The Water Haul Cast – Slow Your Roll

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Slow your roll during a water haul cast for a better presentation. Photo Louis Cahill

The water haul cast is phenomenal for fly fishing small trout streams.

I love it for a few reasons. First, because it allows you to make a presentation without false casting over the fish. This is done by you using the water and fly line to load your fly rod and present your fly/flies in one cast. On highly technical water, where you have spooky fish, this niche cast can significantly increase your catch rates. Second, the water haul works great for tight quarters where you don’t have a lot of room to cast. The biggest mistake I see fly anglers make when they’re water hauling, is rushing the cast. You want to slow your roll when you’re performing this fly cast on the water. The water haul cast takes about twice as long to make a presentation with your fly than a traditional fly cast, and that is because you combine the pick up and the water haul together.

If you’re having problems getting the distance or straightening out your leader and fly when your water hauling, try slowing down and you should see your cast improve. A proper setup is key before you begin a water haul cast. I like to set up my water haul cast by first roll casting my flies down stream of me. That way I can get my flies straight downstream of me and have a straighter line to my target. I also do this so I can get the correct amount of fly line out so I can reach my intended target. I then drop my rod tip to the water and smoothly accelerate my rod through the casting stroke to a quick stop. Anglers wanting to increase their line speed and get extra distance with this cast can also apply a smooth single haul with their stripping hand as the rod begins to load during the water haul. It takes a while to get used to it, but after you get the hang of it, you’ll be surprised how effortless it makes your water haul cast. I use the water haul cas myself and with my clients all the time. It’s perfect for beginners who are not yet comfortable casting traditionally in tight quarters or who have problems with getting tangles. Less false casting, equals less tangles and more fishing.

Try it out next time you’re on the water trout fishing. The water haul cast can often be the perfect tool in your bag to catch trout when other casts are too difficult to present your fly where you’re fly fishing. Last tip I’d like to give you is pay attention to the path of your rod tip during your water haul cast. When you’re trying to present your flies under overhead cover with a water haul, it’s very important that you keep the rod trip traveling low and sideways, not over the top or over head. The later will have your flies traveling to high above the water and will regularly end up in the trees and bushes.

Below is a video demonstrating how to make a water haul cast.

Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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14 thoughts on “The Water Haul Cast – Slow Your Roll

  1. Definitely a go-to cast in many scenarios. I use a water-haul probably 90% of the time on small streams. I also use the water-haul A LOT when fishing dry-dropper rigs during competition. It’s great. With a single haul I can still make medium distance casts with good accuracy, and there’s zero false casting. But it also works equally as well with indicator rigs. One thing I’ve noticed with indi rigs though…. you’ve got to get that indicator just above the water before the cast so it doesn’t drag in the water. When that happens it kills your cast. Just a little bit of practice and it’s easy to get the hang of though. Cool post.

  2. Good job Kent. The water haul cast is not just for small water and tight places. It avoids spooking fish, facilitates line management, and keeps the fly on the water more. I use it for working seams on bigger water. When I am coaching wounded warriors and other new fly fishers, this easy cast keeps them in the strike zone and raises their confidence quicker. There is plenty of time to work on casting later. This gets them fishing.

    • Ralph,

      I agree my friend. I’ve also found the water haul cast great for clients at the end of the day when they are worn out and having a hard time focusing. Keep tangles to a minimum and allows us to catch a few more fish before we have to call it a day.


  3. Such a vital cast. Great demo. Wish we had the footage of you teaching it with the Aaron’s Outdoors Crew. You demoed, then we caught a 24″+ fish on our next water haul. Can’t script it any better than that. Good times!

    • Erik,

      That was good times. I have to say I was really proud of us introducing all those kids to fly fishing and getting them all a nice size trout. You were a big asset those two days.


  4. Also great in windy situations. Weather systems move in and out often on the Bighorn River (among many others). When you have a heavily weighted rig and the wind is whipping at 35 mph, the water haul works like a charm. Keep up the great work fellas.

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