Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Northern California
Advice from one who went (and is still going) through it....(my 2 cents, found under a couch cushion)
Make sure you get your first 2H rod and line *balanced*, then forget about it for a while - seriously, enjoy the short period when you are not addicted! Knowing THAT will take away one important variable - that yes, your crappy casting is in fact YOUR fault. :-) The folks on here are fantastic for that. Much better than most shop owners - poppy excepted of course. He is awesome. Even if he is a long drive, make a point to visit him and take his advice.
(1) get one video that covers all the basics. I like "RIO's Modern Spey Casting" a lot. All the very basic stuff starting from scratch is in there, including fixing problems, and you will be able to return to it over and over again as a refresh, and for more advanced things later. Instant gratification when you have questions, and way cheaper than an instructor. All from one of the best instructors and casters there is.
(2) Seriously consider supplementing your initial learning with a few lessons. A lot of times before you train your head to be aware of such things, you really can't see what you are doing, and just a pair of experienced eyes on you will shave months off the learning curve. Group lessons/intros are fairly common, reasonably priced and can be fun.
Fishing: (this may seem like a weird one, but stick with me)
You make already know some of this stuff, but I REALLY like "Lani Waller's Steelhead Legacy", a DVD. Yes, this is about Steelhead fishing specifically, and yes the really valuable 3 hour first disk is both 30 years old, and and there is no double-hand rod visible anywhere (this was 1985). However, he manages to cover very clearly and succinctly most of the FISHING problems and methods that are especially wonderfully solved using a spey/switch rod. So much cheaper and quicker to get this fundamental information this way. I feel like in this case the absence of 2-handed rod is actually a bonus as it isolates and serves to highlight the fishing techniques (which are the same) from the equipment. There are loads of other ways to learn this stuff, but this covers the core of almost everything, and very succinctly - even greased line, waking and the riffle hitch at the end, and he connects them all with specific fishing situations. Plus, you know... Steelhead porn - lots of actual fish caught using the basic techniques, with the intervening "1000 casts" edited out of course.