The Slide Loading Epiphany

Slide loading is a fly casting technique whose term is as mysterious as the technique itself.  So it is no surprise that you typically only hear the term in discussions with experienced distance casters.  Of course, you may discover the technique accidentally and then look for the term which is what I did.

I am often trying to find articles to help me with distance casting, which says something about my life I guess.   But I do read about fly casting techniques and I guess you do too or you wouldn’t have gotten this far.  Recently I read an article that mentioned a technique that some distance casters use that I really didn’t understand and I guess I just let myself forget about it.  But then one day when I was casting in the front yard I made a hard back cast while slipping line and then started my forward cast while I was still slipping line.  Of course to correct my mistake I squeezed hard with the line hand to stop the line as I hurried the forward cast to make up for my error.   I was shocked when I was rewarded with an especially heavy “sliding load” on the rod and my “salvaged cast” became one of my best casts for the day.  It was an epiphany.

Thinking about what had happened,  it clicked with me that it might be what I had read about.  After a search on the web, I found three articles and some forum posts, but the best description was in this document by Joan Wulff.    Paul Arden also has information about slide loading on his informative Sexyloops website.  George Roberts captured the technique with advanced video and photography on his website in this post,  Spotting the Elephant in the Room.     Using a line with different colors for the head and the portion of the line which is used for the sliding load, you can see what happens during a cast when the technique is used.

There are two ways to take advantage of the slide loading which Joan describes:

  • one is without slipping line but by giving line with the line hand as the forward cast is started
  • the other is using slipping during the start of the forward cast, which is my preference.

Joan apparently first wrote about this in 1987 so I give her credit for first documenting the technique, but as she states, it’s something that experienced casters often arrive at accidentally, which was my case. We can thank Joan for describing it and incorporating it as a real technique.   Thankfully, Joan explains the mysterious technique for us because it is something one must feel to truly understand and appreciate.

Of course, this is not a technique for those still struggling with double hauling and timing the haul.  For those advanced casters or especially distance casters trying to get more distance I would highly recommend it.  If you choose to research it, I would add this caveat, in many forums and blogs the technique is described incorrectly, adding to to the confusion and mystery.  Simply go to Joan Wulff’s description and study it, she has it right and explained the best, in my opinion.

If you do master the technique, you will unavoidably begin using it in all casting as I now use the technique even in my occasional bank fishing around the local ponds.  It also helps to get nice, straight layout of the leader on very long casts.




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