How to Cast Far with a Fishing Rod

Image of brook trout caught with a spoon

Catching fish depends on your ability to cast a fishing line accurately. These tips will help you cast more accurately, cast a fishing line further.  Learning how to cast is not all about technique. It’s also about your equipment and a few changes to what you cast.

How to Cast a Fishing Lure or Bait Further

These are the five main reasons why you can’t get your bait out far enough.  Focus on these five issues and you will improve your casting distance.

  1. Lure or Sinker Weight
  2. Line diameter
  3. Wind resistance of lure, bait, sinker
  4. Fishing pole is too short
  5. Fishing pole has the wrong action and flexes too much or not enough

Lure or Sinker Weight and Casting Distance

This one is not always obvious. There are times when casting a light weight lure is appropriate, like in shallow situations from a boat or a small creek or river. There’s no need for distance in that application where a small and lightweight lure is the best choice.

When casting in a lake, reservoir or larger pond, you’re going to sometimes need to cast for distance. In these situations you will need to upsize your lures.  For freshwater that means upsizing to at least a lure that is at least a 1/4 ounce in weight.

There are some situations where you can go as high as a half ounce, especially when you’re fighting a wind in your face. But for freshwater I rarely exceed a quarter ounce for lures.

For a sinker I will exceed a 1/4 ounce if I need distance and will go as high as 5/8 of an ounce if necessary. If you’re facing extreme winds, you may need to use a higher weight, but you’ll also have to upgrade to a stouter rod in order to cast that heavier weight effectively.

Line Diameter Affects How Far You Can Cast

The most common mistake I see is using a line that is too thick. For typical freshwater situations you can get away with using six pound test mono fishing line. The thicker your fishing line the shorter your casting distance will be.

Always use as thin a fishing line as you can manage. Use a fishing line pound test that is appropriate for your fishing reel and rod.

I like to fish with two pound to four pound test in ponds and creeks on days when there is no wind and the water is clear.

Two pound test (and to a lesser extent four pound test) fishing line becomes unmanageable in a wind. The wind will stop the fishing line and literally float it in the air like a wisp of spider web. LOL, talk about a poor cast! 🙂

For most freshwater fishing applications, six pound test fishing line is the best all around choice. I caught a hard fighting 24 four inch trout with six pound test. My daughter caught a four pound largemouth bass with six pound test mono when she was eight years old.

The only time you’ll need a higher pound test fishing line is if you’re fishing for salmon, steelhead trout, deep water lake trout (actually a char) or trophy sized bass.  Yet I know anglers who catch those species with fishing line as low as four pound test line.

Six pound test mono is stronger than you think because of the way in interacts with your fishing pole and the drag rating you set. There is rarely a need to go higher than six pound test fishing line in freshwater. And it casts beautifully!

Improve Casting Distance with Better Lures

This is a factor that is important to consider. Some lures, because of their shape or materials, have a limit to how far they’ll cast.  For example, Rapala’s classic floating minnow lure is a poor casting lure. Rapala’s famous floating minnow casts like a potato chip.

I can still remember the first time I cast a Rapala floating minnow lure. It practically landed at my feet.  It left me thinking, “What the heck?!”  To this day I never use a Rapala floating lure unless I’m trolling it from a boat.

So if you’re casting minnow shaped lures and can’t get them to cast far, don’t feel bad. As fan boys like to say about their beloved products, “That’s a feature not a bug.”

That said, there are some minnow shaped lures that do cast farther. Not far, but farther.  Dynamic Lures HD Trout lures cast reasonably well. The reason it does is because it is fairly small and compact. The hooks are smaller, too. This gives it the ability to punch through the air like a bullet and cast further than heavier lures that are larger.

Examples of minnow shaped lures and jerkbaits that can cast further:

  • Rapala Husky Jerk
  • Lucky Craft Pointer SP
  • Dynamic Lures HD Trout
  • Yo-Zuri Mag Minnow Lures
  • Spro McStick
  • Luck-E-Strike Rick Clunn RC Jerkbait

The above lures are examples of lures that can cast further. You will never find a plastic jerkbait that can cast far. Only further. Those lures cast far because of their weight, the shape of the lure and the sizes of their hooks relative to the bait. The hook size can affect how far a lure casts.

Fishing Spoons Cast the Furthest

There’s no getting around it. If you need to reach fish that are far away, then you must use a fishing spoon. Kastmaster spoons and spoons that look like them are the best for distance. Thomas Buoyant spoons come a close second.

Sometimes trout and other species prefer one over another. My preference is for Thomas Buoyant spoons because it attracts a wide range of species, from brown trout, brook trout, rainbow trout and various bass and blue gills. Thomas Buoyant spoons have a wide left to right motion that fish love to smash!

Kastmasters work well for rainbow trout. They have a tight wiggle that fish like. If I need to squeeze that extra distance and be able to cast with accuracy, the choice is clear, Kastmaster. But usually you’ll find me fishing with Thomas Buoyant lures, that’s just my preference.

Choose Weights that Cut Down on Wind Resistance

Many states are adopting laws prohibiting the use of lead sinkers. Replacement sinkers are made of brass, steel and tungsten.

Unfortunately, steel and brass are less massive than lead. That means that in order to make a sinker that weighs 1/4 ounce, the steel and brass sinkers are going to be larger. And the larger a sinker is the more air resistance it’s going to receive and it’ll cast less far.

That means steel and brass sinkers have to be heavier in order to reach a certain distance. Bigger sinkers is not good because they encounter more wind resistance.

Steel and brass sinkers created in the shape of a bullet will cast a little further.  So if you’re going to buy a brass or steel sinker, choose a bullet shape as it will cast further than a round shaped sinker.

If you want to have ultimate casting distance, the best choice is Tungsten. Unfortunately tungsten sinkers are expensive. But if you’re not going to be casting into snag-prone waters, then the extra expense is worth it because you will be able to cast further even than lead.

Casting Far May Not Improve Fishing

The downside of casting far is that this doesn’t necessarily result in more fish.

Fly fishing legend Gary LaFontaine kept a fishing log of how many fish he caught on any particular day, including where he caught them, the date and the weather. Reviewing how many fish he caught in a particular year he noticed that he was catching less and less fish than he used to. What changed?

The answer was that his casting had become better. Before he learned how to cast for distance, he used to creep around and cast to fish that were within twenty feet from him. That technique caught him more fish than casting far. Why did that happen?

The answer was that there were just as many fish close by as there were further away. But more importantly, casting close by allowed him to control his lure better and to feel the strike more accurately and respond faster.

Trout often are swimming closer than you may realize. The reason is because the water temperature may be more comfortable for them in 18 to 24 inches of water. So if you can’t cast far, don’t worry too much about it.

And if you are able to cast a far distance, don’t forget to first cast to the fish that may be closer to you. Always cast to the fish nearby then work your way outward until you find the fish.

Good luck!  🙂

Comments are welcome and don’t forget to register at our friendly Fishing Forum if you want to talk about your fishing!

 

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2 Comments on "How to Cast Far with a Fishing Rod"

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  1. John Bellis says:

    Does greater distance decrease the ability to hook the fish? I think it does, but would like to hear other opinions.

    • Roger says:

      Hi John!
      That’s a great question! Thanks for asking that. 🙂
      Catching a fish at a greater distance can increase the odds of losing.
      What causes a fish to shake off a hook (aka to come unbuttoned) is slack in the line. So when the line from your fishing pole to the fish becomes loose, that’s when the hook can slide out of the fish’s mouth.
      So as long an angler can maintain a tight line then the odds of that happening decreases. This becomes difficult when the fish turns to swim toward you.

      So many things can go wrong regardless of how close or far the fish was caught. For example, if you set the drag too tight the fishing rod or the line can break. And if the hook isn’t well set, it’s going to slip out the longer you play the fish, in which case the long distance catch is at a disadvantage but can also be an issue at a short distance.

      However, there was this one time last year when I caught a bluefish while saltwater fishing from a pier. Just as I landed it and was about to unhook it, I heard a splashing from the my left, where I had another rod in the rod holder. Unbeknownst to me, I had hooked a striped bass. Because the striped bass had swum toward me, there was no shaking of the rod or peeling off of line. Remarkably, the hook hadn’t shaken loose!

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