Converting a Windcutter into a GL shooting head
After mucking about, at different times with four spey rods, I figured, that with the acquisition of the fifth, I should purchase a "real" spey line. Well, like pretty well everone else here, I was steered toward a Windcutter. Had I bought the tips version, I'd probably would still be a happy camper, but no, I bought the floater.
What a useless line for my waters. Straight out of the box, it wouldn't turn over anything that would sink a fly and when used on some smaller rivers, to cast the full head would put you in reach of the far bank. There's plenty of advice around about cutting the Windcutter back but I couldn't bring myself to chop such an expensive line. So I bought an Airflo Delta instead and loved it.
After watching the Windcutter collect dust for months, last January I got up the nerve to do some line surgery and chopped 10' off the front taper plus I cut the head off the running line. On the decapitated and de-tapered head, I added braided loops. When I tried the line reversed, it went like stink but the braided loops caught in the guides so bad, it put the rod at risk.
After finally getting around to making some smaller loops, I took the line out to the Credit today for a better field test than the first attempt. The cut down head is now 44' and when used reversed, the very short 3' rear taper becomes the front taper with the very thick 20' belly right behind it. As you can imagine, the turn over force is greater than any pike line in existance. This arrangement will turn over pretty well anything you care to put in front of it, sinktips, Polyleaders, mono & shot, mono, shot & a bobber, and all of the above with a brass tube fly.
But will it cast?
I'd pull the head in until the loop was in my hands, leaving about 30' of line outside the guides. I'd then execute an abbrieviated double and make an 80' cast. The mono & shot (4 BBs) turned over like I had a trico dry on the end. Once I aclimatized to the quick, underhand powerstroke, I could keep the D-Loop so compact that it barely reached behind me on an across stream cast. On downstream or upstream casts, it didn't go behind me at all. While the wind was the wrong way for singles, I tried a some, and after a few fits and starts, they started banging out too. Even a snake roll worked. After a while, I stopped trying to catch fish and concentrated on expanding the repertoire. More extraordinary, I started casting with overhead-like precision. It's hard (at least for me) to position the fly accurately with a spey cast, but this was duck soup.
If you hate your Windcutter floater - try decapitation and reversal -- you'll love it.
BTW, I was using a reversed Windcutter 9/10/11 on a Lochmor X 13'6" 9 wt.
Just curious are you using this custom line as a nymphing rig?
Took a look at your web page,whoa! If I had water like that in my immediate area there would be absolutely no way to contain my fishing habits!!"and my wife would probably have forgotten my name. Very Very" Nice........I just knew I was born in the wrong area!
BTW -I was casting with the entire head of that Wind Cutter out,and you are right about all or nothing I got that same sense after I read your post.
Through the years I've developed a good sense of patience, and with practice I'll get it!!! Thanks for the response...
When I first thought of doing this, I had intended to use it for nymphing. However, I'm not much of a nymph fisher and I prefer to swing flies so I've been using it for that instead. But by all means, nymph away.
I am just curious, did you try casting the line after your chop job without reversing it ?
My reason behind this is that the line you have has always casted pretty nice for me.
I use it on a 14' CND Expert series, it really sings on that rod.
Makes one wonder if cutting off that 10' and using in frontwards would work as well.
Using it the right way around with 10' missing made it into a nice polyleader line. It works fine this way, however, like WCs everywhere, it needs the head out of the guides to really work. That creates a big D-loop, big distance, and not much accuracy. At the end of such a cast, if you're flogging shot and an indy, then you might not get much turnover, especially into a headwind. The reversed WC needs only about 20' or so of line out to work on the spey and even less overhead.
The reversed line was intended for turning over lots of "stuff", (big) pocket water speying, short line casting when working tight, heavy wind days, little D-loops when next to the bank or overhanging trees, a short casting stroke when room is limited, or where accuracy is important (an unanticipated benefit). The thick belly also doesn't get dragged under as much as a thin tip. The beauty is -- you can use it the right way around or flip it to suit the situation as you work your way down the river.
I find that some of our GL rivers (the Catt in NY, the Credit in ON) have pocket water stretches and big flats. A standard WC sucks in the pocket water situation but it's nice on the flats. This rig handles both.
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