Triple Shooting

Triple Shooting is a name used to describe a sequence of three shooting-line skills made consecutively as a cast progresses. As a whole, Triple Shooting consists of Slip Shooting, Back Shooting and Front Shooting. Triple Shooting allows line to be lengthened rapidly and can cut down on false casting.

slipshootSlip Shooting

Slip Shooting (also known simply as “slipping line”) is allowing line to slip (slide) out through the guides during the initial lifting movement of the backcast (usually the first few feet of rod-tip travel). Some might not view this as a true “shoot,” and I can understand that point of view, but if I don’t call it a shoot, then I don’t get to write a Triple Shooting article now do I? So Slip Shooting it is!

To get the most from the Slip, start with the rod tip at the water’s surface and allow line to slip out through the guides as you lift the rod tip. In addition to simply enhancing the length of a cast by several additional feet, Slip Shooting adds extra line mass beyond the rod tip.

Since much of the initial acceleration of the stroke has been replaced by slipping, there may not be enough room left in the casting stroke to make a backcast by rod movement alone. Fortunately, the lost acceleration can often be compensated for by hauling.

So, using the “O”-ring method (shown in inset), allow line to slip through your line hand as the rod is raised, then grab the line and initiate a Single Haul as you finish the casting stroke. Done right, the whole sequence becomes one smooth flow of motion.

backshootBack Shooting

Back Shooting is nothing more than shooting line after the backcast stroke has been made and as the line loop unrolls in the air behind you. In order to make a forward cast after you have made a Back Shoot, you need to get the line under control while it is still in the air behind you. Employ the “O”-ring method to do this.

Allow line to shoot through your hand and then grab the line when you want to stop shooting or when it comes time to make the forward cast, whichever comes first. The shoot/grip/cast combo is really the only unique part of Back Shooting. The shoot/grip/cast timing is relatively precise, though, and does require some practice.

A good way to practice Back Shooting is to work only on backcast shoots at first. To further flatten the learning curve, try casting side-arm across the front of your body. Practice releasing line and catching it again with the “O”-ring method, and then try stopping/drifting the rod at various angles to see the differences those angles make in “shoot-ability.”

Once you are confident in your new-found Back Shooting skills, combine them with Front Shooting (below) to make the “Double Shoot” (a la John Alden Knight and Richard Alden Knight in The Complete Book of Fly Casting (1963)).

frontshootFront Shooting

Front Shooting is the “classic” type of shooting, and is what most fly anglers visualize when they think of shooting line. It is characterized by allowing line to slide out through the guides after the forward cast stroke has been made and as the line loop unrolls in the air in front of you (above right).

One of the best ways to practice the timing of the Front Shoot is to verbally accompany yourself by saying: “StopShoot.” Such reinforcement can help to prevent you from releasing the line too early or too late.

Once you are comfortable with basic shooting, begin to vary the timing to achieve specific results. A caveat when it comes to the Front Shoot, in particular: Do not over-exaggerate your casting energy in an effort to force the line out. Just keep a clean stroke, and allow the line to shoot.

Putting Slip Shooting, Back Shooting and Front Shooting together in a single cast gives you Triple Shooting. Getting Triple Shooting right will likely require a few practice runs, especially if you add hauling to the sequence. The complete Triple Shooting plus hauling sequence looks like this: [backcast] Slip Shoot, Single Haul, Back Shoot. [forward cast] Single Haul, Front Shoot. There is a significant amount of line-hand activity taking place over a short span, so take your time and practice with patience.


The full Triple Shoot sequence, start to finish.

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