I was watching some videos on youtube to try to help with the skipping technique and something that was mentioned on a Gerald Swindal skipping video really resonated when I was practising with the #12. He was talking a fair bit about the importance of wrist strength. The last few seasons I've been doing less carp fishing and more smallmouth fishing which has meant a step down in the weight of tackle I'm using most of the time, from an #8 to a #5 or #6. I'm pretty sure this has caused me to lose a bit of strength in my shoulders, which is making the #12 feel much more work than it used to, or maybe age is starting to have some effect on me! Overall I don't think I'm particularly weaker, just that that muscles aren't used to moving that extra weight repeatedly in a casting stroke. It'll come back, but it's something that I never really noticed before. I'll have to do more carp fishing and more practising with the heavy rod to keep things running smoothly.
Here's the skipping video incase you're interested, I know it's not fly fishing, but it's quite impressive casting.
Other than that, I've been getting ready for the bluegill spawn. It usually coincides with the June full moon around here and it offers some of the best chances of the year to catch largemouth bass on the fly in our waters. They'll be hanging out around the bluegill spawning flats taking advantage of the concentration of bait, which we can then take advantage of without having to worry about tackling super heavy cover. The Moon is coming next week and the gills should be getting ready, which means weather permitting (we're feeling pretty pessimistic about that this year) Chuck and I will be out on the tubes in search of those bluegill feeders. The good thing about fishing with chuck is he'll probably be targeting the gills so I can use him as a bit of a locator while still prospecting for bass, it's a good system that allows us to be a bit more efficient in covering water.