Fly Fishing Terminology

Fly Fishing Terminology
At times, it seems as though fly casters have a language all their own. Between double hauls, tailing loops and shooting line, it sounds like English but with some kind of secret code. Although you don't need to memorize every term in the book, here are some of the more common words used by fly casters.

False Cast

False casts are made to load the rod without releasing the line. Anglers make false casts by moving line forward and backward through the air until the rod is bent, or loaded, enough to shoot out a cast.


Fly casters speed up the line during a cast by hauling during a false cast to help load the rod. Hauls can be made on the forward cast, back cast or both. Made on both casts, it is known as a double-haul.

Roll Cast

When making a roll cast, anglers load the rod using the resistance of the line pulling from the water's surface. This cast is used when there is no room for a back cast.


After making a cast, the fly is retrieved by short pulls, or strips, on the line with the angler's free hand. Anglers use one or more fingers of their rod hand as a guide for the fly line to pass through as they strip line in.

Stripping Basket

Worn around the waist, a stripping basket is the repository for the fly line as it is stripped in. The stripping basket keeps line away from your feet, where it can become tangled while fishing.


While casting, a U forms in your line. One end of the U is from the end of your rod, the other end is your fly. The bend of the U leads the line and fly through the air. The tighter the U, the further your line will travel. The U is the loop.

Tailing Loop

A tailing loop is an indication something is wrong with the cast. The tailing loop forms behind the loop that your line should form as it travels through the air. Usually the result of a timing error or jerky casting motion, tailing loops often result in wind knots.

Wind Knot

Knots that form in the leader section of the line while casting. Resulting from a tailing loop, wind knots weaken your leader and are confirmation that you need casting practice.

Article Written By Stephen Byrne

Stephen Byrne is a freelance writer with published articles in "Nor'East Saltwater," "Sportfishing" magazine, "Pacific Coast Sportfishing" and "Salt Water Sportsman." As a fishing charter captain, he was also interviewed for a feature in "Field and Stream." Byrne studied environmental science at the State University of New York at Delhi.

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