If you fly fish, line twist is something you will encounter at some point.  Line twist is that annoying coiling of your fly line that leads to tangles and really messes with your casting.  No matter how good your line is or how good a caster you are the potential of dealing with line twist is real.

There are a number of things that cause annoying line twist and a number of things you can do proactively to keep it from happening.

A major cause of line twist while fishing is, believe it or not, stripping in your fly during the retrieve.  Every time you make a strip it creates a little twist in your line.  After a while this builds up and works its way back to your running line.  Another reason for line twist is the “helicopter” action of bulky flies like big bass bugs during the cast.  Old school fan wing style dry fly type flies do this as well.  To help keep these common causes from twisting you up just make sure and cast the full length of line you have pulled from the reel.  What I mean is, too often anglers, especially fishing from a boat will strip out 60′ to 70′ and then only cast 40′ or 50′ of it.  The twist then works its way to the back of the line your not casting and will drive you crazy.  By casting the entire length all the twist goes away in the air.

Another way of creating line twist is improperly installing a new line on your reel.  Either wind it from top of the line spool to the top of the reel spool or bottom to bottom, but never top to bottom or bottom to top.  I know, a bit confusing, but you’ll see what I’m talking about in the pictures below.

Reel to reel 1

Reel to reel 2

If your line becomes twisted, the easiest way to deal with it is to remove your fly, strip your line off the reel and let it hang in the current for a minute.  If lake fishing from a boat or float tube strip the line out and then motor or kick away, allowing your line to trail behind for a minute or two.  It will untwist like magic.  Reel it back up and your good to go.

One of the biggest no no’s in fly fishing is using your foot to move a piled up line out of the way on a hard surface.  For example the deck of a boat (see attached picture).  I was fishing a Grand Slam Tournament in Belize a few weeks ago and watched an angler move his line out of the way with the bottom of his foot.  Not good!  It may seem like a benign thing to roll it out of the way but this can put a permanent twist in your line.

Reel to reel 3

Keep the twist out and cast further and fish happier. If you have any questions please feel free to email me at pat@theflyfishers.com.