The double-haul is a very important skill to master, as it helps you to create higher line speeds, as the rod will load better with a properly done double-haul. In the last article on casting I wrote about the actual movement needed from the casting arm in order to create extra speed. This time the issue is the double-haul and how to perform this. A correctly performed double-haul will help us in many ways to control the cast so that we as often as possible stretch the leader completely. The double-haul consists of two motions: in the first phase the line is pulled when the rod is moved backwards, and in the second phase the line is pulled when the rod is moved forwards. I perform the double-haul in exactly the same fashion regardless of casting technique. The variations mainly come from how far you want to cast. Long casts = long pulls, short casts = short pulls. A good habit to get into is to also use short pulls at the beginning of the cast, and then extend the movement as you near the end of the cast, this creates a nice casting rhythm.
Picture sequence 1.
When the rod is positioned backwards for the back cast, the line hand should also be positioned in the back position, from this point on both hands should move forward at the same time, this creates the most power and the best rod balance.
Picture sequence 2 (performed incorrectly).
Notice the line hand in this picture sequence, it is stationary as the rod hand is moved forward. If you only move the rod arm forwards while keeping the line arm stationary until getting close to the forward cast and then perform the double-haul at the end of the forward cast, you will create rod imbalance. The line will often also go slack in this position, which means that the leader will not stretch properly. The result is often uneven and unruly loops due to the “hit” received by the rod as you pull that late, as this creates imbalance in the loading of the rod.
Picture sequence 3.
This picture shows correct positioning of the arm at the end of the double-haul. Here the line arm is close to the body, this creates the best effect for loading the rod as the rod arm can be moved to the next stop position.
This image shows a mistake in the final phase of the cast, here the arm is stretched out from the body, often resulting in the rod moving at an angle. This often leads to mistakes in the forward cast and is very ineffective in terms of loading the rod.
Picture sequence 4 (the Spey cast).
A normal mistake when spey casting using a single handed rod is that they often forget the first phase of the double-haul, they keep the line hand stationary until the rod is at the back position, and then the line is pulled when the rod is moved forward again. This is then really just a single haul. Using only a single haul when single hand spey casting means lots of lost advantages. It is desirable to get started with the first phase of the double haul, this increases the line speed of the back cast so that when the line hits the water and loads between the water and the rod the spey loop becomes tighter. This will load the rod much better you will cast much further with an effective initial phase haul.
It is also easier to create a second phase haul as you can just let the line hand slide towards the back position, and you will deal with casting sinking lines and large flies wit a single handed rod better. Lastly, it is very useful that the line has a high speed when it hits the water when fishing in tight spots, as you often have to place the loop in the water in front of you.
In this picture sequence you will see that the line hand is moved backwards during the first phase of the cast, increasing the line speed.