Fly Casting- Tailing Loops, those Oh-So Mysterious Creatures !

here’s yet another inspiring casting analysis gem straight from the creative mind of Aitor Coteron.
more than worthy of careful study for fly casters of all levels, i’ll venture to say that this one’s specially important for anyone teaching casting.


” for although that dip/rise is somewhat of a “concave path of the rod tip” it has nothing to do with those big bowl shaped tip paths so many drawings depict. For years those bowl shaped explanations were to me as perplexing as the tailing loops themselves: however much I looked whenever I saw a tail in someone’s casting I couldn’t see that big concave path everybody was writing about. Not even on the casting videos available. Reality is much much more subtle, so subtle that seeing with the naked eye the expected anomaly in the tip path -even knowing what to look for- is really hard. Here we have a tailing loop in full glory. It is played at a slower pace than real speed. The tail could be used to illustrate a casting handbook; can you see the “bowled rod tip” anywhere? “

this last point is quite important. most (all as far as i know) video analysis of TLs has been done by casters staging them just as us instructors do when certifying. they’re over-exagerated and very non-realistic interpretations of what’s really going on when its an involuntary fault. or in other words, studying bad examples can only lead to bad conclusions… 
“P.S. The tailing loops shown here are real ones, nothing staged for the camera but involuntarily produced.”

i’ll not add more. click HERE for Aitor’s complete article including different gifs at different speeds and rod tip path overlays. enjoy !

10 thoughts on “Fly Casting- Tailing Loops, those Oh-So Mysterious Creatures !

  1. I think that tailing loops loops made on purpose are very useful for analysis. I for one have learned a lot from them.
    For instance, by watching demos of tails and their causes I discovered that 99,9% of the tails don’t match the cause claimed by the caster. A sort of self-fulfilling prophecy: this maneuver is known to produce a tail so I will produce it… one way or another. Involuntary cheating but cheating nonetheless.
    The Sexyloops casting app shows that cheating in full glory; it is hardly discernible at normal speed if you don’t know what to look, but shoot a slo-mo of the video while it is being played on your tablet and… voilá!

    • hi Aitor !
      ok-ok, they’re not all pointless. analysis is analysis and it can be just as constructive to study fake causes. (specially for instructors/casting geeks)
      we’ve seen a number of these causes debunked by some of your earlier videos, too short a casting stroke, creep, etc; all typically stated as direct causes of TLs and all or a combination of them typically used to demonstrate TLs. but its usually of no use to the average caster just wanting to improve and correct what can be a chronic fault.

      sure, to go to extremes its actually kind of fun to start the casting stroke really high (arm outstretched) come down during the stroke and go back up to ‘stop’ to show that really deep concave rod tip path and it’s resultant tail but of course no one does that in ‘real’.
      part of my recent casting practice routines has been making tails the way your student does in the gifs. a power surge too early or somewhere around the middle of the stroke. they’re still to be considered as ‘fake-intentional’ mistakes but they’re much-much more realistic than the manners described above.
      thanks for your comment and once again for another great post !

      • The last two nights I have been watching a two part video on fly casting that I rented in the Video on Demand department on Vimeo. A pretty good and comprehensive work by a IFFF MCI.
        It reminded me of this conversation because of the tailing loop demo section: as it is so usual every tail was produced by an unnaturally high stopping rod in the forward cast. Nothing to do with the alleged causes being analyzed.
        It isn’t easy to produce a tail when a good application of force has been ingrained in our stroke. That video is just one more proof of that.

        • thanks Aitor, i wasn’t even aware of this rental/buying feature on Vimeo. pity there isn’t more variety in fly fishing/casting but i might be tempted by Davy Wotton’s videos.
          Lars’ video isn’t bad at all, i’ve seen both parts before.
          anyhow, i had a look and found it right away. there’s some talk and demo of TLs on the trailer at 1:40
          this one’s one hell of a TL ! 😆

          i agree with the not-easy-to-do part regarding creating tails that try to mimic real mistakes. i’ve been practicing the too soon/’inverted acceleration’ power spike quit a bit recently. i hope to be an expert soon ! 😎

          • Yep! That trailer shows one of the “self fulfilled prophecy” type tailing loops. Those interested may take a look at the rod stopping position in the two good casts at the beginning compared to the cast producing the tail.
            I even filmed my laptop screen in slo-mo to see it as clear as possible 🙂

            • “I even filmed my laptop screen in slo-mo to see it as clear as possible”
              that’s so amazingly geek. must be a record !!! 😆

              (what a great idea 😉 )

              • Not a record anymore. Time ago I filmed the tailing loop demos on the Sexyloops app. The same “self fulfilling prophecy” by the way. 🙂

                • doing it twice makes it a record my friend… 😆

                  that term was new to me too. very appropriate here.

                  “In his 1948 article Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, Merton defines it in the following terms:

                  The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behavior which makes the original false conception come true. This specious validity of the self-fulfilling prophecy perpetuates a reign of error. For the prophet will cite the actual course of events as proof that he was right from the very beginning.”

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