|Agree with most everything here but ill add my .02. I use to go to a local park lake to practice casting...just start with a sinker, no leader, as red said. If using old mono, make sure noones in range if the sinker snaps off the line mid-cast, .which can happen if your reel jamsmor backlashes during the cast. Ive had sinkers snap off mid air, and fly clear over a pond and nearly brained a duck. I dont think lever drags are the best casters for distance...i could be wrong with all the technology, but i wouldnt use a level-wind either, i think it kind of hinders casting a little. The avet magnetic casters are nice but a little pricey, plus theyre lever...trouble with most levers is if you set a higher drag, it impedes freespool. Maybe try a magged star drag reel, like get a jigmaster 501, and mag it yourself, or get a used penn 525 mag or the penn squall star drag...i think that comes with a adjusting magnetic cast control...just a thought.
Let em go and let em grow