Stretch It Out
Longer casts equal more fish because you cover more water. One of the quickest ways to add distance to a cast is to go with a small-diameter, lightweight line and to keep the spool of the reel at capacity.
"When using a baitcasting reel, I'll loosen the right-side spool tension knob as much as possible," says Bruce Shuler, a veteran guide on the Laguna Madre, in South Texas. "I'll make 1/8-inch turns of the knob until I get it so loose that the spool will turn freely when disengaged."
With a spinning reel, you want to make sure the line-release trigger guard doesn't have any nicks. If you can bypass the guard, barely tip your casting finger with the line and let her rip. Shuler select rods with a soft or very flexible tip.
"The trick is to let the rod's soft tip load up, then come forward and make a smooth cast," Shuler explained. Also, a clean reel will cast farther every time. Jeremy Ebert, a professional at cleaning and repairing reels for Fishing Tackle Unlimited in Houston, Texas, says a few drops of light oil on the reel's shaft and the bearings is perfect for longer casts. "Don't ever submerge the reel," he says. "Use a light mist or wet cloth to clean it after each trip." Make sure the eyes on the rod are clean and free of salt buildup. After every trip, wipe down the rod with a wet towel, then spray the guides with lubricant.
- Robert Sloan