Here’s an important video in Orvis casting instructor Pete Kutzer’s series on getting started in fly fishing. Pete discusses one of the more contentious subjects in fly casting: whether or not there’s a “right” way to do it. Some folks will say, “You need to lock your wrist,” while others will maintain that a little wrist is necessary. And so on.
But as Pete says, at the heart of any fly cast is a basic, simple thing: the rod must move and then stop. If you can accomplish smooth acceleration to a hard stop, then you can cast a fly rod, no matter what your wrist is doing. (But don’t try Pete’s behind-the-back trick on the water.)
If you’d like an in-depth analysis on this subject, check out the article “FLY CASTING: Substance & Style” by Al Kyte & Gary Moran. Published in the 1990s, this study looked at elite fly casters such as Lefty Kreh, Mel Krieger, Steve Rajeff, and Joan Wulff to see how their casting form differed. What Kyte and Moran discovered was that there are many ways to achieve the same goal.