A quarterly newsletter from Clear Creek Fly Casting LLC.

Your source for efficient, controlled, effective fly casting

Spring 2017

Happy Spring, everyone! The warmer temperatures have been here a while, but I continued skiing, woodcarving and teaching casting. My first fishing day was earlier this week on Clear Creek and went well. I’m looking forward to more days on the river and the early season hatches. I wish all of you a great season to come!

This newsletter is dedicated to the memory of our beloved Yellow Lab, Brook. She passed suddenly of cancer in late January. She was a lover, not a fighter, and therefore a great family member. When fishing, she had an air of steady concentration as I prospected for “water squirrels” (trout) and loved attempting to help me land them. She is and will be missed tremendously, and I feel privileged to have been her “Dad.”

On a lighter note, please enjoy the newsletter! Please send in your questions and suggestions---the newsletter is for you after all! Please note and take advantage of upcoming events and group lessons that are a great value. Better yet, schedule a private lesson or put a group together and set up a lesson with a topic of your choosing!


Casting Clinics at Anglers All; 5/13 and 6/10 from 10 am-12:30 pm: Due to frequent requests for distance and double haul instruction, this is the topic for both clinics at Anglers All this season. $50 gets you focused instruction, casting practice drills, more distance and control. Improving your distance cast improves all of your casting! Sign up by calling Anglers All at 303-794-1104.

Casting Clinics at Charlie’s Fly Box; 1:30-3:30 pm on 4/8, 5/13, 6/10, 7/15, 8/12: 2 hours of casting instruction for $50. A great value! Come to learn about the topic of the day or bring your own questions/problems and get answers! Sign up by calling Charlie’s at 303-403-8880.

Fly Fishing Rendezvous: I have again been invited to demonstrate and teach at the Rendezvous this year at the Jeffco Fairgrounds on 5/20 and 21st as part of the team for Fly Fishers International. I hope to see you there for this great event!


Please contact me with any questions regarding casting and any other aspect of fly fishing. If I don’t feel I can give you an expert answer, I’ll find someone who can! Also, if you have suggestions for articles for this newsletter or topics for demonstration or instruction, let me know. Contact me at



Learning to cast longer distance is fun and worthwhile! It improves casting skills at all distances. Yet some of you upon seeing this title are disappointed because “I never make long casts.” I beg everyone to keep reading as these skills will improve all of your casting.

  • What is distance? A “long cast” or distance means different things to different people, and even different things for different fishing situations. Sometimes it is about casting 60-70 ft. to a cruising bonefish in salt water, or even casting in a competition. For others it is about getting 3 more feet on a short cast to get to a fish that is just beyond your casting range. In the end, it is simply a number or target. It might be 30 ft., 70+ ft. or anywhere in between. The number doesn’t matter, but getting to your target does! One note is that distances referred to in this article are measured from caster’s foot to target. Therefore a 40 ft. target includes fly rod length as well as line/leader (so-called “foot to fly’).
  • There is no magic or secret to distance! Casting to any distance requires that the fundamental movements accomplished during the casting stroke are performed as flawlessly as possible. This is the substance of the cast. If not present, all your casts will suffer. Therefore, those not enthusiastic about this topic should take note: learning to cast longer distance helps shorter casts, and ultimately accuracy and presentation. Here are 3 critical elements of distance casting:
    • Loop control: Being able to form and maintain loops 2-4 feet top to bottom leg with a straight top leg (so called “good” or “tight” loops) is critical for getting distance. But, guess what?! If you can maintain good loops at 40-50 ft. (and beyond), the 20 and 30 ft. range becomes a breeze. Loop control comes from smooth acceleration to an abrupt stop through an appropriately sized casting arc for starters. This is some of the substance that must be present in all casts.
    • Line carry: Once you have formed and maintained loops at 35-40 ft. work on “line carry”. Specifically, you should work on lengthening the amount of line you can false cast (“carry”) while maintaining good loop formation. Practice this without double haul and only add 12-18” of line at a time. Make certain that your front and back cast loops are good enough to shoot line. Yes, I just said shoot line on your back cast! If you can’t shoot line on your back cast, there is something wrong with your back cast. This will affect your forward cast and inhibit distance and accuracy. Also, double haul will be difficult without line shooting skills.
    • Line speed: As you work on lengthening line carry, you will have to work on increasing line speed. Don’t initially try to do this by adding double haul---it will simply be a “crutch.” Learn to increase line speed by simply casting faster and maintaining good loops. Often you will need to increase “stroke length” which is the linear distance (not rotational) that the hand moves during the casting stroke. This allows for more distance over which to accelerate and gets all of the line under even tension. More distance over which to accelerate allows for a higher final line speed. Another benefit is increased stroke length often makes the tactile sense of the cast simply feel smoother!
  • So, to review, loop control, line carry and line speed are the key elements of distance.
  • Double haul: But, what then, of double haul? This is a technique which augments your cast. It will not improve your cast. To gain the most from double haul one must have a solid cast to 40-45 ft. It’s more like a super charger, and if you put a supercharger on an out-of-tune engine, all you do is burn more gas. (Perhaps that’s not technically accurate---motor heads please humor me---but I suspect you catch my drift!) With a good cast, double haul will increase line speed, increase rod load (bend), and decrease the amount of work the casting hand has to do.
    When you haul:
    • the hauling hand is pulling the line through the guides (augmenting line speed) while the rod is also pulling on the line;
    • the rod bends more due to resistance (inertia) of the weighted line;
    • the casting hand has less work to do to achieve a given line speed.
    All this results in:
    • Increased line speed at the stop (line launch)
    • Increased line speed from straightening (unloading) of the rod from a deeper bend
    • Increased energy in the cast with the amount of force necessary supplied by two hands instead of one
  • When to learn double haul: To be sure, double haul is a useful technique to get more line speed. This will often lead to greater line carry. But for most, it’s usually no more than another 5-10 feet. Therefore, if your maximum line carry distance is 45 ft. without double haul, and your loop formation is solid, you might be able to carry 50-55 ft. with double haul. However, the key phrase here is “your loop formation is solid”. My criteria for a caster being ready to learn double haul are:
    • Good loop formation front and back with at least 40 ft. of line/leader (foot to fly)
    • Can shoot 6-8 feet of line on back cast and forward cast with only one false cast (I.e., back cast, forward cast, back cast and forward cast/shoot, similar sequence for the back cast).

I realize I’ve left out the “how-to” part of this. For that you really need a lesson. There is a rare video or 2 on the internet, but most that I’ve seen are of poor technical or performance quality. Videos on the internet cannot give you feedback, help you make corrections or help you get the feeling of a good cast! The cost of a 1 hour lesson with me is $50---a great value when you consider the cost of most fly fishing stuff these days! You can learn practice drills that really make a difference and get direction from an experienced instructor for not much money!


How did you know the ferrules on my rod were loose?

So, I recently cast a rod a client brought to a lesson. Something didn’t feel right on the first cast. There was a sort of “hinging” sensation. My senses were then heightened, especially since I’ve cast the exact rod and line before and something was different. With only one more cast, I could feel it: besides the odd hinging sensation I could feel a “click-click” in my hand. One click occurred on the back cast and one on the forward cast. Inspection of the rod revealed that the middle ferrule was indeed loose. Proper assembly cured the problem.

This raises the question of how to put the rod together. First, make sure the ferrules are clean. Some fly fishers swear by waxing the ferrules---I’m not one of them. I always worry about the wax picking up dirt and simply haven’t found a need for it with today’s rods. Second, align the male and female ferrules so that the guides on one section are at 90 degrees to the other. As you push the ferrules together, turn the guides into alignment. You will feel the pieces seat as you do so. In the photos note that my right index finger is on top of the rod in the left picture and on the side of the rod in the right picture because the rod piece was rotated as I seated the ferrule.

Check the guides for alignment and adjust. That’s it! Disassembly is simply the opposite, with a warning not to wiggle the pieces apart or push/pull on the guides to make to help get the rod apart! Pull along the axis of the rod only and twist. Wiggling will loosen and damage the ferrule and using the guides for leverage will weaken or misshape them.

One other note is that it’s a good idea to check your ferrules throughout the day, especially if you are roll casting a lot. Nothing is more disappointing than hearing the ferrule crack while casting or fighting a fish because it was loose! Don’t ask me how I know that!

When should I change the leader?

There are multiple answers to this question depending on the situation, but the question came up in the context of a client that came to a lesson with 3 feet of the original manufactured tapered leader left on the end of the fly line. Clearly this needed changing. I recommend changing the leader when 2 feet or more has been cut away. Most manufactured leaders have 18-24” of tippet at the end. Above the tippet is the leader taper which determines behavior of the leader. Unless you know how to re-build the leader and have the material to do so, you’ll be disappointed with how the leader behaves once the tippet is gone. It’s easier just to change it. (But please don’t leave the monofilament streamside---it kills wildlife!)

If you are interested in leader design, tapers, or just want my recommendation about what to purchase for easy leader/tippet management, please contact me!

Looking for past newsletters? Here you go: