Re: Less force, more power. Contradiction or not?
I belong to a casting club and we have coached many less experienced fishers. I agree with the excellent responses so far - and although the importance of the back-cast has been reviewed, I find it helps to point out that the back-cast MUST be as firm and straight as the forecast because it is the same line of the same length and weight that must go behind as what goes in front. Casters have an image of what is needed to move the line forward (even though they sometimes use too much energy) but they don't picture or use the same energy on the back-cast.
As well, they usually wait for the line in front of them to straighten, but they don’t wait the same length of time on the back-cast. I think this comes from years of throwing baseballs, footballs, sticks, paper into the trash, … where a slow and weak ‘back-cast’ is followed by a strong ‘throw’ with too much wrist compared to what is needed for fly casting. New fly casters have to overcome 20 or 30 years of muscle memory that is not appropriate to fly casting. In fly casting the energy and the wait time must be equal in both directions.
In order to help with feeling the load of the rod on the back-cast, I suggest holding the rod handle near the blank so that you can put your index finger on the blank about an inch from the handle – and not straight along it, but with a little bit of a downward curve. This is a little tiring after about 10 minutes as your finger is not as strong as your thumb, but your finger will detect the flex (load) of the rod better, and the forecast should begin as soon as you have that sense. After learning the feel you can go back to thumb-on-top style.