More Distance with Sinking Lines

Q: "I have been casting a 9-weight with a 350-grain sinking line. My casts have been going 70 feet into the wind, and when I want more distance, I haul faster. However, my leader is not extending all the way. When I strip my line, it takes anywhere from two to seven strips to pick up the slack. As you well know, this is not ideal. By the time the fly starts to move, the fish are almost always past the fly. So what am I doing wrong?"

Stephen Fauer,
New Jersey

A: Without seeing you cast, it's hard to say exactly what the problem is.

Here are a few things that could very well be causing the problem.

If you use a floating line and your leader is too long or the butt section isn’t heavy and limp enough, the energy of the cast flowing through the line will be unable to continue to unroll down the length of your leader. If the line is a sinking line, you should never need more than 7 feet of total leader.

Another potential problem has to do with the angle of the cast. If you cast at too high of an angle, the leader will fall vertically, which will produce slack. Try throwing at less of an angle, and see what happens.

The third thing is you may need even more line speed. To get a better turnover, don’t use the rod hand to generate unneeded force; just make a sharper haul.