I have to make a supporting comment on John's note... I watched you casting on south beach while GregO was coming over to try to get that first striper I hooked on film. I looked over at you and had to ask Greg what you had been doing to get such radical progress with your loop formation and distance.
My casting history - start as a young teen with a fiberglass rod, don't do it very well for ten years, and fish with conventional gear as a crutch. One day many years later when I have the bug bad I sell all my conventional gear at a garage sale in Seattle to finally get serious about fly fishing. Many, many years later I feel comfortable with the long wand.
You fast-trackers don't know how good you've got it!