The secret is this: It turns out that you don't have to cast very far to catch carp. As matter of fact it turns out you barely need to be able to cast at all - at least in the traditional sense. I bet some of you don't believe me, but that is OK because I come armed with data!
The following graph charts the distances where the 200+ respondents to our recent fly fishing for carp survey catch the most carp. Well over 50 percent of the respondents fly fishing for carp survey catch most of their carp at less than 20 feet. Almost 90 percent of the participants catch most of their carp at less than 40 feet. Most shocking of all perhaps, about 17 percent of them catch most of their carp at dapping range!!!!!
The Internet has spent years and years convincing us that only master fly casters can catch carp on the fly. Well, sorry to disappoint, but at least when it comes to distance it just is not true! Personally I would actually counter that even trying to catch them at any significant range is usually counter-productive and damaging.
Now, that does not mean that a certain level of skill doesn't help - just that distance has absolutely nothing to do with it! Getting close and presenting the fly are actually orders of magnitude more important. Instead of practicing casting a line 80 feet you should first work on mastering your crouching tiger stalking heron. Once you have gotten the hang of getting close you should master several different short range casts and presentations that make a huge difference - some of which can be seen here: