“Some teach no movement in the wrist, or no movement in the elbow or no movement in the shoulder. Some teach the old method of holding a book pinned between the elbow and the body so as not to drop the book. Some use an analogy of pulling a light chain down to turn on a light. There are all types of devises and theories that were created in the past in an attempt to restrict the movement of those three joints in one way or another.
In establishing the certification program the Federation of Fly Fishers is attempting to standardize and improve casting instruction across the country. During this process a study in fly casting is emerging that is gradually clarifying the most important basics and how they can best be taught. This process is ongoing.
One fact that is becoming increasing clear is that each of us have unique body mechanics which must be taken into account.” Floyd Dean…FFF Master Fly Casting
For the better part of my fly fishing life, I taught myself. No, that isn’t really true. I didn’t really teach myself. I adjusted. I tried to present a fly to a target and attempted to adjust the stroke to get it, the fly, there. I had no idea how my casting stroke looked. I tried to make sure I didn’t catch grass or trees behind me and out front, I wanted to land the fly ahead of the fish and entice a take. That was it.
Years later, at a shop, I stood looking at a rod in the shop. I did the usual tip shake. I looked at the handle and judged how it felt in my hand. I looked at the color…nice. All you really need to fork out a tidy sum? Not really. The shop owner said let’s string it up and have you cast it out in the parking lot. Well, I resisted as it was akin to taking a car for a test drive. Pressure to buy…just looking…thank you.
Well, there I stood in the parking lot with rod in hand and I proceeded to cast. My the rod loaded so sweet and I snapped that piece of yarn out there easily. Then it started…the casting critique. Hmmm? I was defensive at first. I didn’t need any stinking critique, thank you.
But, the shop owner, an accomplished guide, could immediately see my faults (tailing loop) and started the process of teaching me drift and a softer forward stroke…. It was my first impromptu lesson. Since then, I have had others, especially with a two hander. I don’t mind now. But, my bad habits are pretty well established. I study more on line now. But, wouldn’t it have been nice, way back, to have had lessons?
So, I advise you to take classes. Several. Be patient as each instructor pushes you, and your stroke, this way and that and learn the basics, the basics that always apply regardless of your (or the instructor’s) personal quirks. Take a lesson..take more than one.
Also, when you take on the effort to teach others, make sure you know what you are teaching. Your prior lesson(s) will help you impart the correct advice. Encourage the newbie to attend fly casting instruction events (FFF sponsored usually) and/or visit their local shop.