Classic Pro Tips: How to Teach Yourself to Double Haul

Even if you understand the concept and the mechanics behind double-hauling, teaching yourself to do it can be difficult because it’s difficult to watch yourself while you cast to see what you’re doing right or doing wrong.

The best solution I’ve seen for curing this problem came from my friend Macauley Lord—author of the “Casting” column for American Angler for many years—and I’ve used his method to teach several people to double haul. (While Mac was the one who taught me, apparently it was Joan Wulff who first used the technique.) When I explain the process, the usual response is, “Why didn’t I think of that?” In my experience, this is the fastest way to learn to double haul, and I’ve had students who could virtually double their distance after a half hour of practice.

So what’s the big secret? Cast sidearm, so the rod and line move parallel to the ground. This allows you to watch the whole process: the loading of the rod, the timing of the haul, and the way your line speed increases when you do it right. When you can actually see the mechanics of the double haul, you can more quickly perfect it.

Turning the cast on its side allows you to watch every step of the process.

To do this well—and to avoid your line hitting the ground—you’ll need to be casting from a raised position and be casting over a flat surface, whether it’s your lawn or a parking lot. You can simply stand on a chair, picnic table, or a wall of some kind, anyplace that will allow you to cast sidearm comfortably and not worry about the line. I have a short, steep hill in my yard that works perfectly.

A couple years ago, my friend Eric was saying that he wanted to learn the double haul, so I put him on the side of the hill, had him lay his cast to the side, and just told him to start casting. He was amazed that he could actually see the effects on the haul on both his rod tip and the line, and he was able to dial-in the timing in about ten minutes.

In this video,  Pete Kutzer of the Orvis Fly Fishing Schools hops up on a picnic table and expains how you can use this technique to take your double haul to the next level.

11 thoughts on “Classic Pro Tips: How to Teach Yourself to Double Haul”

  1. I’ve used the horizontal casting technique for years. It is a valuable tool for letting the student observe his/her loop formations. I believe you can very successfully use this for the double haul without the need for getting on some sort of raised platform. I do it all the time on a grass surface as long as its a well maintained and reasonably short cut lawn, one can perform all the necessary casting activities and observe readliy without the need for some sort of elevated platform.

  2. A great lesson, as always. I have promised myself every year that I would learn to double haul. With Pete’s lesson, I’m going in!

  3. Mac Lord is a good instructor and friend. However, I pointed out to him several years ago that Joan Wulff was the first person to “invent” the horizontal cast, not only as an excellent method of learning the haul, but also for practicing timing, loop formation and loop control. By being able to see it all on the horizontal is extremely helpful to the student. There is an entire section on this in her DVD, “Dynamics of Fly Casting”- additionally there is a slightly varied and simplified version, for which she is given FULL credit, in my DVD, “The Double Haul”. Rhea Topping

  4. I really like these videos. They are very helpful. What rod is Pete using, weight & action? It would be helpful to us peons if he used a “typical” rod, say a 8’6”4 or 5 weight. I’m sure Pete could use any rod and make it look easy! It looks to me like he is using a 7 or 8 weight rod, based on the butt end, and it looks longer than 8’6”. Thanks for putting these tips out there for us.

  5. Pete Kutzer really puts it together. He is all Aces!! His video articles are always on point. Thank you.

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