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Shooting Heads

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LCO Featured Product: Rio Outbound Short Shooting Head.

Arguably the most versatile line system is the shooting head. Shooting heads are essentially very short (30ft) fly lines that attach to a thinner running line via loop to loop. Shooting heads come in a variety of different sink rates and allow and angler to make long casts with minimal back casting space. The shooting head is essential for the bay area angler. In fact, it was developed between the Russian River and the Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club.

Sink Rates Available:

  • Floating
  • Intermediate sinks at 1-2 inches per second
  • Type 3 sinks at 3-4 inches per second
  • Type 6 sinks at 6-7 inches per second

Shooting heads come in handy in many different situations:

Surf Fishing:

With dogs and people walking behind you it is important that you be able to cast with minimal back cast quickly. The your total line out the tip is usually something like 33ft with a shooting head and can be cast a long distance with just one back cast. Type 3 and Type 6 shooting heads are Ideal for surf fishing. I prefer to use an intermediate or very thin running line like the Rio Slickshooter in the surf.

The Delta:

Shooting heads are great in the Delta! The bottoms and currents vary so much in the delta that effective anglers will bring 3 rigged rods with different lines rigged and ready. Shooting heads will allow an angler to achieve essentially the same versatility but with just one rod. Floating, Int, Type 3 and Type 6 are all very useful in the Delta. I prefer an intermediate running line in the Delta. 8 or 9wt rods are best in the delta. One can get by with a 7wt fishing for schoolies.


Shooting heads are excellent for swing flies for steelhead on a single hand rod. Intermediate, Type 3 and Type 6 heads are you go to steelhead shooting heads.

Shad Fishing:

The Type3 and Type 6 Shooting are a shad angler’s best friends. Any running line will work for shad fishing.

Lake fishing:

Lakes require that you get the fly down to zone that fish are eating on. The fish’s position in the water column can vary; for this reason so should your line.

What will you need?

A reel that matches the size of your rod.

A running line : A running line comes in many different forms. A running line trails behind the shooting head when you cast it out. It can be as simple as 30lb mono-filament to a fly line like material that is thicker and easier to hang on to. Running lines are generally level with exception of a few lines that have a thicker handling section where you would hang on the line while hauling. This helps to prevent the line accidentally slipping out of your hands.

  • Cheap & Easy option - SlickShooter 50lb - great for distance this thin running line has very low friction when shooting through guides and sinks with the head pretty well. The main con is that it slips through your fingers pretty easily when casting.
  • Middle of the road - The Grip Shooter - the gripshooter is slick shooter with an improvement. A 20ft handling section has a thicker diameter to solve the problem of the thin line slipping through your finger unintentionally.
  • The Good Stuff - Conectcore shooting line - has no stretch and is fantastic for stripping flies and hook sets.
  • The Intermediate Running Line - Powerflex Intermediate Running Line

The perfectionist always wants the right gear and an intermediate line is perfect for the surf and delta.

All of these running line will be fitted with a loop to loop your shooting head to! Give us a call if you are interested in setting up a 7-10wt with a shooting head set up!

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