I've been practicing in the yard on and off for a few weeks with my 6wt setup. I'm practicing by using 20 ft of line out of the tip, then moving to 30 ft. I notice a couple things that are happening in my cast:
1) I'm almost positive I'm putting way too much muscle into each half of the cast. 20' is pretty simple to move through the air with minimal effort, but 30' is requiring a lot of work to keep from collapsing. It seems like I'm "pushing" the rod through the air, elbow out from body, to get the line to move nicely. I think this pushing might be from fear of breaking the wrist, so I'm keeping it pretty much "braced" for lack of a better term. I notice that some casting methods use the wrist as a bit of a hinge to aid in accelerating to a stop.
2) When I transition from false casts to actually making the presentation, none of my working line coming out of the reel wants to be drawn through the guides, despite seemingly having a good stop. Also, even with the line pinched to the cork, I can't get a nice stretched-out line casted out. It just kind of flops down.
I'm going to switch from my super-cheap bass pro clearance sale line (bought in a little plastic bag twist tied for under 5 bucks) to a lightly used Cortland my dad sent me. I might just be having line problems, but I really think it's operator error.
So- how much line should I be working with in practice? I can't imagine slinging much more than 30' back behind me! Also, it seems like I've read practically every beginner article on the internet, but maybe there's some practice method or tip I'm missing? I can roll cast farther than I can overhead