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juro 08-02-2004 06:50 AM

Two-handed overhead casting - 'red zone' spacer idea
When casting two-handed, or any casting for that matter - the overhang of running line past the tip is a handy way to extend the line and increase the load on the rod for the final forward cast. It's common to shoot 5-15 ft of thin stuff into the backcast just before the forward cast and shoot.

The problem is that it's too thin and most often causes a hinge, killing the cast. You need to (a) know where the limits are and (b) provide a more substantial material that hinges less.

Factory lines solve this by having a longer back taper, but the fishing (surf) often calls for a short head to punch big flies that have been stripped all the way in during each cast and I am not aware of a line with this configuration - short dense head with long back taper, different color. The lines we generally use are aggressive short heads (tarpon style lines) or shooting heads, and neither has much of a back taper if at all. In fact they are often 'square', or very abrupt. The running lines are very thin too... hinge city unless we stick to the head length, which as mentioned above needs to be short.

So here's an experiment I am planning - a 'red zone' segment in between. Either a reversed taper off a scrap line or just a beefy running line segment spliced in. The idea is to add a section of line that is the right length for the final slip-shoot technique so that when the end is at the hands the right amount is in the air for max loading. It's visually and mechanically functional for making the longest hinge-free casts with a two-handed rod.

I want it to:
  • have a different color for visual queue
  • exhibit no noticable hinging
  • be friction free (blind spliced) to the running line
  • be adaptable to multiple shooting heads

So here's how it would go:

- strip the fly in, no fish this time
- flip the head out for the next cast
- pick up the line with a backcast
- one false cast, more if you are uncomfortable with a single
- shoot the line into the backcast to the end of the 'red zone' segment
- make forward cast from a repeatable and reliable length for max distance

Anyone ever run into a production line with these characteristics before I get scissor-happy?

flyfisha1 08-02-2004 07:29 AM

Not sure that it matters, but I was out yesterday afternoon in the LI Sound casting my 11'6" GLX using a short 10-wt. intermediate head looped (via heavy braided mono) to the Airflo non-stretch shooting line. While the head stops abruptly, as you say, the diameter of the shooting line isn't too much smaller than that of the head, and in addition I had reinforced the loop connection on the butt of the head (?) by wrapping it with Uni-Chord and finishing that with Flex-Cement; this made the connection at that end more stiff, and there was little to no hinging. Perhaps the added stiffness in the butt works similarly to the short reverse taper you're thinking about. I may try that idea with a 9-wt. floating head I have.

juro 08-02-2004 07:37 AM

Chris -

Thanks for the reply.

I am experiencing no hinging with the loop connections, I should have been more clear. Factory loops from Rio and Airflo are excellent and I have been making my own non-hinging loops since way back in my years living in steelhead country where loop-connection sinktips are the rule for winter steelheading.

The "hinging" I am talking about the line hinging that occurs when you shoot let's say 15 feet of running line into the final backcast then make the forward cast expecting that thin line to turn the big head over.

To see what I mean, try shooting about 20 feet of the running line into the backcast and come forward. That's a line hinge. With a 10wt head the ability of the running line is much better than with a 12wt head (same running line, much heavier head).

This ability to shoot line into that final backcast provides tremendous boost to the power in the cast and it's well worth accomodating hence the spacer. It's also a tendency distance casters inherit from their single handed casting, and is not only effective but it feels good to be able to extend the length of line in the air.

Hope that made things clearer.

flyfisha1 08-02-2004 07:44 AM

Ahhh, I see. I usually shoot no more than 10' into my backcast, and I understand now what you're referring to. So in other words, you're exploring the creation of a sort of "mini-line" with the characteristics of a head and rear taper that will prevent this hinging effect.

jimS 08-02-2004 09:26 AM

Juro, one running line that has a 6 foot head is the Rio Striper Versi-Tip. This is an intermediate running line, the head is .058 necking down to .042. Factory loop, and the color is light blue. There is no color change on the head.

If you want to test drive this running line, I can send it to you, or I would think Simon Gawesworth could be persuaded to send it you since it would be in Rio's interest to have you experiment with it.


juro 08-02-2004 10:28 AM

Nice find Jim! Figures Rio would have something within their incredible range of flyline products for the avid anglers of the world.

That design would prove out the back taper theory, and I will contact Rio about it.

However I foresee a couple of possible things to overcome. It would have to be made longer to make a difference since the length of that line (100ft, 105ft after replacing the Rio tip with a shooting head) is already easily reached without shooting any line into the back-cast. If it in fact allowed for a back-shoot then it would add distance, requiring more length. In short it is shorter than the casts we are already reaching without shooting into the backcast.

Also without a color change there would be no visual queue to tell the caster what is going on in the backcast, i.e. when the max overhang has been reached.

Yet the back taper is there and would prove out the hinge reduction theory plus it already has a loop for the shooting head. Maybe a spliced extension on the other end of the running line to make it total 150ft long, which is plenty to worry about in even the biggest stripping baskets.

Actively working on a two-hander basket for very long running lines. First prototypes look pretty freaky but I hope they will deliver. Fingers are crossed for field testing at boneclave.

Thanks for your suggestion Jim.

peter-s-c 08-02-2004 11:58 AM

As an experiment, why not take the intermediate 15' tip from a Rio or Airflo multi-tip line, reverse it and loop it to the back end of your shooting head? If you're using a 45' Airflo head, this will make it 60' and the loops provide the visual clues.

Airflo 45' or 35' head + 15' tip reversed + running line.

juro 08-05-2004 07:56 AM

Good idea Peter - thanks. .. already looped too.

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