June 18th, 2001

By James Castwell

I get email on a lot of subjects, the double-haul is one of them. The problem seems to be no one learns it until they have an urgent need for it and then it is almost too late. The 'DH' needs to be learned and practiced and used for some time before it becomes an incorporated casting tool. Many of my past columns have recommended you learn it however you can, book, video, fly shop, on here or at a class or school. I have tried to convince you that the 'DH' is not just for long line casting, but can equalize the work between the hands in normal fly-casting situations and give you far more control over your line due to the increased line speed generated. There are just too many benefits to attempt to describe.

There was a recent Bulletin Board question about videos for learning the 'DH'. I've not found any of great value for various reasons. They mostly show a lot of line and not much of the hand or arm mechanics. I've tried to do a better job with the following pictures. These were not shot in one continuous sequence, as I do not have a camera that will do that, (yet). Until that time, try to get some good out of these. I did these for you, at least watch them, and no snide comments please as to who is the 'ugly-old-guy.' I did the casting and the Lady Fisher shot the photos! (I'm just a reformed bait-fisher who needed the 'talent-fee' and worked for a small lunch.)

These pictures are not necessarily supposed to teach you how to do the 'DH,' just to give you a better idea what I have been talking about and perhaps tempt you to learn it for yourself. Good luck, your arm will be sore, you will probably get a few blisters, your thumb will probably ache, and your shoulder will never be the same. But, what the heck, that happens when you mow the grass and this is a lot more fun. Learning it will improve your casting.

This is the 'DH' in 'slow-motion.' This is about what it should look like when you are using about 25 or 30 feet of line. Notice the casting hand does not go very far back nor forward. Once loaded with the increased mass-weight of the line, any reasonable fly-rod will deliver the line in a very controlled loop shape.

Slow motion DH

Here is the same thing in normal time. Try to keep your casting hand rather low, it only rises a bit as it forms the back-cast. Remember, the 'DH' makes fly-casting easier, not harder!

DH normal time

And now the whole fly-line. When you have a handle on just how neat the 'DH' can be and what it can do for your fly-casting, you will want to experiment a bit with distance. Go for it! Remember, you are not just 'dry-fly-casting' now. This is NOT the same thing only harder. This is a whole new thing, and needs to be done as such. This is about what it should look like with about 65 feet of line in the air and the force necessary to shoot an additional 25 feet to clear the line from the guides. You will find a distinct feeling of 'glee' when you hear for the first time the backing knot go rattling through the guides. When you can pitch the whole 90 foot line and several feet of backing, email me, you can take over this column. How far is a darn long cast? One-hundred eighteen feet won a contest out west this year, not a bad cast in anyone's book. There are two ways to make longer casts, learn the 'DH,' or buy a longer leader.

Long Line DH

~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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