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  1. #1


    Having never used a shooting head before, I'm after any info or advice from you sages out there!

    I've just bought a couple of shooting Hardy shooting heads (floating and superfast sinking)

    I plan to load them onto my Marquis and try them out soon.

    Do they need stretching?
    How much backing?
    Is a tray really necessary?

    Any advice or info very much appreciated!

  2. #2
    Ron 'The Hat' Clay (ACA) Guest


    I don't know how long your shooting head is but I guess it's about 10 to 12 yards.

    The best backing is either flattened mono or a line called Amnesia that a lot of the Americans use. Attach it to your line with a needle knot and then whip it with fine fly tying silk and apply some PVA glue.

    They shouldn't require any stretching. Because your reel is only holding a small amount of fly line you can use a lot of backing, although this shouldn't be necessary with modern large arbour reels. But I would certainly put 100 yards of backing in.

    I have fished for years with, and without a line tray. If you are going to wade, or the banks are dirty, you will need a line tray.

    To get the best out of shooting heads you will need to learn the double haul technique of casting and with a bit of practice you should be able to chuck 40 yards with the shooting head.

    Personally these days I don't use a shooting head all that often, except when I need to get down deep from a boat, or get out a decent distance from a dam wall.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Middle Earth


    There is one golden rule when using a shooting head. If you do not follow it your cast will end up in a total disaster every single time.

    When arialising your line and the entire shooting head is airborn, on the point of casting never have more than six to nine inches of of backing showing from the tip ring, twelve inch absolute maximum.

    Any more than this and all the energy is lost making the line collapse in a heap halfway out from where you intended.

    A good exponent of shooting head casting will find no need to double haul an easy single haul will more than suffice.

    Shooting heads because of the energy and distance achieved are not the best tools if you want your fly to land gently, they do cause a bit of a splash.

    For lure fishing at distance they are OK but when the fish are working the scum lines along the bank sipping emergers in content you are likely to scare more than attract.

    Every method and style has its place, shooting heads should only be used when the fish are at distance.

    The older I gets....the heavier it was .... Old farts rule OK

  4. #4
    Ron 'The Hat' Clay (ACA) Guest



    I have chucked shooting heads prodigeous distances by having up to 5 foot of shooting line beyond the rod tip - no problem. I have found that a shooting head that is too short can cause problems with your timing. I like the head to be about 11 1/2 yards.

    And I can make a shooting head land as gently as you like. You do this by pulling back slightly causing the head to stop in mid-air, then it will drop smoothly to the water.

    Oh and you can also cast short distances with a shooting head too without the hauls.

    If your cast collapses you are probably not keeping your rod or arm in plane or are twisting your wrist.

    But for floating line fishing I like a good forward taper like the Michael Evans Arrowhead.

    By the way, I always make my shooting heads from double taper lines.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Middle Earth


    Ron as good as you are take a good read of Lefty Krays books on how to cast correctly with shootings heads. Also read the wonderful book 'The Cast' by I think Mel Kruger.

    Using shots taken with a high speed camera it shows in graphic detail foot by foot how the cast collapses when using a longer length of backing.

    There are approximately twenty five to thirty shots in black and white showing what happens from the start of the cast to the end.

    The first sequence shows the cast with a three foot tail of backing coming from the tip ring, it dies a death after twenty feet or so and falls down in a heap.

    The second sequence again in slow motion shows the cast but this time a twelve inch tail, the energy travels through the shooting head and takes with it around one hundred and twenty feet of backing with it.

    Lefty explains that the thin backing does not store as much energy as a conventional thicker fly line due to its low diameter and the stored energy dissipates once the line is traveling.

    Its there for all to see Ron, if you have never tried using this short length method then I suggest you do and you will be pleasantly surprised.

    You are never to old to learn Ron and I would certainly prefer to argue my corner with you as opposed to Lefty Kray and Mel Kruger, arguably the two finest casters in the world.

    Incidentally to add to those two casting geniuses Hewell Morgan uses the very same method for casting shooting heads as he confirmed when I spoke to him at the Trentham Gardens British Fly Fair.

    Give it a go Ron, it only takes a couple of cast to prove its better, You will without doubt add yards on to your cast and you will realise what you have been missing all these years.

    I know Ron because I have tried it and it works.

    The older I gets....the heavier it was .... Old farts rule OK

  6. #6


    Cheers guys, some great stuff here!
    I won't be putting it on a big arbour reel as I intend to put the Hardy lines on my good old Hardy Marquis.

    I will get a tray for when required and practice at my local fishery before I try developing finesse with it!

    Anyone got a good link for buying that American backing (Amnesia) online?

  7. #7
    Ron 'The Hat' Clay (ACA) Guest


    BC, I can see where you are coming from. Of course if you have too much shooting backing out from the rod tip, especially if it is a bit stretchy, stored energy in the cast will be dissipated.

    Very important if you are into tournament casting of course. And as regards Lefty Kreh and Mel Kreiger, I have great regard for these gentlemen. Lefty was one of the first fly fishers to objectively analyse the casting of a fly line from a mechanical point of view. I am certainly not going to argue with you on this point.

    The double or single haul is often portrayed a an almost violent pulling action on the forward and back casts. It's not really at all, in fact double hauling often comes naturally to any good caster and many graduate to it without thinking about it. Smoothness and timing will get you better and longer casts

    Many modern forward taper lines are shooting heads in another guise. The Arrowhead lines are of this ilk. You should try one. Quite honestly they are the best forward tapers I have handled recently and are made in England.

    Try Steve Parton for Amnesia lines. I think that's where I bought my last spool of the stuff.

  8. #8


    Try Steve Parton for Amnesia lines. I think that's where I bought my last spool of the stuff.

    Does he have a website Ron?

    Forgot to mention, the heads are about 11.2m

  9. #9
    Shrek Guest

  10. #10


    Many thanks Adrian! Good prices too!

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