Originally Posted by swirlchaser
Casting on the lawn is great to work on your stroke and mechanics but don't be disappointed when it turns out a bit different on the water. There's no way to simulate water tension or carrying a wet line/leader/fly. Get on the water as much as possible.
I totally agree.
This is what I do. Whenever I find that there is a fish I can't catch because I can't make the curve or mend in a cast, I stay and practice that cast. Then when I revisit that spot that fish may be there again.
Here's another practice tip from my FAQ on mending:
"I tell beginners to try to read the stream and make their mends where they think they should go. Then after they have fished that lie, make several straight casts without mending to the same area. Don't watch the fly. Instead observe the fly line and leader as the mismatched currents force curves into the line. The flyline will show you where the differential currents are, and the direction and depth of the curve shows you the differential velocity between the various currents. Now try to mend the line so that it is a direct opposite of the displaced fly line. Make a mirror image
mend. Those are the fishing mends you should have made in the first place."