Hit Or Miss

Enhancing Casting Accuracy

FSF Staff January 2, 2013

I routinely fish with a light or medium action spinning outfit and have an issue with consistent casting accuracy. Sometimes my lure hooks to the left, other times it banks to the right and then there’s the distance issue. Any suggestions? – Rubin Cohen

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Like many aspects of sport fishing, accurate casting is a basic fundamental that can only be achieved with practice. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts and even the most expensive tackle won’t make you a pro caster overnight. The only benefit of a poor skill set is that by “practice” we mean you must go fishing as often as possible. However, don’t think of fishing as a relaxing day on the water. If you want to further your skills you need to focus and make every cast count. Even if you aren’t actively sight fishing pick a virtual target and make every cast a practice cast. Just as important as basic fundamentals and growing your comfort with various casting techniques, keeping your tackle, especially your line, in top shape will make the task much easier.

While the above recommendations are beneficial, there are some insider tips that will shorten the learning curve. First and foremost, when attempting a cast with a spinning outfit you want your bait or lure to hang approximately 24-inches from the rod tip. If your lure is right up against the tip you won’t be able to make an efficient or effective casting arc. When you want to cast a country mile and don’t care too much about where your bait or lure lands, like when you’re surf fishing, you could really let it rip by putting your entire body into it. Use your legs, back and arms to load the rod as you unleash your offering toward the horizon. Following all the way through with the cast is very important, similar to a proper golf swing. For shorter, more accurate casts let the top third of the rod do all the work and keep your elbows tucked to your side. Make a fast snapping action with your wrists while limiting your body and arm movement. The sharp ripping motion should end with a quick snap of the rod tip and not an exaggerated rainbow.

In regards to missing your mark, it has to do with your pointer finger guiding line off the spool and the way you are holding the rod. At the conclusion of the cast your rod tip should be aimed directly at your target. If you are right handed and your casts typically veer to the left you may be feathering the line with your index finger for too long—try releasing it earlier. Conversely, if your lure is hooking to the right you are releasing it too soon. It’s also important to note that the rod should be in a ¾ sidearm position, which will result in much greater accuracy and consistency than an overpowering and undisciplined overhand cast.

Casting accuracy requires basic skills, but it also demands confidence. If you are casting to fish holding along a mangrove shoreline but afraid of casting too close because of the threat of losing tackle, then you’ll never overcome your disabilities. Don’t hold back and give every cast your all. Losing tackle is part of the game and you must present your lure in an area where there are fish or you’ll never catch anything.

You’ve probably come to the realization that prevalent wind conditions will also influence your casts, so it’s important you practice and fish during varying wind speeds and direction. With practice you will be able to put a lure where you want it no matter the conditions.

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