How to Cast

Four Methods:Casting Spincasting TackleCasting Spinning TackleCasting Baitcasting TackleCasting Fly-Fishing Tackle

Fishing rods and reels come in four basic types: Spincasting tackle consists of a closed-face fixed-spool reel held above a rod with a depressed reel seat. Spinning tackle consists of an open-faced fixed-spool reel that hangs below a rod with a straight seat. Baitcasting tackle uses the same type of rod as spincasting tackle, although usually stiffer, and an open-faced reel with a revolving spool. Fly fishing tackle, the most complicated to cast, uses a long rod, weighted line, and a simple reel to take up the line after it has been cast out. Casting each type of tackle requires its own set of skills.

Method 1
Casting Spincasting Tackle

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    Reel in the line until your bait or lure is six to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) from the rod tip. If you have a sinker or bobber attached to the line, it should be six to 12 inches from the rod tip instead.
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    Grip the rod behind the reel with your thumb resting over the button at the back of the reel. Most spincasting rods have a recessed seat and a trigger-like projection for you to wrap your index finger around.
    • Most fishermen cast spincasting gear with the same hand they reel the line in with. If you hold the rod grip behind the reel when you reel in, you’ll need to change hands when you cast.
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    Face the area of the water you plan to cast to. You may want to angle your body slightly, with the side of your body opposite the hand in which you hold your rod more toward the target area.
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    Turn the rod so that the reel handle is pointing up. Turning the rod lets you flick your wrist when you cast, so you can cast more naturally and powerfully. Casting with the reel held upright makes you cast more stiffly and robs you of power.
    • If you cast with your opposite hand, the reel handles should point down instead of up.[1]
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    Press and firmly hold the button. The line may drop slightly, but it will stay in place. If the line drops too far, you didn’t hold the button firmly enough. Reel the line up and try again.
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    Bend your casting arm. As you do, raise your rod until its tip goes slightly past vertical.
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    Sweep the rod forward until it reaches eye level. This is about 30 degrees above horizontal, or the “10 o’clock” position.[2]
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    Release the button. Your bait or lure should be propelled forward toward the target area.
    • If it hits the water in front of you, you released the button too late.
    • If it flies upward, you release the button too soon.[3]
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    Press the button again when your bait or lure reaches the target area. This will brake the flight of your bait, “feathering” it down to land where you want it to.

Method 2
Casting Spinning Tackle

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    Grip the rod with your casting hand around the reel seat. Put your index and middle finger ahead of the reel and your other two fingers behind it.
    • Unlike spincasting reels, spinning reels are designed to be reeled with the hand opposite the one used to cast with. As most fishermen cast right-handed, most spinning reels have the handle on the left. You can, of course, switch hands.
    • Spinning rods are also slightly longer on average than spincasting rods, with the guide nearest the reel seat somewhat larger than the other rod guides to permit the line to flow more freely when you cast.[4]
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    Reel in until your bait is six to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) from the rod tip.
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    Crook your index finger to pick up the line ahead of the reel and press it against the rod.
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    Open the reel bail. The bail is a loop of wire on the rotating rim outside and behind the reel spool. It gathers the line when you reel in and deposits it on the spool. Opening it moves it out of the way of the line so you can cast your lure.
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    Swing the rod back past your shoulder.
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    Sweep the rod forward, releasing the line as you extend your arm. To help you target your bait to the casting area, point your index finger at the place you want to release the line. You may find this technique difficult at first.
    • If you are casting with a long-handled spinning rod of the kind used in saltwater fishing, you’ll want to use your reeling hand as a fulcrum from which to pivot the rod as you cast.
    • As with spincasting tackle, if you release the line too soon, your lure and line will fly upward. If you release too late, your lure will hit the water right in front of you.[5]
    • Some fishermen use closed-faced spinning reels, in which the reel spool is covered similar to a spincasting reel. On these reels, a trigger above the reel works similar to the button on a conventional spincast reel. Grip the line in your index finger and hold it against the trigger as you pull the trigger back. The rest of the casting technique is otherwise the same as using an open-faced spinning reel.

Method 3
Casting Baitcasting Tackle

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    Adjust the reel’s drag. Baitcasting reels feature a centrifugal braking system, or drag, and a tension knob. Before casting, you want to adjust the drag and tension so that line will peel off the reel smoothly as you cast.
    • Set the braking system to zero. If you don’t know how to do this, an expert at a fishing tackle store can show you how on a demonstration reel.
    • With a practice weight on the line and the rod pointing at 10 to 11 o’clock, press the reel spool release button while keeping your thumb on the spool. The weight should remain in place.
    • Jiggle the rod tip. The weight should fall slowly and smoothly. If not, adjust the tension until it does.
    • Set the braking system to about 75 percent of its maximum. You may either have to adjust a dial or take off the side plate and adjust them directly. [6]
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    Reel in the line until your bait or lure is six to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) from the rod tip.
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    Grip the rod behind the reel with your thumb resting over the reel spool. Baitcasting rods are designed the same as spincasting rods, and as with spincasting rods, most fishermen cast with them same hand they retrieve with, so if you prefer to hold the rod behind the reel when you retrieve, you’ll need to switch hands when you cast.
    • You may want to rest your thumb at a slight angle on the spool instead of pressing the very flat of it on the line. This will give you more control over the flow of the line during the cast.
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    Turn the rod so the reel handles point up. As with spincasting gear, this lets you use your wrist when you cast. If you cast with your opposite hand, the handles point down.
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    Press the reel spool release button. Baitcasting reels made since the 1970s have a mechanism to disengage the reel spool from the handles so they don’t turn during the cast, allowing for longer casts. The first such models had the button on the side of the reel; most models today feature a release bar behind the spool that you press with your thumb when you rest in on the reel spool. [7]
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    Bend your casting arm. As you do, raise your rod until its tip goes slightly past vertical.
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    Sweep the rod forward to the 10 o’clock position. As you do, lift your thumb off the reel spool enough so that the weight of your bait or lure pulls line off the spool as it is propelled toward the target.
    • If you are casting with a long-handled baitcasting rod of the kind used in saltwater fishing, you’ll want to use your opposite hand as a fulcrum from which to pivot the rod as you cast.
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    Press down on the reel spool with your thumb to stop the bait when it reaches the target. This is similar to pressing the button on a spincasting reel to brake the line; however, not applying your thumb soon enough leads to the spool continuing to turn after your bait hits the water, creating an overrun or “bird’s nest” that you’ll have to straighten out before you can retrieve your lure. (The reel’s braking system is designed to help prevent this, but you must still apply your thumb to bring the reel to a stop.)
    • Casting baitcasting tackle is very similar to casting spincasting tackle. Baitcasting tackle offers more precise control than spincasting tackle, because your thumb rests directly on the line when braking. However, baitcasting reels are not designed to handle lines as light as spincasting or spinning reels are. You should use lines no lighter than 10 pound test (5 kg class) with baitcasting tackle, and thicker lines such as 14 to 17 pound test (7 to 8 kg class) handle even better.[8]
    • Likewise, baitcasting tackle is best suited for casting baits or lures weighing 3/8 ounce or more, while spincasting tackle is best suited for lures weighting 1/4 ounce or less.[9] If you like to take several rods with you when you fish, carry a rod with a spincasting reel for the lighter weight lures and a rod with a baitcasting reel for the heavier lures.

Method 4
Casting Fly-Fishing Tackle

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    Strip off about 20 feet (6 meters) of line from the tip of the rod and lay it in front of you. While in the other forms of casting, you’re casting a bait or lure, in fly fishing, you cast the line in a manner similar to cracking a whip with a weighted tip.
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    Pinch the line ahead of the reel against the rod handle with your index and middle fingers. You should hold the rod straight in front of you as you do this, reel down, with your thumb resting along the top of the rod handle.
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    Raise the rod to the 10 o’clock position.
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    Lift the rod tip quickly, flipping the line behind you. Keep your upper arm at your side, but raise it to a 30-degree angle. Stop raising the rod when your thumb points straight up; your forearm should also point straight up at this point.
    • You should do this quickly enough so the line’s weight and movement bend the rod.
    • To make the line move faster, pull downward on it above the reel with your other hand as you lift the rod tip.
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    Hold the rod upright just long enough to let the line straighten out behind you. At first, you may want to look behind you to watch the line straighten out,[10] but you can eventually feel a slight tug as the line straightens.
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    Sweep the rod forward while pulling your elbow downward. This will make the rod move faster, giving your forward stroke more power.
    • You can make the line move faster still by pulling downward on it with your other hand.
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    Stop the forward stroke with a snap of your wrist when the rod returns to the 10 o’clock position. Your thumbnail should be even with your eye at this point; the snap should be sharp enough that you can feel the rod tip whip forward.
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    Repeat the backstroke and sweep as necessary to pay out additional line for more distance. Unlike the other forms of casting, you can add distance to how far your line travels with repeated back and forward strokes.
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    Lower the rod tip as the line straightens out to lay the line, leader and fly on the water.
    • If you find using a fly rod too difficult, you can also cast flies using ultralight spinning gear and water-weighted bobbers. Use the casting techniques described in “How to Cast with Spinning Gear.”

Tips

  • Practice your casting techniques away from the water as well as on it. Away from the water, replace your bait or lure with a rubber practice plug or metal sinker.[11][12] Practice in an open area, away from overhead trees.

Warnings

  • When fishing, wear protective clothing to keep hooks from embedding themselves in your skin as the result of a bad cast or other accident.

Article Info

Categories: Fishing