Originally Posted by nearnuff
I have had flyfishers cast longer with the single haul than when they used the double.
i've coached anglers whose roll casts had better distance than their p/u-l/d casts, too. but that was bcuz they had poor pick-up-lay-down cast fundamentals. the same is true of the double vs single haul. the most common mistake i see made when folks who can single haul adequately try to learn a double haul for distance, is that they approach it as nothing more than adding another haul to their single haul cast. most of the time, this doesn't work bcuz the fundamentals of their single haul are not sound. if their fundamentals are sound, then they often don't know where to apply the 2 hauls to get the desired result. why not? bcuz they usually don't understand enough about why they do what they do in the single haul.
the most common problem is timing: a caster either executes their rear stop too soon or too late, or they start their forward stroke too soon or too late. this is "forming the loop 101"...the most basic fundamental of fly casting. today's faster action rods are more forgiving in regard to timing, and a great many anglers of the modern era never truly developed excellent timing from the git-go. but when you begin to aerialize more and more line and you begin to need to punch through more and more wind and cast heavier lines and flies longer distances (the real meat-n-taters of the double haul), even a fast action rod betrays these faults. a caster's true limitations show up. you simply can't teach a good double haul to someone without good timing in their cast. i find that i usually have to teach them to single haul first...which they find quite embarassing, because they thought they already had that down.
here's an excellent "yard stick" for determining if you have great fundamentals in your p/u-l/d casting stroke:
lay out 30' of fly line w/a 5-7wt rod and a wf-x-f line, short leader, and practice fly. strip off another 30' from the reel. put your off-hand in your pocket. secure the fly line under a finger or 2 on your casting hand and make a couple of false casts (no more than 3). release the line to launch your forward cast. if you do not shoot at least 18' of the excess line (25' is ideal), then you have 1 or more flaws in your basic casting stroke. it's that simple. any basic fly rod and fly line out there today should accomplish this: shoot 75-80% of the amount of line aerialized w/no more than 3 false casts and no haul at moderate distance.
most of the time, the problem is in the backcast. rarely, it is only a matter of too much force applied to the forward stroke or an improperly shaped casting stroke. and most often it is solved by teaching the caster to truly watch his/her backcast and timing the stop and the forward stroke properly based on loop formation.