How To Stop Throwing Tailing Loops

Question-Tailing Loops?

Question from Alex:

Alex H
        For Capt Tom: You briefly were showing me at the seminar on Sat how to make a good cast with the fly rod and what leader to use for redfish. I have an 8wt flyrod with a 3' section of 60lb then 3' section of 30lb then 3' section of 20lb for a leader. Im finding that when im making my cast my fly is catching the main line before it has time to unroll. Is there something you can help me with that might help stop this? Thanks in advance

My response

Hey Alex,

Great to hear from you! 

I'm sorry that you are having a tough time with the cast.  What you are describing sounds alot like you are experiencing a phenomenon known as the Tailing Loop.  Unfortunately, leader construction is not going to fix this entirely. 

I looked through my videos and I have not done one on the tailing loop specifically, so I did a quick search on Youtube and found two explanations that I liked.  (I found many more that I didn't particularly like)

The first is simply a slow motion video of a guy throwing a decent loop and then following it up with a tailing loop.  It is easy to see that when the line crashes into itself that this gentleman is putting too much power and too sharp of a stop too early in the cast.  I always think of a train track.  If two trains are on the same track going in opposite directions, they will collide.  If the same 2 trains are on parallel tracks, they can pass at high speed with no issue.

The fly cast is the same way.  You simply need to add your power and stop a little later in the forward cast stroke and drop the rod tip after the stop.  This should, with practice, create two parallel tracks for the fly lines and eliminate the tailing loop.  Check out this video:


The second video is from Tim Rajeff.  Tim is a great caster who I have seen in person many times at different sport shows.  His brother, Steve Rajeff, is a legend in all forms of casting and a multiple time World Champion.  I like Tim's explanation because it is simple.  Guys who really know what they are talking about (on any subject) don't confuse things by trying to get too technical.  Tim explains it well and gives several tips for eliminating it. 

Also, it is evident that lots of Spanish speaking people are plagued by tailing loops because it is sub titled in Spanish.  You are not alone!

Check out his video:

The FFF used to require prospective casting instructors to intentionally throw a tailing loop on command.  I have never taken that course, but many of my friends who have done it expressed that this was one of the most difficult things to accomplish. 
I have tried to throw tailing loops on command and can do it, but I don't like it!  Like you, I experienced extreme frustration with tailing loops at one point.  Once I corrected this fault, I never wanted to see a tailing loop again! 

You will get through this with some practice.  Watch these videos and go out on the grass and practice.  Let me know if this has helped.  Post here and let me know how you are doing.

All the best,

Tom Rowland

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