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Fly Fishing for Trophy Fish from Float Tubes & Boats:

Casting  flies with single handed rods - achieve the distance you want

Single hand fly casting great distances without stress
I had a conversation with a pal recently in which it became obvious to me that some people misunderstand what double haul casting is, and how it is done.

Basically the idea of all casting is similar to if a catapult that once torqued up has stored energy, and when it's released tosses a stone a distance, also like and archer's bow ready torqued up which when released throws an arrow a great distance.

A bait or lure fisherman uses a stationery weight or metal lure to move the rod rapidly, and when it's torqued up the weight begins to move as a result of the pull exerted on it by the bent rod.
The rod now acts like an archery bow which begins to straighten, firing the weight a great distance, and at the crucial moment the angler releases the line so it can follow, and allow the moving bait/weight/lure to travel as far as it can.

In fly fishing we don't have a weight to bend the rod, and torque it up like a bent bow.
What we must do instead is use the inertia and weight of a length of flyline (heavy line) to torque up our fly rod.
So we flick some line back behind us. Then we use the weight of the line going the other way to bend up our fly rod, which now catapults the aerialised line forwards and out over the river.

So where does double haul casting come in?
We know that the more the rod is bent, the better a bow/catapult it is when released. It has more energy stored up, waiting to be released into the line.
One way to bend a rod more is to use a bigger lure, or heavier lead weight. But that's no good for fly fishing with light fly imitations due to the fact they must land lightly without disturbance, and a sinker makes disturbance (the key advantage of fly fishing technique).

A heavier moving weight contains more energy, but a faster moving weight also has more energy.
So the alternative is to
first set the line moving faster away from us, and when we check it's movement with our rod, the rod will bend more.
The question now becomes how can I speed up my line?.

When the power stroke is being applied, it bends the rod. But a simultaneous pull on the line pulling line in with the lower hand will add extra bend into the rod. This torques it up even more, and it casts with greater energy.

a double haul is a well timed tug on the line by the lower line holding hand, simultaneously as the rod is accellerated into the power stroke of the cast whether forwards or back. The rod casts more powerfully, and the pulled in line is then fed out, together with a whole lot more line in a huge line shoot.

Here are a couple of video links that show it reasonably well.

If you master this your casting distance will be greatly increased.
Your ability to overcome wind without using heavier fly lines will also be increased greatly.

This is a very clear explanation of how double haul works and how to do it.


And a couple more on the water ....


Here is a 120'  cast in competition.

Remember, this is for after you have the timing right for the normal cast. That is when you begin to work on the other hand that holds the line, to make things better, beat the wind, and cast greater distances.

Putting it together
The double haul, matched with a fast action rod, and a shooting head line is the combination that gets 50 yard casts.

More importantly, it is an effective way to cut down on false casting that causes tangles, crackoffs, and fatigue

However, in normal fishing a very fast action rod can be a right pig. Striking into a good fish becomes a challenge of how not to break the leader, or break the hook bend. Also, a very fast action rod may even be unusable for newcomers, until you have got your timing pretty nigh on perfect.

So I suggest that a medium action to medium fast action rod is the better compromise that covers realistic fishing conditions - power lower down for playing, a fast tip for getting it out into a reasonable breeze. The worse a caster you happen to be, and the less accurate your timing, the less a fast action rod will help. It may even hinder you progression, by taking the enjoyment out of it so you get less practise.

I strongly recommend that those who hear a cracking sound from their fly line (premature return power stroke), or on the cast find it slaps the water in front, or hits the ground behind (late return stroke or excessively long stroke carrying past 11:00 or 13:00 position) do one of two things.

  • Go to an expert for a day, get sorted out quickly, so you can get off and enjoy fishing

  • Buy more through action rods than you are currently trying to use


Copyright for this article is Norman Greene's - reproduction only with permission of the author.