The shad are here, and the Potomac is looking better each day.
One of the challenging things that some casters encounter every year as they head out shad fishing is using a sinking fly line and a heavier fly than they may have used in their trout fishing.
Remember some of the basics with a weighted heavy fly line - The line is designed to sink, you can’t just pull it off the surface like you usually do with a floating line.
So if you have fed out 20 feet of running line into the river after the previous cast, you will have to retrieve it up to the shooting head before you can pick it up to make that next cast.
In most cases in order to make a good cast you will also need to lift that line up in the water column. Use your roll cast to straighten out sinking lines on the surface.
With that line up on the surface do a water haul - the line tension on the water will really help you load or bend the rod as you pick up to make the back cast.
When casting sinking lines, the mass/air resistance ration of the line is different from that of floating lines. So there is more mass in a small space, which is why the line sinks. A typical narrow-loop cast will often cause the line to loop to become so narrow that it tangles or hits itself.
The solution is to open the casting arc and create a slightly wider loop. Remember get a slightly wider loop, not a gigantic loop, and slow down your back cast.
Before you get in the row boat at Fletchers, take a few minutes on the grass and practice your oval,or Belgian cast. Remember that one? Basically the caster is making a horizontal back cast, curving up during the power snap to the vertical plane and then making the forward cast.
Why does this help you? The constant pressure and the curved motion of the oval cast allows the fly and the line to make a more gradual transition from the back cast to the forward cast.
Finally, really, really try not to do multiple false casts, you are just setting yourself up for a problem. Pick up, make a smooth back cast, make the forward cast and let it go ... and catch fish.