a new Twist on Twists.

or, how to very easily untwist your fly line by Zack Dalton of Rio via Gink and Gasoline

oh, so simple and oh, so easy and oh so, feck, why didn’t i think of that ?!

Zack’s demonstration is so good there’s nothing to add there. i do however want to expand a bit more as to why fly lines twist. there’s 3 reasons brought up in the video, let’s take a closer look at them.

1-  i need to be honest, point 1: ‘fly size/wind resistance to the fly’ doesn’t make a lot of sense. this would require such an amazingly unbalanced fly/leader/fly line combination and repeatedly casting it that it’s really hard to imagine happening in real. sure, twisting does indeed happen with certain flies but it’s the leader that becomes twisted and tangles first, looking something like a messy bird’s nest. it’s pretty safe to say the angler, getting absolutely nowhere with this and seeing this mess would stop and untangle long before the lighter, thinner and flexible balled-up twisted leader would work it’s way back and have any effect on the heavier, thicker, and stiffer fly line.

– Zack’s reason 2 is connected to and is in sequence to reason 3 so we’ll come to that later.

2- reason ‘3’ (hmmm, this is starting to get confusing… )  is the big one and it has to do with casting in different planes. casting in different planes means that the fly line isn’t being cast perfectly straight over the rod tip in both back and forward casts. casting over the rod tip doesn’t necessarily mean a purely vertical overhead cast either, the casting plane can be at any angle. if one casts perfectly over the rod tip, fly line twists don’t happen.
an easily understood example of casting in different planes in the aerial cast family is the Elliptic, Oval or falsely-known-as Belgium cast. the back-cast is performed to the side and the front cast is done by casting overhead. the very same principle applies to the roll-cast/spey family because you can’t successfully cast these with the D-loop directly below the rod, the anchor needs to be to the side.

so, what happens is the line gets a half or so twist with every false or complete casting cycle and the half twists in the line that we’ll find between the stripping guide and reel start to add up quickly and this brings us to reason 2.

3- if we cast to the reel at every delivery (the line goes tight from its tip end all the way to the reel, there’s often a little ‘bump’ feeling) the line gets the chance to completely untwist before it lands on the water. the twist gets pulled out while in the air. there isn’t this ‘inert’ length of line between the line hand or pile on the water/ground/stripping basket/whatever and the reel.
if we have too much line out of the reel for that specific fishing distance, the twists remain coiled up between the rod’s stripping guide and the reel and those twists continue to increase in numbers as the casting goes and if we attempt to shoot line, the twists catch on the first thing they can. usually it’s the stripping guide of the rod but it could be anything anywhere around the line’s path and of course the cast is screwed up and if you’re lucky you might even get a ‘wind’ knot from recoil !

note- it might seem like i’m saying that since it leads to a problem, casting out of plane is wrong. it most definitely isn’t. it’s a basic part of most casting styles and it’s a very safe bet to state that 99% of casters do not cast their lines exactly over the rod tip, myself included. once again, i simply wanted to explain the causes.
line twist at one point or another is simply inevitable and just a part of fly fishing/casting but thanks to great tips like Zack’s, at least one of our problems just got a whole lot easier to live with.

3 thoughts on “a new Twist on Twists.

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