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Casting Tip of the Month - Casting Multiple Flies

courtesy Atlanta Fly Fishing School

Question: On a recent outing a friend showed me how to use a dropper system with two flies, split shot, and a strike indicator. I’ve never liked this system as it doesn’t seem like “real” fly fishing, but this time I liked it even less because my line kept getting tangled up. My friend’s line cast fine, and we were casting identical leaders. Was there something different in the way we cast which caused my tangles?


It is quite possible your cast is the culprit of your tangled troubles, and it’s probably because your cast is too good. The perfect cast for a single fly is usually one that follows a straight-line path. With extra terminal tackle, it might be necessary to “open-up” your casting loops in order to keep the flies and line from meeting themselves as they move forward and backward. The wider loop is also better with these dropper rigs because it reduces the 180-degree change of direction that you get with a tight loop at the end of your forward and back casts. One way to open the loop is to open up your casting arc or to widen the stopping points. Instead of stopping the rod at 10:00 on the forward cast and 1:00 on the back cast, try stopping at 9:30 and 2:00. This “windshield wiper” type of casting will open your loop in the vertical plane. If wind or other conditions will not allow an overhead wide loop cast you can eliminate your tangles by widening your loop sideways. To do this, make a slightly sidearm back cast followed by an overhead forward cast. From above looking down this cast looks like an elliptical oval or a flattened circle with the forward and back casts parallel to each other and connected by a small curve at each end of the casting strokes. In this fashion you are casting a wide loop in the horizontal plane. Opening your casting loops in either the vertical or horizontal plane requires very little practice to accomplish as the wide looped and oval casts are so similar to the basic overhead cast. Try one of these casts the next time you’re out. These casts can be the fast fix for the tangled dropper blues.

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