We usually employ much more effort than necessary to cast. Great casters stand out from the crowd due to its elegant, fluid style. We say that they make casting to look easy. Their effortless, graceful motion is something we should strive for. If they seem to employ little force most probably it is because they are doing exactly that: using as less force as the laws of physics allow.
For years the simple task I am presenting here has been an integral part of my practice. I encourage you to allocate it 15 minutes in all your training sessions.
The concept is easy: just cast with the goal of avoiding the tip of the line and leader to straighten. At first you’ll see that it sounds easier than it actually is, but when you get things going smoothly it results in a very enlightening exercise.
First, we are conscious of how little force we need to put the fly 10-12 meters away: if you use the elbow forward style it is enough to let the arm fall due to gravity and add a little flick of the wrist.
If when fishing you are using more force than that, it’s sure that you are wasting energy somewhere.
Second, if we are using the energy needed to get the fly at 20 meters to put it just at 10 meters… how will we have the control to present the fly to a fish that is rising at 20 meters? Or when it rises at 15 meters and we are confronting a head wind? The more force we put into a motion the harder it is to make it straight, smooth and accurate.
Third, you are controlling a fantastic drag-free cast, one which puts slack in the only position that works for every tricky current configuration: tip of the line and leader. By adding a slight wrist flexion (if you are a righty) at the end of the stroke, you get an underpowered curve for the same price.
Forget about distance for a while. Less is more; in the end this simple exercise paves the way to putting the fly far out as effortlessly as possible.