The double haul is an advanced and effective fly casting technique that allows you to cast towards the wind, work with a wider range of flies and increase your catch rate with better presentation.
While most people understand that beginning fly fishers need to focus on the basics and master the art of proper casting strokes, not many of us knows what comes next?
The answer is simple: the double haul.
Aside from the proper casting stroke, the double haul is one of the most important things that a fly fisher can learn. It alone can allow you to cast towards the wind, work with heavier flies, and cast lines further, all with minimal effort.
Sounds fun, right?
Before we get into how you can start utilizing the double haul to improve your casting and make fly fishing a whole lot easier, we first need to delve into some of the fly casting fundamentals.
Casting Fundament #1
- Each stroke when it comes to casting can be split up into two motions: the long, accelerated motion and the abrupt stop. While many people refer to this as the power stroke, it makes more sense to associate it to speed rather than power.
Casting Fundamental #2
- The shorter the stroke and the smaller the distance that the tip of the rod moves, the tighter the loop will be in the end.
Casting Fundamental #3
- At the very moment that the line straightens that is when it starts to fall. Once the line is finished unraveling it will not continue to go any further.
Casting Fundamental #4
- The line will move faster and travel farther depending on how fast the tip accelerates through the motions, and how fast it comes to a stop.
Casting Fundamental #5
- The most important part of a good cast is line control. Slack has to be avoided at all times or a cast could go awry in milliseconds.
Now, the reason that double hauls become so difficult is because of the sheer volume of motions that it takes to be done properly.
But, keep in mind it is not impossible and learning it will truly maximize the enjoyment you get out of fly fishing.
To start of you want to start practicing somewhere where you cannot damage your flies, such as on grass and away from a spot where you can get distracted by the excitement of catching fish.
The principle behind the double haul makes it sound easier than it is. All you have to do is pull down on the line with the hand that is holding onto the line at the same time that your other hand speeds up. When you perform this maneuver at the back part of your cast it is defined as a single haul. If you pull down on the line during the back cast and during the forward cast, then you have pulled off a double haul.
Tips for Mastering the Double Haul
The key here is to mimic your line hand with that of your rod hand. Make the hauls short and precise in the same way that you are accelerating and stopping suddenly to cast initially.
In order to perform a haul on your back cast you want to keep your hands as close together as possible when you are lifting the line of the water. When you are close to the end of your cast and your rod hand accelerates and stops you want to pull down with your line hand and immediately return that same hand back close to your rod hand. A short and quick haul of just over 6 inches is usually the most effective compared to a long, drawn out haul.
The main tip to take away from this is to keep your hands close together. It prevents slack and allows for more time in between both of your hauls.
Begin practicing by trying to perform a 2 inch haul at the most. You will notice that even this small motion can significantly increase the effectiveness of your cast. Once you have mastered the 2 inch haul then you can start working your way up to bigger and better hauls.
What a double haul does is offer you just a bit more line speed which cuts down on the need for false casts. So if you are fishing in tight areas or among trees or rocks then a double haul can really help you extend your cast when using very short movements. It will also help you cast harder into the wind and improve your overall line control, which is paramount to your casting success in the long run.
You may be confused by reading this and you may even feel that a double haul is impossible for you. In fact, even after practicing for quite some time you may still think it is impossible. However, it is a fly casting technique that is worth the effort and offers a staggering reward. Once you have mastered it, the double haul will feel like second nature and you will be fishing better and harder in spots you could never reach before.
Those few extra hours and practice and reading up on the double haul could make you the king of the lake in no time.
Worth it? Absolutely.