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ORVIS – Fly Casting Lessons – Shooting Line

When it comes to fly casting, shooting line may not seem like an advanced technique. However, even experienced anglers often overlook the opportunity to shoot line for a more efficient and longer cast. Luckily, Pete Kutzer from the ORVIS Fly Fishing School in Manchester Vermont is here to teach you how to maximize the effectiveness of your cast. In his instructional video, Pete will guide you through the proper way to shoot line and explain the differences from a double haul cast. Take advantage of Pete’s expertise and learn how to improve your fly casting skills. For additional assistance with your fly casting, visit the ORVIS website ( and gain even more valuable insights. The ORVIS Fly Casting Lessons – Shooting Line video, created by The Orvis Company, aims to educate anglers on the technique of shooting fly line for a more efficient and effective cast. While many experienced anglers may not view shooting line as an advanced tactic, this video emphasizes the importance of executing the maneuver at the point of maximum efficiency for optimal casting distance. In the video, Pete Kutzer, an instructor at the ORVIS Fly Fishing School in Manchester, Vermont, provides step-by-step guidance on shooting line, highlighting the differences between this technique and a double haul cast. The video also offers valuable tips and tricks to make shooting line easier, including the significance of timing and the visual and tactile cues to determine the precise moment to release the line. By following Pete’s instructions, viewers can refine their fly casting skills and maximize the effectiveness of their casts.

To enhance the overall casting experience, it is important to ensure a good stop on both the back cast and the forward cast. Moreover, to achieve greater distance, anglers must be able to release the line correctly at the optimal moment. This requires timing and precision. During the cast, anglers can visually identify the right moment to release the line by observing the loop forming in the fly line as it unrolls towards the fish. Alternatively, they can rely on the feel of the rod coming to a definitive stop on the forward cast, using that sensation as a cue to release the line. It is important to feather the line rather than completely letting go to avoid tangling and ensure smooth casting. By mastering the art of shooting line, anglers can significantly improve their casting efficiency and achieve better results on their fishing ventures.

ORVIS – Fly Casting Lessons – Shooting Line


When it comes to fly casting, shooting line is a critical skill that every angler must master. Properly shooting line allows you to maximize your casting distance, accuracy, and presentation. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced fly fisherman, understanding the tips and techniques for shooting line is essential. In this article, we will discuss the factors to consider for a good cast, visual cues for shooting line, feeling the timing, feathering the line, avoiding tangles, the importance of timing, and how to practice for perfect timing.

Tips for Shooting Line

To achieve a successful shooting line, there are several tips you need to keep in mind. Firstly, maintain a firm grip on the fly line, ensuring that you have control over it throughout the cast. It is important to have enough line in your hands to comfortably shoot and release it. Secondly, make sure to use your stripping hand to manage the line as you shoot it. This hand should be positioned near the stripping guide to provide efficient line control. Lastly, be mindful of the direction of the wind. Adjusting the angle at which you release the line can help account for wind resistance and improve the casting distance.

Factors to consider for a good cast

Several important factors come into play to ensure a good cast when shooting line. The first factor is your stance. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, with your body facing the target. This will allow for better balance and control during the cast. Additionally, your rod angle and trajectory are crucial. Keep the rod low and parallel to the water’s surface during the backcast, and then adjust the angle upward during the forward cast. This will help generate more power and line speed. Finally, consider the length of your casting stroke. A smooth, controlled stroke with an appropriate pause at the end will aid in shooting line effectively.

ORVIS - Fly Casting Lessons - Shooting Line

Visual cues for shooting line

Having visual cues can significantly improve your shooting line technique. One useful cue is to focus on the loop formed by the line during the cast. As you shoot the line, watch for a tight, compact loop rather than a wide, open loop. A tight loop indicates efficient energy transfer and proper line control. Another visual cue is to pay attention to the position of your hand as it shoots the line. Ensure that your hand follows a straight line path, pointing towards your target. This will prevent any side-to-side motion that can lead to line tangles.

Feeling the timing of shooting line

Timing is crucial when shooting line. To develop a good sense of timing, it is important to pay attention to the movements of your rod and your body. As you begin your cast, feel the acceleration of the rod during the backcast and then smoothly transition into the forward cast. Pay attention to the pause at the end of the backcast and the forward stroke. This pause allows the line to straighten out fully before shooting. As you become more experienced, you will develop a natural feel for the timing, allowing you to shoot line effortlessly.

Technique for feathering the line

Feathering the line is a technique that aids in achieving longer casts and better accuracy. When shooting line, it is crucial to let it slide smoothly and consistently through your fingers. This controlled release is known as feathering the line. Avoid gripping the line too tightly, as this can impede its smooth release, affecting your casting distance. As the line shoots, apply gentle pressure with your fingers to slow down the release and maintain control. With practice, you will be able to feather the line effortlessly, resulting in smoother and more accurate casts.

Avoiding line tangles

Tangled lines can be a frustrating aspect of fly casting. To avoid tangles, it is important to be mindful of your line control. Ensure that your line is properly managed throughout the cast, including during the shooting phase. Maintain a consistent speed as you shoot the line, avoiding any sudden jerks or rapid releases. Excessive slack in your line can also lead to tangles, so be mindful of keeping the line taut and under control at all times. By practicing good line control and maintaining awareness of your line’s position, you can significantly reduce the occurrence of tangles.

Importance of timing

Timing plays a crucial role in the success of your cast, particularly when shooting line. Proper timing allows for optimal energy transfer, resulting in longer and more accurate casts. By timing the release of the line with the forward stroke of your rod, you ensure that the line shoots at the precise moment when the rod is generating maximum power. This synchronization between your rod and line creates a seamless transfer of energy, maximizing the distance and accuracy of your cast.

Practice for perfect timing

To achieve perfect timing when shooting line, practice is essential. Start by focusing on your casting stroke, paying close attention to the fluid and controlled movement of your rod. Develop a consistent rhythm between your backcast and forward cast, ensuring a smooth transition and pause at the end of each stroke. As you become more comfortable with the casting stroke, gradually incorporate shooting line into your practice. Experiment with different amounts of line release and observe how it affects your casting distance and accuracy. With regular practice, you will develop the muscle memory and timing needed to shoot line effectively.


Mastering the art of shooting line is a vital skill for any fly angler. By following these tips and techniques, you can improve your casting distance, accuracy, and presentation on the water. Remember to maintain a firm grip on the line, use your stripping hand effectively, and adjust to wind conditions. Consider factors like stance, rod angle, and casting stroke length for a successful cast. Visual cues and feathering the line will aid in achieving optimal line control. Avoid tangles by practicing good line management and be aware of the importance of timing. Through dedicated practice, you can perfect your timing and become a more skilled fly caster. So grab your rod, head to the water, and start shooting line like a pro!

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