Originally Posted by Geronimo
Any ideas what I can try next?
I have a suggestion or two, and am sure others do too.
But first let's check the equipment - you didn't mention the weight rating of the rod and the characteristics of the line, so I have to ask... is the rod and line matched up properly and adorned with a suitable leader? A line that is too light for a rod would create more mess the harder one tries. A line that is too heavy could overload and hamper turnover, or shock the rod. A short leader could recoil, a long leader could lose energy, etc - there is a lot in just matching the tools to the task. If you have any doubts, this is where your local flyshop, professional instructor or an experienced friend comes in real handy.
OK, let's assume your gear is good to go, and you are using a WF floating line and everything is matched up nicely. Your grip and stance are good.
A good first step is to forget about front and back just for a minute, and practice 'the pendulum' effect, side to side
1) Strip out the 'head' of the line, meaning just the fat part.
2) Now picture yourself at the stop line of an intersection looking north. The line should be pointing straight East, extended fully on the ground.
With the line straight, not wavy or crumpled, pull the line toward the west so that even the far fuzzy fly starts thru the intersection and stop! The line wants to keep right on rolling through the intersection when you stop, even the fly. Speed-up and stop, left/right over and over several times until you get the line completely straight East, then West.
This exercise demonstrates a few important aspects of a fly cast. The stop is critical, and where you stop determines a lot about a fly cast.
If you get the whole line moving, speed up and stop, the line will continue past the tip and lay out smooth and straight.
If you do a hole-shot, the line will collide on itself and tangle. If you roll through the intersection without ramping up speed, the line will not unravel. The right way is to speed-up-and-stop as Lefty says.
Adjust your speed-up (acceleration) and firm stop so that the line lays perfectly straight east, then west. Do this with the least amount of arm and wrist power until you feel the rod doing all the work. Visualize the line turning over itself after the rod stops until the leader follows it to the fly. Reduce power as low as possible while the line fully unravels.
Next keep the line moving that way side-to-side without letting the line touch the ground.
Got that workin? GREAT now forget about side to side completely
Once you feel that smooth side to side groove you are ready for a different angle - overhead casting, lesson II.
- start with a fully extended straight line pointing east
- pull the line to the west so the whole line is moving then stop the rod tip
- the line will keep moving to the west when the rod stops, forming a 'loop'
- try this back and forth without touching the ground
- think about the effect of speeding up (how much / fast) and stopping
On to lesson II...