Looking like Brad Pitt in “A River Runs Through It” starts by stopping your backcast. Not for long, just until the entire line and leader is straightened out behind you. It takes practice, but is well worth it. Here’s how and why:

Start by turning sideways and watching your line on the backcast. That elegant curve looks movie-good, but unless it goes away before you begin your forward cast, you’re in for trouble, not a walk on the red carpet.

That cringe-worthy whip crack is one result. Energy concentrates on the very end of the tippet, and the fly will often break off.

If your fly survives, your cast will likely come up short because the weight of the line wasn’t fully utilized to “load” the rod. The line’s weight flexes the rod tip backward to generate maximum energy on the “springback” of the forward cast. The more line weight, the more rod flex.

Finally, that wimpy forward cast often results in a clump of balled-up line and leader splashing on the water like a cannonball at a pool party. Any fish in the area sees (or hears) that and heads for the nearest hidey-hole.