Re: How far can you cast?
Hmm. I thought I responded to this thread last year, but evidently not.
Anyway, I think my answer is slightly inaccurate, as I just realized right after voting that while I can toss a line out to a touch over 90 feet (standing on the bank), I am using a St. Croix Imperial 9 ft. 5 wt. rod, but overlined with Rio Grand 6 wt. line (which is really a 6.5 wt. line). And while that 90' does not include the leader/tippet length, it does include the length of the rod. I thought it should count as it is the distance from the reel to the end of the fly line. With my 3 wt. I recently measured a distance of 67 ft. (my previous best with that rod was 53 ft.), which I thought was pretty respectable, though as I tend to fish small streams with that rod, I don't think I'll ever get to try that on the water.
Also, I can't do this every time. I haven't actually paid close enough attention to my success rate to give an accurate estimate, but off the cuff, I'd have to say that I am successful reaching that kind of distance about 25% of the time. The rest of my attempts are significantly shorter, probably in the 40-50 ft. range.
I have discovered that I really have to exagerate my casting motion when trying to deliver longer casts. I have to focus on smooth accelerations to very firm stops. Then really wait for the rod to load before accelerating to the next stop. And as I aerialize more and more line, my casting stroke gets longer, which slows my rhythm down to a point where I almost think I could light a smoke between the stop and waiting for the rod to load. Also my haul gets to a point where I feel like I'm throwing my hand away from my arm. And i have to focus on not jerking my hand, but smoothly accelerating through the motion as i pull on the line.
Needless to say, my lack of real skill usually interferes and I start some stroke too early or too late and that ends the cast, usually with pretty tangled results. But when I get it right; well, it's like hitting a perfect golf shot. You just can't wait to do it again.
Note: I have only caught a few fish after one of these long casts, so I'm not sure of their practicality, but it sure is fun when you get it right.
Now I'm wondering how I'd cast if I put the 5 wt. line back on that rod. Hmm.
"Three-fourths of the Earth's surface is water, and one-fourth is land. It is quite clear that the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn." ~Chuck Clark