Keep Your Rod Tip Off the Water for Longer Drag-Free Drifts

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Scott McEnaney, Eastern Director of Orvis Endorsed Lodges, demonstrates proper rod tip position. Photo By: Louis Cahill

Are you finding yourself struggling to get long drag-free drifts on the water?

If the answer is yes, you may be holding your rod tip too close to the water during your drifts. When your rod tip is positioned too low, you’re putting unnecessary fly line on the water that you in turn have to manage in order to maintain a drag-free drift. As soon as this unwanted fly line hits the waters surface, it’s immediately subjected to the surrounding currents. Depending on how fast the current is at your feet, the less time it will take for it to be pulled downstream and begin effecting your drift. Eventually all the slack will be pulled out in your fly line and your drag-free drift will be compromised. There’s of course a happy medium though, on rod tip position. Too high, and anglers will find it difficult to effectively mend and set the hook. I generally tell my clients to keep their rod tip at least three feet off the water’s surface.

Here’s a simple drill to help you understand and visualize how improper rod tip position on the water can negatively effect and decrease the length of your drag-free drift. Lay out a nice 30+ foot cast on the water. Make sure you stop your rod tip high above the water (a good 4 feet). Watch your drift for a few seconds, and then quickly drop your rod tip all the way to the water. You’ll almost immediately notice the slack in your cast eliminated and shortly after drag on your fly. This is a simple technique mistake I see on the water all the time, particularly with anglers dry fly fishing.

Have any additional suggestions on this tip for the G&G Community? Feel free to drop us a comment, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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4 thoughts on “Keep Your Rod Tip Off the Water for Longer Drag-Free Drifts

  1. Lets get some musky fishing tips out there to the G and G followers. Using condoms is always a good all-round tip to give to just about anyone. Keep it real guys, it’s always the simple things like this post that can make or break a day on the stream….keep em’ coming!

    • I like to coil the extra line in my “free” hand and meter out as needed, this allows for a quick release if needed and keeps the extra line off the water and prevents the excessive drag. I use a circular motion with the rod tip to meter out the line and this works well.

  2. Good advise, something so simple truly means a lot. Keep the tip up and point your rod at your fly and follow it…all skills we need to keep in mind while fishing.

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