We've all been there. Standing in the beautiful, vast surf, casting our long rods for hours without a single hit.
So we wonder, maybe this just isn't our day. We cast again, but our concentration has ebbed, so instead of watching the line and maintaining contact with the lure, we lose ourselves in the music of crashing waves--until the music is pierced by the sharp, shriek-like howls of seagulls.
Down the beach a flock circles and dives: a sure sign bait fish and probably stripers our moving towards us. Something goes off in us. An adrenaline rush? A predatory instinct?
We don't exactly what, or how to describe it, but it's changed us. Electricity seems to be surging through us. We're wired. Eagerly, we watch and wait.
The seagulls move close.
But darn! They're out of our casting reach.
Disappointed, we wonder, what will we tell our wives--that the stripers just weren't running, again? Maybe. But the sad thing is, it doesn't have to be that way. The seagulls, you see, aren't beyond out reach. They're beyond our skills.
Exactly what do I mean?
For years tournament fly casters have been refining their techniques, and as a result are now casting farther than before. Can their techniques can help us surfcasters reach that faraway fish? Yes, I believe so.
But on a crowded beach, will we have to risk hooking someone with our lure? Absolutely not.
To help me explain, let's begin by looking at some universal casting principals.
FUNDAMENTALS OF THE CAST
- 1. The lure will move in the direction the rod tip moved just before it was stopped.
2. To effectively load the rod we must begin the cast slowly, then accelerate and reach maximum speed just before we stop the rod. (If we begin the cast too fast the lure will also move too fast and, therefore, not fully pull on the rod.)
3. To use all the power stored in a loaded rod, we must abruptly stop the rod without lowering the tip from the target line.
4. All things being equal, if we lengthen our casting stroke the more we will load the rod.
With these principals in mind let's now turn to the techniques of long-distance surf casting.
Any slack in the line will make it impossible to fully load the rod. Long-distance fly casters, therefore, make sure they begin the cast with their rod and line hands close together so slack can't come between them.
When casting a spinning rod we often add slack by not holding the line with enough tension. Even worse, just before we abruptly stop the rod, our index finger often prematurely releases the line and the lure sails high and off to the right. To avoid this, I place two fingers in front of the reel stem and two behind. I pickup the line with my right index finger, then I move my hand back so that only my index finger is in front of the stem. Next, I pull the line up and back and gently press my fingertip against the stem, but not the line. (I like to feel the weight of the lure to cast it accurately.)
When casting heavy lures, I recommend wearing a golf glove so the line doesn't cut your finger.
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