Thanks to everybody who told me to get off my duff and just go to a small body of water to practice casting. I really think it has been helping a lot. I am still a novice, for sure, but the casts are getting a little longer and straighter and better on a sort of consistent basis. I have been on the water over lunch for the five of the past seven work-days. And I caught fish on four of those days, so that was a bonus!
I started out with a short, medium-action 7-ft 4-wt and I felt I was doing okay. I was able to coax my neighbor into letting me try out his Redington 3-wt. I don't know why but I am obsessed with that rod. He bought it last year and he never uses it. Never. Like I thought. All the practicing seemed to have helped because I was able to cast that thing further than I ever did before: about 25 feet, including the leader and tippet.
Whenever you guys talk about being able to cast 20, 30, 50 feet, does that mean fly line only or does it mean the leader and tippet, too?
If you are talking about the fly being 20, 30, 50 feet away, then I think I am getting there. I 'forgot' to return it last night, so I used it again today. The wind would come in short spurts and I was practicing casting with the wind, against the wind, sideways to the wind... Did "okay" but not great today. Got a number of casts where the line would pile up in a bundle on the water. I think I was trying to muscle the casts and it felt like I was fishing on a stream because that is what happens there. I did realize I was tipping the rod tip way,w ay too low on the backcast. And I think I was not stopping high enough on the forward cast. Put the two together and I think many problem can occur. I think I "fixed" this problem but I did find myself reaching too much again today--but I also addressed that as soon as possible.
I do not think Don will let me forget to give that rod back tonight but I am ready to use it again! Good thing was that I was still able to get some very good casts (for me) into the wind. It was encouraging. And it was so, so, so so much nicer to practice in a spot where you have the possibility to catch a fish. T he backyard is okay but it will never match water. Never. And I was even able to catch three pretty good-sized bluegill over the past two days and they bent the heck out of that rod! I did find it is easier to lose a fish on the lighter rod, too. (Or maybe it is just me?)
I was even able to get a guy from the office to go with me last Friday. He never fly fished before and rarely even fished in his life. He decided to go because I told him simply casting was a great stress reliever. He laughed at me and said he would go watch. He looked in the back of my car and I happened to have a couple rods there, so he decided to try--cool!!! He chose the 5-wt Clearwater because he was impressed at the length of the rod. Whatever floats your boat, I guess.
I gave him a few quick instructions and he was casting about 10-12 feet (including leader and tippet) in about three or four tosses. He was fat and happy and said it was a great way to relieve stress. He said he fished before but it was not any fun at all but this was totally different and he felt like he was doing something, not just standing there. I had put a little foam fly on his rod and he was able to actually catch three bluegill. The biggest was about the size of his thumb but he was having a blast. So much so that he said he was recently thinking about buying a spinning rod for him and his son but he has changed his mind. He said his son can get what he wants but Jerry is going for the fly rod. Anudder sucka!