Re: It's starting to "click"
I just picked up Doug Swisher's DVD "Basic Fly Casting". I had to stop the DVD about half way through just so I could go outside and try it. I added about 10 feet to my cast. I've watched it all the way through now and I now have an idea of what to look for and how to try to fix it.
First of all, my "loop control" was pretty poor. I'm now trying to work on nice tight loops where the bottom and top of the loop are parallel. To do that I'm not worrying so much about distance and I'm concentrating on form. The distance will come later.
I'm a full time music teacher and fly casting distance reminds me of something I tell my students about playing fast. If we think of playing guitar fast as an analogy for casting a long distance I think this advice might be helpful. The advice is: Speed comes from control, control does not come from speed.
In music I practice control by playing slowly without any tension in my hands. I practice playing with perfect technique and I don't worry at all about how fast I'm playing. At times I'm playing incredibly slowly. But after doing it that way I find that I can automatically play fast without ever actually having practiced at that speed.
I think that the same advice may work with fly casting. So I'm going to practice with only about 30 feet of line out and get my false cast perfect. I'll work on my loop control and get that working until I'm casting with no tension in my arm, wrist or neck. Then I'll just start to add a little bit more "push" with my arm and a little bit more "snap" with my wrist and see what happens.