Correcting Tip Slack

We’re sharing this video as it is a wonderful video to watch. While not Alberta based (in fact it is Euros fly fishing in New Zealand), the optics and sense of place are wonderful.

Most importantly, it shows an excellent example of an extremely common line control issue that most fly fishers have: Tip Slack. If you were to only start watching this video at 2:32, you will see the angler cast his line upstream and a series of complications compound, leading to a lost fish. These subtleties can wreak havoc with closing the deal and succeeding in fly fishing. Tip slack forms when fishing moving water that is coming from upstream toward you. As you place the line and fly on the water, if you simply leave the rod tip facing directly upstream the current will push the fly line downstream. This will cause a slack line loop to form on the water from your rod tip, moving downstream, before looping back upstream to your drift line.

Now, you can compensate for this by moving your rod tip downstream at the same speed as the current on shorter casts on small streams. Or, much better, you can leave your rod tip facing upstream and strip line in to match the current speed so that there is no slack line loop at your rod tip. Doing either of these will keep you in more a direct connection (straight upstream line) from your rod tip to the fly and result in a firm, controlled hook-set. This, of course, will result in a higher % of hook-ups being landed. Otherwise, as you see in these hook-sets, you literally have to rip through the slack line loop at your rod tip in order to catch up to your drift line and fly in order to find tension. This requires your casting arm to open far wider (usually well past your shoulder) in order to do so, and almost always requires considerable speed. All of these are simply out of control actions that usually end up in favour of the fish.

So, while this is a beautiful video to watch, it’s a perfect example of a small detail in fly fishing that no doubt can help you improve.


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