Editor’s note: The following is exerpted from The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing by Kirk Deeter and Charlie Meyers.
The number-one mistake most novice fly casters make is going back too far on the backcast. The only tipoffs are the noises of line slapping the water or the rod tip scraping the ground behind them. This happens, more often than not, because the caster is allowing his or her wrist to cock too far back.
As it relates to fly casting, the wrist-versus-arm equation is a difficult balance to describe. Remember this: The arm is the engine; the wrist is the steering wheel. Yes, sometimes it’s “all in the wrist,” but that pertains to matters of aiming the cast, not power it. When you let your wrist power your cast, you will inevitably crash.
If you have a problem with your wrist over-cocking, there are a few simple fixes that will help you capture the right feel. One is to get a large, thick, rubber band, wrap it around your casting wrist, and then insert the rod butt inside that rubber band when you practice casting. If you find that the rubber band is flexing too much, odds are you are breaking your wrist too far.
If you are wearing a long-sleeved shirt, tuck the rod butt inside your cuff. It will have the same effect, and it will tell you when you’re cocking your wrist too far on the backcast. Even seasoned anglers will tuck the butt end of their rods into their shirt cuffs now and again to help them regain their stroke.
— Kirk Deeter