If Ray Bergman came back today and saw the endless discussions about casting and distance on internet message boards, he would never stop throwing up.
Bergman knew that it was more important to be a good angler than a good caster. Of course, the two are not mutually exclusive. And it is true that it’s hard to be a good angler if you are a poor caster. But I’ll let Ray take it from here. This is from his book Trout:
“That you cast so well that others compliment you for your skill is not so important, but that you handle the flies in some particular and almost indescribable way may be very important indeed. You may gather from this that I am not particularly interested in perfect-form casting, and that is very true…If you become a perfect-form caster while achieving the necessary results, so much the better; but it is best to concentrate on the other points, rather than on form, and the casting will usually take care of itself. In this connection let me say that some of the best fishermen I know could not be called “pretty” casters, but they do cast their flies so that they act the way they should and catch the fish.”
Fish don’t examine the tightness of your loops, your line speed, or how far you cast. This twenty-pound striper certainly didn’t.