Problem 1: Your aim is wild, and you can’t stroke a consistent path.
FIX: Your casting arm is flailing. Learn to make a compact, short stroke by tucking a copy of the Sunday paper under your casting arm. If you drop the paper, your arm is wobbling too wide.
Problem 2: You can’t feel any power in the rod—it isn’t loading.
FIX: You cannot load the rod if you start your back cast with the rod tip aimed skyward. After you strip in slack line, be sure to point the rod tip down toward the line, then pick up the cast.
Problem 3: Your line bunches and dies on the forward cast.
FIX: You’re dropping your tip too far on the back cast, causing an open loop. To maintain that proper casting plane at 10 and 2 on the imaginary clockface, remember to keep your casting thumb in your peripheral vision at all times. Losing sight of it means you’re going back too far.
Problem 4: Your line slaps the water behind you.
FIX: You’re breaking your wrist too much. Wear a long-sleeved shirt and tuck the reel seat of the rod inside your cuff. There should be some wrist flex on every cast, but the cuff will put the brakes on an over-cocked wrist.
Illustration courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library/Flickr