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It’s all in the loop

We don’t cast fly lines, we unroll them in the shape of a loop. As the fly line unrolls it takes our leader and therefore our fly with it. What makes fly casting unique is that when we do a basic cast we unroll the line twice – once on the back cast and once on the forward cast. When done correctly it makes fly casting seem almost effortless.
If you can grasp this concept it really helps you to become a better fly caster. Think of unrolling that fly line off the tip of your rod.
Have a look at the video below. I’m just doing a simple overhead cast but you see the line unrolling and loop shape it creates.

Casting practise on the River Avon

The loop has three components – a bottom leg which is the line coming from the rod tip, a face which is the front end of the loop and a top leg which is attached to our leader and fly (See image 1). They look like a U or V turned on its side. The loop can be narrow (the gap between the 2 legs) or wide. We generally want narrow loops because they help with accuracy, distance and dealing with wind.

How do we create these loops?

In order to get a good loop, we need to do 3 things –

  1. Make sure before we make the cast that there is no slack in our fly line. So we need the rod tip low and the line straight. With no slack it means that soon as we move the rod tip the line starts to move in that direction.
  2. We now need to smoothly accelerate the rod tip in a straight line towards our target. As we do this the rod begins to flex/ bend as it pulls against the resistance of the line. In casting terms this is called loading the rod. This action stores energy within the road which helps us to propel the line.
  3. The last thing we need to do is stop the rod in the direction you want the line to go. The stop forces the rod to unbend and the loop to form. It’s important that this stop takes place below the path of the following fly line – it needs to stop at an angle off the vertical.This angle of stop could be narrow (nearer to the vertical) or wider. Look at image 2 for the stop and the angle of stop. I could’ve stopped sooner off the vertical to create a narrower loop.
    Again with a normal straight line cast we do this twice, once on the back cast and once on the forward cast.

If you want to have a go at this noble art of unrolling fly lines contact me, matt@castaflywithme.com