There are three keys to becoming a good caster: practice, practice and practice. Only after we understand that this is the only truth, will we be able to apply a fourth key: practice with an objective in mind. In other words: practice knowing what you are doing, how you are doing it and why you are doing it. To achieve this we have two options. One is to hire a good instructor three times a week to guide us and set new objectives for us. This is, undoubtedly, the best option. Undoubtedly, it is also the most expensive and difficult to carry out. The other alternative consists of having a series of exercises and practical routines that show us what we must practice, why, and can somehow tell us whether or not we are doing it correctly. This is the cheapest option and in my opinion it is also the most amusing one. In the series of exercises I am presenting here you are going to practice every single aspect of fly casting. From the basic mechanics to the most complicated and colourful presentation casts. Each exercise is divided into four parts: Objective, Instructions, Tips and Making it more difficult. They all have a sense and a purpose, have been rehearsed extensively and are currently being practiced by a large number of fly casters.
We will use our conventional fishing rod and reel. I recommend reserving a line exclusively for these practices as it will deteriorate quickly, especially when casting on hard surfaces. You may use a great variety of objects as reference points and obstacles. I will be using: orange traffic cones with big numbers painted on them, one-metre-diametre hoola hoops, and rod tubes and cases. Some other tools: a 30-metre measuring tape, small soft rubber balls and the most important item of all: yarn, wool or fluff.
Leader and fluff
Unless specified in the exercise, the leader should be around three metres long. A piece of fluff will always be tied at the end of it. I use the kind of yarn they sell to make salmon egg imitations. The most visible colour is bright yellow.
Order of exercises
I am not going to follow any specific order. I will alternately include easy games and harder ones. I will combine basic exercises with some more difficult ones and specific casts. This way each caster, according to his experience and preferences, will choose the one he wishes. As both games and exercises are included in the section we will classify them by categories and difficulty.
Some of the exercises are games and challenges. You will need a friend or caster buddy for them. Although you can always perform them by yourself it will be more fun if you do it with someone else.
I encourage you to practice from the first exercise. I am sure you are going to be surprised at the quick improvement your casting is going to experience. Besides, you are going to have a lot of fun. If that is not the case I am the one who will be surprised. I really hope you enjoy this great pastime that fly casting can become on dry land.