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I live in western North Carolina, and fly fish exclusively, mostly for trout in mountain creeks. I live on Lake Chatuge, and recently bought a Togiak float tube. On it's maiden voyage, I caught an 18" smallmouth on a 9' 8 wt Loomis with a blue-&-white Clouser minnow. I'm thinking of rigging it with a 9 wt shooting head and a switch rod butt extension to extend my range.
An 18" smallie must pull like a freight train!
Half fast had some good recommendations. If I can add another book, Casting with Lefty Kreh
is a great resource. A friend brought it along on a trip. It's loaded with tons of info. I have seen Lefty Kreh cast in person and it's pretty inspiring if you're into fly fishing. He can put out a fair cast with only with his hands (no rod). He wrapped a cast around/in-front of two guys walking out on his seminar as a demonstration. I had a great view because it was right in front of me. To see the line curve around them was awesome: to see their expression was even priceless!
I'm not a great caster but I was taught pretty well. If you're having trouble getting line out there, I was told to remember a few things, 1.) cast with the big muscles, 2. let the rod work for you and 3. don't drop the rod tip.
First, you don't cast with the little muscles, you cast with the big muscles. A lot of people flick their wrist back and forth like cracking whip. It works for super short distances but, you need to utilize your shoulder, elbow and forearm with a quiet wrist to move a lot of line (also weight transfer like swinging a bat.) I was taught the wrist movement is similar, if not the same, to the motion of a firm handshake.
Second, half fast's "2 count" is a must to load a rod. The rod will do a lot of the work for you if you let it. His pausing allows the weight of the fly line to build up energy in the rod to propel it forward. You'll feel the line pull and bend the rod backwards. It's like pulling on a rubber band. And it's the same as conventional casting where not only the speed of the rod but the load (bend) helps cast your lure/bait.
Lastly, don't let the rod tip drop during the false casts. This is pretty important because it does two things, keeps the rod loaded and keeps a tight loop which is important for distance. A rod that is more perpendicular to the moving line can store more energy (the line is moving horizontally so, keep the rod as vertical as possible.) And, if the tip of the rod moves from say 12 o'clock to 9 o'clock on the forward cast, then the loop size increases and energy is lost to the vertical direction instead of keeping it moving in the horizontal direction. Stop the rod high (11 o'clock to 1 o'clock) on both the forward and back casts and everything will fall into place. Also, on the release, stop the rod high and let the line flutter to the water for quiet presentations.
It can be frustrating but, will be rewarding when you get the hang of if. Since we're float fishing here, you can always chuck out as much line as you can and kick/troll the rest out. That gets played out quickly if you have to do it all day
My buddy supsurfer
(some of you have met him on the water already) got into fly fishing just a couple of years ago at one of his son's Boy Scout camping trips and his passion for it has him as one of the better fly fisherman I know. He has become a pretty good all-a-round fly fisherman and ties up some great patterns as well; a bonafide bass wrangler (some decent 'but kickin too.). This summer, I think it's time for some pelagics though.
A couple of places that can help you out are Long Beach Casting Club (I think they have members at the casting pond at Fred Hall helping out), Pasadena Casting Club and Bob Marriotts Fly Fishing store in Fullerton. Tons of videos online for fishing, casting and tying, too.