If you want to know what a fly fishing shooting head is then this is the perfect time for you to learn about it. If you're new to fly fishing then it's understandable for you to feel overwhelmed with all the new concepts and terminologies that you need to learn. To learn about the standard fly lines is already confusing enough. So if your head spun a little when you heard about shooting heads, it's okay. And if it's any consolation, you really don't need to learn about shooting heads if you want to stick to trouts. But if you want to catch salmon, steelhead, and some saltwater species, then it is a subject that you absolutely need to learn. So if you want to learn about shooting heads, go jump right in.
Shooting head defined
First of all, you need to know what a shooting head is. A shooting head is also known as a shooting taper. It is a length of heavy fly line that goes originally about 30 feet in length. It can be tapered or not or some have a little tapering. The remainder of the fly reel is filled up with a thin, level running line. The head is attached to this line. You can purchase the head individually or you can get a running line with an integrated head. Most fly fishing stores usually have both options.
Do you need one?
Now that you know what a fly fishing shooting head is, the next question that you probably want to ask is, do I need one? To answer your question, you need to know the advantage of using a shooting head. Using a shooting head is a great way to cast far and deep. Shooting heads come in different kinds. There are shooting heads that float and then there are those that sink fast. These heads usually are one to two sizes heavier than the settings of the rod. So let's say you have a 350-grain shooting head. It will go well with a 9 weight saltwater fly even if it is close to an 11 weight floating fly line.
You have a couple of options when it comes to fly fishing heads. You can go to a fly fishing shop and get shooting heads with loops on both ends. Or you can get something longer if you're the type of angler who wants to customize the size for your rod, you can get longer shooting heads that you can weigh and cut to a particular size. The advantage of getting individual heads is that you can easily swap them out while you're fishing to make them adapt better to the water type. Individual heads will also take up less space in your vest or bag.
It's not really a pleasure to cast shooting heads. Just ask anyone who has ever used them. You can launch them at a good distance and they can fish deep, however. But still, they can feel awkward and clunky. But they do have their uses so they're worth trying.