It's starting to "click"
I've been practicing my cast today. I'm using a #5/#6 weight rod with a L-5-F fly line and I'm just trying to get the timing and the feel down.
Well today I broke my habit of bringing my back cast too far back. I've been going back to 2 or 3 o'clock in an attempt to get some power. But today I was able to make myself only go to about 1 o'clock and then "feel" the bend in the rod. A couple things happened.
First: My back cast was staying up off the ground.
Second: My forward cast got longer and smoother.
I turned to watch the back cast and waited until the line was straight behind me. Then I tried to notice what that point feels like in my hand and what it looks like as far as the rod tip.
The next bad habit I seemed to have broken was to slow down my forward cast. Once the back cast started feeling good I notice how incredibly long the "pause" could be. But also, how slow the forward cast could be. Somehow, I felt like I wasn't putting as much energy into moving the rod, and yet the line would travel farther. Before today I was snapping the rod forward. Now it feels more like a "push" than a "snap".
The last thing I worked on was to stop bringing the rod all the way to 9 o'clock. I started releasing at about 11 o'clock and a couple new things started happening.
First the line would travel farther and second, the line would "lay down" nice and smooth instead of plopping in the water. (I'm casting into a 20 foot puddle on our property just to have something to aim at)
So I think I'm starting to get the feel for this casting thing. It's weird how the cast that seems to have the best timing also has the least effort and becomes the longest cast with the lightest touch down. But if I put a ton of effort and power into it then the line just doesn't go anywhere. So now I'm getting about 40' cast fairly consistently and I'm laying the end of the line down closer and closer to where I want it to be.