• Chris O'Byrne

Beyond Straight Line Path

A Useful Adjustment


Knotted leaders, broken leaders, lost flies, missed fish, and ugly casts. All of these dreaded fly fishing glitches are products of tailing loops.

Tailing loops; the casting problem where the top leg of the fly line loop is below the bottom leg,

are the result of a technique error which pulls that top line down.


Usually the caster has moved the rod tip below a straight line path (SLP.) So, most solutions are attempts to maintain that straight path of the rod tip.

But on the water, tailing loops and their results can occur even if the caster moves the rod tip straight as a Star Wars saberstaff. (note the rod tip and loop in the photo above) So, a different solution to tailing loops might be to extend the path of the rod tip in a curve below that laser straight line.

During the outing in the accompanying photographs, we were fishing for bass and bluegill in ponds. While the distances required rather long casts, we were using very slow-action trout rods. The combination of high powered long casts, light leaders, and soft rods made tailing loops frustratingly common. So, we kept the top leg of the fly line on top of the loop by continuing the path of the rod tip downward after the stop on the forward and back cast. This unusual addaptatin to the basic cast can work for you, too.

In order to move the rod tip down after the stop; think of reaching down with your rod hand as the fly line rolls out. (note the rod tip, loop, and wrist of the rod hand in the photo above) Or simply relax your hand after the stop. The rod tip will move downward as if the electricity can’t reach to the ends of your saberstaff, and the fly line will roll out like a tractor tread.

Your fishing situation which requires an adaptation to the straight line rod tip path might be different; extra long bonefish leaders that tangle with the best casts, or full flex trout rods that want to cast tailing loops will both require modifications to your cast, but adapting the path of rod will keep the loop open.

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