Cutting a DT line in half [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Cutting a DT line in half

03-08-2003, 06:45 PM
Question: If you cut a DT line in half and joined one half to a running line, would you end up with a sort of shooting head? For instance, if you took a 10-wt. DT and cut it in half, would each half be sufficient to form a 10-wt. shooting head, or would it instead be "downgraded" to a 9-wt. or even an 8-wt.?

Dble Haul
03-08-2003, 08:42 PM
Do you mean to take the end of the DT that's cut in the middle and reverse it to make the weight tapered to the front, thus making the tapered end that was previously in front attached to the running line?

(Ouch, brain cramp)

03-08-2003, 09:23 PM
Uhhh... no... yeeeow! That certainly was a brain cramp! I was thinking more along the lines of creating a traditional shooting head, as follows:

1. Cut DT line in half.
2. Attach "butt end" of cut DT (the end that was cut) to the running line via loop-to-loop; tapered end of "DT-shooting head" is at front of line, as it would have been if fished normally.
3. Attach leader to tapered end of DT-shooting head.
4. Launch line to the other side of the drink.

Reason for question: I found some Cortland 444 camo intermediate DT lines, as well as running line, on clearance for very low cost. Making a shooting head like this would be useful for my 10-wt. rods and lighter (wish there were some heavier lines on clearance, but that's the way it goes).

03-08-2003, 11:38 PM
Doing this would give you a shooting head of 45 feet (unless it is a "salmon double taper of 120 feet, these would give you a shooting head of 60 feet). And 45 feet is a pretty long shooting head, although a good caster can cast it just fine. You might consider cutting it between 35 and 38 feet from the tip on each end to make a better casting shooting head.

03-09-2003, 04:49 AM
basis of my sinking tip 'launcher lines' for years. Only difference was the 'tip' of the cut in half 120' salmon double taper was attached to the backing. This gave me 60 foot of "head" with a kevlar type loop on the "fat end" to which I loop to looped the sinking heads. Main thing I found over the years is you had to "up line" the DT at least one line wt over the rod.

Used this system for many years; just changed over this winter to a cut back (Mark B of Flyfish usa built them for me) 10-11-12 WC's for my 9wt Sage Spey rods. His "system" works far better than mine due to the relatively 'short' head and a ton of very thin running line behind. Interesting thing is the cut back point is different for the 9144 and the 9154 versions. And Mark was right in making the change. I've shifted lines from one rod to the other and you actually can tell the difference on how one rod vs. the other handles/opperates with his "launcher lines."

03-09-2003, 06:11 AM
Thanks for the answers. I was thinking about this a little more last night, and realized that a 45' head (I believe the entire line is 90') is indeed long, and therefore might have to be cut back somewhat. I'm a fairly proficient caster, but I hate to try to shoot line with anything more than 40' outside the rod tip. If I understand lines correctly, the measurement of grains may be determined by placing a coiled line on an accurate scale; if this is so, I wonder if I might be able to make a head that's the same number of grains as the head section on an analogous line weight simply by weighing the head of the true line, and matching it by weighing and cutting the DT section as necessary. Would this work, I wonder? If I loop-to-loop both ends of the DT piece, I can always reverse it if need be.

Fred - yeah, I had a feeling that in order to make one of these heads up for a 10-wt., I'd have to use an 11-wt. line. I may try the method above to see if I can get anything that's workable.

Dble Haul
03-09-2003, 09:44 AM
Thanks for the clarification flyfisha. I have the mindset of a shooting head being weight forward, so I guess that now you can see where I might have been coming from with my question.

Sounds like the others have your answers. Good luck.

03-10-2003, 11:27 AM
Spoke with a guy at Cortland today about this subject; he said to take the line, cut it in half, then trim the rearward (fat) portion away so the remaining line is 30' long from the tip of the tapered side of the line. In this manner, you get two shooting heads out of each full DT line. I picked up two DT-10-I clear camo lines, one DT-8-I clear camo line, and three running lines. Total bill was around $100; not too bad for three complete lines, plus the head for a fourth (I have a spare spool of running line laying around the garage somewhere). Thanks to all for your comments and suggestions; I appreciate it!

Flyfishing Finn
03-10-2003, 02:23 PM
Hello all,

I've lurking for some time and have learned so much from this great site that I decided to get more active. Not much fishing at the moment for me (based now in Belgium), only virtual.

I've cut DTs many times, and currently have heads made of 6, 8 and 10 weight DT line. Contrary to some other opinions, I like longer heads too. A 90' DT 6 gives me first a 35' head I can use on a 4 or 5 wt. rod and small streams (with nymphs & streamers). Second, it gives me a 55' head I'll use with a fast action 6 wt. rod that can easily keep the whole thing in the air. Add Flat beam, braided nylon or a "real" running line as you wish.
Same system with the heavier lines.

I also recently bought on sale a DT 10 of 100'. I'll probably cut it into 40'+60', the first to be used with a 10 wt. single hander and the latter with a spey rod.

If you're going to use that 10 wt head on a 10 wt rod, I wouldn't cut it to 30'. At least try a longer head first (40-45'), it's not too hard to keep it in the air. You can always shorten it later if you wish.

I've experimented with putting the taper at the tip or at the rear, and keep changing my systems. If I need delicacy, I'll have the taper at the front but for adding sink-tips or just casting big flies, putting the thick end first does it better. Just make sure the butt section of your leader is thick enough.

While you could probably buy a better special purpose fly line for each situation, cutting a couple DTs gives you versatility at low cost.

04-30-2003, 06:41 PM
I had gotten several DT lines on clearance and on ebay a few weeks ago that I wanted to cut down into shooting heads. Finally got around to borrowing a reloading scale from one of my co-workers so I could weigh the heads out accurately. Just cut the 6-wt., 30' got me approximately 160.5 grains, just 0.5 grains off of the "160-mark"... not bad! I started with the 45' and took 12' off first, then the remaining 3' and got to 30'. I'm going to leave the other half of the line longer and see what the effects are when I'm casting.

04-30-2003, 07:20 PM
usually a shooting head is a couple of line sizes up to make up for the decreased lenth. 8 weights get a 30' 9 or 10 wt. Orvis shooting heads are a little funny because they are 40' and you don't line up.

04-30-2003, 10:30 PM
Not only does the DT trick give you two heads, you can again cut one half to make a loop connection for sinktips in the fattest part of the belly somewhere past the taper at a length that will give you the right number of grains for your rod when combined with a sinking tip.

This is how the old spey lines and shooting head lines were made in the PNW.

05-01-2003, 06:13 AM
So in other words, I would take the 15' "scrap" piece that's uniform diameter (from the "middle" of the DT) and attach one end to the running line, then attach a short sink tip to the other end? Is that essentially how multi-head lines are made (with the exception that there's only one component to the rearward portion of the line rather than the two in this one)?

05-01-2003, 07:09 AM
Actually, the best approach is to start with a FWF that matches your rod. Then measure back past the front taper into the belly, usually around 15', and cut the belly. Loops on both cuts, put it back together and cast it for assurance if desired.

Then find yourself a suitable sinking tip material like the Rio tips which come in a broad spectrum of densities and grains, and loop one end. Lengths from 13-18 feet usually cast best. If you go real long try coming down a line weight to compensate.

Attach a leader to the other end and test cast the hybrid setup. Chances are you will be able to throw it with authority and it will bring the fly down to a working column quickly.

With spey lines, the grains and distribution is much more finicky. Since you are throwing overhand, this should not be a problem.

With a DT, you can certainly cut the line to achieve the same thing but you will have two loops instead of one. The trick with the DT is to cut from the ends coming back toward the middle with the right grains for the rod. If the DT happens to match the rod with half of the line out of the guides, then cutting in the middle is perfect. If not, the back end belly would be trimmed as you mentioned.

The advantages of starting with a FWF are:
- there is one less loop
- the running line is provided for you - you won't have to buy it
- you can determine if it matches up before you cut

And yes, the 'scrap' section makes a fine vehicle for attaching a tapered tip - it's functionally equivalent to the other piece with the front taper removed, no difference really.

05-01-2003, 07:26 AM
So if I understand this correctly, if I were cutting 15' back from the tip of the FWF, what I'd need is 30' or so of the uniform diameter line (belly), looped at both ends. In essence then, if I took a 90' DT line and made a pair of 30' floating shooting heads out of it, the "middle" 30' would be appropriate for setting up as you outlined. Boy, if that's the case, I may focus on using these systems rather than buying full lines, simply due to savings in money (I've got several running lines that were on clearance, also). I'll look into those sink tips by Rio. Thanks very much for your input, it really helps!

05-01-2003, 08:00 AM
Well, not really - what I was suggesting was this:

1) find a regular weight forward line that you know matches your rod, floating.

2) Cut it back past the front taper and loop both sides of the cut

3) find tapered sinktips to substitute the floating front taper as needed

And I added that you could do something similar with DTF but you would suffer the following disadvantages:

a) you don't know how much of it will match your rod

b) you have an extra loop you don't need

c) you have to buy running line

If the objective is to build a sinktip system for overhand casting, you're better off with the FWF - one cut, no guesswork.

05-01-2003, 12:06 PM
Gotcha, thanks for the clarification.

Nooksack Mac
05-05-2003, 02:53 PM
Take the opportunity to weigh and record some belly section. Either cut off exactly one foot of belly (after taking what you need for line-building) and weigh it; or, if you end up with an odd length, say 24' of belly, weigh that and divide by 24 to get the weight per foot. Record these weights. It'll be useful in designing future line systems.
As raw material for line-tinkering, there are dozens of fly lines auctioned on eBay every day.

05-05-2003, 05:30 PM
Excuse me, but I don't quite see the logic in all of this.

First of all, a 30' shooting head needs to be at least one line size heavier than a full WF line. After years of fooling around with shooting heads, and trying what you are doing, I have gone back to 30' heads that are three line sizes heavier.

Secondly, for salt water, a floating head or running line is totally useless because of the waves and everything, you cannot keep the slack out of them. Plus they are too fat and wind resistant. And in the salt, you can even fish lead core on the surfface. Just start stripping right away.

Thirdly, (is that a word?) standard shooting heads are pretty cheap as it is. The last time I checked about $20- $25 apiece.

If you really want the latest thoughts on shooting heads, check out Dan Blanton's web page. Those guys have it down.

05-05-2003, 05:46 PM
JD- The true purpose of this exercise was to take DT lines, cut them down, and use them with running line to make an inexpensive shooting head system. I have not been able to get out to try the heads I made up last week, so I don't know how well they work with the same-weight rod. I can't imagine that I'd need to create a 9-wt. shooting head to use on a 6-wt. rod, though, since the rod is made to aerialize a 6-weight line... I'm sure you know more than I do about this, but I'm going to give it a shot.

I can see where West Coast or even Northeastern salters might have issues with waves and the slack they create, however 100% of the saltwater fly fishing I have done in the past two years has been either in the Southeast (which has very little chop to speak of in comparison to the afore-mentioned areas) or in protected water which, again, is relatively calm. I have used shooting heads with my 9-weight outfit and have never had difficulty shooting 80'+ of line on typical days, though I understand the wind resistance that you mention. Then again, I would imagine that shooting a line three-sizes too large would have something to do with it... ;)

The lines I'm using were all either clearanced at 50% off retail or even cheaper via ebay, so I don't view $20 for an entire line made of "premium line components" as expensive.

05-05-2003, 06:30 PM
I like Rio slick shooter (oval shape) in #30 nd #50, or Orvis flat beam, not so much for the strengh, but to have something to hold onto. Some guys like the clear intermediate running line. For lighter stuff, like fresh water, I use golf club whipping thread. And I dont bother with a loop on the running line. Just tie it to the head loop with a clinch knot and cut it of when you want to change heads. You lose less than one inch each time.

With a DT line, the best you can do is two 30 ft heads that are the same, and a section of level line that you may never use. Where is the economy in that? Unless you have a buddy that can use the other head?

05-05-2003, 06:38 PM
Originally posted by JDJones
...With a DT line, the best you can do is two 30 ft heads that are the same, and a section of level line that you may never use. Where is the economy in that? Unless you have a buddy that can use the other head?

What it means to me is that at the end of the year, when one shooting head has been brutalized by fish on coral heads and mangroves, I have a replacement for the next season.

05-05-2003, 06:43 PM
Originally posted by JDJones
...First of all, a 30' shooting head needs to be at least one line size heavier than a full WF line. After years of fooling around with shooting heads, and trying what you are doing, I have gone back to 30' heads that are three line sizes heavier.

I guess I could always use the "spare" 6-wt. shooting head on my 3-weight rod, right?:whoa:

05-05-2003, 07:02 PM
That is a setup that I find works very well. Although I have to admit, my 3wt is an old Sage 390-4 RP. Not the RPL which stood for Rerserve Power Lite. This thing is more like a five wt. I use it for dredging lakes with a float tube.

05-05-2003, 07:07 PM
Well, what the heck, I'd be willing to give it a try; my 3-wt. is a St. Croix UL series, and could probably handle it. I'd be more likely to try the 6-wt. out on my 5-wt. rod, though.

05-06-2003, 10:15 PM
well this will be neither interesting nor helpful, but i thought I'd let you know that I read this entire thread and I realize I have absolutely NO CLUE what you guys are talking about, and I've been ff-ing for some time now. Strangely, however, I found this thread I don't understand rather interesting. that is all.