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Tailing loop

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Pause longer before going through with your forward stroke. Wait until you feel your line tug in your back stroke. The more line you have out, the longer you wait for your forward stroke.

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Keep your rod on a level plain, and keep your casting stroke smooth but deliberate. Start slow and speed up, and stop. Lots of guide casting videos on youtube.

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I was advised that the best way to avoid tailing loops was to learn to cast a tailing loop on demand. Once you can do this it becomes a lot easier to take it out.


Best advice I can give is invest in casting lessons with a qualified instructor.





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There are several possibilities.


1. Too much power too early in the rod stroke, which causes the tip to dip down initially. Correction - start smoothly.


2. Rod creep on the forward casting stroke compensated by too much power late in the rod stroke to make up for loss of stroke length due to the rod creep. Correction - drift the rod back after the back cast stop to gain extra stroke length.


3. Aiming too high at the stop to get extra length before the line falls to the water. This causes a rod tip path of less than 180 degrees. Correction. Make sure your forward stop is not less than 180 degrees from the backcast.


All are faults that occur when trying for that extra distance. Ever wonder why you don't get a tailing loop while false casting but do on the delivery cast? It can be because you are trying to cast too far on the final forward cast and you shock the fly rod with a sudden acceleration. This bends the rod causing the rod tip to dip below the SLP resulting in a concave rod tip path.


To get that extra distance double haul and learn to shoot line on the back cast that is before the delivery cast so that you don't need to shoot as much on the delivery cast.

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All of the above are good suggestions ... but One thing you've got to remember.

Your pick-up and back cast have to be stronger than your forward cast. In fact, the back cast is easily more important than the forward cast.

If you do not impart enough energy into the back cast, it will not unfurl and straighten out behind you before falling below level. If you bring your rod tip too far behind you (Stop at 12 o'clock, do NOT go behind this mark), you "aim" the line downward and drop it below level.

If the back cast is correct, and you wait the appropriate time, then your forward cast comes from a straight line, a loaded rod, and all the forward casting energy is directly applied to the line.


The back cast makes the forward cast. Fail to pay attention to the back cast ... get a lousy forward cast ... period.

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Cast smoothly smile.png who remembers this video!





I do. Fast forward to the Madison River, July 2012










More than you ever wanted or cared to know about tailing loops, casting and wind knots:


To understand what causes a tailing loop and a wind or casting knot, one must know what a normal casting loop looks like. A normal loop has a "fly leg" that is following or traveling forward and a standing "rod leg" that is stationary and attached to the rod tip. Normally the two legs are separated by the width of the loop and usually in an overhead cast, the upper fly leg is the traveling leg and the lower rod leg is the stationary leg. See # cast #1 below.


A wind knot occurs because the following fly leg (upper leg) of the casting loop falls below the standing rod leg (lower leg) AND the legs are in the same casting plane. See # 3 below.


BOTH situations must occur, that is the following leg must cross the standing leg and the legs must be in the same plane. A wind knot cannot occur if the two legs of fly line are in different casting planes.




Example - By using an elliptical casting motion, the back cast and forward cast are made in different planes and this separates the two legs of the loop formation. Even if the fly and rod legs of the loop formation cross vertically, they cannot catch on each other because they are separated horizontally in space; they are in different planes.


To see how this works, make a side arm back cast and then an overhead forward cast and you will see than the two legs of the loop are in different planes. Even if the upper fly leg of the loop drops down on the forward stroke, there is no lower rod leg of the loop to get tangle with because there is a horizontal separation of the two legs of the loop.


This type of cast is known as the Belgian Cast. Because this cast separates the planes of the back cast and forward cast, it is an excellent cast to prevent tangles not only for tailing loops but also when casting multiple flies or heavily weighted flies. It is also an excellent wind cast when your back is to the wind and it often called the Belgian Wind Cast for this reason.


However, the elliptical motion also causes the fly line to twist counter clockwise for a right handed caster. By casting in an ellipse we are moving the rod tip in a circle for each cast and this twists the fly line. If you always use the elliptical cast, you'll need to allow the line to untwist every so often.


If we do cast in the same plane as in the usual overhead cast, wind or casting knots occur because of the crossing of the two legs of the cast. What causes the two legs to cross?


Well, there are many reasons which have been mentioned by the other posters. The fly line follows the rod tip. The rod tip follows the path of the hand except for one change. As we apply power to the rod, the rod flexes, and when it flexes, the effective rod length shortens so that the rod tip comes closer to the casting hand. See illustration below:





If we move our casting hand in a straight line rather than the convex path above, we are not compensating for the shortening of the rod tip. The rod tip will travel not in a straight path but in a concave path as it flexes and straightens during the straight line casting motion.




See Tailing loop and concave rod tip path below.




This concave path causes a dip in the path of the following fly leg of the fly line. At the stop, the rod tip straightens and the standing rod leg line will be above the traveling fly leg line, and as the two lines cross, you get a wind knot. So one cause is a straight line casting motion of the casting hand. The casting hand must move in a convex path to compensate for rod shortening. The bending of the rod must be done smoothly to mirror the path of the rod hand.


A second cause is a sudden application of power too early in the casting stroke - this is often called a jab. Again these sudden shock to the rod causes an acute bend and a dip in the rod tip path. The most common cause of this is when we try to cast farther than we commonly cast, and we give the rod that extra punch at the wrong time. The application of power must be smooth so that there is a progressive bend that we can compensate for.




The third cause is extending the hand forward in a straight line at the end of the cast, especially if you extend the rod tip up because you think a high rod tip will gain you more distance. Casters will do this because they think you can get more distance if you shoot line from a higher rod tip position. However this will cause a tailing loop and a casting knot.


What these casters do not realize is that when a rod straightens after the stop, the "effective rod length" (the distance of the rod tip from the hand) lengthens. If you don't tip the rod tip down to compensate for this rod lengthening, the rod tip will be higher than the trailing fly line causing a tailing loop and casting knot. You need to tip the rod tip down after the stop to allow the fly line to clear the rod tip.


Another cause is a poor backcast and poor timing. If you start the backcast too early, you may not have enough loading power to complete the forward cast so your compensate with a jab which causes a tailing loop. If you start too late, the line may have fallen too low and you will get a tailing loop from the low following line.


An article in Fly Fisherman Magazine by Jim McLennan's titled "The Creep & Jab" in the March 2008 issue gives another common cause. If a caster creeps after the backcast, they will often jab to compensate for the creep. See a video and explanation here:




There are a lot of other causes best explained here with video:





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Here's an excellent article on casting by Simon Gawesworth




In the article is this illustration #5 below. The dotted is called a chord, a line which joins two points on an arc, and it represents the "effective rod length" of a flexed fly rod. The caster must accelerate the rod smoothly to prevent a sudden shortening of the "effective rod length" that will cause a tailing loop.




When the rod tip travels in a straight line, loop size is controlled by a micro flick of the wrist just before the stop. This micro flick speeds up the rod tip and moves it out of the way of the following fly line. It tips the rod tip down a bit and controls the loop size. Otherwise, the "effective rod length" lengthens as the rod straightens at the stop. The rod tip moves above the level of the following line and a tailing loop develops.The size of this flick controls the loop size.


Note that in the photo of Jason below, he has already flicked his wrist down at the stop.




The Illustration below is from Jason's book on casting and corresponds to the photo above.




Fly casters who think the wrist must be absolutely locked are surprised when they learn of the late micro flick. But it is a necessary move for a good cast and to prevent a tailing loop.


There are many names for this flick. Doug Swisher calls it the "micro wrist". See this description from the Orvis Guide to Better Fly Casting by Al Kyte, pp 25/26.


"Most instructors teach a firm wrist throughout the forward cast to reduce 'wristiness,' but they probably hope students will move the wrist enough to help speed up the tip. I am careful to avoid the term locked wrist, because some students do exactly what you say and then have trouble loosening their grip enough to use the wrist at all. And if you even mention wrist movement in your teaching, students will often overdo it. Knowing this, some instructors teach students to press the thumb. In doing so, they teach a little late wrist movement, without having students even think about the wrist.


Longtime Orvis Master Instructor Bill Cairns has taught tightening the thumb and forefinger, bringing the the wrist into play and stopping. Doug Swisher referred to this quick wrist movement as a micro-wrist. and Joe Humphries refers to it as a tap……


Jim Green also emphasized pressing with the thumb to create a little wrist movement before stopping it immediately before his hand. So the "positive" in his positive stop is a little wrist pivot that not only stops the rod, but helps force the tip over the resistance of the butt of the rod."



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