One would think casting in a wide-open ocean is a cinch. Yet that’s not often the case, as outriggers, T-tops, fly bridges and extra fishing rods become seagoing, above-water obstructions. Aboard my center console, traditional casting is accomplished from the bow. However, from the console back into the cockpit, side-arming is necessary to avoid snagging the outriggers.
Side-arming requires the rod to be held at a 90-degree angle, much like you’d swing a baseball bat. Keep the rod even with the side of your body, or slightly beyond it for power casting, and then pitch out the bait with the same speed and quickness associated with a traditional cast. Like inshore targets, define where you want the bait to land, and compensate for any wind; a plus of offshore casting is that the boat can be positioned to keep the wind to your back to help with the cast. Also, whenever possible, try to keep the sun to your back — doing so helps illuminate the casting field.
With feeding fish — such as when tuna rise for a brief blitz — place the bait in front of and slightly off to the side of their snouts, not on the sides of the school or behind them. Retrieve your bait so it looks like the ones they’re eating and it’s either escaping (artificials, like poppers) or injured (fresh natural bait, like squid, flyingfish or ballyhoo). For white marlin on a teaser, or tailing sailfish, pitch a bait a few feet in front of the fish, and swim it off to the side of their bill so it comes into plain view.
Side-arming requires practice to become precise, but it’s a tactic that’s definitely worth the effort. Best of all, when it’s time to come tight and set the hook, the reverse low-trajectory angle should ensure rock-solid hook-sets.