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October 31, 2012

Casting Techniques and Tactics

Tune up your casting technique to maximize opportunity when it comes along.

Offshore Casting

As mentioned earlier, there’s more latitude when casting offshore to fish like dolphin, tuna and the occasional billfish. Here, overhand casts are best for accuracy and distance when pitching a chugger or jig to busting tuna, or a bait at dolphin under a frigate bird. Whenever distance and accuracy are required to keep fish from sounding, this is the cast of choice.

However, when pitch-baiting to a fish that’s on a teaser or darting about the spread, or when baiting ­schooling fish such as dolphin, chummed-up tuna or a large, single fish lurking under a weed line, side-arm ­casting is fine, provided you have the casting skill to get the bait in front of the fish.

Wind can actually be a friend to the offshore caster. Because there are no permanent obstructions to worry about, simply maneuver the boat upwind of the fish and use the breeze to help carry your cast to the target. This is a great way to sneak up on breaking fish.

One bit of advice before launching that lure: Pause for a split second and look behind you, or you’ll risk never getting that horrible sound and sight of snagging an outrigger out of your mind. Trust me.

To Make Those Long Casts:

1. Keep your reel spool filled to capacity.

2. Don’t use line that is heavier than what is recommended for the reel.

3. Match the rod to the reel and the chosen line class.

4. Braided line often casts farther than mono due to its much smaller diameter for the same breaking strength.

5. When possible, use small wind-on style knots, which allow you to reel the lure close to the rod tip, where you’ll have better control of casting accuracy.

6. Acquire the touch so you take advantage of the top one-third of the rod to execute your casts.

7. After casting a spinning reel, manually close the bail. This helps reduce the line twist that can substantially limit your casting distance.

8. Inspect guides for the slightest nicks and abrasions, which can interfere with casting distance and also damage the line, ultimately costing you a fish.

9. Change line regularly. Finishes on monofilament and braided lines reduce friction, which results in longer casts.

10. Freshwater washings are essential for removing salt from the reel and line. Salt deposits on fishing line and the spool will hamper casting distances and accuracy.