The Double Haul
 
With the advent of an increase in the numbers of fly fishers, it is only a natural evolution that their casting skill levels will begin to increase with time. One of the multi dimensional joys of fly casting is the opportunity to constantly add to and improve ones skills.

As we become more proficient casters, the natural progression for most of us is to want to cast further distances. Why? Because, of course, ALL fish live on the other bank of all rivers, streams, and ponds, at the opposite end of the flats and, even in the ocean are constantly situated completely out of normal casting reach! Solution? The infamous Double Haul!

Based on some research I have done recently, I discovered that the double haul was actually developed by tournament casters to increase efficiency and distance. It was only more recently that this technique was incorporated into fishing casts as well.

What is the double haul, and when and why do we use it? Let's take a closer look.

The haul is actually just what its name connotes...it is simply a tug, haul, or pull, executed by “the line hand” (that hand which is not holding the rod, on the line at the same time as power is being applied by the rod hand.
    With a haul you must add the use of your line hand, (the hand not holding the rod) - the key to the haul is TIMING - both hands must operate at precisely the same time. This is no more, or less, difficult than rubbing your head and patting your stomach at the same time....it just takes practice! In reality, and this is critical to be aware of, the maximum line speed occurs exactly as the rod starts to unload, as it is stopped - not a minute before, not a split second after!

Have a friend hold your fly line out of the rod tip firmly while you “set the hook.” Look at the bend in the rod. Now, take your line hand and simulate a little haul downwards on the line. Notice that the rod bends even further?

You have just added more load to the rod - which is exactly what the double haul accomplishes!
Because so many of us learn from different teachers, videos, and books and it can get confusing, just be aware that both terminology and interpretation can differ from guru to guru.

Example: power application -
Lefty Kreh calls it “a speed up and stop”; Joan Wulff calls it “a power snap”; Mel Krieger calls it “Whuuumping the rod”; Jim Green calls it “a positive stop”, Gary Borger calls it “energy transfer,” and so on.....

Back to basics: Why do we use the double haul?

1. Loading and unloading the rod (bending and unbending the rod). The SECRET of all good fly casting!!!   
No acceptable cast can be made without forming a good loop. No loop can be formed to cast any distance without loading the rod correctly. The deeper the load, and the greater the line speed, the further and more controlled the cast is. The double haul puts that extra bend or load in the rod. 
 
2. The double haul makes us work less when casting longer lines. Let me explain:
Remember! “short cast, short stroke...long cast, long stroke?” Instead of struggling to carry 60 feet of fly line in the air with a 28 inch loooong casting stroke...by adding the use of our line hand and giving a slight haul or pull, we can cast the same distance, using perhaps only a 16 inch stroke, and with half the effort. Believe me, if you are casting to fish continuously for 8 hours, you will appreciate the ability to save energy.


3. The double haul helps to speed up the time it takes to let the line unroll between casts.
By now as a caster you know that you cannot make any cast with a lot of slack in your line. The rod, line, and leader must all be moving in the same direction before you can begin the cast.

A 40 lb. permit swims rapidly by, just out of reach...you need to get your fly to it with one cast (several false casts overhead will surely spook it).
By adding a haul with your line hand, you straighten out the line and leader more quickly and are ready to begin the next cast sooner.
 
4. The double haul gives us more line/leader control and improve our distance accuracy.
The longer the casting distance, the more margin for error, particularly in adverse conditions. By adding a haul and tightening up our loops, we can make the end result somewhat more efficient, and get more distance.

5. The double haul makes people who can’t do it green with envy. 
I see anglers all the time who have been fly fishing for over 40 years! They can outfish me in a heartbeat...but...they are incapable of using the double haul. They weren't taught these casts when they started fly fishing, and consequently assume that they are very difficult to execute.

6. And, it makes casting a lot more fun!

7. The double haul helps to keep control between the line hand and the first guide. Remember, you can’t make a good cast until all the slack is out of the line.
 8. The double haul makes turning over long delicate leaders easier. 
However, the most important reason we use the double haul or pull is:
9. To increase line speed. Why would we want to do that? How about casting in windy conditions? The extra speed created by the haul once again makes our casts more energy and aerodynamically efficient, hence the line will cut through wind more easily. And, that extra speed in turn gives our cast enough extra power, so that we can cast in the wind without killing ourselves.
10. Additionally, increasing the line speed makes it easier to cast a greater distance.
PITFALLS
If your line hand hauls too soon, all it accomplishes is to pull line back through the rod tip. If you haul too late (after the stop or "power snap") again, you only succeed in pulling line away from your target. 
 Be careful not to bring your line hand back up ("giving back line ") too soon/quickly at the end of the haul or else you will have slack between your line hand and the first guide...again defeating the purpose of the haul. YOU MUST MAINTAIN TENSION on the line at all times.    
   IF, however, you haul at the correct moment, you force an additional bend in the rod (loading the rod). By increasing the bend or load, this flexible lever called a fly rod will have to UNBEND/UNLOAD that same additional amount. By so doing, it will generate more line speed, and consequently the caster will efficiently achieve more distance, and line and leader control.
    If you play tennis, don’t you usually use the ball machine and warm up for ages, before a match? Don’t most golfers go to the driving range, and the putting green before playing 18 holes? HOW many times do you and I practice fly casting? 1ce a week? 1ce a month?

   I want to leave you with this thought – I can give you all the information you need, and lots of coaching – but I can’t cast for you – the only one who can improve your casting is YOU! How? Practice, practice, practice!
 
I HOPE I HAVE INSPIRED YOU TO GRAB A ROD AND GO OUTSIDE AND START WORKING ON YOUR DOUBLE HAUL! NOW – WHILE IT’S FRESH IN YOUR HEAD.
Good luck! And Have fun!