Re: How far "should" I cast?
Interesting discussion and lots of good response thus far as I'd have expected. My thoughts on this are much like many of the previous responders. Cast to where the fish are within reasonable accuracy and then it's all about presentation. Where and how we're fishing will mandate how far exactly that is. What I mean by this is some of the small spring creeks I fish I don't need to cast much more than 10 feet to catch fish on nymphs. On bigger water, that may or mat not cut it, but more than likely I'd need to get more line out there to get my dry fly or streamer out where it needs to be. So I'm of the opinion that the mechanics of casting depends on the technique being used to try and seduce the fish into taking your fly. I guess I don't get hung up on how far I can cast as much as am I employing the right techniques at the location I'm fishing given the type of fishing I'm doing. Much like mridenour, I too have found that trees, branches and grass are much closer than where I've thought they were. Even when I look over the area to find my casting lanes, I somehow find an obstacle that likes my fly better than a fish. Don't get me wrong, I have been frustrated at times trying to get line out, which lead me to casting lessons.
I am far from being a great caster but I've significantly improved the past couple of seasons largely in part due to taking lessons and practicing. Learning the mechanics and having a casting instructor watch me and provide feedback as to what's right and wrong has helped immensely. Have you taken casting lessons? If not, I'd highly recommend it. There's good reason why PGA Tour pros have swing coaches, casting lessons aren't much different.
~*~Leave only your footprints~*~