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Where should your rod tip be during the swing? Should the line be tight (i.e. straight line) between the water surface and the rod tip, or should there be a little slack. Also, in what direction should your rod be facing? Directly at the fly?

Thanks in advance.
 

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Multiple choices...

depending on what you want the fly to be doing.

Near surface, "damp", or deeply-sunk grease-lined, you'd lead the fly with the rod tip close to the surface in order to keep the fly presented more broadside to the fish. Note: this assumes at least a portion of the line is floating.

Deeply sunk downstream traditional swing-- rod near the surface, but the rod and line upstream of the fly in all but the slowest water, to keep the fly facing upstream and traversing slowly across the current. I generally keep the rod tip for this presentation within a foot of the surface, and hold no loop of slack in hand until the fly is nearly straight downstream of my position.

Surface presentation for skated fly--rod tip anywhere from near the surface to quite high, depending on how fast you'd want the fly to skate (traverse), rod tip could lead or follow depending on how the fly was to be presented, broadside, straight down, or in between. Again, this assumes nearly all of the line/tippet poly tip are floating.

Even these "codes" could be thought of as "guidelines" to quote the Pirates of the Caribbean. All you're really trying to do is to pilot the fly at the depth, position, and attitude you desire, manipulating the rod tip and line accordingly.

Hope that is of some help.
 

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It doesn't have to doing anything in order to get fish. Many anglers simply cast and hold the rod completely disregarding what happens to the line until either the fly hangs-up on structure, it's time for the nest cast, or the rod starts throbbing under a fish.

Depending on what you are attempting to do. Pointing the tip at the fly - in other words - letting the fly lead the rod through the swing will activate an unweighted fly keeping it somewhat level in the water column clear through to the hang-down. Leading with the rod to overcome current speed will do the same except it will turn the fly more broadside to the fish. Leading this can keep belly from forming in the line which will speed-up the swing.

Holding the tip straight out without following can keep a weighted fly from hanging-up if it's reaching bottom. For instance if you are wading deep to reach out but hanging-up at the dangle. Wade shallow and do not follow until the fly reaches a dangle. Then follow through until directly downstream to the near bank until. Swap hands and follow through to the very end of the swing.
 
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