This Week's View

by Deanna Birkholm

March 26th, 2001

A Little Adversity

I don't remember who said it, "If it doesn't kill you, a little adversity will make you stronger."

Sometimes I think I've had all the adversity I need for a lifetime; but like you I work through whatever it is and hopefully learn from it.

A fishing example here: When we first fished on saltwater, I had to learn to double haul. No big deal really, it's not as hard as some try to make it. But many years later I still screw up. It's not exactly buck fever since I'm probably not seeing the fish I'm casting to, but a form of that for sure.

The double haul does two things. It increases your line speed and loads (bends) the rod deeper. For a long cast, the 'pull' prior to the forward cast needs to be long. A short pull, a couple of inches or even a foot, will increase your line speed but the loop the short pull produces is a tight loop. Nothing wrong with a nice tight loop - unless you are casting a big fly. With a tight loop the leader twists around itself (a tailing loop) and the fly unceremoniously plops on the water, usually with the leader hopelessly tangled. You can prove this to yourself by having someone stand on your leader while you pull on the line. A short pull just moves the tip of the rod, and long pull loads the rod deeply. Depending on how long a pull, the rod can bend all the way to the cork! You can easily see it for yourself.

The long pull produces a big open loop - perfect for big flies! It doesn't matter if you are on the saltwater, if you need to cast a big fly you need a long double haul; the 'harder' the pull, the more line speed it generates.

I get lazy when I've been casting for a while. My hauls get shorter. My husband, Castwell and I have an inside joke about the double haul. If your line arm is dry, your double haul is too short. (Especially if you are thigh deep in water!) I'm also aware the colder the water, the shorter my haul becomes. That is fixable too, back up!

I have to remember to back up on an incoming tide too. I've developed a bad habit. My right foot is usually dropped back about half a step, so as I make the forward cast I take a small step forward with my right foot. It's probably a left-over from tennis where one puts their body weight into the tennis stroke.

After I had water over the top of my waders a few times I finally figured out what I was doing wrong. If I remember to take a step or two backwards every few minutes I end up my day reasonably dry. Except for my left arm. ~ The LadyFisher

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