Some of us are “HUGE Fly Fisherman,” blessed with the ability to never get your line tangled. But, for those of us that aren’t so lucky, this is a resource to help you get tangled less, and to learn how to more effectively get untangled when it does happen.
Most tangles happen when you’re casting. So, if you cast less, you will tangle less. Strive for casting quality, not quantity.
Water-loading involves letting your line and flies rest on the water for a moment before casting. This action allows the line to straighten out before casting, and pre-loads the rod in order to deliver a more direct cast. This is especially useful when nymphing with multiple flies.
Cast a Wide Loop
Casting a wide loop helps keeps your flies away from your line. This is also related to the timing of your cast. Make sure you’re performing full loops on your forward and backward casts in an effort to prevent the line from folding on itself.
After the Tangle
Fly Line Tangle
If your line gets wrapped around the tip of your rod, point the tip of the rod down towards the water while wiggling the rod tip. Many times the line will simply fall off. This is only beneficial for small tangles at the tip of the rod.
Do Not Jiggle a Tangle
It would be nice if you could just wiggle your rod around and untangle a bird’s nest, but chances are, wiggling your rod will only make that tangle worse. Once a significant tangle has been created, jiggling your rod around will only create more difficult tangles.
Re-tie or Untangle
Before diving into a big tangled mess, take a second and analyze the situation. If the tangle is too far gone, it might be best to pull out the nippers, cut the line, and re-tie your setup. You want to make the decision that will get you back on the water the quickest.
Don’t Pull Tangled Knots Tight
If any part of the tangle is pulled tight, you won’t be able to untangle any knots without damaging the line. If any knots get pulled tight, this is an immediate sign that you should cut and re-tie.
Have a Seat and Crack a Beer
It’s going to take a few minutes.
Start From the Loose End
Start on the loose end where your fly is, and feed that line back through the tangles a little bit at a time. This is Key! Work it backwards from the end of your line.
Cut Off the Fly
Even if you’re not cutting your entire rig and starting over, cutting off your fly can make untangling a lot easier. If you’re fast at tying on flies, cutting them off will save tons of time! And if you’re not good at tying on flies, work on tying on flies!