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Casting and rod choice basics for beginners
  |  First Published: March 2016



Practice is imperative to master any activity, and when it comes to casting accuracy, there are no shortcuts. I’ve spent many hours in the backyard practising my casting techniques, which demonstrably aids my fishing game when I’m out on the water trying to reach the tight spots where fish hold. This article will give a little insight into casting.

BAITCASTING
Rod selection

If you want to be able to control your casting, start with the right rod. There are many types of rods on the market, and all have their own place for what they can be used for. For the most accurate cast, you will need a light rod between 2-10lb with a light tip. The light tip allows your lure to launch easily when casted, however, you need a rod that is stiff through the butt section. Having a sturdy backbone is important because you want to use only the tip to cast the lure. Choosing a length of a rod can be daunting as some rods are much harder to control and the longer the rod, the harder it is. To make things much easier I like to use a scale for this. Start by choosing a rod around the same length as you, which feels comfortable in hand. I like to use rods between 5’2-5’9; it all depends on what you feel comfortable with.

Choosing the right reel

There are a few types of reels on the market, some for chasing big fish with heavier drags, some to cast long distances, and some for finesse fishing. Low profile finesse reels work the best, as these reels are capable of casting lighter weights with ease and with less backlash. They are also renowned for accuracy.

When choosing which reel is right for you it is best to match your rod and reel together and feel for balance and comfort. Put your finger on the foregrip of the rod and try to balance the two evenly. If you find it balancing close to or almost perfectly then it’s balanced.

Line choice

There is no doubt that braided line is the best choice to use to cast with accuracy. The smoothness of braided line allows for much easier casting and results in fewer tangles than a regular monofilament. I love using a silky smooth line that goes through the reel and rod guides easily, and with less of the friction that can slow a cast down. A braid between 15-45lb with a low diameter is best suited.

Reel settings

Setting a reel is very important for casting – if the settings aren’t right you may end up with backlash, or you may end up with no distance from the cast. Learning to control the spool with your thumb is very important and is the best way to have complete control. This can take time to learn but with plenty of practise you will eventually get the knack of it. There are usually two different kinds of settings on a reel that will be useful for casting, the first is usually found on the side plate of the reel, and the second is most commonly found near the drag star. Start with the dial on the side plate of the reel, as this braking system works during the cast and slows down the spool when needed. If you’re new to casting, this dial should have anywhere from 0-20 settings. As a guide, I recommend you set this dial to 1/3 of the amount of settings available. If you are new to casting a bait caster try turning it up a few more clicks. The next setting controls the speed and fall of the spool. This is the most important setting on the reel for casting as it controls how long or short you can cast. Set this by tying the lure of your choice on and pressing the button, you want the lure to slowly fall down.

Practice

Practising is very important, and if you want to improve your casting skills get out in the backyard and cast at a target. Targets can be anything from a bucket to a can or bottle, you can also make your own targets if you are really serious.

Spinning
Rod selection

Casting with a spin rod is a completely different story, and casting accurately with them is a lot harder but it can be done with patience and practice. Choose a fairly long rod, something between 6’5-7’2 as you may notice this is a lot different to baitcasting where smaller rods are necessary. I find many short spin rods are usually stiff and harder to cast from the tip. A rod with smooth, quality guides helps reduce friction between the guide itself and the line, this will help you gain maximum distance. Choose the starting weight of your rod to be suited to soft plastics, something between 1-4kg.

Choosing the right reel

Unlike baitcasters, there are many sizes of spin reel that range from the smallest 1000 all the way up to 8000+. The bigger they are, the heavier. Anything from 1000-3000 is capable of casting comfortably without being too heavy and taking a toll on you arm. Similar to baitcasters, the lighter the reel the better. Take note that spin reels are generally 30g heavier than the typical baitcaster.

Line

When putting line on a spin reel you can use much lighter lines with fewer tangles. Really, it’s your choice between braid and monofilament, but I would suggest using braid. Over the years I have had many spin reels tangle while using monofilament. You can choose a line from 2lb all the way to 30lb, but just remember you need to be able to control the line coming out at high speed.

Line control

Controlling how far and how fast the cast you make is very difficult without the correct technique, and with no reel settings this all needs to be done manually. When you need to slow down or stop the cast simply put your finger gently on the side of the spool. Bringing the cast to a complete stop is something you don’t want to do, as it will jerk back at you and land your lure short of your casting goal. This all takes time to learn but casting a spin rod one handed is a very handy technique and allows you the best control.

Facts

Recommended reels

SpinBaitcaster
Daiwa Luvias Spin Daiwa Steez Baitcaster
Daiwa Sol SpinDaiwa Sol Baitcaster
Daiwa Steez SpinDaiwa Alphas 103R Baitcaster

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