I'm very near St Louis, MO in Belleville, IL. I became keenly interested in fly fishing after canoeing 36 miles of the North Fork of the White River in southern MO in June. Beautiful river that showed less recreational pressure than any of the other Ozark rivers I've canoed. I saw a big trout holding behind a rock, and I knew then that I had to come back and catch him. The vegetarians on the trip even said they'd try some fresh trout next time Research told me that sections of the NF are red and blue ribbon trout areas, and the outfitter told me their Rainbow population has been self-sustaining since the 1960's.
So it really sounds like pro instruction is in order.
And yes, I'm fairly strapped for cash, so spending it in the right manner is important. Hey, at least I can't try to throw money at the problem!
Well you are in luck. I googled fly shops in st lous, and I saw that feathercraft is in st louis. They are a VERY GOOD fly shop. Then I noticed this:
Feather-Craft Fly Fishing | Fly Fishing Rods, Reels, Waders, Flies ...
FEATHER-CRAFT'S St. Louis Fly Shop is just 15-minutes from Lambert St. ... We've been teaching fly casting FREE for over 20-years at our St. Louis store. ... http://www.feather-craft.com/wecs.ph...raft...flyshop... - Cached - Similar
I was in your shoes once, and I practiced all the time. All it did was reinforce my bad form. You are very lucky to have such a high quality fly shop nearby, and one that gives free fly casting lessons! You should call them up today!
I just started fly fishing this year(got my rod in september last year so there wasn't too much fishing to be done) so i konw what its like to learn the cast. My local club gives free lessons before fishing season starts the beginning of every year, so i took that chance to finally learn. After just 1 day i was able to shoot line, and I didn't even get much teaching.
The thing that really got me on the ball and finally able to cast was knowing what loading feels like. before that point i had no idea what a proper cast was supposed to feel like, but once i got my rod to load, i knew i was in the money.
When you properly load the rod, you can feel the line pull your rod back at the end of a false back cast, as if someone was actually holding the line behind you and pulling it a bit. When you feel that pull, it means that all your line is out and was all fully loaded, when i get that feeling i start my forward cast. If you don't have much line out, the loading feeling might be subtle, so watch your line as you backcast and wait until its nearly all straight or is all straight before you start your front cast, because without the line being properly behind you your rod won't have anything to make it load well.
I believe its like towing/pulling a car out of a ditch. If you have slack in the line, the towing car won't actually be pulling the stuck car until the line is taught, and when that happens the energy transfer is too sudden and too much, and the energy goes to **** and you break something or pull something off. You want to have no slack in the tow cable so that you get full application of energy throughout the entire pull instead of a jolt.
If you're double hauling, i would suggest that you don't until you know what casting feels like. Just cast with the line pinched between the rod handle and one of your fingers. when you feel that pull or see the line fully extend, you know you're transfering proper/enough energy from the rod to the line and you can start letting line out at the stop points of the cast. If you can effectively let out line at each stop, you know you can shoot line because thats what you're basically doing when you let line out.
Oh ya, i don't know if this is true or not, but i dont think you actually need to hear a whipping/wizzing sound to make good/great casts and perhaps the sound even means something isn't going right. When i cast i almost never hear it, though i hear it all the time when i see other fly fishers who can't cast well, cast. Then again i heard it when one of the local guys casted, and he can cast well, so my theory is probably bunk
3) I experimented with the wrist a bit. I'd seen different approaches to the wrist in youtube clips, so I used mine as a "hinge" of sorts at the ends of casting strokes.
That is the problem. When you do that, you are driving the line into the ground behind you instead of flicking the line out straight behind you at an elevation higher than your head (and with enough directed momentum that it will completely straighten). You have to stop the rod - not your forearm- at the 1 oclock position.
When using the thumb on top grip, that means stopping your forearm on the backcast before it is even vertical.
I would again suggest tying the rod butt to your forearm, and practicing the backcast with no wrist at all. And I think that by shortening your stroke (stopping the rod like it hit a brick wall) up high, you will start getting some tight loops. Drop your right foot back (if right handed) so you can watch the backcast . Once you start getting tight loops, THEN you will know what people are talking about when they speak of "loading" the rod.
Another good way to practice is to stand with both legs spread on an imaginary line, and cast parallel to that imaginary line with the rod held horizontal. Then you can watch the entire loop formation both front and back. See what happens when you vary the stroke length. Slow the cast to where it barely straightens out both directions.
I would sign up for those lessons as soon as possible.
PS: Cracking the whip is a symptom of not pausing long enough to let the line straighten before casting the other direction or by slack due to a collapsing loop - nearly always caused by too much wrist at the end of the cast.
Your theory is not bunk. On casts to 80 feet or so the rod will not make any noise to speak of, though the line may whistle as it comes by.
I agree with the folks that are betting on timing-- think smooth acceleration and sudden stops rather than power and brute strength. And as Jim (wjc) says, if you're hearing crack the whip sounds it's probably because you're not waiting long enough for the the backcast to straighten out.
Since you're near St Louis you might want to check out Tom Hargrove's shop THargroveInc In addition to being a pretty neat place, Craig Stephens teaches fly casting classes, and you might be able to get a few pointers. When i think of classic fly shops, this is the kind of shop i think of, down to the cast iron stove. I used to pop in whenever I went to St Louis on business. ( edit---I just saw Oregonsteel's post about feather craft's free casting lessons-- go for it-- it's another great shop and great folks.)
I always recommend joining up with a local chapter of Trout Unlimited or a club affiliated with the Federation of Fly Fishers, so i'll throw that idea out too. In addition to group trips to local waters, informative meetings etc, they often have formal or informal casting clinics, tying classes etc. It's a great way to knock years off the learning curve.
You might want to check out these guys that are based in St Louis- it's a club affiliated with the Federation of Fly Fishers: Ozark Fly Fishers
You can also do searches here to see if there are other groups closer to you:
You can also do a search for certified casting instructors on the FFF site (click on the "Education" tab for a drop down menu, then click on "Find a Certified Instructor") Rates will vary for 1 on 1 instruction, typically from 25 to 45 an hour.
. . . Another good way to practice is to stand with both legs spread on an imaginary line, and cast parallel to that imaginary line with the rod held horizontal. Then you can watch the entire loop formation both front and back. See what happens when you vary the stroke length. Slow the cast to where it barely straightens out both directions. . . .
Jim is right on here with this tip. When I got back into fly-fishing after several decades' absence, I took several series of classes from our local FFF Club's casting instructor, and even though they were free they would have been worth real money. The best self-correcting tip I got from these classes - Beginning Flycasting, Intermediate Flycasting & Double Haul Flycasting - was horizontal casting in front of yourself. It's also a good way to warm up. The real advantage of horizontal casting is that you can easily see what you're doing right and wrong, and what little changes in technique will do to your cast. When I got to Double-Hauling, horizontal casting was essential to learn what to me was the tricky line-hand timing of the Double Haul.
FREE FLY CASTING LESSONS
We've been teaching fly casting FREE for over 20-years at our St. Louis store. Ed, Bob, and Ted are FFF Certified Casting Instructors. The other guys at our store are that good, or better. Classes (beginning through advanced) are on Saturdays and you just need to call the store for sign up and info at 314-963-7884 (locally) or 1-800-659-1707 (nationwide). All lessons are taught by FFF Certified Casting Instructors.
I have been going to Feather-Craft for several years - they are a great bunch of folks and will be more then happy to give you a hand.
Ahhh, I have another tip that is as good as my first
Free orvis casting clinics in July, AND GET $15 Orvis certificate AND 1 year free membership in trout ulimited. And guess what store near you is participating? Feather Craft! So be there at 9:30 am on saturday, pick up your $15 gift certificate, and learn about fly fishing and casting! And probably go the next saturday too to ge even more instruction and another $15. Actually there are 3! So you can get $45 worth of orvis gift certificates AND 9 hours of tutorial by a pro!! By the third saturday you are going to be asking how to double haul!!
Dang, I am jealous that I dont have a paricipating store 15 minutes away, the closest store to ashland oregn is lie 5-7 hours away!
TU and Orvis have partnered together to offer a new industry event aimed at introducing people to Trout Unlimited and the sport of fly fishing. The event is called Fly Fishing 101 and will kick-off on Saturday, July 3, 2010.
Classes will occur every Saturday in July from 9AM-12PM at participating Orvis stores and dealers (see the list of participating locations below).
Each Orvis store and participating dealer will hold consecutive half hour time slots of casting instruction followed by a half hour of tackle and rigging instruction - a total of three one hour groups at each location. Spaces are limited at each location so attendees must RSVP to reserve their spot. The number of spots available will vary by location and the number of available instructors.
Once instruction is completed, each attendee will receive a $15 savings card good toward Orvis gear. Additionally, each group attendee will receive a certificate for a free Trout Unlimited membership – a $35 value.
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Hmmm, I dang I want one or two of those certificates for trout unlimited!!