Re: Newb with casting and line problems
Hey Rick, that woman in the casting video sounds like Joan Wulff-- she's terrific. She and her now deceased husband Lee Wulff are fly fishing legends.
The great thing about watching Joan who's now in her 80's and probably 100 lbs soaking wet, is that she demonstrates how fly casting isn't a matter of brute strength but technique, timing (allowing the line to straighten out on the back cast before beginning the forward cast), keeping the rod tip within a narrow arc, smooth strokes and sudden stops at the end of the forward and back strokes. Most guys tend to try and muscle a cast for more distance rather than letting the rod do the work, and things usually start falling apart pretty quick.
The line doesn't sound ideal, and the fact that it isn't floating is not a good sign--- it's pretty difficult to "pick up" any fly line that's sunk below the surface-- and even if you could rip it out of the water, you'd be sending fish into the other end of the lake. So you'd basically have to do the same thing you'd have to do with a fly line that's designed to sink, and that is strip in most of it before casting-- but if you're wading that means that you'll have to rip the slack line out of the water when you cast-- and the water resistance will really cut down on your distance. (Up here in the Northeast guys that wade in the saltwater surf like forum member Riptide use a shooting basket to keep slack line).
What you might want to do is to try comparing the distance you get casting on the lawn to how much you're getting on the water.-- You could get down on your knees on the lawn to compare to deep wading. If you're getting a lot less on the water it's probably due to the additional water resistance on the slack line in the water you're trying to pick up and get through the guides.
It sounds like you might want to consider getting a new fly line-- a weight forward taper isn't going to add miles to your cast compared to a level fly line -- but it will help if it floats and will be better at punching out wind resistant flies like poppers.
But since you're new to this, there's probably some things you can do to tune up your technique. Without seeing you cast, it's hard to diagnose your casting, but a couple things to look for-- and very common things that people run into:
How tight are the loops? Ideally the loop of fly line should be narrow. If you are throwing wide loops it is probably because you're moving your fly rod through too wide of an arc between your forward and backcast (instead of roughly 10 to 2 maybe more like drifting from 9 to 3) and unlike casting a spinning rod, you want to keep your wrist stiff.
Are you getting overhand knots in your leader or is the fly getting caught in the fly line on the forward stroke? Those knots are called "wind knots" and they're usually caused by dipping the rod tip during the forward stroke in an attempt to power the stroke. Ease off a bit on the power and try to smooth out your stroke. Getting windknots is a sign of throwing a "tailing loop"-- I tend to get them when I'm trying to get greater distance
Are you cracking the whip on your backcast? If so it's a sign that you're not waiting long enough for the backcast to straighten out behind you and you're starting the forward cast too soon. If you open up your stance a bit so you can actually watch the line straighten out behind you, that might help a bit-- after awhile you'll be able to automatically feel the rod load.
Hope this helps a bit.