic distance casting techniques still apply when using shooting heads i.e. load and unload the rod fully, form tight loops, and lengthen the casting stroke.

How to stretch the line? Pull off a couple of feet from the reel, stretch it between your two hands holding it for a second or two...repeat, repeat etc. etc. until you have all that you will be shooting stretched out. Don't run it through that nasty "leader straightener." Heat from friction always takes its toll on monofilament though I don't know what negative effects would result from using it on the Amnesia. While fishing, you can stuff the rod/reel into your armpit and retrieve a few feet at a time stretching it until you've got it all stretched out and returned to your stripping basket (assuming you're using one.) Not a bad idea when beginning the day to attach the terminal end to something (e.g. trailer hitch etc.) and walk out 100 feet or so, give it a good stretch and then retrieve it into your stripping basket; problem seems to be that once mono goes back onto the reel, it quickly regains its memory so when you begin fishing and pull off your required amount, you still might realize coils and/or kinks.

Hope there's something useful here for you.

Greg
 

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Formerly tbc1415
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Boy! I don't know about all this mono running line buisness. It seems to me that the ability to mend with this type of line behind a head is slim to none. It's hard enough to effectively mend a long (full line) cast with standard braided core floating running line and head with a 9ft - 10ft single hand rod in anything but the most consistant flow. To me the ability to mend well is every bit as important as casting well. Without that ability you are losing the ability to effectively fish more water than you gain from the extra distance achieved with a mono running line.
Reduced mending ability equals reduced options for presenting your fly in a given piece of water.
If you want to effectively fish (not just cast) a really long line use a spey rod.

Or is there something about this mono line setup that I am not understanding.

Tim
 

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Your insights about mending are right-on. Given a 100' cast, mending 90' of line with a 10' rod when the majority of the line is mono (or equivalent) is nigh on impossible. However, if you're casting down and across and the wind is upstream, then you can use the wind to help you execute a reach cast. Without a wind, however, I've never been able to make a reach cast work when casting shooting heads (It's probably just me, tho').

Cheers,

Michael
 

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You're right! The ability to use the setup described by MajorGeek in a river or stream doesn't doesn't make a whole lot of sense, especially when one considers line control. That said, who are we to criticize if the man wants to experiment with something new or different?

The shooting head system as described by him offers the saltwater flyfisher a tremendous tool in achieving distance as well as depth in an essentially cast and retrieve fishery where mending may be minimal, whether from a boat or from shore.

Another population that might find MajorGeek's setup useful are those who cast from float tubes in lakes. A single backcast with a 30 foot head and send the fly on its way to achieve distance and depth as opposed to the balancing act of 5 or 6 false casts. Something to consider?

My comments to him addressed the use of the system he described, not his intended environment. I hope you realized that.

FWIW, I personally don't like using mono shooting line and haven't used it in years. I definitely like Rio's .030 Clear Intermediate Shooting Line for a shooting head system instead.

Greg
 

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Formerly tbc1415
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Greg:
Yes I did realize that your description addressed the system and not the environment and some very good comments they were. I was assuming that the use of this set up was for steelhead/salmon in rivers. My own comments were definitely not intended as criticism but more as a way of questioning whether this was really the best approach to the assumed environment. And yes I also understand that "best approach" is entirely up to the individual holding the rod. I know that for myself questions like this have lead me off in different directions and opened up new horizons that I may not have considered at the time.

Someone said "The road to hell is paved with good intentions".

Maybe I'll find myself waiting there at the end of the road.

Tim
 

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Formerly Tight Loops
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As I understand it, Amnesia and other fine diameter running lines need no mending on the river. They are fine enough diameter compared to the head that they exert little pressure on the drift of the fly and head.

As to streching the line, try tying it off, or wrapping it around something. Personally, I don't strech lines, I just let the kinks get worked out in casting.

And yes, Amnesia is weird to hold, that's why running lines of fly line material are so popular. And like I said in the other posts, if you are fishing in most rivers, Amnesia is unnecessary, the 30' head is plenty of sinking to reach the bottom.

Rob
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Genetic pollution damages wild
stocks, bonk those Hatchery Zombies!
 
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