Tailing Loops

Wow. It’s been a while since I’ve watched this myself! We have definitely moved into a more advanced area of fly casting with this page.

To keep it simple; a tailing loop is a transverse wave in the fly leg of the loop, which generally intersects the rod leg in two places. Mostly this is a fault and it can cause “wind knots”.

A computer sketch of a tailing loop

There are a number of causes and the four of the five I’ve discussed here are all related to a dipping of the rod tip during the Casting Stroke, which creates the wave.

  1. Too narrow a Casting Arc [for the bend in the rod]. This creates a saucer-shape tip path and a tailing loop. Solution: use a wider Casting Arc.
  2. Creep [resulting in too narrow a Casting Arc] – see below. This creates a sine-wave tip path and a tailing loop. Solution: either watch your hand to make sure that it is stationary and that you are not Creeping, or learn to Drift backwards [previous module] which is a fix we sometimes use. Creep is a result of the fly caster anticipating his Forward Cast and his sub-conscious taking over for some strange reason and moving the rod in this direction.
  3. Finishing the Haul too soon. This causes the rod tip to rise during the Casting Stroke but mostly only occurs when first learning the Double Haul. In 20 years of teaching I have only seen it once occur with a student long after having learned the Double Haul. Solution: Haul longer or later.
  4. Breaking (one of the) 180 degree rules. If the trajectory is high on the backcast and high on the forward cast a Tailing Loop will occur (although some might rather call this a Dangling End – it sort of depends on your definition of Tail). Β This is actually something that might happen when fishing on a dam wall or with a high bank. The solution in this case is hard to find.
  5. Uneven or Jerky Application of Force. I do see this in Distance Casting where the force is applied strongly at the end (particularly through rod translation). The solution is to practise a smoother stroke and there is no easy fix; this will take practise.

Creep: Unintentional movement of the rod in the direction of the next Casting Stroke.
Creep is a persistent casting fault where the rod is unintentionally moved so the Casting Arc and/or Casting Stroke Length of that cast are reduced.

The most common causes of tails in my experience is 2, 4 and 5. There is at least one other cause and that can be the line configuration at the end of the backcast having a dip which comes through as a tailing loop. I’ve seen this on video once and it was what instructors call a “tendency to tail”. Which means that the fly leg has the dip but the dip doesn’t intersect the rod leg.

And that was the simple part πŸ™‚ But be grateful because back in the day we used to have more causes.

It’s an exploration. Bring a fly rod. Designed for you by Paul Arden.

Since this is actually a Masterclass, particularly now, I have included various uses for Tailing Loops: namely a Collapsed Cast variation for Slack Line at the leader end – Slack Line casts will be appearing in full later in this series. The other Tailing Loop presentation is for creating Curve Casts (particularly useful if you require slack line in the curve) – phew!

For many of you I know, this video and page has far too much information. Someday hopefully it will be useful to you. For many of you, simply working on nice consistent loops, with a smooth repeatable stroke, is all that you need to do right now. This section is something you can come back to in ten or twenty years time or never! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Anyway it’s nice to throw a spanner in the works from time to time – just to keep us on our toes!

Cheers, Paul

Got a question? Try here on the Board:

Or drop me an email: paul@sexyloops.com