Fly Fishing casting faults and fixes

Fly Casting

Fly casting is an enjoyable and important aspect of fly fishing. A good cast will make presenting the fly to the desired target an easy endeavor. Like all things, to be good at fly casting takes practice, practice, practice. Practicing bad habits has a way of compounding them. A good overhead cast consist of a back cast, a forward cast , positive stop and smooth acceleration to a stop with a loop shape that is parallel and less than 3’ of loop separation. A bad cast can be missing one or more of the elements outlined in the last sentence.

Tailing Loops

Today, I’m writing about tailing loops, their causes and how to fix them. The illustration above shows what a proper overhead cast looks like with the right loop size and parallel loops. A tailing loop is when the upper leg of the loop drops below the bottom leg of the loop. This leads to “wind knots” in the leader. These knots are caused by the tailing loop and a better name would be “casting knots”.

What causes tailing loops and how do I fix them? Tailing loops are caused by the rod tip traveling in a concave path, applying power at the wrong time during the forward stroke or allowing the rod to “creep”. To fix a cast with a concave rod tip path, concentrate on making the rod tip travel in a straight line. Make sure to not bend the wrist very much as this creates a concave rod path. Applying power too early in the casting stroke is fixed by slowly applying power and then accelerating to an abrupt and complete stop. This allows the rod to transfer power to the line therefore making the line to unfurl. Creep is when one moves the rod a bit forward before starting the smooth application of power. This causes slack in the line and a tailing loop. Reduce creep by coming to a complete stop and then smoothly accelerate to an abrupt stop on the forward stroke.

Fly casting is an enjoyable art form and even more so when we fix our casting faults!


Jay Clark - Professional fly fishing guide for the MIddle Fork Feather River and Truckee River.

About The Author

Jay Clark is a lifelong outdoorsman that enjoys being near the water. Starting out with fishing as a childhood pastime, Jay has honed his skills over the years, evolving from a hobbyist to a seasoned fly fishing pro. Jay’s passion runs deep – offering guided fishing excursions along the Middle Feather River, Truckee River, and serene stillwater spots in the Northern Sierra.

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