The double haul cast was first used by Joan Wulff and is one of the most useful fly casting techniques a fly fisherman can learn.
When it comes to casting longer distances and managing to cast in heavy wind, both of which are requirements for salt water fly casting, double haul casting is the only way to go.
It’s not the easiest fly casting technique to learn though, as for some reason it feels quite unnatural, that is until you get it right, and then it suddenly makes a ton of sense. In this article, I’ll break down the entire process of the double haul cast so you can practice it at home.
Things To Know Before Fly Casting Double Haul
Before you attempt the double haul cast you must have first mastered a standard overhead cast as double hauling is a simple addition to this casting technique.
If you have solid loop control on your overhead casting stroke, good timing, and a decent casting length then you’re probably ready to take on adding a double haul to your casting stroke.
How does the double haul work?
The double haul involves a pull on your fly line with your line hand on both your back cast and your forward cast while your line is in the air. If you haul just on one of your casts, forward or back, then you are performing a single haul.
By pulling on your fly line, aka hauling, you add a lot of power to your stroke thus increasing line speed, removing any slack line, and loading your fly rod with more energy. This does happen when you single haul but it’s far more effective once doubled up.
This all translates to a greater casting distance, being able to punch your line into the wind, and putting less strain on your casting arm to get the distance you want. This is how fly fishers shoot up to 70 feet of line and above with a single-handed fly rod.
What fly line and fishing gear is best for a double haul?
The double haul cast is best executed with a weight forward or shooting head fly line as they have 35 feet of thicker line, known as the head, which will help load your rod quickly when setting up for the cast.
It’s also better to practice fly casting and learn the double haul with a heavier setup such as an 8 or 9 weight fly rod and line. The heavier line will make it easier to feel the cast and get your timing of each haul right.
How To Perform The Double Hall Cast
- Before your begin make sure you have the head of your line is out of the rod, around 30 feet, and is laid out on the ground or water in front of you.
- To begin the cast, first, strip in some line to remove any slack
- Then lift up your line off the ground or water with your rod while holding the line tightly in your line hand
- As soon as the line is up, begin going into your back cast and at the same time haul
- When you haul you want to pull the line down and to the side of your waist with some power
- At this point, you should immediately feel the line speed increasing, your rod load with power, and if you watch the rod tip will bend when you haul
- Once you have completed the haul let your line hand come up to the first eye of the rod allowing the line you just hauled to become part of the backcast
- Now pause, letting your line straighten out behind you just like you would on a normal overhead stroke – your rod should bend almost horizontal and parallel to the water at this point
If you were to stop here and execute a normal forward cast you would have done a single haul
- Once your line has straightened out behind your it’s time to perform both your forward cast and the next haul
- When your wrist and rod hand start to move forward, your line hand should be holding your line near the first eye of the rod
- As soon as you snap your wrist and start bringing your rod hand forward in the direction you want to cast is the right time to haul
- Haul by pulling the line down and to the side of your waist with some power
- When the line reaches your waist your rod tip should be at around 10:30 and you should experience your rod loading with power again
- As soon as you have pulled the line down to your waist let go of the line to allow slack for the line to shoot out of the rod
- Slowly move your rod towards the water/ground letting your line lay out
It’s quite a confusing process to describe and to master so here is a tip or two that have helped many anglers get their head around it in the past. Also, here is a great video below from the Orvis Company that should help too.
Tips For Double Hauling
- Both hauls start as soon as your wrist and arm move into your forward or backward stroke – this timing is essential and getting it right makes the world of difference. It will feel weird until you get it right, so persevere
- The longer your hauls are the more power you’re putting into the line but you don’t want too much power or it’ll be hard to control your line in the air. The rule is the longer the cast the longer the haul and vice versa
- If you find yourself creating a tailing loop it’s a sign of adding too much power to your hauls. Anglers experiencing a tailing loop when fly fishing are most likely not stopping their haul in conjunction with their rod on the backcast
- When practicing measure out around 30ft of line and start there slowing adding more line as you get more confident
Once you have mastered this technique, the fly fishing world will be yours to conquer as distance and wind will be much easier to manage