Line type, line quality, rod length, rod construction, casting method and rig aerodynamics all make their mark on the flight of a cast. In order to get a better understanding of ways to improve the distance obtained when casting this article looks at a few points to help get on the right track.
Let's start with the line. The diameter of line being used will always influence the distance of a cast. Imagine tying a small rock to a coil of rope and throwing it as far as you could and then tying the same rock to a spool of fishing line, throwing that, and comparing the distance between the two. You would find the distance of the rock tied to the rope to be dramatically shorter than that to the fishing line.
Why is this? Firstly the further the rock travels from the coil (ie the reel) the more rope it starts to tow. This means the further it goes the more weight it has to carry. The weight then starts to slow the momentum of the rock eventually stopping it. Thick line diameters can have this impact on casting distances.
Another attribute of thinner line is its reduced surface area which lowers the amount of friction generated as line runs through the inside of the guides after a cast. Further to that thin line will catch less breeze which again diminishes any barriers to your sinker getting as much distance as it can. Think of a fat man and a thin man standing on a jetty in a storm and compare the amount of wind the large bloke catches as opposed to the thin bloke. That's the science behind it.
While some monofilament lines have different diameters between products, braided lines are the number one way of reducing the diameter of the line you are using. Take two Ajiking products both with a breaking strain of 40lb for example. Ajiking Super Sinking Braid has a diameter of around 0.28mm whereas Ajiking ProMax monofilament line has a diameter of 0.37mm - this is a significant increase in the size of the line for what is effectively the same breaking strength.
Be aware that not everyone likes using braid for beach fishing - its lack of stretch, ability to cut fingers when being casting frequently or increased tendency to tangle are some of the reasons why - but these are the things to weigh up when deciding what to spool up with. Spinning reels that come with two spools offer the ability to try one of each.
| Ajiking Sinking Braid - 40lb, .28mm diameter
|| Ajiking ProMax Mono - 40lb, .37mm diameter
There are two other line-related issues that will impact your casting distance. The first is no different whether you have braid or mono and relates to the amount of line on your spool, particularly when using a spinning reel. A full spool allows line to peel off unhindered by any friction or obstruction caused by the lip of the spool. This can have a significant effect on the distance you will get, so if you have a half full reel think about topping it back up and you'll notice an immediate difference.
The second is the age and quality of the line you are using, particularly if it is a monofilament line. Cheap line often has a lot of memory, this means that if it spends too much time coiled up unused on your spool it retains that shape effectively turning it into a 50 metre slinky when you cast it. Even though everyone loves a slinky it's not the way you want your line to behave when out fishing and robbing you of distance is one of a host of negative effects it brings.
Beach fishing is one area effective casting distances can be crucial
Casting style is also an area which can limit your range. A beginner to beach fishing or someone with little experience casting can easily miss timing the release of the line or fail to use the rod to maximum effect. There are a large range of casting styles and as always with fishing it's horses for courses - what works for my neighbour probably doesn't work for me. There are some basic principles to keep in mind though.
Firstly, before you cast don't let too much line hang out from the tip of the rod. The right length will vary according to the rig, rod length and casting style you use, but as a basic guide try for around one quarter of the rod length. Limiting this length will allow the momentum of your cast to kick in sooner meaning you will get more distance out of the effort you are putting into the cast.
Secondly, try to use the action of the rod to assist your cast. If you are casting correctly, as you go through the motion of the cast you will feel the rod begin to tense under the load being put on it. That pent up energy will then transfer through the line into your sinker when the motion of the cast suddenly stops and you take your finger off the line and let the weight head to the horizon. If you find you can't feel that tension eat a few more Weetbix before you head out and try putting some more energy into your cast. It may be that you are performing more of a lob than a cast and not loading the rod up as much as you should.
Thirdly, get the timing of your release right. Aim to stop your cast a little past vertical because it's at this point that the tension of your rod is at its greatest and releasing the line then will get a greater result. If you release too early the sinker will go higher than it will further, if you release too late the sinker will go low and gravity will push it down quicker.
So these are a few factors that may offer a starting point for getting more distance out of your casts. Keep in mind that distance doesn't necessarily equal bigger and / or better fish - reading a beach correctly and placing your bait or lure in the right spot is one aspect that will have a large influence on this - but there are times when distance is needed and casting ability is one area that all land-based fishermen need in their arsenal.
Written by Ben Derecki for Seabreeze