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Hey there fishing enthusiasts. Today comes another tale from my real life fishing exploits as I discuss 6 ways to increase casting distance in the surf. You see I went fishing with a friend of mine in the surf recently where we were using spoon lures to chase Tailor – a fast moving surface fish that love to hunt at the back of the shore break.
Steve, my friend, was cleaning up and I got exactly zero fish. We were using the same lures however he was getting about a metre (3 foot) further into the waves than I was with his casts. This meant that he was casting where the fish were – and I was not.
So for those of you who have suffered the same fate as myself, or just want to get your lines out that little bit further, let’s check out some ways that we can make this happen…
1. Get a longer rod
At the end of the day, regardless of the numerous variations available when it comes to gear, my first tip goes along the lines in that simply put – the longer the rod, the longer it will cast. There is more to it of course which we will discuss below however a 6ft rod will not cast as far as a 8ft variety.
This of course is determined by where you plan to fish however if you need to cast a long way into the surf, then your rod length will need to match your needs. For example, the rod Steve was using was a 12ft surf rod.
2. Check you rod power and action
Now, this is where my problems lay, Steve was using a medium powered rod with fast action where I was using a heavy rod with slow action. Let’s quickly explain these below:
Power – The power rating is a measure of how ‘bendy’ it is. Light power rods bend with little force and heavy need a lot of pressure to bend. So, in short:
- Light – very bendy and will bend a lot with even the smallest fish – too ‘whippy’ for long distance casting.
- Medium – needs a bit more pressure to bend – this is a good measure for a surf rod and my suggestion for a good casting rod
- Heavy – takes a lot to make it bend – these are a bit harder to cast with as I have found out.
Action – Action is the description for where the rod bends. Fast action bends from the top third whereas slow rods bend down towards the reel. For longer casting, always go a medium-fast to fast action.
And for me, that was the problem, I was using a heavy rod with slow action (which is a rod I use for a totally different purpose) but it is the exact reason that I couldn’t cast as far into the surf. So, if you want to cast a longer way, then I would highly recommend a medium power and fast action rod.
3. Check your reel
After the rod, it is obvious that you will need to make sure your reel is up to scratch as well. Baitcaster reels tend to cast a little further than their spinning cousins, however are much harder to use. Regardless of your choice, the better quality the reel that you choose, the better casting distance you will enjoy. This is due to the fact that high end reels tend to be machined with a little more precision (such as with CNC machinery for example) to ensure absolute smoothness in operation.
However if a higher end option is out of your price range, then make sure that your reel:
- Has the right line on for its size (over or undersized will not cast as well)
- Is clean of sand or other dirt etc. – always rinse after every use
- Is serviced regularly and in good working order
Trust me, a poorly kept reel with severely reduce your casting distance.
4. Use a lighter line
One mistake many of us make is to try and load the heaviest line we can for the size of the reel that we have. This however is not always necessary as a big, heavy line is often overkill for the type of fish that we are chasing. As with rod length above, another simple rule if thumb is the lighter the line, the further you should be able to cast it. Based on that, there are some simple braid vs mono rules of thumb that you can follow below:
- The lighter the line, the thinner it generally is meaning less resistance as it moves through the air.
- Braid is generally longer casting than mono as it is thinner – for example 12lb braid is thinner than 12lb mono. It also doesn’t hold reel shape meaning it is always straight.
- That said, mono does contain some stretch giving it a little elasticity on casting.
At the end of the day, use the lightest line that you can for the species that you are chasing or switch to braid if you need to maintain line strength.
5. Use a heavier lure
Now I am no scientist however I do know that if you add a little more weight to the end of your line, it will generally go a bit further on the whip of the rod cast. Hence, if you are using a lure and cannot get to where you need to be, then you can always try a slightly heavier weight on the end.
However (yes, when it comes to fishing there is always a “however”), just make sure that the lure weight is within the specifications of the rod itself otherwise again, it will inhibit casting rather than assist it. And of course, if you are using live bait rather than a lure, then a heavier sinker will do the same thing here as well.
6. Present your lure or bait properly
And whilst we are on the lure and bait discussion, how these are presented on the line can have a greater effect on casting distance than you may realise. This is basically due to the fact that once the bait or lure is cast, it is its resistance through the air that can make a difference here. So when choosing the lure or bait that you choose to use, consider the following:
- Lures: Long, slender lures will fly through the air a lot better than rounder for flat nose options (such as poppers etc.). And as above, consider the weight requirements as well.
- Bait: AS with lures, big lumps of bait – whilst nice and heavy – obviously won’t fly through the air as well as a longer, thinner pieces such as a whole bait fish etc. Again, if casting distance is a must, present your bait as aerodynamically as you can.
And there they are – my 6 ways 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.
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