Lift and Drive // Simple Tip to Improve Your Cast
I teach and preach this over and over, and OVER again while guiding. It's such a small and easy tip, yet so powerful in the scheme of developing good casting and fishing habits. The video explains most of what we need to cover here, but I wanted to add a few things that a short video simply can't explain.
The Trajectory of Your Backcast
Part of this tip isn't just pre-loading the rod and eliminating slack. It's setting your backcast up for a trajectory that travels BACK, not up. In my experience most anglers start their backcast with the rod tip low, it shoots up, and of course the fly follows in an arcing sloppy trajectory that never gets tight behind you. Your backcast has to reach a point of terminal distance. It needs to be tight. When you lift, then drive, your backcast will get tight resulting in efficient energy and line speed on the forward stroke.
The Pre-Load and Rod Shock
If you start your backcast against a slack line you will "shock" the rod, as in surprise it with a sudden jolt in tension. Rods don't like that. It's critical that the backcast starts with a light pre-load, moving fly (not stopped), and accelerates back into an intentional backcast. If you shock the rod, it will try to shock back and you won't get that deliberate backcast that reaches full extension behind you. A lift and pre-load also bring a sinking fly or leader up toward the surface making it more agile requiring less actual effort to backcast it.
Drive... Don't Swing
Rod tips should be driven back in a straight line, not swung in an arc. The fly will follow the exact path of the rod tip. If your cast starts before you lift, anglers are forced to bring the rod tip back in a half circle or arc. The fly will do this also and these casts lack power, control, and the fly line doesn't lay out flat in the air behind you. Think about a pretty cast. The backcast is a cloned image of the forward cast. It's flat and often parallel with the water. It all starts with how you lift the fly up and send it back. Lift.. and Drive.