Jean LaDeau of Montreal, Quebec, wonders about running lines:

I want to use more shooting heads in salt water. My problem is that I don't know which running lines work best. I talk to fishermen who use braided lines, monofilament and many other kinds. What running line should I use?

Q I want to use more shooting heads in salt water. My problem is that I don't know which running lines work best. I talk to fishermen who use braided lines, monofilament and many other kinds. What running line should I use?

Many running lines work well, and many anglers swear by one type or another. I can only tell you what I prefer after using every type of running line I could - a level floating fly line (about level three in size). The important factor is the strength: You want one that's stronger than the highest tippet strength you'll use to ensure that a fish that breaks off does so at the tippet and not at a frayed section of running line.

Commercial running line most fly line manufacturers make in size 0.035 to no more than 0.040 (the numbers are marked on the spools they sell) will test at least 30 pounds. I find that such lines flow smoothly through the guides, rarely tangle and are thick enough to hold on to while fighting a large fish. Braided running lines are too rough on my fingers. Monofilament will let you sink your fly deeper, but for me even the large sizes are too thin. One thing you don't want is a weighted running line. It does not shoot well, and the head has to pull this heavier line to the target.