At times we all want to cast further, cover a few extra yards of river with every cast. Maybe reach that submerge log out in the middle. There are many reasons why a fisherman might want to cast further. When fishing big waters such as lakes casting further can allow you to cover water which would otherwise be inaccessible from the shore.
We often fish very lightweight lures when chasing trout, they can be difficult to cast. Casting a 1/32oz lure a few extra yards can make all the difference. An extra yard small stream fishing can be the difference between hooking up and spooking the fish. It also makes casting into a strong wind easier. A 1/16oz Rapala is tough enough to cast with a tailwind.
Casting further is not everything
Many fishermen try to cast a mile with every cast. They lineup the horizon, start running then powerfully heave their rod forward. Meanwhile, the trout are busy cruising the shoreline.
Time and time again, I see people casting over the fish. Short, accurate targeting to likely looking lays is often more productive than casting halfway to the moon. Long casts result in a lot of empty water getting fished.
For every long cast I make, I will make a dozen short ones.
Importance of line rating when casting
Printed on the base of most rods is a line rating, which is the line weight the rod is designed to cast. Rods designed for trout fishing typically have a rating of around 2-6lb or 4-8lb, with ultralight rods sometime rated down to 1-4lb.
I try to match the breaking strain of the line to the middle of the range. So If I were fishing a 4-8lb rod I will use 6lb line on it. You can fish lines at either extreme but the performance sweet spot is normal towards the middle. It is usually possible to exceed the range somewhat, but I do not recommend it.
Braid, and superlines often over test their marketed breaking strain. So a 6lb braid might actually break closer to 14lb. So when fishing braid, I am conservative and use lighter rated braid compared with mono.
Some rods, also give a lure cast rating. That makes things very simple. They should give a range such as 1/32-3/16oz . This means the rod casts best with lures within that weight range. If you throw on a 1oz sinker the rod will probably lack the power to properly cast even a short distance. Going too heavy, say 6oz could cause the rod to snap. To get the ultimate performance out of a rod it is paramount to stay within the rated cast range.
Thinner lines cast further.
The thinner the diameter of the line, the further it casts. That is part of the reason why most trout fishermen fish 6lb or lighter line. It simply makes casting very lightweight lures easier. Lightweight line is harder for the trout to see, resulting in more hookups.
Braid and superlines cast further than nylon.
Braid and superlines are very thin, this low diameter helps a lot when casting long distances. Superlines simply flow off the reel with the lightest of casts. Changing from monofilament to a superline makes a large difference.
My superline of choice is 6lb Berkely Fireline, to that I tie a 12ft long length of monofilament which is commonly called a leader.
Leaders serves three main purposes. Tying knots in monofilament is a lot more forgiven than in superlines. Monofilament is nearly see through, making it almost invisible to the trout. The last advantage is that the thicker monofilament helps prevent finger line cuts during the cast.
To maximize distance, the joining knot between the superline and leader needs to be low profile enough to cast through the guide with minimal resistance. One of the most popular knots to tie is the double uni. I personally do not use it.
I prefer a knot now called the Aussie Quickie. (I knew it as the Lethal Knot). This knot is a simplified version of the Bristol Knot aka No Name Knot. The difference is that the Aussie Quickie removes the need for the bimini twist. I strength tested, with and without the Bimini twist and there was no difference.
The Aussie Quickie is simple and fast to tie. The result is a very low profile and strong knot which I have complete confidence in. I use it whenever I need to tie lightweight braid to monofilament.
The FG knot is the ultimate low profile knot for connecting braid to monofilament. The FG knot is very smooth and strong. But it’s tricky to tie and tighten when using a lightweight line. The FG knot works when the leader is stronger than the mainline, this is rarely the case with trout spinning leaders.
The FG is a more streamlined and stronger knot . Unfortunately, it’s not well suited for ultralight lines. Which is why I prefer the Aussie Quickie above.
Lures design greatly influences casting distance
To maximize casting distance, a lure might fly butt first. Wobbling or spinning increases wind resistance which slows the lure. Certain designs cast much better than others. A streamline compact lure like a kastmaster or toby is going to cast further than a relatively bulky and buoyant lure such as a jerkbait. Some companies weld extra weight towards the base of their lures to make sure they fly end first.
This weight assists them to fly butt first and minimizes side-to-side wobbles. It might also dull the desirable wobble when being retrieved through the water. Which is something to keep in mind.
Spools which are wider typically allows for longer casts than narrow spools. Manufactures often refer to them as long cast spools. Although, this terminology is more common with surf casting reels than freshwater spinning reels.
The more wraps of line around the spool per reel occilation reduces the friction during the cast. Longer spools allows for more wraps, with fewer layers needing to unwrap during the cast. This helps reduce friction during the cast.
Reel linelay matters
How the reel lays the line onto the spool also makes a big difference, reels which lay the line in a cross-cross pattern reduces the chance of line getting squeezed between layers of lines of various depths. Shimano marketing term for this more advance style of laying line is Aero Wrap II (Aero Wrap for older models). Daiwa terminology is the Cross Wrap.
This means a Shimano Stradic should casts slightly further than a comparably sized Shimano Sedona due to the better linelay.
Rod Length influence on cast distance
Basically, the longer a rod the longer the cast. During the cast, a longer rod achieves a higher velocity which means the lure has more energy behind it to travel further. In most cases a 7’6” rod rod rated for 2-6lb line is the sweet spot for distant casting of light lures.
But there is obvious limits to this. The main one is the terminal velocity of the lure as it falls through the air. No matter how much initial inertia you put behind a lure its maximum speed will not exceed its terminal velocity. A 7’ rod generates enough power for most light lures to reach their maximum velocity. A 9ft or 20ft rod, if castable will not cast a 1/16oz lure any faster. Once a lure reaches terminal velocity, a longer rod, could probably cast a lure higher, but not further.
The rod also needs to be flexible enough to bend when casting. The lure needs to be heavy enough to fully load the rod to maximize casting potential.
There are plenty of 13ft rods out there, but the bases are so thick it will be impossible to cast a trout lure more than a few yards. To load these roads requires much heavier weights which are of no use for trout fishing.
It is not all about the gear, casting technique also plays a big role. When fishing with ultralight tackle it is not all about power. To fully load a trout rod requires a smooth cast and sudden stop.
For very fast action rods, a flick of the wrist and sudden stop is usually enough to load the rod and achieve terminal velocity for the lure.
When releasing, do not let the lure fly high into the sky in a massive arc. The lure loses a lot of energy gaining altitude. try to release the lure so it flies almost horizontally over the water. The lure needs to fly further, not higher.
If you every watch Surf caster or distant casting competitions. They have many fancy casts which are required to fully load the relatively rods they are using. These powerful casts are completely overkill for ultralight fishing. Doing a “Off the ground’ or Parabolic cast with a trout rod is only going to look foolish, it would not result in more distance. I have tried. It does not take much power to load the blank of a trout rod.
Dealing with the wind
I learned to fish In a very windy area. Casting into a gale force headwind was not uncommon. Here are a few tips to cast further into a strong wind.
– Use heavier or streamline tackle.
– Wind speed is not constant, wait until a calm between the gusts before making the cast.
– Fish the calm side of the river or lake so the wind is behind you.