Learn to Cast a Fly Rod
Actually, this article does not teach you how to cast a fly rod. I could not accomplish this in a written article and I am not sure many people could. This article points you in the right direction to find sources to learn. But, before we explore the sources, keep these two things in mind when you approach casting: 1) the fly line propels the fly, and 2) a good cast is the result of good rhythm. Cats and fly lines are similar in that you can only move them on their terms.
Fly Casting is Not Easy
Make no mistake, it is difficult to learn to cast a fly rod. Therefore, you need to watch someone cast and listen to them explain how they are casting. Conversely, you need to have feedback on how you are doing while you attempt to cast. You can accomplish this in two ways. First, you can find an individual and have them teach you or you can watch video instruction and video yourself casting for feedback.
Personal Fly Rod Casting Lessons
Finding someone to teach you to cast is ideal. What is even more ideal is finding someone who can cast well and teach well. Not all casters are good teachers. If you know someone who casts well (preferably not a spouse), and can teach, ask them to teach you. If you do not know someone, I recommend learning from an instructor who is certified by the International Federation of Fly Fishers. This organization has a website with an instructor locator. A certified instructor from the FFF can both cast well and teach well. A certified instructor will cost you money, but you will be starting off on a very good foundation.
There are a fair number of DVDs on the market for fly casting instruction. The one that probably gets the most recommendation is Lefty Krey on Fly Casting. Mr. Krey is an excellent instructor. You are truly being instructed by a seasoned artist. The video covers the basics of fly casting for the first 20 minutes. This is really all you need to start fishing. The remainder of the video is some really advanced stuff that you can wait until later to attempt. Lefty Krey with a fly rod rivals Will Rogers with a rope. There are videos on the internet that can help as well, but they tend to lack step-by-step instruction. For feedback, you need to video tape yourself with a camera and play it back against an instruction video. You will be able to see your errors, but not necessarily know how to correct them. Again, the quality of the video will help with correction.
The Right Stuff
Of course, all this instruction assumes that you have a "balanced" fly rod - meaning the line, rod, and reel all match. If the line and rod do not match, your efforts will be greatly hampered. See my article on Your First Fly Rod to learn about a balanced system.
The Passion of Casting
What separates fly fishers from all other fishers is the passion for casting. Fly fishing is a unique mixture of tradition, simplicity, art, and sport. It all starts with the passion of casting.