I often refer to my fly tying creations as ‘impressionistic’ creations. This is an admitted copout for my less than tidy tying style, BUT my creations do catch fish….historically, quite a few.
So it is with much of fly fishing. You can throw the perfect cast and know all the bug’s entomological names, but in the end you must make that fly (impressionistic or perfection) present in the most natural way possible given the stream or lake’s configurations.
I am a self taught fly caster. Any shop owner that stands beside me as I test a rod would tell you my casting faults: tailing loops, over powered forward cast, etc etc etc. Coupled with a fully fused right wrist, I am not a great caster. So, my efforts have always been how to present the fly to look real and equal to others drifting by or rising through the water column.
By all means have casting lessons, study videos, read articles and books about this cast and that, but in the end presentation is critical to it all. Mending, reach casts, curl casts, your position in relation to the fish or likely holding water are more important than your throwing 70″+ of line or looking like a piano metronome.