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Game Fishing



Part Six – The Double Haul Last month, Andrew Ryan explained how to add a single haul to your forward cast. This month, he deals with the progression to a double haul.

f you’ve ever watched an expert caster reaching fish you could only dream of at distance, the chances are he was using a casting technique known as double hauling. The double haul puts line speed into both the forward and backward strokes of the cast. The technique does require a lot of practice to get the coordination of both hands right. However, it is a very rewarding cast because not only does it increase line speed, tighten up your casting loops and increase distance, it also helps enormously when you are forced to cast into the wind.


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What Is A Haul? A haul is a downward pull of the line during either the back cast or the forward cast. It follows, then, that a double haul involves pulling on both movements of the cast.

What Does The Haul Do? The haul helps to flex, or load, the rod tip to perform a cast. In fact, you can flex the rod tip using very little power from your casting arm, flexing the rod by the haul alone.

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Fact File Name: Andrew Ryan Qualifications: Approved Professional Game Angling Instructor (APGAI) and US Federation of Fly Fishing (FFF) Master Instructor Contact: For more details on Andrew’s courses, call him on 00 353 (0) 52 36765 Web:

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Game Fishing Guideline Before starting the double haul, it is recommended that you learn to execute the single haul with a degree of proficiency. The double haul does require quite a lot of coordination between arms and hand, so practise the single haul and become proficient before attempting the double haul. The length of the haul will determine the size of your casting loop. A long haul will result in a wide casting loop, while a short haul will ensure a narrow, or tight, casting loop. When you are hauling, you do not need to apply as much power with your casting arm. Many anglers try to force the cast and, in doing so, will not get the same results as those who allow their hauling hand to do the work. The haul will flex, or load, the rod tip for you, so it is only necessary to lead with your casting arm. It is a difficult cast to learn, but if you keep at it you will eventually get it! The cast is called a double haul, but there are actually three defined movements: Haul on the backward stroke – this occurs at the same time as the power stroke on your back cast. Give back – after the back haul is made, your left hand must be lifted upwards, close to your right hand, if your right hand is holding the rod. This is to allow you to make the haul on the forward stroke. If the haul in the back cast is executed correctly, the line will be ‘sucked’ backwards. Haul on forward cast – after your hand has been lifted back up and the line behind has straightened, you can execute the forward cast adding a haul. This is very similar to the single haul demonstrated in last month’s article.

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Common Mistakes Timing Timing is critical to a successful double haul. Good timing will only arrive after plenty of practice, as the haul has to be performed simultaneously with both the forward and backward rod stroke. If you haul too early or too late, the cast will not perform well and the line will often collapse. Too Much Power While double hauling, most of the line speed is achieved by the haul, so you may need to decrease the amount of power applied to the casting stroke. In my experience, most casters try to force the cast by applying too much power with the casting arm, the one holding the rod. To make longer casts, most anglers increase the power with the casting stroke. To gain distance you need more line speed. This is achieved by increasing the speed of the haul, not the speed of the casting stroke! Double hauling is difficult to learn and will take time to master. Stick with it and you will get it eventually. As with all casting, I recommend that you go to an APGAI instructor as these articles are only meant as introductions to more anglers to the wonderful world of fly fishing.

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Top Tip

How To Double Haul

It is a good idea to practise these movements without a rod in your hand so that you can have a clear picture in your mind and get the timing right without becoming tangled up in fly line!

The double haul will put more fish within reach than you ever thought possible. This picture guide will show you all the basics of a very rewarding cast.



Start your cast with around 40 feet of line straight out in front of you.

Before starting the cast you will need to have 40 feet of line out to get the best results. Begin with the rod low and line straight onto the water. You’re preparing to execute the back cast, with haul. For a longer haul, grip the line with your left hand close to the bottom ring.

As in the overhead cast without a haul, there is an initial lift to 11 o’clock. The rod is lifted slowly to this point. The haul does not occur until the next stage of the cast.



The next step is the back flick or power stroke. The haul is applied at the same time as the back flick. The haul is a short, sharp, downward pull on the line. If this is done correctly the line should accelerate up behind you.

Stop. The rod is stopped at 1 o’clock, allowing the line to straighten out behind you.



While the line is straightening out behind you, the left hand is lifted towards the right hand. This is the ‘give back’, which allows you to make the forward haul. Otherwise, your left hand would be too low and you would not be able to make a haul on the forward cast.

Now for the forward haul: a short, sharp haul executed at the same time as the forward stroke. It is the same movement as the forward haul in the single-haul cast. The line should speed forward. Now release the line from your left hand to allow it to shoot through the guides.

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Double Haul  

An article by Andrew Ryan published in the Irish Angler Magazine

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