Picking Up Too Much Fly Line

casting Dec 29, 2018

Does your fly line end up in a tangled mess? Read below to find out how to prevent this and start casting like a professional.

Many fly casting problems require a bit of practice or time on the water to fix, but many others only require you to slow down and do a little bit less to improve. One of the most common issues that cause a fly cast to turn into a tangle is when anglers try to pick up too much line all at once. Fortunately, this has a simple fix!

Before you re-cast your fly onto the water, you want to be sure you strip in any excess line. You don't need to pull all your line in, only enough, so your line is tight enough to pull the fly. Begin to lift your rod tip but don't apply power to your stroke until the line is tight and your fly is in motion on the water. Removing the slack line assures that there is tension from the rod tip down the line all the way to the fly as you pick up your line.
Problems will crop up when you start your casting stroke while there is an abundance of extra line on the water. The issue is that your casting stroke is only pulling slack from the line on the water. By the time the line is drawn tight all the way to the fly, and your line is in motion, most of your casting stroke is complete. All that is left of your casting stroke barely has enough energy to get your line behind you, let alone make a strong backcast. 
Because of the weak backstroke, the line is hanging loosely in the air, but certainly not stretched out to its full length. There is a ton of slack hanging in the air behind you and the cycle repeats itself. As you make the forward stroke, your rod is primarily pulling on slack line and once again only a fraction of the energy from your casting stroke will push your line forward. The result is a cast that collapses and fails to extend fully.
Simply getting the slack out of your line before starting a cast will prevent all of this and be the simple start to a much better cast.

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