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DISCLAIMER:

BY NO MEANS AM I SAYING I KNOW WHAT I'M DOING, OR THAT I AM AN EXPERT CASTER, BECAUSE I AM NOT, IN FACT I SUCK

Okay with the above in mind, I found that just fishing was better than practicing casting. I first started taking trips to still water and practice my casting for hours, then I would head over to fish and things were different. Anchor placement is essential, but when you practice casting, be it on still water or lawn, you cannot mimic the river flow and what it does to your anchor. Since anchor placement is king, followed closely by the timing of your cast, I found it pointless to practice casting. Took a while, but I decided to just fish and my casting would get better as I fished, and heck, you might accidentally catch something!
At first it was terrible, collapsed loops, piled up fly and leader, name it I did it, but slowly with time on the water I got a little better, still not there, but I have my days.

As far as a long or short rod, and which to use, I would say use whatever you are going to be fishing with, I don't think , IMHO, that if you begin with a shorter rod you'll be better off. Use whatever rod for the river you are fishing with, heck use a short and a long rod, and trade off so you can see how different rods and lines and casting strokes behave.

Good luck....
 

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I no, practice , practice ,practice. But when learning are you better off with a long or short rod
In my opinion neither. When you go the ends of the spectrum, whether short (to me, that is under 12') or long (to me, that is over 14') you need to make adjustments that aren't necessarily conducive to learning and may limit you in the long run. 12-14' is a good middle ground and practical for most fishing too. Same with lines. Really short and really long heads are more specialized tools.
 

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[...]
Okay with the above in mind, I found that just fishing was better than practicing casting. I first started taking trips to still water and practice my casting for hours, then I would head over to fish and things were different. Anchor placement is essential, but when you practice casting, be it on still water or lawn, you cannot mimic the river flow and what it does to your anchor. Since anchor placement is king, followed closely by the timing of your cast, I found it pointless to practice casting.
Have to wonder if you are fishing skagit systems with tips, or, touch-and-go?

Particularly with touch-and-go casts, the one thing still water gives you, that you cannot quite achieve on moving water, is the ability to stop the cast in the middle and really examine where your anchor is set. If your control is irregular, and the placement is wrong, it is only going to go downhill from there. Moving water certainly won't fix it for you. Still water is also very unforgiving with respect to slack, and faults you might not notice on the river can become glaring on still water. Definitely rivers introduce a host of other complexities, changes in anchor, obstructions, uneven bottoms, diverse set of casts and change of angles needed, so there is no real substitute for practice in these conditions, either. But I do try to spend some time practicing, separate from fishing. If you do not spend at least some time consciously paying attention to, and adjusting, technique, it is very easy for the technique to degrade, at which point you start to build bad habits into muscle memory.

If you did not achieve improved results practicing on still water, the question is my mind is why. Repeating the same cast over-and-over, and I see a lot of this with people "practicing" on still water, is not going to get you anywhere. Particularly when the cast is your best and easiest cast, what I also see a lot of. You have to be goal-directed in a way that is going to improve your cast. If you're not sure what the goal is, or what needs to be fixed, then that's the first thing to address.
 

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Practice is the key component to success in any sport, from tennis to jiu-jitsu.
Learning the fundamentals and working with a good instructor/mentor over a period of time will accelerate your learning curve and help prevent bad technique from being ingrained in muscle memory. You can't observe what you are doing, right or wrong.

"Do not practice to practice; practice to be better."
Jim Green
 

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"Definitely rivers introduce a host of other complexities, changes in anchor, obstructions, uneven bottoms, diverse set of casts and change of angles needed, so there is no real substitute for practice in these conditions, either. But I do try to spend some time practicing, separate from fishing."

Totally agree. I'm very fortunate to live within about 5 minutes of a park with river left access to an excellent spot for practicing - it has made a huge difference in the last 18 months or so, being able to get out there after work during the week sometimes when I only have an hour or so. I love being able to take different combinations of lines and rods and just play with them and my stroke to see what I can learn. Plus, wet wading in knee-deep 50 degree water for a bit on a hot August evening is a blessing.
 

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You're right I should have clarified that I use scandi short heads for my fishing, so anchor placement and it being sustained is what I was aiming at. Tunnel vision there, I guess if you are using other types of lines it would be different.
What i was trying to get at , was that I much rather practice in the river , so that I can experience line management , anchor placement and how it moves on different current. I am not too interested in super distance , mostly because I suck at it:chuckle:, my practice involves trying to place my line effectively where the fish are, consistently , and allow me to swing the fly
 
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