Originally Posted by bpeter
Last week I was on a guided fishing trip on the White River in Arkansas. Our guide (excellent) had some comments on my casting technique, or lack there of. Here is a summary of what he observed;
A. I use too much force
B. But I don't have enough power
C. The fly makes a swishing sound, which it shouldn't do
D. The line doesn't have enough speed.
E. I don't load the rod
F. I jerk the rod too much
G. I stop too early in the forward cast
H. I have too stiff wrists [I thought wrist movements should be as small as possible...]
I. The backcast leaves a lot to be desired (unspecified what...)
Can all these observations really all be simultaneously true?
In a word, "yes."
Now, I'm not a casting instructor, or a self-taught expert by any means, so take this with whatever grain of salt you like. What I am is a semi-expert on my own casting issues. And I've had every problem you listed there, except possibly 'B,' as I am not precisely sure what 'power' means.
A. "too much force."
I think of this as 'muscling' the cast, or 'putting some shoulder into it.' Bottom line, accelerating too fast for the length of the stroke. Faster action rods seem to allow you to get away with this a little better than slower action rods, but over accelerating is not good for your casting, and your most common issue will likely be tailing loops.
B. not sure what he meant by that.
C. "The swish."
This occurs in my cast when I don't allow the line to fully unroll during a stroke (forward/back). I believe the end the flyline is still in a C-shape when I start moving my rod in the other direction, stealing line speed, but momentarily increasing the speed of the leader, causing said 'swish.'
D. "Lack of line speed."
I had this problem for a long time as a new caster, and sometimes I still do. My best 'trick' for dealing with this issue is to go back to the 'flicking paint on a wall' tactic. To flick paint, your wrist needs to twitch slightly forward or back as the forearm reaches its stop point. I know, it sounds crazy, but that flick is where a lot of your line speed comes from if you're not hauling. Think that also takes care of 'H.'
E. "Not loading the rod."
Another issue of mine. Part of the problem is that each rod or weight rod has different actions, depending on the manufacturers' design philosophy. I.e., faster action rods load quickly, requiring the caster to react faster to begin the opposite stroke. Slower action rods give the caster more time, but if they are used to a faster cadence, then many casters start the opposite stroke before the rod has fully loaded. There's more than one way to deal with this, but the easiest is probably to just watch your line as it carries behind you. Wait for the fly line
to unfurl behind you before starting your forward cast. The rod should be about fully loaded at that point, maximizing your line speed.
F,G. both of these are the same issue as A., over-acceleration.
Again, I'm no expert, but having dealt with these same issues for my entire fly casting career to this point, I feel that I might comment on your experience. the bottom line I believe is that you and I need to focus on lengthening our casting strokes, accelerate more smoothly during a stroke, and finish each with a flick of paint.
By the way, the White in AR is one of the places I dream about visiting. Please post a pic or two if you have any, just to satisfy my greed.