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Trouts Journal

Two Tips To Fix Your Tailing Loops

Brandon Rodriguez / Oct 12, 2021

Since it is October, and it's a little spooky allow me to make this analogy. Tailing loops are a lot like the boogie man, lurking in the shadows, forever present and if you arent looking over your shoulder now and again it will make an appearance. However, there are some ways to keep this boogie man of sorts at bay when you are out on the water.

Okay... I apologize, that is enough spooky analogies for one day. In my defense it is Spooky Season and if I didn't make it someone else would have. But you came here for two tips on fixing your tailing loops before we go over how to fix them, we need to go over how tailing loops occur. So let's dive in, shall we?

When we look at the origin of tailing loops the source of the issue is almost always associated with the angler's casting stroke. A tailing loop occurs when there is too much rod acceleration at any given moment during the angler casting. When that rapid acceleration occurs during the casting motion your rod will flex (bend) too much causing your rod tip (the lightest part of your rod) to dip below your casting plane. It is important to remember that at this moment your fly line will always follow your rod tip. Allow me to interject here a bit, this is a very representation that your rod tip is nothing but a glorified pointing stick, where you point your rod tip is exactly where your fly line will go or at least wants to go. Since this is the case, when your rod tip makes that dip across or below your casting plane (Once again due to too much rod acceleration) your fly line will follow. Why does this happen? Well, to spare you a deep dive into physics it is due to differing weights present in the fly line picks up momentum differently. Remember, all of your weight in your system is loading from the fly line and little to none is on your tippet section. That is what makes for those perfect placements on the water.

Now that we know that we know how tailing loops occur let's take a look at where they occur within a casting stroke. For many, this issue comes from applying too much rod acceleration too early within the casting stroke. typically, the reason for this is because anglers are trying to overcompensate for other external factors that are affecting their cast. These can come in the form of trying to get more distance out of a cast, trying to force a cast into a strong head or crosswind, or simply having too much line out at a given time. And look, let's be honest we have all done this before, either just one or all three, and now and again we get by unscathed, but like the boogie man, it's always waiting for the right moment to ruin our day. Also, the term for the action mentioned above is "punching line" so if you ever hear someone making a comment about your casting or saying stop "punching line" it's probably because you are doing one of the actions mentioned above.

Now that we know where and why tailing loops form it is time to go over how to fix them. Unfortunately...and I hate to be the one to tell you this, there is no "correct answer" I can give you, however, two tips that will (hopefully) eliminate tailing loops being in your future.

Tip Number 1: WATCH YOUR CAST

No really, watch your cast. I am not joking here, take some time and watch your casting motion throughout its entirety. By watching your loop form when making false casts, you will watch when and where in your casting stroke that your loop forms. You will notice where your rod speed is too fast or too slow in your casting motion and where you need to adjust. Once you figure out these little intricacies in your casting motion you will be able to develop muscle memory to have a smooth - tailing loop-free - cast. This is why there is no exact answer here because every casting stroke is different. By physically turning your head and watching your cast you will find where you need to improve. If you forget to do this, just remember this adage, Slow is Smooth, and Smooth is Fast.

Tip Number 2: DONT STOP CASTING

KEEP 'EM MOVING FOLKS! KEEP. IT. MOVING. Look it is that simple. However, let's look at it in two sections section A and Section B.

Section A:
Once, you have performed the tip mentioned above numerous times, and know your casting motion, you may realize that tip number two comes naturally which is, to keep maintain your casting motion (Smooth and Consistent) until you are ready to lay your line down and put your fly to the water. The term for this? The Belgian Cast, the name comes from the smooth roundness found in those delectable Belgian chocolates that may make their way into your trick or treat basket at the end of the month, ever notice how none of them have harsh sharp edges? Yeah, neither should your casting motion. When performing the Belgian cast you are moving your fly rod through TWO separate planes of motion with your backcast being more focused on a strictly horizontal plane and forward cast deviating a bit out of line mimicking an elliptical (Slightly Oval) shape. Since you are combining your back and forward cast into this shape you are (potentially) eliminating those harsh angles and creating those soft elliptical edges you can find in a...well you guess it, Belgian Chocolate.

Section B:

This may sound counterintuitive on the surface to what I just mentioned above, but a way to keep your casting motion moving properly to PAUSE on your backcast. Too many times I have seen people on the river have a good casting motion only to forget to pause on the backcast. They are too eager to get their fly line out in front of them that they forget to pause and feel the rod load in their back cast. This will allow you to still keep that movement and momentum of the rod, and keep your fly line in the air till you are ready to lay your fly to the water just remember to pause on your backcast. Depending on the rod it does not have to be a long pause, maybe a breath or two and you are ready to start your forward cast. Practice this motion enough times and you will start to feel all the little details found in the makeup of your fly rod. You will start to gain more of an appreciation for high-quality fly rods as well.


I hope you enjoyed these little tips today and if you have any questions or concerns regarding today's post feel free to shoot them my way over Instagram or email brandon@troutsflyfishing.com I hope you all take these tips and try them out for yourself this fall, I promise yall won't be disappointed. If you are nervous to try these two tips for yourself feel free to sign up for our Beginner Casting Clinic. In our Trouts Beginner Casting Class, we strive to make the art of fly casting an enjoyable process to learn. To do this, we have curated our Beginner Casting Clinics to be an encompassing experience that provides value to anyone who participates. We will focus on the primary casting approaches and types to set you up for success on any trout water. As always, I hope to see you all in the shop or on the water.

BEGINNER CASTING CLINIC

Fly Casting is the cornerstone of the sport of fly fishing and a necessary skill for any proficient angler to master. With that said, there is something unnatural about the fly casting motion. As a result, learning the correct form, action, and muscle memory up front is important to the success of any angler. In our Trouts Beginner Casting Class, we strive to make the art of fly casting an enjoyable process to learn. To do this, we have curated our Beginner Casting Clinics to be an encompassing experience that provides value to anyone who participates. We will focus on the primary casting approaches and types to set you up for success on any trout water.

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