Beach fishing: Casting further
 

Going the distance

By Russell Hood-Penn

December 2013

It’s not always necessary to be able to lob 150 grams 70, 80 or even 100 meters….but it’s kind of nice to know you can!  In this article I’m going to have a look at a few products that will help you reach more distance when casting.

Line type, diameter and weight
It amazes me how many fisherman run the wrong line weight for their set-up. I personally believe that for beach and rock fishing – unless specifically targeting large game like sharks - that a maximum of 20-30lb braid or 15lb monofilament is ample. If you’re struggling to achieve good casting distance, then the number one problem will more that likely be wrong line class.

Using braided line rather than monofilament line will dramatically increase the distance that you can cast. Typically 20lb breaking strain braided fishing line will have an average diameter of .2 of mm whereas Monofilament line will have an average diameter of about .3 of a mm. So basically the thicker the line, the more resistance there will be through the guides when casting. Bigger line will also equate to more weight that the sinker has to “pull” off the spool when it is in the air.

Another critical factor is having a correctly filled spool. If you’re casting with an under filled reel, then you’re basically increasing the amount of resistance on the line as it leaves the spool .The line will have to pull over the lip of the spool which will cause a lot of drag on the line.

Casting leaders
One of the disadvantages of fishing with braided line is its lack of a stretch and while this is great for sensitivity through the line when detecting bites it’s not so good when casting large baits and lures. This is when using a casting leader is essential.

I’m sure a lot of people reading this have experienced a “snap off” while casting and if you only lost your rig and didn’t do any damage to your rod or yourself then you probably got off lightly.

A typical casting leader (also known as a shock or wind-on leader) is about two rod lengths of Monofilament.  This helps to provide some stretch when casting and avoid snap off’s. A correctly set-up casting leader should be long enough to have 5 or 6 wraps of line around the spool of the reel when ready to cast. Have that small amount of flexibility in the line will also mean that you will be able to load the rod up more during the cast which will result in more distance.

Apart from virtually zero stretch, braided fishing line also has a very low abrasion resistance when rubbed against rock, reef of even the scales and skin of you quarry. Casting leaders also provide extra abrasion resistance down near the fish, where the fighting can get dirty and will hopefully not only result in more casting distance but also less bust off’s due to the line coming in contact with cutting edges and abrasive surfaces.

Surf cast reels
Surf cast fishing reels have been around for a long time and the principles behind the engineering is pretty simple. Surf cast reels are immediately recognizable by their very long, large diameter yet shallow spools. This means that when casting there is more line coming off the reel with each wrap and  because the spool is very shallow there is no  large lip for the line to deflect over when leaving the spool. Some surf cast spools can even be conical in shape to decrease casting resistance even further.

Graphite rods
For a long time I only fished with fibreglass rods. It wasn’t because I’m adverse to new technologies or because on more than one occasion I have been described as slightly frugal. It was because I am what some people may describe as “Ham fisted”. As a kid my family nick name was “Russell Wrecker” because it didn’t matter what I touched I wrecked. Christmas day none of my brothers or cousins toys were safe. I would pick something up and it would immediately shatter leaving a trail of colourful parts and weeping children. 

As you can imagine it takes quite a while to recover from that kind of stigma. And so in adult life it was quite some years before I had the courage to pick up a Graphite rod lest it explode into a million tiny pieces. I have since recovered from this affliction and now own what I like to describe as a “quiver” of graphite rods. Have I had my mishaps? Yes. Would I ever own another fibreglass rod? Probably not.

The benefits of graphite rods hugely out weigh the costs. Lighter, stiffer, more sensitivity, greater casting control, more accuracy and most importantly for the purposes of this article, longer casts.

Casting aids
For my money casting aids are the most cost effective way to increase you casting distance. Now before you creep forward on your chair expecting a link to the latest blueprints for a “bait bazooka”, what I’m actually referring to here are impact clips, impact sinker and impact shields. I’m sure that most people would have seen their bait and sinker cart wheeling in opposite directions through the air during flight and even felt the effects translated through the line. If the sinker and bait are cart wheeling in opposite directions they are effectively pulling against each other instead of staying as one streamlined unit travelling on a single path. This action dissipates the initial energy that was put into the cast and results in poor distance.. Clipping your sinker to your bait before the cast helps to eliminate this.

There are several ways to clip you bait to your sinker before you cast, impact clips, impact shields and impact sinkers. Basically when the bait and sinker hit the water the hook is knocked free from the clip and releases the bait.

My personal favourite is the impact clip as it can be used with any type of sinker and are very easy to rig. I have been using impact clips for several years now and have found that they will easily add and average of 20 meters to your cast. They are a great way to achieve that extra distance to reach that elusive gutter or reef hole and which hopefully results in better fish. There are lots of different rigs and rigging techniques that can be source with a simple internet search.

Note
The last thing that I will mention is that there will be some people who are reading this wondering why I have not mentioned the use of overhead reels for casting. As the majority of people use spinning reels for fishing from the land I thought it would be best to just concentrate on improving casting distance for that particular style of fishing. I will save overhead casting fo another article.

Until next time Tight Lines!!

Above three images:
The author demonstates the correct way to cast whilst gaining the maximum amount of distance.

Rusty recommends the use of Impact Clips to assist in gaining extra distance in your cast

Beach Reels

Surf Cast Reels are an essential part of distance casting