Monday, May 19, 2014

Fly Casting: Shock Loop

The Shock Loop
Controlling the line with your off hand has a number of important functions. It is used to regain the line, strip line off the reel, play smaller fish (larger fish must be played off the reel), control slack line and perform different types of retrieves.

To begin, it’s best to place the line under the index finger of your right hand since additional fingers render no real advantage and you’ll have a more positive feel. The index finger is also used to perform the shock loop which is necessary when you’re using the wet fly swing (letting the fly swing down and across the current). After the cast, quickly strip off a short 4- to 5-inch loop and place the line firmly under the forefinger of your casting hand. 

Maintain the loop as the fly is in motion. Fish will take hard as the fly swings and the loop will simultaneously be stripped from your finger allowing the fly to seat firmly in a fish’s jaw. If the loop is too long, the line may whip around the reel handle and break the leader off. Also, it isn't critical to be prepared for the strike since your finger is acting as a manual drag until the line pulls off of the reel.


  1. Hi Doug, I've never forgotten your advice on one of my first steelhead trips about the importance of keeping the shock loop short. Well, at least almost never! On a recent Deschutes trip I had a solid take, then uncharacteristically a dead stopped fish right off the bat--no run at all. I tried applying pressure and reeling up a bit, then I noticed it--line wrapped around the reel handle. Fortunately it was a bit of a dogged hatchery fish and I was able to slip the line over the handle and land the fish. A hot fish would've busted me right off.

  2. Nice and to the point!
    I have found the shock loop to be most effective when starting a strip near the end of the swing or just twitching during the swing. Starting a strip without line peeling from the reel on the first strip is key to a smooth presentation. So many times that Steely hits on the first few strips!

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  6. Assuming you're casting weighted flies or sinking lines, point your bogus projects up around 20 degrees.


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