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May 17, 2007

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Kill Your Tailing Loop: Seeing the “U”

Watching how your line behaves during your cast will tell you if you’re making mistakes or not. But it is tricky to self-diagnose the exact nature of a problem, and even harder to make the fix. Before you get bogged down in overcomplicated physics lessons, you might revert to watching your own short casts from a fresh perspective.

Here is another great backyard exercise Dan Wright taught me to help train the proper feel into my cast. First, tilt your rod sideways and cast from waist or chest level on a flat plane above the ground. You might use a measuring tape stretched straight along the ground to be your benchmark. Start with small flicks of line, maybe 15 feet long. As you look at the line shooting back and forth, you’ll be able to see and feel both good “U”-shaped loops and tailing loops. Make both forward and backward casts from a dead stop. Eventually, you can link those casts together. Build line length gradually. As those good loops become uniform and systematic, you’ll be able to lift that cast 90 degrees over your head, still watching, and feeling, how the line shapes. If you tail, start over. The key is keeping the tempo even. Good loops grow in distance with practice.

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