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The Legendary Triple Haul
The single haul is for beginners, double hauls are for the seasoned fly-caster, but the triple haul... now that's for the real hard core fly fisherman.
When you started fly fishing the cast was most likely the most difficult part of the game. Learning to keep line in the air and load the rod was a challenge, and getting the whole mechanical aspect of the cast to work is something that requires practice and patience.
But like most of us you probably got it eventually. Admitted that you do see a few casters who never got it, but that's a whole other story.
Shooting and hauling
You probably also learned to shoot line, let a bit go for every forward casting stroke and maybe even in the back cast too. You were on your way to becoming a good caster, and thought you had it nailed until someone told you about or showed you the double haul.
If you were any bit like me - and probably most fly casters - you were totally put aback by this technique and suddenly felt like a toddler again, trying to keep your balance on a bike where Dad removed the training wheels. One minute you were an accomplished biker roaming the neighborhood with the Tour de France firmly set on the horizon. The next minute you were on the ground, knees and handlebars scratched, unable to understand how anyone ever managed to stay upright on that torturing piece of junk metal!
The same thing with the double haul. Arms hand hands going like windmill wings, the line and rod suddenly having their own life again and even the worst of you single haul casts way better than anything you could muster when your line hand suddenly had to syncopate with the rod hand.
No way you could learn that!
But then one day, magically, the line suddenly loaded the rod and shot off like a rocket!
Trying again to no avail, but still with a bit of muscular memory of that feeling.
And a few casts later, again!
And then again, and again and then suddenly you had it.
Mel Krieger's down-up made sense.
Göran Andersson's delicate twist made sense.
Lefty Kreh's instructions at that casting pool made sense.
You could double haul!
You found yourself making the casting strokes longer, loading the rod harder, gaining line speed and suddenly being able to cast longer and more precisely.
You had reached the hyperbole of fly casting!
Prepare to be shocked
Well, prepare to be shocked!
The double haul was just a single step on the way to fly casting Nirvana.
It's now time to learn the triple haul!
"OK", I hear you say, "A triple haul? That makes no sense at all!".
But think back on your first acquaintance with the double haul. Your reaction was very likely the same, and there was no way you could grasp the concept of the double haul with all its opposing movements.
Same thing here. You will need to do some serious studying and endless hours of practice to get this to work, but once done, Jason Borger's shadow casts from "the movie", Steve Rajeff's distance casts from the championships and Hywell Morgan's casting several rods in each hand will seem like kid's play.
You will have ascended to a higher level.
Now let's get down to the nitty gritty.
The double haul was just a single step on the way to fly casting Nirvana.
A little history
This cast was developed by a group of secluded and pretty unknown Danish anglers, who were tired of short 100 foot casts unable to cover the water properly. During the dark winter they spent time indoors thinking up new ways of casting. Countless experiments yielded nothing, but one evening one of the guys suddenly stumbled upon something. An erroneous, jerky motion in the middle of a normal cast suddenly propelled the line with an amazing force. He tried to repeat it, and after a few casts he could incorporate the first incarnation of this new motion.
After several of the other had picked it up, they polished the style, and after some weeks they realized that they had found something revolutionary. But they also realized that a new line taper was needed to perfect this technique, and they started splicing all kinds of line in odd taper to obtain what they wanted.
That was how the WTF line was born. WTF for Weight Triple Forward.
In order to perform the triple haul perfectly you stand no chance with a shooting head or DT line. You can't do it with a WF line either, but have to progress into the WTF lines where you get that unearthly taper, which enables you to hold immense amounts of line in the air while doing the fake false casts before the third haul. These lines are still pretty rare and hard to find, and the dealers who have them typically charge a premium, so expect a few expenses before you triple haul for the first time.
You can use your ordinary rod, but for the best result, you should arm yourself with a 9'3.5" rod suited for a 5 weight line. A 6 weight rod can do it, but don't go any heavier.
"But I fish for tarpon, trevally and permit. I need something heavier!" you say.
Or "I'm a dry fly purist and can only fish my 7' 2 weight!".
Well you know what? Tough luck!
This cast simply isn't for you. Get a life and start fishing for sea trout in the Baltic like a real man!
You will need to have about 34.5 feet of line out once you have the cast working, but start with less and get the feeling of the very special casting motions used for the WTF line.
Cast as you usually do, simply working out line to about 24.5 feet. You will notice that the second taper from the front of the WTF line is at its narrowest here for that exact purpose. There's a third taper at the 34.5 marker, but leave that for now.
Work out line, feel the line, don't haul, just do false casts.
Now comes the tricky part, and the part that makes most people loose faith in that they will ever master this cast.
Perform the fake false cast.
The fake false cast
Simply add an overlaid casting motion in the middle of the backwards stroke of a false cast, sometimes called the drifting phase of the cast. A short, sudden counter-intuitive motion in the middle of the smooth stroke. Kind of a jerk. Notice how the line helps you build up that second arc, making your line form a long, flat S above you.
Congratulations! You have performed your first fake false cast!
Keep this going for a while, holding as much line in the air as possible, creating that immense snake of line above you. Lay down the line now, strip in a bit and then and start all over until you completely master this phase. Once that's firmly planted in your spine, you can start hauling.
Do your usual double haul, but as you perform the fake false cast, pull a third time with a long and increasingly faster motion and let go.
The longest cast
Did you see that? You probably just laid out the longest cast you have ever made. If not, try again and keep practicing until that line loads like a slingshot and zooms off like a rocket right after that third haul.
You might have to spend a week or two on this step, and don't wonder if it feels odd. It is odd and makes no sense until you suddenly do it right. You might be able to find someone who can instruct you, but people who can perform this cast, not to mention teach it, are still very few.
When you can consistently lay out about 120' or some 40 meters of line with little effort, it's time to go to that 34.5 foot marker and really lay out some line.
Pull off the extra line, repeat all the motions, fake false cast, one-two-three hauls and let go. A 150' or 50 meters is now suddenly a short cast and if you hone your skills you will start understanding why the WTF line has to be 200 feet long.
After a few hundred hours of lawn practice you will be getting there.
And not only have you gained distance, but you will notice how the presentation is totally stealth and soft, enabling you to completely stretch a 12, 15 and even 18 foot leader perfectly. It's no problem presenting even a large and heavy fly to that 10 lbs fish that just head and tailed a hundred feet out. The compound, reverse taper in the tip of the WTF line unloads the massive energy built up in the cast so delicately that it's hard to believe.
Did you see that?
You probably just laid out the longest cast you have ever made
The healthiest cast
To the innocent bystander it will look like you're having an epileptic seizure and your unknowing fellow fishers will wonder if you forgot to eat your pills this morning, but once they have seen you reach fish further out than ever before, they will want to learn what you have just learned.
Wind is no problem. A head wind might cut the casting length down a few feet, but any wind from the side or the back will just help you. Like other casts, a wind over the wrong shoulder can be conquered by turning 180 degrees and casting backwards.
And not only will the triple haul get you greater casting distance, better presentation and more fish, but it's known to relieve you of tired arms and wrists, back pain and even calluses on your fingers, which will be as soft as ever before. It simply leads to a healthier life, better general shape, a strong back, a tightly packed abdomen and... dare I say it... potentially a better sex life.
There's no way around it. April 2015 is triple haul April, and you'd better learn it before your fishing buddies, or they will severely outcast and outfish you on your next trip.
April 2015 is triple haul April