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Driven by irrational exuberance.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I keep experimenting with shooting heads, but with frustrating results.

The head I'm working with in a 30 ft. sinker 8 wt. with a 9 ft. rod, with Amnesia running line. On the lawn, I can get the head outside the tip, and with a little practice, shoot 60 ft. of running line and reach out there 90 to 100 ft., maybe more. But on the river, if I get 30 ft. outside the tip, I'm casting into the trees behind me in places where I'm used to taking 15 ft. of well dressed sink tip, waterhauling into the backcast, watching the backcast so I hit a hole picked out in the brush behind me, line hauling a forward cast, and shooting 60 ft., letting the last two loops get pulled out of my mouth, and get 75 ft., maybe more, and that's usually good enough.

Sometimes I can shoot the loops between the head and the running line out the guides, but usually there's enough friction that the cast falls short. I tied a 16 in. bihimi twist in the end of the Amnesia, and it's a long rough piece of line, even after I tried coating it in pliobond or silicone caulking. Would a more compact loop help? If the knot does happen to shoot through the guides, then the Amnesia will find something on my garb or on the ground to snag, and the cast slams down short.

I'm guessing that if I took an average of ten casts with limited backcast room with the shooting head and ten casts with a sinktip, there'd be two spectacular casts with the head, but the average of the ten would be much lower than with the sinktip. With unlimited backcast room, I think they'd come out about even.

Unrelated question: has anyone got giardia from holding shooting loops in the mouth?
 

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Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
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I think the Bimini set up in Amnesia might be too bulky, colliding with the guides etc. I would try a trimmer, slimmer set up of some kind.Like a slip on loop on the back end of the head, and a smaller loop in the amnesia. maybe nail knotting the amnesia to the shooter.

Sounds like you are needing a spey rod in some situations. Not being glib, have you tried it? I get the same 60-75 foot cast- and more- with a few simple moves and no back cast. it takes time but it's a rewarding game.
 

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Not sure I would trust a nail knot to attach running line to the shooter. I use an Albright knot to attach Amnesia running line to the shooting head, and coat it with pliobond. Makes for a very compact knot. I have other problems trying to toss a shooting head, but having the head/running line knot hang up in the guides is not one of them.
 

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Formerly Tight Loops
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I don't use Amnesia for my shooting head setups. I either use a floating running line, or braided mono. And I use braided kevlar loops on the running line, and butt of the shooting head. On the braided mono, I use mono loops in the same material to create the loops to attach the line.

As far as the backcast goes, I am wondering why you are trying to use a shooting head in such tight quarters. If you want a longer sinking head, I would either switch to an integrated head/running line system, or try a polyleader on your standard sink tip.

And don't keep the loops in your mouth, get or make a shooting basket! Your line will go further. I can cast 100' in the park and 100' on the river with it. I basically use a shooting basket for all my distance casting, it makes line management way easier.

Rob
 

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Driven by irrational exuberance.
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1,656 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm intrigued by spey casting after tagging along on the Klicitat with the spey casting kid from Wyoming and feeling inadequate after seeing how much line he could lay out there. But all the steelhead I've caught on a fly (four since September, including one YESTERDAY!) have been taken on the strip in, so, hope against hope, I strip the fly in right up to the tip guide. Then I shoot it back out. If I was truly speyed (stamp out the subjunctive now!), I don't think I could force myself to use all the advantages of the long drift and swing, and the easy flip back upstream. I'd be pulling it all in and then have to work it all out again. Maybe it's the streamer like bunny flies I use, or the holding water I pick, or where I place myself, but I never could catch anything on the drift with pencil lead and corky either. It was always at the end of the swing or on the way in.

As for stripping baskets, I'd get one and be willing to carry another piece of equipment down the bank and though the black berries and devils club to the river, if I get convinced I can get the head system to work for me. In lieu of a stripping basket, I've been working on a system where I wrap the running line on a beer can on the way in, then hold the beer can between my legs and let the line shoot off the end of the can when I cast. But I need a longer beer can, because some of the wraps get too far down and get pinched between my legs. Maybe I should try something longer like a baseball bat. And I need a system to wrap the line on a little more evenly and neatly. I'm envisioning a kind of crank system where a loop of stiff wire folds over the top of the can and turns with a crank, guiding the line on the can. The gears could be cut to give a mechanical advantage, so you could crank in even faster than a wide arbor. I'm envisioning calling this gizmo a "spinning reel", because, well, the reel doesn't spin, does it?, but some of the parts do. And some sort of waist belt or leg band to strap it on. I'll be out in the shop working on this.
 

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Hey Major,

I'm using a Type IV SA SinkTip with Amnesia backing, attached with a nail knot (on my 9ft 8wt). This knot goes through the guides fine. Seems to me that as long as you are using a leader that is significantly weaker than the backing, you're safe with this attachment.

My question for you is; If you are used to the 15 ft. sink tip and can cast that well, why change?

I don't think amnesia is the best settup. But, it's what I can afford right now and I'm catching steelhead, so whatever. It does shoot thru the guides like a champ. But, the last two steelhead I've caught, didn't require anything close to a 60ft. cast.

I've wondered about getting giardia from holding those loops in my mouth too! I was in Indonesia this summer with a doctor friend who was brushing his teeth with the tap water there, and he told me that in such small amounts the water couldn't make you sick. Take what you like from that.
 

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I would worry about the Giardia business. You might as well drink from the river if you are going to put a wet line in your mouth, and I don't know of any rivers that I completely trust. All I do know is that it is a very nasty disease and it can take weeks to get rid of it.

I don't know if they still make them and I don't know the name, but there used to be a reel that was a regular fly reel in most aspects. However, it could be turned 90o
and become a spinning reel. I saw one on the Kalama years ago, maybe thirty or so, and the guy could cast a mile with it.

Maybe some knowledgeable reader will know the name of it and you can check it out. I don't thiink it was terribly expensive either. Good luck:thumb
P.S. There are guys (I'm not one of them) who simply glue their backing to the head--so now you have no knot whatsoever. Use a good glue.
 

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Driven by irrational exuberance.
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1,656 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If I glued or nail knotted the running line to the head, then I'd lose that touted advantage of shooting
heads of being able to quickly change lines.
 
G

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Bob
The name of the reel is an Alvey.I think they
made them in Australia for long distance casting.
I had some friends years ago that used them off the
jetties for salmon
Is there any one that rembers the Belly Winder
that attached to your waist with a belt?
 

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Major,

From what I understand, you want to be able to cast far and change lines easily. I don't know if you are going to be able to have your cake and eat it too with the Amnesia/Shooting Head combo. I'm still confused as to why you want to change from the sink-tip setup? It sounds like it does both of these things for you.

The only other variable I can think you are looking to change is the increased depth of your line. If the shooting sinker makes that much of a difference that can't be achieved with a wieghted fly and a sink tip, then you are probably going to find yourself purchasing an extra spool and going with a nail knot or other slim non-loop connection. But, I'm no expert on knots, so please let me know if you figure out a loop that shoots well too.

Good Luck,
John
 
G

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Yes that is the Alvey reel.I don't know if it would
work on a fly rod.May need a larger stripping guide.
They made rods for the Alvey,something different in
the guides.
 
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