Learn the double-haul fly cast

There’s a scientific principle that states: for every input of energy, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Double-haul casting makes full use of this. Now imagine casting the line back and forth while holding the line. Then, against each casting stroke of the rod, PULL DOWN with your left-hand and, as the line extends, RISE UP again. So double-haul needs a mini shoot on each rise up.

For easier understanding this is shown in simple diagrams, but what it actually achieves needs description.

HOW IT WORKS

The backwards deflection of the rod tip against the line weight is caused by a 15-18 inch casting stroke and, let’s assume this is the most the caster can physically manage. The spring energy built up in the rod is therefore, fixed.

However, if a pull down during the casting stroke is made, the line suddenly becomes heavier to the rod tip, which, in turn, causes more backwards deflection, thus storing more spring energy from the same line weight and casting stroke. Assuming a good “flick” and abrupt stop to finish the cast, the rod tip will spring forwards more, so releasing the extra casting energy. That is the theory, applicable to both back and forward casts, so, how is it put into practice?

PRACTICING DOUBLE-HAUL

By far the easiest way to learn doublehaul is for me to stand beside a caster, whilst pulling and lifting their left hand about 10 inches with mine – the difficult movements are soon achieved. Left to your own devices it is necessary to break this most unnatural sequence of movements down into simple parts.

Take the outfit and set up as in article 4, then make a few introductory casts backwards and forwards in the air without shooting line and, let the last forward cast fall on the grass. Make a backcast from the grass, straighten, let it fall, stop. Make a front cast from the grass, straighten, let it fall, stop.

Stops should be long enough to gather your thoughts. Keep doing this until it becomes familiar and manageable.

Now comes the harder part! PULL DOWN while backcasting from the grass, rise up while straightening, let it fall, stop. PULL DOWN while front casting from the grass, rise up while straightening, let it fall, stop.

Do not hurry the casting, in fact try slowing down to see what the minimum speed is without stalling.

For some reason, double-haul always makes you want to go faster. As already mentioned, each hairpin loop straightening the line must have enough pulling power to produce a small shoot, to take the line back to its higher starting point. Perhaps the efforts applied to casting backwards now have relevance as the rise up, for the backcast, is usually the hardest to make.

Be prepared to put in several sessions, to let the various movements and associated thinking processes become automatic. Once they are, try a sequence of casts in the air with pulling down and rising up to match. You can now doublehaul, or it’s back to letting the line fall again. Persist and you will eventually pick it up, I didn’t say it was easy, but I find that those who have the most difficulty learning, finally become the best casters.

Assuming you can double-haul, well, most of the time, the next thing is to shoot line on the forward cast. This is achieved by performing a sequence of three double-haul forward casts and, after the last pull down, release the line at the 1⁄3 above, 2⁄3 behind, ‘now’ point.

The line will then shoot with extra energy if everything has been done well. Finally, when fishing, you will need three shoots while double-hauling which are achieved by letting line shoot through your fingers during the first two front cast rise ups, and releasing the line completely after the last front cast pull down.

CASTING HEALTH WARNING!

Now I would like to issue a casting health warning! Assuming you now have a very good basic casting style, double-haul is likely to be ruinous. What happens is that your brain is used to controlling mainly your right side, but double-hauling demands that your brain transfers to new left sided control. As a result your good basic cast ‘goes to pot’. This is overcome by the discipline of casting one good basic cast, followed by a double-haul cast, throughout a practice session never loose the basics.

HOW TO CAST IT

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1 The line must start straight in front in the air, or on the water, with the rod pointing down the line as shown. Now grasp the line near the butt ring of the rod.

2 Make a normal overhead backcast in the usual way, but as you do this, haul the line-hand down to your left-hand side pocket area.

3 As the backcast straightens, allow your line-hand to get almost pulled and travel back towards the butt ring. The fly line must be under tension for the duration.

4 Once the backcast has straightened, the linehand should be about level with the rod-hand.

5 As you start the forward cast, you pull the line-hand downwards at a similar speed.

6 Shows the frontcast half made with the linehand hauling down, producing extra rod bend.

7 The front cast is fully made with extra energy and the line-hand has hauled down to the pocket area and released the line at the ‘now’ point.

REFINING POINTS

Having achieved a simple double haul, there are several aspects to be refined and these can come with practice and experience. At this early stage it is sufficient to be aware of them and how they should be performed to achieve the very best casts.

1 The pull down should be the same length and accelerate like the casting stroke for extra rod bend, to help straighten the line and finally get it moving

2 The rise up should be gentle allowing line to straighten without judder.

3 Hauling must be done progressively more sideways the deeper you wade, to avoid  dunking’ the left hand.

4 Longer casting strokes and hauls are needed for long belly lines and the longest you can possibly manage are applicable to double tapers.

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