Apparently I have picked up a new nifty trick of knot tying without even touching the fishing line! Upon further probing, this knot tying trick appears to be a bane of many fly fishing beginners and to a lesser extend, lure casters that uses spinning outfits. Known as the wind knot, it appears almost magically somewhere in the process of a cast.
These can be little single knots or a nasty twisted bunch of mess. Despite its namesake, the dreaded wind knot is not caused by the wind. Not entirely anyway.
An example of how a wind knot forms when casting with spinning outfit is when casting into a headwind the leader or mainline basically overtakes the lure forming a crossed loop. Feathering the spool with the index finger helps reduce slack line and eliminates this problem.
UPDATE FEBRUARY 2015: Revisiting this post I made some four five years ago when fly casting was new to me and realise now better information could have been given. The points I made below are a combination of tips gathered from the web in my pursuit to end my wind knot (tailing loop is a more accurate term) frustrations and some are advice from experienced casters. Obviously, the internet can be quite unreliable as you won’t know if you’re getting good accurate information, my case included. At the same time, the tips garnered from experienced fly casters does not necessarily mean they are duds but perhaps they are just bad at conveying their knowledge. I have decided not to delete the post I made before and let it serve as something for me to look back upon on my fly fishing learning process. What I would advise now both to beginners and other casters that may be having issues is to get in touch with a good casting instructor to go through the process with you. There are a lot more casting instructors around these days and if you are unsure, get in touch with your friendly fly shop.
In fly fishing, wind knots are formed also primarily due to slack line. It appears to be a little more complicated to rectify than a conventional cast as it involves forward and backward movements of the rod. And smooth application of power into the cast combined with proper casting strokes are crucial to eliminate or keep slack line to a minimum during the false casts. A summary of possible solutions to reduce chances of wind knots when fly casting are as follows;
- Strive to achieve tighter loops – The caster must move the rod tip in a Straight Line Path
- Ensure minimal or no wrist movement
- Accelerate to a stop at the end of each stroke (Too much power in the start of a forward cast will result in a tailing loop which causes wind knot)
- Loosening our grip on the handle eliminates the tendency to flick/jerk the rod at the start of a forward/backward cast
- Allow the line to straighten between the forward and backward cast – tell ourselves to be patient and let the line unfurl
- Make a concience effort to keep our strokes short within the 10 to 2 o’clock positions or even stop at 1 o’clock on the back cast
- Don’t drop the rod tip at the stop of a forward cast
One other noticeable factor of wind knots is when the caster, usually beginners (like me), gets impatient and tries to get that extra distance into the cast and this screws up the whole timing thing causing all kind of problems.
Apparently, fly casting is all about physics and as far as I can remember, my physics sucked during my school days. Looks like pay back time and the only hope I have is practice and more practice. That can only mean one thing… more fishing time!
If you have some more solutions on how we can reduce wind knots and or improve our casts, please share your thoughts in the comment form below. I’m sure they’ll be much appreciated.
Update: Not a single wind knot when out fly fishing today! Yay!