Cutting a DT line in half - Fly Fishing Forum
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Old 03-08-2003, 07:45 PM
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Cutting a DT line in half

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.?
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Old 03-08-2003, 09:42 PM
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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)
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Old 03-08-2003, 10:23 PM
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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).
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Old 03-09-2003, 12:38 AM
flytyer flytyer is offline
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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.
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Old 03-09-2003, 05:49 AM
fredaevans fredaevans is offline
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Somewhat the 'reverse' of your description were the

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."
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Old 03-09-2003, 07:11 AM
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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.
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Old 03-09-2003, 10:44 AM
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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.
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Old 03-10-2003, 12:27 PM
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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!
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Old 03-10-2003, 03:23 PM
Flyfishing Finn Flyfishing Finn is offline
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Cutting DTs

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.
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Old 04-30-2003, 07:41 PM
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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.
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Old 04-30-2003, 08:20 PM
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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.
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Old 04-30-2003, 11:30 PM
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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.
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Old 05-01-2003, 07:13 AM
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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)?
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Old 05-01-2003, 08:09 AM
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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.
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Old 05-01-2003, 08:26 AM
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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!
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