Identifying and Fixing Tailing Loops

Identifying and Fixing Tailing Loops

September 12, 2014 1:43 pm Published by 1 Comment

Identifying and Fixing Tailing Loops

Just like some amateur golfers fight a slice off the tee, many anglers can catch a case of the tailing loops as they progress as a fly caster. Tailing loops are a common problem that affects almost every angler as they progress from the beginner to intermediate stage of fly-casting. It is something that is easily overcome once you are able to breakdown the dynamics of your cast and pinpoint the immediate problem.

What is a tailing loop?

The simple explanation – The forward portion of the line (leader) you are casting catches the main line section of your fly line. The slightly more complicated explanation – A tailing loop is when the top loop of your fly line does not turnover or unfurl properly because it catches the bottom loop of your fly line rather than running parallel until it turns over.

When do anglers begin to develop tailing loops?

A tailing loop often occurs when an beginner or intermediate caster with the basic cast down starts to increase the distance in which they cast without letting the rod do the work for them. By utilizing the natural flex of the rod, one can load the rod properly and be a more effective and efficient caster, while avoiding tailing loops.

What are the most frequent causes and how can they be eliminated?

  • The casters overall casting stroke is too short – the caster doesn’t compensate for the extra line they need to carry to gain the extra distance. The more line you are trying to cast the wider your overall stroke should become. Being able to generate more line speed also helps you carry more line with widening your stroke too much. Understanding how to haul line, by utilizing a single or double haul casting technique will ultimately help you generate more line speed. By having too short of a casting stroke it usually means the angler is coming forward out of their backcast too soon before your line has completely straightened out behind you. Lengthening your stroke and learning how to haul will give you the necessary time needed to let your loop completely unfold before coming forward.
  • The rod tip deviates from the casting plane too soon often dipping below the casting plane. An angler should come to an intentional stop on a straight-line path allowing your line loops to remain parallel until straightening out in front of you. The intentional stop of the rod on your forward stroke allows the rod to properly transfer its energy to the line, allowing the line to unfurl properly.
  • The application of power is not performed at the right time, often too early, overpowering the rod, causing the top loop of the line to crash into your bottom loop. The bottom line is don’t overpower the rod – a smooth application is most desired. Smooth acceleration back to a stop, smooth acceleration forward to a stop is the basics of the cast. If your rod is too soft for your casting style or you can’t get the distance you want try switching to a stiffer rod or heavier fly line to achieve the load quality you are looking for. Beginning anglers tend to think that the harder they cast, the further the fly line will go. This couldn’t be more wrong. Generating the proper line speed and keeping your rod at the correct angle will keep your loops tight and parallel until the line has straightened out completely either on your back cast or forward cast, preventing tailing loops


The bottom line is that tailing loops happen. Once you take an in depth look at your casting stroke or have a professional do so for you, it is usually easily fixable. Tailing loops seem to be most often present in self taught casters. Hiring a casting instructor in the first place can help you avoid them altogether. In the attached video certified casting instructor, Peter Kutzer from the Orvis Company will cover a few of the most common reasons for the tailing loop and how to avoid them.

Categorised in:

This post was written by Bighornangler

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.