Hey there fellow fishing enthusiasts and welcome to my post discussing how to increase surf casting distance. Now, for us surf fisherman, one of the most enjoyable aspects of the sport is casting out into the waves and waiting for a bite.
However, there are times when you know the fish are there, but you can’t get them to take your bait or lure. Of course there are many reasons for this but a common one is that you’re just not casting far enough. So here are some tips to help you get your gear just that little but further out there.
1. A good rod is key
This first tip is definitely one I can talk about from experience. I was fishing with a friend of mine a while back who was catching a few and I was getting nothing. At the time I could tell straight away that he was casting about a half metre further than me hence getting out to where the fish were.
Our reels were exactly the same and we were using the same lures so after some gear comparisons it appeared to come down to the surf rod I was using. I was using a heavy rod with a slow action which I use in strong currents and Steve was not.
So what does all that mean? Well when it comes to fishing rods in general, there are a number of factors that can affect casting distance. These are:
Power – in simple terms, the power rating is a measure of how ‘bendy’ the rod is. Light power rods bend with little force and heavy need a lot of pressure to bend. So, in short:
- Light – very bendy – even whippy – will bend a lot with even the smallest sinker or lure.
- Medium – needs a bit more pressure to bend.
- Heavy – takes a lot to make it bend.
Action – sometime also referred to as Speed is determined by where the rod bends. Fast action rods bend from the top third whereas slow rods bend down towards the reel.
To be honest, in my simple capacity as an avid but amateur fisherman, I had never really taken much notice of this. However, once I needed to take note for longer casting, I found that medium power is good as the rod will handle heavier weights but still give a little ‘whip’ when casting.
Fast action is best here also as the rod bends at the top allowing it to handle heavier weights and maintain some stability for when the line is released.
2. The reel should match
Again, in my experience, I have always found that for the most part, the rod manages the cast and the reel manages the catch (not entirely but enough I think for this post). So, in these cases then, it really comes down to simply ensuring that the reel matches the rod size – I would recommend around 4000 – 6000 size for a 10 – 13ft rod.
Of course there are a number of reel types for surf fishing all of which can certainly be used to cast. These are:
- Spinning Reel – Also known as ‘open face’ reels or ‘eggbeaters’, these reel types wind the line onto a front spool which is held on by a ‘bail’. These are fantastic reels for beginners as they rarely tangle and as the inner workings are generally housed within a waterproof case, they are easy to maintain. They can also be used to cast a decent length as long as the line and tackle match.
- Baitcaster – Often referred to as a spincast reel as well, these are upside down models where the reel sits on top of, rather than underneath, the rod. These are considered superior for casting as the line is released directly from the spool (spinning reels release in a circular motion) and can handle larger line strength for the size. In my experience however, these do tend to tangle or ‘birds nest’ a little more than their spinning cousins.
- Surf – Surf reels are a totally different type of reel that I have always known as being produced by a manufacturer called Alvey. These are an institution here in Australia with increased availability and popularity worldwide. They are a big round reel which winds in on a 1:1 ratio and turned sideways to cast (think oversized fly fishing reel with normal fishing line). They are great fun however I personally have never been able to get them to cast a long way.
At the end of the day, whichever reel you choose should be one you are comfortable in using as long as the rules above around matching size etc. is in place.
3. Match the line size as well
So in case you hadn’t picked up where we are going with all of this so far, a long casting rig is one where everything matches. Hence, the next thing we need to catch is the size of the line that we spool to the reel itself.
If we keep this simple, I can quickly tell you that if the line is too light it will probably snap with the heavier weights (we will talk about that next). And if it is too heavy, the reel will not be able to release it fast enough for a good cast.
There is however a simple way to work this all out which via the first number. You see a fishing reel may be rated as a ’20’ or a ‘2000’. If this is the case, the ‘2’ is the common denominator and what you match the line to (this is not an exact science but it works for me). So, then all you need to do is match the line kilogram/pound strength to the spool.
To make this easier, I have whipped up a little table below (I have not included all sizes here but you can see that generally, the lower suggested mono line weight matches the first number of the reel size – braid is generally higher):
|Reel Size||Suggested Mono||Suggested Braid||Suggested Rod Length*|
|10 or 1000||1- 2 kg/2 – 4 lb||4 – 8 lb||6-7 ft (line rating 1-4kg)|
|20 or 2000||2- 3 kg/4 – 6 lb||5 – 10 lb||6-7 ft (line rating 2-5kg)|
|25 or 2500||2.5- 4 kg/5 – 8 lb||5 – 12 lb||6-7 ft (line rating 2-5kg)|
|40 or 4000||4- 6 kg/8 – 12 lb||12 – 18 lb||8-10 ft (line rating 3-10kg)|
|60 or 6000||6- 8 kg/12 – 16 lb||12 – 30 lb||8-10 ft (line rating 4-10kg)|
Baitcasters work in a slightly different manner in that the manufacturer will generally specify them as capable of loading “150 yards at 15lbs mono capacity – or 15/150” for example (slightly longer for braid). Some manufacturers will also stipulate maximum and minimum line weight limits as well.
Again, whether you are using braid or mono, just make sure that it matches the reel size or specifications.
4. Use heavier weights
Ok, now that we have the correct gear – or close enough to – then the next thing that we need to consider is the tackle or lures that we are using. Again it is time to keep things simple in that generally the heavier the surf rig you use, in theory the further you should be able to cast.
Of course as we have discussed above, if your rod is too light is will not handle the weight and if the line strength is too small, it will snap, but get these in line with your reel and you will be able to go a little heavier if you need.
Another consideration here then is a shock leader. This is a specialized leader that has a higher breaking strength than ordinary leaders which allows you to use heavier tackle without fear of breaking your line.
5. Cast smoothly
And finally, when it comes to actually casting, the biggest trick here is to resist the temptation to whip that rod over as fast as you can. Like anything along these lines (such as golf), the slower and smoother you can move the rod as you cast, the best chance you have of improving casting distance.
The reason for this is that as we know, fishing rods do bend and if too much pressure is put on them as they are cast, the line will continuously brush against the runners which in turn will slow it down. A smoother, slower cast allows the line to run out a little straighter and hence hopefully a bit further.
In most cases, run through the following:
- Start with the rod in a horizontal position with the handle pointing directly to the water.
- Release the bale or press the release button on the baitcaster and hold with your finger against the rod.
- Swing the rod directly over your head so that the rod is always vertical .
- Release the line on the rod just as it comes over your head (try not to let it ‘clip’ on your finger).
- Hold the rod straight out in front of you as the line is released from the spool.
Just remember that like anything, this takes time and practice. As you get used to the rod and rig weights, you will get used to your cast speed and when to let go of the line as well.
And there it is – my take on how to increase casting distance in the surf. I hope it has been helpful and as usual, please let me know of your experiences with them. I would love to hear why you love one over the other below!
Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.
Until next time