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The Double Haul

This is straight from the column in Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Magazine that Charles Jardine and I put together. I wrote this one in April so it may have been for the June issue. And it's now Steve's lesson for The Experience of course :-)

Saltwater Double Danish HaulDamned Lies - Hauling


Yes, it's another of those pieces that really has nothing to do with getting out of jail per se, and yet somehow has everything to do with it. In this one we are cunningly introducing the concept of hauling while Sheriff Mark “Lightening” Bowler is busy working on another page. Hopefully he won't notice our break for freedom since hauling will improve upon every single cast you make, especially if you are involved in crawling through vegetation.

By the way, this is technical hauling and so it may pay to read it even if you can already haul. None of your basic jump-the-fence jail breaks for us.

So what is it?

Hauling is the technique of using the line hand to pull the flyline back through the rings at some point during the stroke. This directly increases the velocity of the flyline allowing us to deliver tighter, faster, more-controlled loops. Could come in handy.

There is lots of rubbish written about flycasting, and not all of it by me. Flycasting doesn't work simply by bending the rod like a catapult and then unbending it by stopping the stroke. If this was true we could bury the rod handle ceremoniously in a field, pull the line back against the tip, let go and deliver a cast. In reality the end of the flyline rarely passes the rod tip. Therefore, as well as flexing the rod when we flycast, we are also directly pulling the line through the air with the rod tip. Flex does play a part in flycasting but probably less so than you currently think, which is just as well actually, since most casters move the rod far too quickly for it to flex effectively.

So if you think that hauling works by flexing the rod some more, then you are way off track. Hauling can flex the rod some more, but the reason it is so effective is that it delivers velocity directly to the line. That is the key. I don't care who or what or where you have read otherwise, that is fact.

How it's done

I am going to teach you the correct way to double haul – which should please you.

Last month we talked about the importance of an efficient stop. The stop is when it all happens; the rod tip moves from a fully flexed position on one side to a fully flexed position on the other and the line passes rod tip at mid point. The correct time to apply the haul is during this phase and not through the stroke as many instructors teach. This is advanced get-out-of-jail-on-a-rocket hauling.

I want to teach you the word “down-up”. (I think this is Mel Krieger's method by the way)

Make the backcast coinciding the squeeze (stop) of the rod hand with the “down” of the hauling hand. This will give you a great backcast – all being well of course. Smoothly allow the line-hand to travel upwards as the loop is unfurling (this is the “up” bit). Do the same with the forward stroke.

There are two major faults with the double haul. The first is failure to get the hauling hand back up again. Ideally the rod hand and the hauling hand should touch. The second is getting the hand back up again but with slack line forming between the hauling-hand and the butt ring – don't be too hasty in getting it back up there; there's plenty of time :-)

At first many people seem to have trouble getting their hands together without slack line. Haul as you make the stop, pause slightly and then slowly take your hand back up and there should be no problem.


Many instructors teach the timing of the double haul to made throughout the entire stroke and not just at the end. If you require less line speed and more open loops then this is an excellent technique. I use it myself for strokes made in a following wind, so I'm not just being facetious.

Putting it together with the drift

The timing of the drift is exactly the same as the upward line hand movement, which makes life easier.

Taking it further

And why not?

Since the haul directly applies velocity to the flyline, the faster you haul the quicker the line travels. When flycasting think “heavy” with the rod hand and “fast” with the hauling hand.

My number one tip for distance is to complete the haul with a perfectly straightened hauling arm (and definitely not to bounce it). This sharp stop translates into the sharpest (sexiest?) V-loops.

There are lots of other tricks of course, but this is already turning into an article and not a column - and so I shall have to leave you in suspense…

(and in fact they are still in suspense - Paul ;) )

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