Key steps in casting

Want to sharpen your tech­nique and boost dis­tance? Get on our casting course…

Sea Angler (UK) - - Contents -

Top ad­vice from John Holden.

I wish I could tell you that learn­ing to cast is al­ways pain­less but, for most of us, good casting de­mands time and ef­fort. It is not re­ally about tackle, and the great irony is that the bet­ter you be­come, the less it mat­ters.

Most fish­er­men pre­fer de­cent equip­ment, and it is great to treat your­self to some­thing ex­otic, but do bear in mind that a trained caster can achieve highly re­spectable dis­tances with bar­gain base­ment kit too.

My 50-year-old Penn Sur­f­caster eas­ily throws baits far enough, de­spite its wob­bly plas­tic spool and plain bush bear­ings lubri­cated with a drop of en­gine oil. At Sea An­gler demo days in the 1980s, our party trick was to cast more than 100 yards us­ing a 6ft tri­pod leg with a ring taped on top.

Good tech­nique means no need to fol­low the herd, swap­ping from one ex­pen­sive rod and reel to an­other in the fruit­less search for more yards and fewer back­lashes. You are not trapped by other peo­ple’s opin­ions ei­ther. You choose the best set-up for the beaches and species you are after, know­ing that dis­tance will never be a strug­gle.

This free­dom comes at a price; you must serve an ap­pren­tice­ship in or­der to mas­ter your craft. Kick off by fo­cus­ing on the vi­tal is­sues that un­der­pin great re­sults, and be ab­so­lutely clear about what you are aim­ing to achieve. I shall spell these out in forth­com­ing is­sues.


Do not be swayed by mas­sive tour­na­ment casts. That is not the game you are in. De­spite the tripe spouted on so­cial me­dia about casting baits 200 me­tres or more, in real life per­haps one in 10 an­glers can fish at a gen­uine 100m with­out re­sort­ing to ul­tra-thin lines.

Gen­eral stan­dards are lit­tle bet­ter now than they were 30 years ago when a con­sis­tent 150m with­out bait made you a mem­ber of casting’s elite. It still does.

Avoid­ing a cer­tain amount of hard work means set­tling for sec­ond best. This isn’t nec­es­sar­ily as bad as it sounds, be­cause with a lit­tle thought you can en­joy your­self and still catch plenty of fish. There are wor­thy short­cuts, such as us­ing a very long rod and light lines that to­gether help make the best of your ef­forts.

Be­fore any­one ducks out, though, be very clear about one thing. I have met thou­sands of cast­ers who thought they were use­less, were short of time, or had stopped try­ing be­cause they thought casting was ei­ther too dif­fi­cult or even God’s gift to the cho­sen few. Most failed be­cause no­body had ever shown them what to do – the crit­i­cal word here be­ing ‘shown’, be­cause within an hour of see­ing ex­actly what to do, most peo­ple get the mes­sage, with many who strug­gled for decades trans­form­ing their casting, some­times dou­bling their dis­tances.

Only face-to-face in­struc­tion has this power. No other way of learn­ing comes even close. Yet, oddly enough, book­ing that first les­son is sim­ply a step too far for many of us.

More on coach­ing next time.

You can’t beat face-to-face in­struc­tion

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