There’s nothing more disheartening than attempting to make your shot at a tailing bonefish or permit only to find the tangled coils of a twisted fly line bunched up against your stripping guide. Regardless of your skill level, type of fly line, or whether you fish in fresh or salt water, fly line twist is part of the game. There are a number of factors that can cause the fly line to twist. However, with the exception of some extreme cases, it’s relatively easy to fix!
What Causes Fly Line Twist?
Fly line twist can occur from a variety of causes, many of which are unavoidable during a typical day of fishing. Often times anglers are quick to assume that a particular line ‘twists up too much’ or that there is something wrong with the core type. Some may even get down on themselves thinking there is a casting fault to blame! While factors such as the core of the line, a particular coating, or perfectly tight loops may prolong the line from twisting, all lines are likely to twist up at some point.
Certain casting styles that employ a change of plane between the forward and back casts (or d-loops), such as belgian casts, roll casting, or even spey casts, will cause your line to twist over time. Casting bushy wind resistant flies and/or indicators will also cause your line to twist up as well. Even certain retrieves such as figure eight retrieves or simply stripping big water pushing streamers all day can lead to that ugly twist in your fly line at the end of the day. Almost every fishing situation presents a way to leave your fly line a mess. Not to worry, it is easy to fix! Here’s how.
Untwisting Your Fly Line
There are many ways to effectively remove the twists in your line. The best method to use depends on where your fishing! Check out the list below to find the best method for you the next time you find a snarl.
- On the River. If you’re wading in moving water, straightening out your line couldn’t be easier. Simply clip your fly off and strip out your entire fly line allowing the current to take it downstream. Hold your line by pinching the backing against the cork and let the current do the work. Hold there for 20-30 seconds and voila! Your line should be good to go.
- In the Boat. If fishing from a boat, use the same method as above but use the boat’s power to straighten your fly line instead. Clip your fly off and strip out the entire line and ‘troll’ the fly line behind the moving boat until the twists are removed.
- On the lawn. When untwisting your line when not on the water, try laying the majority of your fly line out in a straight line. Grass fields or lawns work best for this method as your fly line is less likely to pick up dirt here than on a parking lot or beach. Using a light cloth to avoid burning your fingers, hold the line between your thumb and forefinger and stroke down the length of the line. Make sure to start at the backing end and work your way towards the tip of the fly line. Also, it is important not to let go of the line with your fingers until you are finished as this will cause the line to twist back up to the starting point. This is a great time to recondition your line as well!
- Anywhere else. This method, although the most time-consuming, is probably the most effective way to remove the twists in your fly line. It can be done anywhere and with very little room. First, strip off your entire fly line (or as far as it is twisted). Then, starting at the backing end of your reel, strip in roughly 3-4 feet of line leaving a loop of line. If twisted, this loop will spin around itself. If this is the case, remove your reel from the rod and rotate it in the opposite direction of the twist until the loop of line is free of any tangles. Reattach the reel and repeat until your fly line is free of twists.