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History of Shooting Lines
By: Mark Bachmann
Jim Green introduced monofilament as a running/shooting line
for distance fly casting in 1946 at the Golden Gate Casting Club. That
revolutionized fly casting. Suddenly fly casters could reach what before
were unobtainable distances because the small diameter monofilament greatly
reduced friction between itself and the rod guides. These shooting lines
were attached to high density shooting heads. Lines of this design are
still used today by such legendary distance casters as 13 time World
Champion, Steve Rajeff. As a matter of fact, monofilament is still the choice as shooting line for the
majority of tournament distance casters today. Monofilament does have
one problem however, after it has been wound on a reel for a while it tends
to take on the shape of the reel spool, and to coil much like the
Slinky kids toy. This is called memory. In the early 1960's Amnesia shooting line was developed by the Sunset company. It was was
developed specifically as shooting line, and could be stretched to instantly
loose all memory which greatly reduced the possibility of tangles. This
shooting line remained popular for more than forty years. Amnesia is no
longer available, but monofilament
shooting lines are still evolving. Rio
SlickShooter with its oval cross section is very popular.
Frog Hair Shooting Line is bombarded with gamma
rays during manufacturing to make it slicker and more tangle free. The
latest monofilament shooting lines to hit the market are hollow so that they
float and not only reduce friction in your rod guides, but also reduce
friction when contacting the water. The newest friction
cutting shooting line is
Varivas AIRS, a monofilament line which had a ridged
exterior cause by six hollow interior air chambers. It is incredibly slick
and could add many feet to your casts. Although the new monofilaments in hollow
configurations are extremely popular, tangle-free, braided, monofilament
shooting lines have also found favor. We've
Airflo Miracle Braid
extensively. This is a braided monofilament, which has a core.
Theoretically, because the braided line has intermittent contact with your
rod guides it reduces friction more than lines which have constant contact
with the guides.
More Thoughts About Shooting
By: Mark Bachmann
Every shooting line on this page ahs been thoroughly tested by our staff for multiple weeks on the water. After all, beyond acquiring better casting skills, reducing friction during the shoot is one of the easiest ways to achieve greater casting distance. For this reason monofilament shooting lines are pretty much universal in the distance casting tournament game. Most experienced steelheaders that use shooting heads also use monofilament shooting lines as well, because monofilament is very durable, comparatively inexpensive, and creates the least amount of friction. Monofilament, especially perfectly round monofilament is easiest on the hands where a lot of stripping is being done. As with all things, monofilament shooting lines sometimes have their down-sides as well. Solid monofilament is heavier than water, and therefore it sinks. Sinking can be an asset when you are working a reef with a fast sinking shooting head, but it is not an asset when you are wading a steelhead stream and trying to control coils that are trailing in your back-wash. Hollow monofilament, such as Varivas Airs or Scientific Anglers Mono SL float because they are lighter than water. Hollow monofilament has more memory during cold weather than solid mono, such as Frog Hair, which has the least amount of memory of any monofilament shooting line we have found. There is a strong case that oval monofilament such as Rio SlickShooter creates less friction in the rod guides than does round monofilament. Monofilament can be hard to hang onto when your hands are wet or cold, and can really drive you nuts if your hands are both wet and cold.
Coated Fly Line Shooting Lines and Hollow Braided Monofilament Shooting Lines are both easier to hang onto than monofilament shooting lines. They tend to have less memory in cold weather too, so they are more predictable when controlling loops during the stripping process. Because they do create more friction than monofilament they tend to be meaner to your hands. A saltwater trip can wear some serious grooves in your fingers. Most Spey outfits for beginners come equipped with a fly-line shooting line because it is easier for beginning anglers to see and to control. Both Rio Powerflex® Core, and Airflo Ridge shooting lines are superb. Airflo Ridge 30-pound is the easiest to see against most backgrounds.
Hollow braided monofilament polyethylene shooting lines such as Airflo Miracle Floating Shooting Braid and Scientific Anglers Braided PE have the least amount of memory of any type of shooting lines. They are also very lightweight, so they float very high and are extremely easy to hold off the water when you need to fish over the top of an unruly current tongue. These braided lines are extremely easy to hang onto when your hands are wet and cold. This makes casting easier because the release becomes more predictable than any line that wants to slip out of your fingers.
I regularly use all of the shooting lines described within this article, and have pretty much relegated monofilament shooting lines to summer fishing with Scandi heads or saltwater trips. Hollow braided polyethylene shooting lines are currently favored for winter Skagit-Head work.
|Airflo Floating Miracle Shooting Braid|
Recently upgraded with a solid core and s harder, slicker, smoother
finish. One of the best overall
shooting/running line for cold-water fishing with Spey shooting heads,
is Airflo Miracle Floating Shooting Braid. It's incredibly light so it shoots a long way,
has NO memory, floats, and doesn't tangle very often. This is a great
line to use in combination with Skagit and Scandinavian heads.
Some anglers are even cutting the stock shooting lines from mid-length
heads and replacing them with Miracle Braid because it gives superior
|MBRAID50G||Airflo Miracle Floating Shooting Braid, 50-yard spool||30-pound test||$27.95|
|Airflo Ridge Running/Shooting Line, Pre-looped|
The perfect compliment to
any shooting head, Ridge technology comes to the fore on our running
|468415||Airflo Ridge Running Line, Yellow||20-pound
|468422||Airflo Ridge Running Line, Orange||30-pound
Hair Shooting Line
GAMMA's proven "Molecularly Altered" Frog Hair Shooting Lines offer all of the casting qualities the big water angler desires. GAMMA's exclusive process builds-in flexibility and virtually eliminates coil memory, which produces lines that will shoot further and handle easier than any other monofilament running/shooting lines. Frog Hair Shooting Lines have the "slickness" needed to achieve greater distances. This processing also helps prevent kinking and allows the line to lay in soft, loose coils that literally "shoot like a bullet" through the rod guides. In the larger diameters, stripping is also easier, more controlled, and provides more secure
shooting/running lines must be presoaked the night before and kept
wet right up until fishing time to help make them more flexible. But
not Frog Hair! GAMMA's proprietary manufacturing process eliminates
this bothersome step to ensure greater suppleness and more flexibility
throughout the line. At home in both fresh and saltwater.
This 100+ pound tarpon was caught from the Belize River using a fast sinking shooting head
and Frog Hair FFHSL-11.
|FFHSL-13||Frog Hair Shooting Line,
Fluorescent Orange, diameter .019"
|FFHSL-10||Frog Hair Shooting Line, Red, diameter .022"||
|FFHSL-11||Frog Hair Shooting Line, Chartreuse, diameter .024"||
|NEW RIO GripShooter||NEW RIO ConnectCore Shooting Line|
|RIO SlickShooter||PowerFlex Core Shooting Line|
There are a number of reasons for using shooting heads and shooting lines. Traditionally shooting lines are used to cut down on friction in the rod guides while performing long casts. A floating or sinking head is used to load the rod, the cast is made and the head pulls the fine diameter shooting line behind it. First used for tournament distance casting, this system quickly migrated to salt water, and Pacific salmon fishing. Since then it has been used for many fly fishing applications. The newest arena where shooting heads and shooting lines are making an impact is in Spey fishing. Spey line shooting heads have been popular for a number of years in Scandinavia.
Many west coast steelhead anglers have also found Scandinavian style shooting heads to be very practical for fishing their rivers. The original Skagit style lines were shooting heads. The latest fad is to replace the running lines on Rio's Skagit Spey and WindCutter lines with Rio PowerFlex Core Shooting Line, because it is slicker and more tangle free than the original running line. Also one reel can be loaded with backing and a shooting line, and many heads can be interchanged on to it. This system creates less bulk than packing around several extra reel spools.
A super hard, slick finish oval-shaped nylon shooting line. Has no
memory after being stretched before fishing each day. Has an extremely
low coefficient of friction for long distance casts.
Length: 115 feet
|20489||RIO SlickShooter, Blue||25 pound-test||$15.95|
|20490||RIO SlickShooter, Orange||35 pound-test||$15.95|
|20491||RIO SlickShooter, Red||44 pound-test||$15.95|
|20494||RIO SlickShooter, Green||50 pound-test||$15.95|
A super hard, slick finish oval-shaped nylon shooting line with a
bright orange handling line coated onto it for a better grip while casting. The
main line is SlickShooter which has an extremely
low coefficient of friction for long distance casts. These lines are
"looped" for easy changing of shooting heads.
Length: 100 feet
|6-19040||RIO GripShooter, Blue||25 pound-test||$29.95|
|6-19041||RIO GripShooter, Orange||35 pound-test||$29.95|
|6-19042||RIO GripShooter, Red||44 pound-test||$29.95|
|6-19043||RIO GripShooter, Yellow||50 pound-test||$29.95|
Core Shooting Lines|
The Powerflex Core shooting lines have a strong monofilament core that results in thin diameters, great strength and durability and a very slick XS Technology coating for ultimate distance. These shooting lines are available with either a supple cold-water coating for tangle free performance or with a hard tropical coating that will not wilt in the heat. These lines feature a large welded loop at the front end to speedily attach a shooting head. Two densities available: Floating and Intermediate.
Each size is color coded for easy recognition.
Powerflex® Core are the ultimate shooting lines when distance and manageability are
important, they combine the slickness and suppleness needed for the
highest in performance and are virtually tangle free. These lines were
developed for fishing with
indicators for salmon and steelhead in the Great Lakes and West Coast
fisheries, as well as being an excellent choice when used with any
shooting heads. These lines are "looped" for easy changing of shooting
Length: 100 ft (30.5 m)
|19030||RIO Powerflex® Core Shooting Line, Coldwater, Floating, Orange||.024"||$39.95|
|19033||RIO Powerflex® Core Shooting Line, Coldwater, Intermediate Sink, Orange Tint||.024"||$39.95|
|19031||RIO Powerflex® Core Shooting Line, Coldwater, Floating, Chartreuse||.030||$39.95|
|19034||RIO Powerflex® Core Shooting Line, Coldwater, Intermediate Sink, Chartreuse Tint||.030||$39.95|
|19032||RIO Powerflex® Core Shooting Line, Coldwater, Blue||.035||$39.95|
|19035||RIO Powerflex® Core Shooting Line, Coldwater, Intermediate Sink, Blue Tint||.035||$39.95|
|19038||RIO Powerflex® Core Shooting Line, Coldwater, Yellow||.040||$39.95|
Rio ConnectCore Shooting Lines|
Built on RIO's ultra low stretch ConnectCore, this shooting line is made to transmit more feel while casting and fishing. In corporated into the constuction is RIO's Extream Slickness coating, which allows less friction for longer, smoother casts. Each line comes with a thicker, highly visible, bright orange handling section which is seamlessly integrated for durability and ease of casting. These lines are "looped" for easy changing of shooting heads.
Length: 100 ft (30.5 m)
|6-19045||RIO ConnectCore Shooting Line, Light Gray/Hot Orange||.026"||$59.95|
|6-19046||RIO ConnectCore Shooting Line, Pale Green/Hot Orange||.032"||$59.95|
|6-19047||RIO ConnectCore Shooting Line, Pale Blue/Hot Orange||.037"||$59.95|
|6-19048||RIO ConnectCore Shooting Line, Straw/Hot Orange||.042"||$59.95|
|Mono SL Braided PE|
|Scientific Anglers Mono SL Shooting Line|
technology produces monofilament nylon that is hollow, but which retains a
round configuration under extreme stress. In cross-section Mono SL is
hollow, but partitioned into six separate compartments. Mono SL is lighter
in weight than water, and therefore it floats. This may be the most friction
free shooting line available. Because of the lightweight Mono SL barely
touches the rod guides, and coiled loops come off the water cleanly. We
first saw this shooting line in the hands of Spey Casting Wizard, Steve
Choate, who was able to reach parts of the Sandy River which had never been
touched by a fly before. Slick and easy on your hands
Mono SL Specifications:
Color: Transparent Orange
Size: .021" - 36-pound test
Cross-Section of Mono SL
|982765||Scientific Anglers Mono Shooting Line COLOR orange||.021"||$32.95|
|Scientific Anglers Braided PE|
|This is the finest
grade of hollow braided polyethylene rope. It is smoother than any
competitive brand of braided shooting line we've found. Braided PE has
virtually no memory, even in the coldest conditions you will encounter while
fly fishing. PE is comparatively easy on your hands. It floats and is a
favorite with Spey and surf fishermen because it remains tangle free. It is
easy to hang on to and shoots long distances.
Braided PE Specifications:
Size: .032" - 29-pound test
|995680||Scientific Anglers Braided PE||.032"||$32.95|
|Varivas Airs Shooting Line|
|The VARIVAS® Shooting Line has become very popular with distance casters and steelhead/salmon anglers who want to reach our farther. Simply stated, AIRS reduces friction while running through your guides. You will instantly notice the difference between this and any other shooting line we are aware of. The secret is the eight air chambers that run lengthwise inside the line, which gives AIRS its floatation, and also gives it a slightly ridged cross-section on the outside for less contact with rod guide surfaces. Varivas AIRS remains supple even in winter cold water conditions for tangle-free performance. You will have to stretch it as it comes off the reel spool and then it remains straight for that casting period. Ideal for Scandinavian and Skagit style shooting heads. Hi-viz yellow for great visibility. Supplied in 100m spools (approximately 110 yards)||
|VSL-024||Varivas Airs Shooting Line||24-pound, .016||$39.95|
|VSL-030||Varivas Airs Shooting Line||30-pound, .019||$39.95|
|VSL-036||Varivas Airs Shooting Line||36-pound, .021||$39.95|
|VSL-047||Varivas Airs Shooting Line||47-pound, .027||$39.95|