Travis Johnson, Shooting Lines, Pro Tube, George Cook

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Trav's  Tips
Travis Johnson is both student and instructor in the art of fly casting. He is a member of the prestigious Carron competition Spey Casting team. Last year he placed second at the CLA World Championships held at Blenheim Palace. Winner of the event was Carron team member Gerard Downey, with a magnificent cast of 70.63 meters (231.7 feet). Gerard is now the current World Champion. The team is based out of Invergordon, Ross-shire, Scotland. It has dominated the Spey distance events for the past eleven years and has 12 world Championships to its credit. This team has won more events than all of the rest of the competing teams combined and Carron fly lines hold all of the Spey Casting distance records Most of the 6- members are Scottish. Gerard and Raurri are Irish, and of course Travis resides right here in Oregon, USA. As a matter of fact he grew up in Brightwood, just down the street from The Fly Fishing Shop, where he is currently employed in several capacities, including fishing guide and fly fishing instructor. He practices distance Spey Casting several times a week and regularly achieves casts of 150-200 feet with either hand.
The video below was shot adlib while fishing. Nothing was staged or scripted. Everything was shot with a hand held pocket camera. We hope you find it entertaining and informative.
CLA Spey Casting Championships    Want to get to know Travis: Take a School.

Used In This Video: Winston 7133-4, Airflo Skagit Compact 570, VARIVAS® Airs .019

Carron Team Members: Travis Johnson, James Chalmers, Gerard Downey, Ian Gardner with their stash of hardware from CLA World Championships.

Shooting Lines
Airflo Rio Scientific Anglers
Frog Hair   Varivas Airs
A Brief History of Shooting Lines

Pete Gadd works the Klickitat River using a Rio Skagit Spey line, which has been modified with PowerFlex Core Shooting Line.

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 both and hollow configurations are extremely popular, tangle-free, braided, monofilament shooting lines have also found favor. We've tested 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. Miracle Braid can be rough on your hands however.
Shooting heads and shooting lines quickly migrated from the tournament scene to fishing water.  Anglers found that they could cast much further with this new system.  Suddenly shooting heads were available in many different densities from high floating to deep sinking.  Anglers took these new lines to large rivers for salmon & steelhead and to the saltwater or anywhere long casts were needed.  The Cortland Line Company introduced fine diameter coated fly lines which became popular as shooting lines with anglers during the 1970's.  Larry Schoenborn, while he owned  Larry's Sport Centers, sold hundreds of these lines in the Portland, Oregon area between 1973 and 1980.  These coated fly line type shooting lines remain popular today, having been proven by hundreds of anglers multiplied by hundreds of days of on the water. Scientific Anglers built their Sharkskin Shooting Line with a textured surface in the coating to mimic the friction free assets of braided monofilament shooting line. It does work and Sharkskin may have the least amount of memory of any shooting line. But, because of the rough surface it is somewhat abrasive on your hands. Another new shooting line that also has friction reducing ridges on its surface is the Airflo Ridge Line. This line is more supple than monofilament and handles really well. Since the friction reducing ridges run lengthwise of the line they are pretty easy on your hands.  Rio Powerflex Core Shooting Line is the latest development in a coated type of shooting line. It is exceptionally slick and tangle free because it is built on a monofilament core. Instead of using ridges of other patterns in the coating to reduce friction, Rio built the surface of their shooting lines exceptionally smooth, and they are the easiest on your hands. Last summer, Patty and I were fortunate to catch very many Dorados using Rio shooting heads and Powerflex Core shooting lines. We will use this system while fishing the Sea of Cortez again this year.
Many fly fishers using two-hand rods are switching to shooting head type fly lines, and there is much discussion about which shooting lines work best in that environment. All of the shooting lines mentioned above are adaptable to steelhead/salmon rivers. The interchangeability of shooting head spey lines allows an angler to instantly adapt to changing weather/water conditions without carrying extra reel spools.
Airflo Ridge, Scientific Anglers Sharkskin and Rio Powerflex core shooting lines all have seamless loops for attaching shooting heads.
Lately there has been renewed interest in shooting lines. As you can see, there are a wide variety of materials available. Designs are constantly evolving and competition between companies is fierce. We're always experimenting and because of it we're always on the cutting edge.

Airflo Floating Miracle Shooting Braid

Marcy Stone fires a line across the North Umpqua using Miracle Braid shooting line.

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 performance.
Item Description Size Price To Top
MBRAID50G Airflo Miracle Floating Shooting Braid, 50-yard spool 30-pound test $27.95 SALE ENDED
Airflo Ridge Running/Shooting Line, Pre-looped

The perfect compliment to any shooting head, Ridge technology comes to the fore on our running lines.

Reduced surface friction not only increases distance, but also helps reduce tangles - loose coils of line slide over each other easily to eliminate snarl ups.

A low stretch Power core and an oversized ‘Flexi loop’ complete what we consider to be the ultimate running line for shooting heads.  Color is bright orange.

Item Description Size Price To Top
468415 Airflo Ridge Running Line, Yellow 20-pound
468422 Airflo Ridge Running Line, Orange 30-pound

Frog Hair Shooting Line
GAMMA's new "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 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

hook-sets.  Many 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.
Fluorescent orange
SIZE .030, 88-pound test
44-yard spool
Item Description Size Price To Top
951124 Frog Hair Shooting Line,
fluorescent orange
88-pound test $13.95 SALE ENDED

Rio Shooting Lines

Rio SlickShooter PowerFlex Core Shooting Line

This fish was taken with a Rio Skagit spey line which had been altered to use Rio PowerFlex 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.

Rio SlickShooter

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

Item Description Size Price To Top
20489 Rio SlickShooter, Blue 25 pound-test $9.95 SALE ENDED
20490 Rio SlickShooter, Orange 35 pound-test $9.95 SALE ENDED
20491 Rio SlickShooter, Green 50 pound-test $9.95 SALE ENDED
Rio Powerflex® Core Shooting Lines
Improved for 2009!

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 (new for 2009) for ultimate distance. These shooting lines are available with either a supple coldwater 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.

 Rio 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.
Length: 100 ft (30.5 m)
Item Description Size/Color Price To Top
19030 Rio Powerflex® Core Shooting Line, Coldwater, Floating, Orange .024" $39.95 SALE ENDED
19033 Rio Powerflex® Core Shooting Line, Coldwater, Intermediate Sink, Orange Tint .024" $39.95 SALE ENDED
19031 Rio Powerflex® Core Shooting Line, Coldwater, Floating, Chartreuse .030 $39.95 SALE ENDED
19034 Rio Powerflex® Core Shooting Line, Coldwater, Intermediate Sink,   Chartreuse Tint .030 $39.95 SALE ENDED
19032 Rio Powerflex® Core Shooting Line, Coldwater, Blue .035 $39.95 SALE ENDED
19035 Rio Powerflex® Core Shooting Line, Coldwater, Intermediate Sink, Blue Tint .035 $39.95 SALE ENDED

Scientific Anglers Shooting Lines

Sharkskin          Mono SL          Braided PE
Scientific Anglers Sharkskin Shooting Line

This shooting line incorporates all of the great characteristics of standard Sharkskin technology plus some very cool features. An 8 inch welded loop allows an angler to slip a spool or reel through for easy switching out of shooting heads. A very slight taper from .032 up to .040 is provided for extra durability. A drab colored 5 foot tip allows for easy differentiation between head and shooting line. This line really shoots and is easy to hang on to, but can be hard on your hands.
Sharkskin SL Specifications:
Color: Bright Yellow
Length: 150'/45.7m
Size: .032" - 20-pound test

Item Description Size Price To Top
186484 Scientific Anglers Sharkskin shooting Line,
COLOR yellow
.032", 20-pound $59.95 SALE ENDED

Scientific Anglers Mono SL Shooting Line
Remarkable 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
Length: 150'/45.7m
Size: .021" - 36-pound test

Cross-Section of Mono SL
Item Description Size Price To Top
982765 Scientific Anglers Mono Shooting Line COLOR orange .021" $32.95 SALE ENDED

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:
Color: Orange
Length: 150'/45.7m
Size: .032" - 29-pound test
Item Description Size Price To Top
995680 Scientific Anglers Braided PE .032" $32.95 SALE ENDED

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)

Item Description Size Price To Top
VSL-024 Varivas Airs Shooting Line 24-pound, .016 $39.95 SALE ENDED
VSL-030 Varivas Airs Shooting Line 30-pound, .019 $39.95 SALE ENDED
VSL-036 Varivas Airs Shooting Line 36-pound, .021 $39.95 SALE ENDED
VSL-047 Varivas Airs Shooting Line 47-pound, .027 $39.95 SALE ENDED

January 22, 2012
:00 pm to 4:00 pm Sunday Afternoon.
Tying Steelhead Flies With Pro Tube Systems

Pro Tubes offer a revolutionary tying system.
Featuring Free Tying Instruction From:
Pro Tube Systems Rep: Bruce Berry

Assisted by: Mark Bachmann, Josh Linn and Travis Johnson.

This program is for new tiers and experienced tiers alike.
Instructional demonstrations with big-screen TV and PowerPoint projection.
A custom made fly tying room with perfect lighting
and special teaching aides are provided.
Please bring your own tools & materials or purchase what you need from our extensive selection.
Refreshments will be served. Bring snacks if you want to.

Here are examples of the free instructions you will receive.

Click form more information on Pro Tube Systems...

One-Day Winter Steelhead Finishing School
With George Cook as guest instructor.

Take a drift boat ride down a local River with: 
Mark Bachmann, Josh Linn Travis Johnson and George Cook .
The Fly Fishing Shop has a long history of collaboration with the best Spey Casting Instructors in the world. George Cook has helped us with many schools in the past, often in collaboration with other elite instructors such as Simon Gawesworth . He has been anchorman at the Western Hemisphere's largest two-day Spey Casting School: The Sandy River Spey Clave.
Sponsored by: Sage
It has always been a goal of ours to offer the widest array of "finishing schools" for the Spey casting aficionado.  An experienced angler might want to gauge his/her skills against a professional guide/instructor. During a guided trip you rarely see how your guide would actually fish the water because they are helping you fish. During this school you will see how the most experienced anglers would fish differing water types. That is why we have teamed with George Cook for a couple of special days aimed at taking you, the accomplished angler to the next skill level. Mark, George, Travis and Josh are the kind of guides that fish on their days off. They live for steelhead fly fishing. George Cook is a special casting coach. George has fished all the great steelhead fisheries of North America and has fished from the Arctic to the Antarctic. George has guided in Alaska and ran Sage's elite casting schools. George's Alaskabou series of flies is (after 20+ years) still the standard for steelhead and Alaska salmon. We are very fortunate to be able to work with George in this unique venue. Combined with our unique class room and PowerPoint presentations, we believe that this class offers benefits available nowhere else, and will appeal to any student who has taken any other classes on how to catch steelhead/salmon with two-hand rods. This School will be a lot of fun and a memorable experience for all involved.
George Cook has been a casting instructor at The Sandy river Spey Clave since 2003...
Mark Bachmann Winter Steelhead fly fishing is very practical if you know how.  Being able to find fish and being able to present the fly properly are key factors. We have all heard from clients that catching fish comes easy for guides. This is especially true of certain guides. They are the kind of guides that fish on their days off. They are constantly refining their skills. We are those kind of guides. We find that this kind of guide also makes the best teacher. We just have more to offer. George Cook is this kind of guide/instructor and has been part of our team for many
years. In this school you will continue to refine skills in understanding steelhead water and how to approach it. Emphasis will be on refining casting and fishing skills. We want to give you maximum advantage by having as many fish hooked during this class as possible. Nothing teaches you more about fishing than being where fish are being hooked and landed.  Emphasis will be on spey rod use and sinking-tip line fishing. Students should have above beginner casting skills. This is a fishing class. This is the third level of class offered this Josh Linn
season.          Sign up for the casting school and the fishing school and save $25.
George Cook What you need to bring to The Fly Fishing School:
Bring your own waders and rain gear.  Bring your own rod/reel set up if you want to.  
A variety of premium quality 2-hand rod/reel set-ups will be available for you to use at no extra charge. Flies are supplied.
A hot lunch will be served on the river.  
There will be a very short rest period after lunch.  
Meet at The Fly Fishing Shop at 6:30am for half-hour orientation.  Coffee and donuts will be served.

Watch an expert guide as he fishes and discloses the secrets and proven methods that put fish on the beach. Get a lot of hands-on help so that you too can be productive.
Arrive back at The Fly Fishing Shop at 6:00pm.

What our customers say.  
A report on a Steelhead School.

First come, first served.
Deposits are payments in full.
Deposits are non-refundable unless water/weather conditions prohibit class. 

Catch steelhead...

SPEY-CL-031512 Spey Casting Class, March 15, 2012
With George Cook
Per Person
EST-CLASS-021612 Entry Level Steelhead Fly Fishing School March 16, 2012, Sandy River, 2-students per boat, 8-students maximum With George Cook $300
Per Person
Sold Out
EST-CLASS-03151612 Spey Casting Class, March 15 - PLUS - Entry Level Steelhead Fly Fishing School March 16, 2012 - TWO DAYS. With George Cook Save $25
Per Person
Sold Out

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Fish long & prosper,
Mark & Patty