Re: Improving my cast
Most fly clubs and casting clubs (at least in my area) offer free lessons and most have some pretty amazing casters. Granted, there is a big difference between being a great caster and a great teacher, but, hey, if it's free, what do you have to lose?
Although I myself am a guide, I am a big believer in using a guide on unfamiliar waters. The good guides not only put you on fish, teach you how to catch them (or at least get them to strike), but, when they feel comfortable with a client, will offer some pointers on casting, presentation, etc. I fished with a guide a couple of weeks ago and, although I was doing fine with my mending, he showed me a better way - at least for the water we were fishing that day. There are very few of us who can't improve in some manner or another.