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Surf Casting Instructional

Basic steps to better throws.

Right arm is extended straight back at shoulder height. The left arm is slightly loose with elbow pointed at 2 o'clock and straight at the target area.

Rich Vidulich teaches surf anglers how to cast better. He's learned from the best. His mentor is American distance champion Tommy Farmer of North Carolina, whose record throw reached 859 feet. (In 2012 the world record cast topped 313 yards, chucked by Belgian Danny Moeskops.) That's a lot of air time and a lot of surf covered. If you can throw a quarter of that distance, you'll stand a much better chance of reaching the bite the days the fish hang farther off the beach.

*Click on the images to enlarge.

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“I've seen my best students become more proficient in casting in less than hour,” says Jupiter-based Vidulich. “The best of the best are the fly fishermen, because they already know how to load the rod and how to get the power of the rod from the tip back to the butt. It can be learned.”

The average guy can cast a surf rod about 150 feet. That same guy, after a day or two of instruction and some practice, will be able to get his cast up to about 70 or 80 yards—almost twice as far. It all depends

on his balance, his rhythm and his intent to practice.

Vidulich also suggests getting videos of your casting action. “You can learn a lot from seeing yourself throw,” he says, and with video-capable phones, it's pretty convenient to have someone record your motions.

Some basic tips: Cast on the flat beach as much as possible. Get your feet pointed forward, toward the ocean. Don't run into the cast. “Those steps running into the cast,” Vidulich says, ”that's wasted energy. Your power comes from the action of the rod and your body putting power into the rod.”

In these photos, Vidulich demonstrates the overhead power cast, good for conventional and spinning rod gear. “Before casting,” he says, “there is a correct length of line between the rod tip and the sinker to get the most power out of the rod. That length should line up the sinker a little past the first guide above the reel.” At the cast's start, the sinker (on the bottom of the terminal tackle rig) should be on the sand with tension on the line.

Importantly, the demonstrated cast here is meant for a fast-taper rod. Rods with other actions will perform differently, so be aware of your rod's action. FS

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