The Basics of Casting
Casting is a complicated movement that is hard to get right. It will take practice to get your lure exactly where you want it. Below you’ll find the steps for a basic cast. From here you can move on to other casting methods and positions.
1. Reel your lure up so that it is hanging down about 18″ from the tip of your pole. This will give you some leeway on timing your cast and improve your results. You should never reel your lure up until it touches the tip of your pole.
2. Place your dominant hand on the rod, just in front of the reel seat, and use your index finger to pinch the line firmly against the rod.
3. Use your non-dominant hand to open the bail, then place your hand on the butt of the rod below the reel. This is the casting position.
4. Draw the rod backwards over your dominant shoulder until the tip is about two feet behind that shoulder. If you imagine a clock face, the tip of the pole should be around 2:00.
5. Turn your body squarely toward your target and quickly swing the pole forward. When the rod is close to vertical, release your index finger to let the line pay out.
6. Continue your swing until the pole is about 10:00 on the clock face. This is called follow through and is important to making a good cast.
If your lure goes high into the air, you released the line too early. If it lands at your feet, you released too late. Somewhere in the middle is exactly where you want to be. It takes practice, we have all failed at it.
You can substitute a small weight for the lure and practice casting in your yard. A small bucket makes a great target.
Reeling in your Line
Now that your line is out there, it’s time to get it back:
1. Start by closing the bail. Some reels will have an automatic bail that will close when you start reeling but I have always flipped mine closed by hand anyway.
2. As you start to reel, make sure the line moves onto the line roller on the bail. If it doesn’t, move it onto the roller manually.
3. Continue reeling. If you are only attempting to get your lure back to you, reel as fast as you like but you probably won’t catch fish this way.
Learn to vary how you reel in the line by moving the rod tip and reeling at different speeds. Learning to do this correctly, and well, will take time. Each bait, fish species, and even weather can alter how you reel in a lure.