Casting a virtually weightless fly to the target requires skill. But it is not beyond anyone’s ability. If you can throw a ball then you can throw a fly. Just as throwing a ball, the farther your target the more every part of the action must be perfect. This is why some anglers have trouble at distances. One must understand and utilize fundamental casting principles for it to work.
Many students find difficulty perfecting the acceleration and stop elements of the casting stroke. They wave the fly rod around gracefully but unfortunately never put the rod into a bend or unbend. Let’s use the analogy of a convertible car.
You have a bag of groceries on the passenger seat. You are traveling at a fast rate of speed. You come to a quick abrupt stop. What happens to the groceries?
They fly out of the seat, out of the car and beyond the hood.
There are many things going on here but this article is about acceleration and stop. The groceries would not fly out of the car if it had not been going fast enough from the power generated by the engine. Also, the groceries would not fly out of the car if it slowed down gradually (decelerated) for some distance before coming to a stop.
Now cars don’t bend and unbend but fly rods do. To make a good cast you must accelerate smoothly to bend and continue to bend the rod, you cannot decelerate. Next, at the exact appropriate time, you must stop the casting stroke quickly to unbend the rod. Thus hurl the fly line and fly through the air to the target.
Try concentrating on the above principles during your next casting session. Lift your arm slowly from a beginning casting position and smoothly accelerate the stroke. Finish the stroke abruptly; to a crisp stop. Think of the word “Zip”. Spell the word Zip with more leading “Z’s” as needed based on the amount of increased line that your are using to cast with; – stroke longer as the line length increases. Think of the ending “p” just as you pronounce it “Pah” that is crisply. So “Z” equals smooth acceleration, ending with “p” a crisp stop.