Monday, May 27, 2013

Air-Flo Tactical Shooting Heads

Last year I began experimenting with Wulff's Ambush fly lines for spey casting on my 4, 5, 6, and 7 weight shorter spey rods as well my 10' 7-9 wgt. single handers.  I found the lines a blast to cast.  You could put tips on them and they launch some of my bigger steelhead flies with ease.  And in tight quarters with brush at your back, they were amazing. 

This past winter I had the opportunity to share some of my favorite North Umpqua runs with Marty and Mia Shepherd  They own and operate Little Creek Outfitters and both are very experienced spey casters.  In fact, Mia recently won Spey-o-rama...again! so they know what they're doing and they're a blast to spend time with. 

Marty was throwing "lazer beams" across the North Umpqua, sending some of his prized winter steelhead flies along for a very distant ride.  Marty explained that the line he was using was the Air-flo "Tactical Shooting Head" series line called the "Skagit Switch" line.  These lines are very short heads that are looped at each end to allow them to be attached to the shooting line of your choice.  Marty was using a mono-style shooting line.

These lines are only 19 feet long and they come in every grain weight a steelheader in the Northwest could ever need. 

After my introduction with these lines on the North Umpqua, I got a hold of the great folks at Rajeff Sports and had them send me a selection of these unique fly lines.  So far I LOVE these lines.

I've used the 400 grain line extensively on my 12'6" 5-6 wgt. TFO "deer creek" series rod and it zings 'um out there! Initially I was using a standard 20 lb. floating running line from Air-Flo and it worked fine.  Recently, I've switched to a mono-style running line and I've added another 10 feet to my cast. 

The key to casting these shorter heads is to SLOW DOWN when forming your "D-loop" and beginning the forward part of the cast.  These very short head needs a moment to form a solid anchor and if you rush the cast you'll loose your anchor.  Marty also correctly pointed out to me that a softer action rod (like my deer creek series) really do well with these styles of short...really short belly lines.  The stiffer rods, not so much.

And if you love spey casting with a single hander, you'll really enjoy these lines. 

Just a short note on sink tips.  I use T-11, T-14 and T-17 to make my own tips.  I also use a lot of the Air-Flo "custom cut tips" in a variety of weights to make various length tips.  Fast, easy, strong.