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Old 07-05-2005, 10:44 AM
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Default Unintentional curve casts with shooting heads

Looking for help here,

I am pretty new to the whole shooting head thing, but was giving it a try Saturday. The problem that I was having was that the front half of the head was not behaving the way I wanted it to. Its most common action was to land at a right angle to the casting direction. Sometimes this would happen with the rest of the line forming a question mark as it landed. Another problem I was having was that the front half of the head would kick over to fast and penetrate the water while the rest of the head was still flying forward.

I found that if I relaxed my casting stroke and just let the rod do the work, the curving problems decreased. Unfortunately, distance also suffered. If I put the "oomph" into the haul and not the cast, I got better distance, but still got some of the curving.

I suppose the help I am looking for is just a general primer on casting shooting heads, as well as any pertinent info on fixing the curving of my casts. Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 07-05-2005, 11:48 AM
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Default Re: Unintentional curve casts with shooting heads

Big Cliff,

Shooters can be very fickle ... You didn't provide enough info for me to get my hands on to help -- such as whether the head is homemade or store-bought, length of head, line weight, leader, type of running line, rod weight, and casting stroke.

You might want to begin finding a fix by reviewing my series on the shooters posted on the Forum under Fly Fishing Articles -- Everything Else.

If you are doing a homemade shooter, you also might want to read All About Lines, Part IV from Fly Fishing for the Rest of Us. http://www.activeangler.com/articles...air/lines4.asp.

Problems most fly fishers encounter in throwing homemade shooters usually relate to (1) overhang - the distance outside the rod to the rear of the head, (2) the overall length of the head, (3) the leader butt diameter and leader length, and (4) the casting stroke.

On the other hand, don't forget that a lot of folks would give their eye teeth to consistently throw a curve. Don't forget what you are doing and lose the technique.

One other point -- it's quite possible that you may be twisting your wrist in the micro-second before stopping the rod on the forward cast. Remembering the line will go where the rod tip stops, a curve is the likely result from that snap of the wrist; in fact, my positive overhead curve cast requires just this setup.

Hope this helps. Come back with any questions.

Doug

PS. Airflo's Multi-Head system is very good...
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Old 07-05-2005, 01:11 PM
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Default Re: Unintentional curve casts with shooting heads

Doug,
The rod was ECHO's Ultimate Distance 5wt, super stiff, but I think I was overloading it anyway.

The head was a 24' section of the Bass Pro brand lead core shooting line in the 45lb test size. This is probably WAY too heavy, but I didn't put it on a scale or anything. Based on feel, I would guess it is somewhere in the 250-300 grain range.

On overhang, I found that with more than 3' of the shooting line out the tip I couldn't turn the head over with a roll cast and it didn't overhead cast well either.

Leader butt, probably 20-25 lb mono, as I cut the 30" of the middle out of a tapered leader and then had 18" of 8lb fluoro tippet onto that. The fly was a sz6 bead chain eye clouser.

Casting stroke, of excessive brawn and probably not stopping high enough. When I did stop high enough, that would often send the front half of the head plunging into the water. (rather like a tuck cast actually)
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Old 07-05-2005, 05:22 PM
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Default Re: Unintentional curve casts with shooting heads

Cliff ... Too much! Why not drop back to a 30-foot head that that weighs about 180 to 190 grains? It really doesn't matter whether you go with a sinker or a floater. But if is to be a sinker, I would recommend an intermediate because of the 5-weight rig ... That's about as light as I would recommend for a shooter in the 5/6-weight class. The lighter you go, the more tricky they can become.

Until you are comfortable with shooters, I would also recommend buying anyone's DT line to save money and minimize the effect of problems. For example for $14.40 you can pick up a Canadian made line from dorbeR. http://www.dorber.com/FlyLine.htm. I consider these lines to be on parity with Corland's 333. As a learning line, the price it hard to beat.

If you go with a full sinker, stay with the 6-weight DT but when you begin head preparation, you may have to cut the head back bit more than the intermediate. If you elect to go this route, I will help you step-by-step as to what I would do.

On overhang: depending on the weight I'm throwing and the precise parts of the rig, I usually throw with a overhang between 1 and 2-feet. The leader in the case of either sinker need not be more than 3-feet. For the leader butt, I would experiment between .021 and .023 using plain old mono such as Stren. If you decide to go with a floater, I would pickup a furled 68-inch leader from dorbeR because of their inherent positive turnover. That alone might take care of the curve because "magic casts" are very sensitive to the leader's characteristics -- furled leaders do not do that job well.

Don't overpower the casting stroke ... with your upper body strength it can be the kiss of death. Try to think of yourself as 5.5-feet in height with a weight 105-pounds. Release the cast high ... if by chance the head wavers in the air, the overhang is too long.

Finally, remember that a shooter can only be shot or released to the rear on the final backcast; otherwise it will shatter.

Hope this helps,

Doug
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Old 07-06-2005, 08:35 AM
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Default Re: Unintentional curve casts with shooting heads

Doug, I was using that rod for all this because I have the shooting line on my Colorado 2 reel to be used mostly for the nymphing techniques advocated by Joe Humphreys, where the weight of the shot provides the projectile weight. This is the heaviest rod I've got until I reach my nine wts. I have an old 6wt dt aircell, but I think it would need 40' of it to load this rod. It really does take about 45' of wf5f to load it. I guess I could cut the front taper off of it to make it heavier per its length.

I wasn't releasing any line until the final forward cast, as the backcast would drop or overload the rod too greatly.

I need to get a 7wt I guess, oh well, add it to the list.
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Old 07-06-2005, 12:55 PM
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Default Re: Unintentional curve casts with shooting heads

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCliff
Doug, I was using that rod for all this because I have the shooting line on my Colorado 2 reel to be used mostly for the nymphing techniques advocated by Joe Humphreys, where the weight of the shot provides the projectile weight. This is the heaviest rod I've got until I reach my nine wts. I have an old 6wt dt aircell, but I think it would need 40' of it to load this rod. It really does take about 45' of wf5f to load it. I guess I could cut the front taper off of it to make it heavier per its length.

I wasn't releasing any line until the final forward cast, as the backcast would drop or overload the rod too greatly.

I need to get a 7wt I guess, oh well, add it to the list.
Cliff ... The 6-weight DT you have should work. Don't cut the taper off! Instead, cut the air cell exactly in two. Take one of the pieces outside with the rod and with the line running through the guides, but not on a reel, lift it into the backcast, shoot some line to the rear, come forward into the forward cast and at the moment of maximum acceleration, shoot the line using ten o'clock as the point of aim. When you shoot forward, totally release the line. Assuming the old air cell is/was the original 82-feet, I'll bet the 41-foot head will come close to clearing the guides...

During this test, promise me two things: (1) don't use a leader, and (2) watch the backcast as you shoot line to the rear -- up and out. If this works, we can proceed to rig the shooter.

Doug
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Old 07-28-2005, 12:52 PM
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Default Re: Unintentional curve casts with shooting heads

Thanks guys!!! This is an excellent exchange of information!!!
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