Flats flyline handling [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Flats flyline handling

12-06-2005, 10:35 AM
I can't seem to find a good way of handling my flyline while wading. I've tried stripping baskets, letting it trail behind me, or holding it in my mouth like Dick Brown suggested.
Stripping baskets tangle. I move around enough to move the line (in the basket)enough so when I need to make a cast, out pops a tangle.
I get tired of carrying it in my mouth. If I'm prepping for an extra long cast, I can put a coil in my mouth but usually don't.
That leaves letting it trail behind you. I tend to hold the line at the end of the head, letting the head and leader trail behind me a loop, then strip out more line until that (second) loop is equal in length to the first. That sort of works, although I often need an extra false cast to break surface tension and shoot the line. The downside is that simetimes picking up the head part of the line makes enough noise to spook fish.
So I'm still looking for a really good way to do this. If anybody's found a way they're happy with, I'd be very glad to know.

12-06-2005, 11:20 AM
I do the dragging it behind you method and have the same (mixed results). One thing I tried was was to pull the big loop up next to me before taking my shot. It allowed for some longer casts but I could see it being a problem for ultra-spooky fish. I used it mostly for tailers in grass and it worked pretty well....

12-06-2005, 11:37 AM
There is an excellent solution to your problem. <non-sponsor link removed by admin - PLEASE read the rules> They sell a small basket that hangs on your belt to the side. No much good for stripping into, but great for storing the loose line as you move about. About $35.

12-06-2005, 12:35 PM
With all due respect, don't you folks thing this no-link rule is a bit too restrictive? Communicating web links is becoming an everyday method of communication.

Willie Gunn
12-06-2005, 03:04 PM
With all due respect but when you signed up you agreed to the rules and rule 2 states

Rule #2 - Respecting sponsorships, and spam

Since our life blood is sponsorships, we must keep advertisement meaningful in our community. Avoid spamming by openly promoting non-sponsors in a way that directly advertises their businesses unless you have consulted with a Moderator or administrator first. If you want to promote non-sponsors in this manner, you will be asked to email the business to suggest sponsorship of our community (CC: sponsorships@flyfishingforum.com).

12-06-2005, 04:32 PM
Josko -

You can always drop bob a PM or he can describe the company name without a direct hyperlink, and google will do the rest (as I am sure it often does).

We agree to sponsorships under the pretense that their investment will be protected in an environment free of competitive advertising, and hyperlinks are considered advertising.

But people are free to talk about anything short of advertising, which includes testimonials about products.

Hope that makes the information sharing easier. I plan to disable the automatic link feature after the next software upgrade so only deliberate hyperlinks will appear as some are probably unintentional.

12-06-2005, 05:03 PM
My first trip I had the same problem, I now think about it as blaming it on using a sinking line. That´s probably every flyfisherman´s nightmare. Wading around with a sinking bonefish taper...
Last time I had a floating line, several options to use. My best option is to let it drag behind you, but take both the lines, the one from your first eye and the one coming of the reel and make a little loop of them. Put it under the "belt" of your shorts or pants, at the side of your body, entering halfway and exciting to the back.This is easily pulled loose when you are going to cast and it makes sure the line is high at your back. When you wade it will drag behind you and the chances you´l step in or onto your line will be much less.
Good luck.

12-06-2005, 06:04 PM
On topic,

I think I have less trouble with this because I hold a lot of line in the hands when Spey casting and am getting pretty used to it. I had the pleasure of fishing with Alan Caolo on Monomoy and he doesn't use a stripping basket at all while striper fishing. I use a basket while striper fishing but when bonefishing I do not. Mostly because the strip retrieve for stripers involves much more slack line than bonefishing.

It takes some patience and practice but holding multiple loops between the fingers allows for four times the loop size, let's say it's 10 feet avg for arguments sake, plus a majority of the head length which I usually hold in loops in the right hand == plenty of line at the ready.

Theoretically if we are talking 25-30ft of head in the right and 40 in the left we are talking about 65-70ft cast which is well above the average shot I take for bones while wading.

When walking to the next likely spot I will reel up. But as soon as I get the 'vibe' the loops come off the reel and into the left hand's fingers.

I often will hook the fly into the cork before holding the head in the rod hand's fingers. BY holding the head out of the guides, I just need to drop the line into the water and make a dynamic roll (switch spey cast) to get the whole thing loading the rod. Then the loops in the left hand can be shot with a haul if desired.

Little things like current direction and sun angle need to be considered, sometimes they are harmonious and other times they are not. If you need to stand with the line hand up current the line will cross your legs as you walk. If not the current can pull the line comfortable away from your legs. Depends on the direction of the fish's advance on the tide and the most visible span considering the sun's angle (what I call "the window").

Good topic!

12-07-2005, 11:06 AM
Hi Guys
I simply let the line float behind me. The only time I have had a problem was when fishing beaches in Los Roques where the waves can move the fly line too much and you really need a stripping basket. For all normal flats fishing even when there is significant current across the flat I have not had a problem.


12-07-2005, 01:23 PM
Typically, I let the line drag behind me (between my legs) if short to medium casts are in order. But if flotsam or hangups are an issue, I hold the line in loose 3ft diameter coils in my non-rod hand with the fly pinched between my forefinger and thumb of the rod hand (15 or so ft. of head out of the rod tip). If I spot fish at distance...I drop the coils and roll cast the head and leader out in front of me...one or two false casts aerializes the line in the coils and "it's off to the races"!!!

Best regards,


12-07-2005, 02:03 PM
Forgot to mention why I hook the fly in the cork... while searching. Coral based flats are notorious for grabbing the fly while wading, and bonefish are notorious for appearing out of nowhere.

A loose fly seems to find even the tiniest facet of a coral chunk to hang up on while walking and more often than not right when that squadron of grey ghosts come screaming downtide at you.

The extra step of dropping the fly in the water is worth it to me to ensure that the fly is not one of the things I need to think about at crunch time.

12-08-2005, 07:51 AM
I think that one of the posters was refering to the line basket by pro trim. It always apeared to me to be too small and useless to strip into. But maybe it the case where one wades much and casts/strips little.... it would act more like a quiver. Make that first cast count. all following casts won't be as long anyway.

12-08-2005, 09:29 AM
I forgot to mention in my last post that I normally have about 20ft of line outside the rod and I hold the tippet, just above the fly in my left hand. This is so that I can react imediately when I see fish.


12-08-2005, 05:29 PM
Here's my technique for handling line on the flats. I don't use a stripping basket or anything other than my hands.

I start by false casting until I have a very comfortable amount of line out that I can cast on target every time (usually about 50-60 feet depending on the wind). I'll let the line drop and grab it where I normally strip from, and pull off two or three good pulls from the reel without letting go of the spot I was holding. This will become my shooting line. I then do long strips (as long as my arm can pull) of the fly end of the line and hold every second strip in my hand. I stop stripping when I have enough line hanging from the end of the rod that the fly is dragging in the water just off the bottom. This leaves me with about five 7 foot loops in my hand. When it's time to cast, I can false cast once for each of the big loops in my hand with no water drag to hold them back. On the first few false casts you can let a loop go on both the forward and backward strokes so it only takes about 3 false casts then I'm shooting the line to the target.

On subsequent casts, there's no need to measure out the line like this. You can just get the hang of always making the appropriate size loops when you're stripping so that you can cast again right away. My technique works very well when you're repeatedly casting to fish since you only end up with a couple of big loops before you end up casting again, so with only 2 false casts you can have your fly back on target. It also allows you to easily add another 10 feet of shooting line on subsequent casts with only one more false cast. I just find that I need to reel this back in before I start stalking bones again or else I end up with too many loops in my hand and they get in the way. Five loops is the max number I find can really be fished this way very effectively.