September 23, 2020
There are two primary types of casts used when fishing spinning tackle inshore. Knowing which one to use in what situation is crucial to success.
Before getting into when, where and what cast to use, let's settle on a golden rule: Always keep both hands on the rod. This is beneficial for both distance and accuracy.
THE OVERHAND CAST
The cast that everyone learns first, the overhand is great when you want to reach out as far as you can. Perfect for situations like drifting the flats for seatrout, where covering large amounts of water is necessary.
Think about casting a spinning rod. You want to place one hand on the foregrip, holding your line ready to cast and your other hand on the rear grip. Your rod has essentially become a lever, with the fulcrum point being your front hand. You want to pull your back hand towards you, allowing the rod to pivot forward in your front hand and load, while simultaneously letting the line go.
Let the line go too early, and your lure shoots into the sky like a bottle rocket, with no accuracy and leaving a large belly in the line. This is often referred to as “rainbow cast." To counter this, avoid bringing the rod back too far over your shoulder.
If you let the line go too late, your lure will smack the water in front of you. You want to release the line when your rodtip is pointing at your target. This will give make your lure fly in a straight line, giving you the most distance and the most accuracy. This straight trajectory is essential when it is windy.
THE SIDEARM CAST
The sidearm cast is essentially the same technique, but instead of bringing the rod over your shoulder, you bring it to the side. You won't get the same distance as an overhand cast, but in return your lure will be lower to the water when in the air, making for a softer landing, and is more accurate, especially at close distances. It is a little less aggressive, more of just a flick of the rod tip.
This is the perfect cast when sightfishing. You don't want to bomb an overhand cast into a school of tailing redfish 30 feet away; you want a gentle approach.
Here are few more things to remember to optimize your cast.
Having the right amount of line outside of your rodtip when casting is important. Too much or too little will not allow the rod to load properly, compromising your cast. All rods are a bit different, but I've found that 25 to 35 inches outside the tip is just about the perfect length when casting.
Chances are that you're fishing a leader, which has a knot connecting it to your line. The ceramic inserts in your guides may not handle this knot going in and out well; they may crack, in fact. I usually start my leaders at about 35 inches when rigging up and when I'm fishing, I always keep it outside of my rodtip. A cracked guide will fray or completely cut your line, especially braid. Make a mental note when reeling in to stop before it gets back to the rodtip.
An easy guideline to remember when choosing a rod: The shorter the rod, the more accurate it is, but it will not excel in the distance category. The longer the rod, the more distance you'll likely achieve, but you'll lose some accuracy. A 7-foot rod is about optimal. If you're shore fishing, say from a jetty, an 8- or 9-foot rod might be best for you. If you're working tight mangrove pockets, a 6'6” rod may be your sniper rifle. FS
Published Florida Sportsman Magazine June 2020