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  • Writer's picturePaul

Fly Casting Tip: Don't Let Go of the Line

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

While casting and presenting your fly, accuracy and efficiency are often super important.

Unfortunately, for some anglers these two key components of the presentation can suffer.

Regardless of the distance that's trying to be reached, when many anglers shoot line at the end of a cast they let go of the line completely. Leaving the line totally free to zing out of the guides seems like it makes perfect sense — especially when trying to cast a longer distance — but there's an optional way that can help improve both accuracy and efficiency.

The technique here is a simple one...

When shooting line at the end of the cast, simply maintain some level of contact with the line without slowing down its speed in any measurable way. I will often just loosen my grip to allow the line to slip through (just like when you're feeding out line while false casting), or, as pictured above, I also like to form a type of "O" or open "tunnel" with my hand to let the line zip out quickly. Here, my hand acts much like a rod guide and allows the line to freely shoot through with very minimal resistance which is great for the longest casts.

So what's the point of doing this? Here's two big reasons...

Speed- Since the line never really leaves your hand, you're able to grab it as soon as the fly touches down and start stripping right away. If you let go completely when shooting line, you then have to grab the line again to start the retrieve. Sometimes, you might miss grabbing the line the first time or bumble with it which can cause a couple seconds or longer of a delay. Other times, that loose, free line can jump and wrap around something which means you have to undo it before beginning the retrieve. Maintaining contact with the line helps keep that loose line under better control and lets you start fishing ASAP.

Cast Control- Letting go of the line means you don't have much control over where your cast ends up. When you keep your hand on the line throughout the entire cast, you can stop the line's flow at any time which can help you meter distance and gauge exactly how far the fly will go. This can be vital when you need to shoot the fly to a very particular spot. You can also slow down the line's speed for a bit softer presentation.

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