One of the most frustrating things about fishing with any kind of shooting head system (spey casting Skagit heads comes to mind) is the tangling that inevitably, occasionally, happens in your running line. You make what was otherwise a beautiful cast, it stops suddenly way short of its target, you say some bad words, and you waste time getting the tangle out. Here are some pointers on keeping that situation to a minimum.
Avoiding Tangles in Your Running Line
- Hold loops, not coils. This is really important, so we’ve covered it a couple of times in the past, here and here. Loops tangle less than coils.
- Stretch out any kinks that form. Kinks cause more tangles, which cause more kinks which cause more tangles. If you notice a kink in your running line, grab on either side and pull for a few seconds, as hard as you can. Stretching out those kinks will at least delay the kink-tangle-kink downward spiral.
- Back off on the power. If you apply a lot more power to your cast than it needs to reach its intended destination, your loops are going to fly up out of the water in a very chaotic fashion. That chaos can lead to tangles. If you’re doing everything else on this list and still getting lots of tangles, chill out! Apply less power to your cast and you’ll get fewer tangles.
- Rotate your rod. Rotating your rod when you’re shooting line can give you more distance with no additional effort. Rotating your rod also somehow cuts down on tangles – we’re not quite sure of the science here but it probably has to do with the line jumping around less because it’s in less contact with the shaft of the rod as it shoots. We don’t know why – it just works.
- Change it out. At a certain point those nicks and kinks in your running line are going to create enough tangles that it’s worth it to just swap out your running line – brand new running line hardly ever tangles. Pro tip: if you use cheap, strong mono running line like lots of us do (40 pound in Solar Collector, please), swapping it out even every few days becomes a very easy decision.
Tom Ehrhard says
FWIW, an additional tip about using Berkley’s Big Game 40 as mono running line. You can get more mileage out of your mono and fewer tangles if you stretch the line before starting the day. Have a buddy hold the end of the line, walk it back as far as you can, but at a minimum beyond your casting range, and pull steadily and firmly to stretch the mono–makes it much more limp and manageable out of the chute. Hooking up with Toad Lesnar will also have a similar effect on mono, but you don’t want to have a tangle when he crushes your fly so as Boy Scouts know, it’s generally advisable to be prepared.
I use sa monocore, or any scientific anglers shooting line. I make a loop on each finger, biggest loop to smallest, pinky to pointer, and never tangle, unless i mess up my loops or my loops twist. Ive used other running lines and they dont seems to work as well with this method.