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Shooting Heads?

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Dave Alexander
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Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:48 pm

Shooting Heads?

#1

Post by Dave Alexander » Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:44 pm

Casting large flies with Shooting heads, both spey and overhead?

Recently I was fishing some sea run Brook Trout in a coastal river. The timing was right and I had a really successful trip, catching a lot of trout in the 2-3lb range. I could catch smaller fish (up to a 1/2 pound) with smaller nymphs and dries using upstream techniques (which is what I was trying first), but in order to catch the larger fish I needed, to swing larger flies deep.

I was using a 9ft 5wt, which seemed about right for the range of fish and the river size. I was using a 5wt type 5 full sinking line. I was fishing weighted streamer type flies sizes 1-2. A short leader of about 3-4 ft with 10 Maxima. Now over a couple of days I caught lots of fish - 30 plus up to 3lbs... so... I was getting it done... but it wasn't pretty. :blush:

Not sure why but I have never delved in to the world of shooting heads. A lot of my fishing was fairly restrictive in terms of the banks and trees about, so spey style casts are required in quite a few places (not the one in the picture).

If I bought a 8 or 9 wt fast sinking fly line, cut it back to about 9 meters or so would I be able to effectively cast large heavy flies using both overhead and spey style casts?

I am thinking of buying a couple of cheap 9 wt sinkers maybe a type 3 and type 6 and maybe a DT floaters, chop, weld some loops, and have a go. What is this going to spey cast like? Will I be able to make a 60ft-70ft cast with this with a large cone head streamer?

I re-read this article https://www.sexyloops.com/articles/shootingheads2.shtml from Lars so I think it could work....

Cheers,

Dave
Attachments
3lb Brookie.jpg
3lb Brookie.jpg (136.16 KiB) Viewed 710 times
Sea Run Brookie.jpg
Sample fish
Sea Run Brookie.jpg (133.02 KiB) Viewed 710 times
Middle River.jpg
Sample Pool
Middle River.jpg (160.49 KiB) Viewed 710 times

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Paul Arden
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Re: Shooting Heads?

#2

Post by Paul Arden » Fri Jul 19, 2019 4:34 pm

Wow that’s fantastic fishing DC Dave! Super super novas!

I don’t suppose any ate your caddis? :p

Cheers, Paul
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Dave Alexander
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Re: Shooting Heads?

#3

Post by Dave Alexander » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:17 pm

Wow that’s fantastic fishing DC Dave! Super super novas!

I don’t suppose any ate your caddis? :p

Cheers, Paul
No I actually have to take some time and tie some of those Dead Caddis I haven't had any for a while. They may work for Gourami...

Yes the trout fishing has been good in Super Nova Scotia this year. It was a cold wet spring which is perfect for Trout. We had a lot regular rains.

I am not sure what sea trout fishing is like in other parts of the world, but brook trout seem to run up the rivers at certain general times (but its subject to conditions particularly water levels). I don't think I every remember in the 40 years I have been fishing of ever timing it perfectly on a river when it was just full of trout... except this year.

Big Brook Trout seem to act like Bull Trout (they are closely related), in that they hang out deep, and can only generally be caught in the deepest of pools with big flies. I remember you mentioning fishing with Matt for the Bulls out west several years back and noting that point, I have read that it since about bulls. That was at least my experience this last trip. I spent and afternoon and evening fishing emergers, nymphs, and dries and never saw a fish over 10 inches. Once I start fishing the full sinker with weighted flies discovered there were a lot bigger fish around.

Fishing the size of flies that I want to fish is not that comfortable on the 5wt (lots of Belgian going on), but that's the size rod I want. :p

It was happening below so I didn't try a mouse pattern but that may worked fished in a wake, but I would want a heavier line for that also.

D

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Paul Arden
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Re: Shooting Heads?

#4

Post by Paul Arden » Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:09 am

That’s awesome Dave. I’m sure someone will give you a better answer on the head issue than me!

When I fished for Bull Trout with Matt the first run through the pool we used string leech streamers and then I would turn around and fish upstream NZ Nymphing style, with lots of weight and a glo bug. I caught more nymphing on the second pass.

I have an amazing story about that. One night I tied a string leech (I only tied one) and while I was sleeping it fell into an almost empty glass of wine. It became known as “The Wine Fly”. And a great fly it was too. After many fish I got broken and lost the fly. We changed rivers and came back a few days later (because there was only one fish in the other river). On the final day while nymphing I hooked and landed my wine fly - we are talking a medium sized river here, not a small stream - couldn’t wade across this stretch - but the Wine Fly always comes home. I still have the fly now.
They may work for Gourami...
Nothing would surprise me more :)

Cheers, Paul
It's an exploration; bring a flyrod.

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Dave Alexander
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Re: Shooting Heads?

#5

Post by Dave Alexander » Sat Jul 20, 2019 11:58 am

The “Wine Fly”. I don’t remember that story, you may have told me around a campfire in the distant past, but it’s s good one. I guess it’s akin to these garlic flavoured dough balls they use for bait. Perhaps a whole range of flavours could be tested. Beer, cider, wine, whiskey, rum, Gammel Dansk.

This particular fishing trip what I found was a fly change could get you in fish again (this happened many times) So for instance if I fished a say brown zonker through and got a fish, from a pool I thought was holding more if I kept fishing the brown nothing... switch to yellow or white fish through the pool again... bang.

As far as a set up for casting large flies I noticed that there are a lot of people buzzing about these micro skagit lines and I seem to remember Lars posting a video fishing maybe a short Rio Trout Max (which they don’t make anymore). Which you can fish lighter sink tips off... and that may work in this situation, but I would really like to have more of a full sink fishing. Which is why I wondered about a more full blown shooting head style, where you can fish a larger chunk of sinking line that is more fly size size appropriate.

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Re: Shooting Heads?

#6

Post by Dave Alexander » Sat Jul 20, 2019 12:07 pm

I realize for some this short and way over-lining is somewhat sacrilegious, and it’s not something I would generally gravitate to because for pure casting pleasure I like light, crisp and fast, but pragmatically of just “wacking out big junk” it could work. I just don’t have much experience to know what’s going to happen if I go through the trouble of putting it all together.

What I mean is I’m scared :O

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Paul Arden
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Re: Shooting Heads?

#7

Post by Paul Arden » Sat Jul 20, 2019 1:05 pm

Shortening up with a heavy head will definitely work. It might even be Roll castable. It would also be interesting to see if you can Nymph them out. I think the orange glo bug is just a trigger. Same as with that salmon I caught with you on an orange booby. :D

Matt wasn’t keen on the method because it bent some rules that were in place to stop snagging. But the fish were properly hooked in their gobs 😇

Cheers, Paul
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Dave Alexander
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Re: Shooting Heads?

#8

Post by Dave Alexander » Sat Jul 20, 2019 1:44 pm

If the situation ever presents itself again I will try nymphs in a more exhaustive targeted manor (I read some of your FN posts recently and thought that was interesting I don’t know how easily it would have been to see the fish it was raining on day and really over cast deeper water was dark.)
It was one of the few times fishing I didn’t feel overly rushed. I just got on to the streamers fished relatively deep and worked that angle (even within that I felt there was more I could try). I was fishing more of an upstream hedge bet style put only lead to catching smaller fish) Have to ties some egg patterns I guess.

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Re: Shooting Heads?

#9

Post by Lasse Karlsson » Sat Jul 20, 2019 2:30 pm

Dave Alexander wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 12:07 pm
I realize for some this short and way over-lining is somewhat sacrilegious, and it’s not something I would generally gravitate to because for pure casting pleasure I like light, crisp and fast, but pragmatically of just “wacking out big junk” it could work. I just don’t have much experience to know what’s going to happen if I go through the trouble of putting it all together.

What I mean is I’m scared :O

No need to be scared, come to the dark side :ninja:

Spey and big flies are some what oxymorons, because we have the big fly static and in the water, and as a big fat passenger to our car (the topleg of the D-loop) our car must be able to carry the fat barstool. Thats why a 5 weight line and a big streamer is so damn difficult to spey/roll, use a 10 and it be comes easier. Thats the main point behind skagit, take a piece of 12 weight but make it short enough to handle and throwing that streamer becomes easy, but purebreed aestetics like Paul starts talking about spinfishing :D

I would cut up a full sinker to a short shootinghead (I have done that for mackeral fishing from a boat) if I where you, chunky is only how you cast, drift for the hell of it, and power down all except the delivery.

Cheers
Lasse
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Dave Alexander
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Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:48 pm

Re: Shooting Heads?

#10

Post by Dave Alexander » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:46 pm

but purebreed aestetics like Paul starts talking about spinfishing :D
.

Hi Lasse,
Yeah I was nervous asking in the first place. I was trying to completely avoid referencing the word “skagit” but I couldn’t help my self in the end. A Skagit system is not entirely what I am after anyways, there is a principle of mass (in the line) required to turn over mass (of the fly) there but I really don’t want a floating sinking/tip system, which is what I think a Skagit line system is.

So... let’s say I get a 9wt( that’s what is readily available). Type 6. I start a about 9.15m or 30ft (240grain). I hook it up to some .030”running line. I throw it on my 9ft 5wt. I tie on 2 long shank zonker with lead.

Will I be able to single Spey or circle Spey that at the end of a drift (dangle)?

What’s the shortest you would ever cut a head back to?

8 meters 7 meters? That would 22ft but closer to the 5wt grain window. What kind of issues with turn over, dumping would I have?

I know from reading that a lot of Scandinavia fly fishers have more experience with heads I was just wondering if you (any one else out there) did this sort of thing and what it characteristics are of short heavy sinking heads.

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