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  Tackle Talk  Rods & Reels


Fixed Spool Casting

The first thing to learn about casting a spool reel is how to hold the rod and line at the same time. This usually applies to outfits light enough to hold in one hand. Two hands are definitely required to cast when surf fishing.

The following step-by-step points highlight how to do a proper cast.

  • Pick up the rod and reel and hold with the index finger, the only finger in front of the reel stem.
  • Hang the line on the index finger in front of the reel stem.
  • Open the Bail Arm.
  • Straighten your arm out in front of you and then, while never taking your eyes of the bait, slowly swing the rod around sideways until it is behind you and you are still looking at the bait.
  • With a straight arm, swing the rod over your head for the cast.

There are two important things you must never do when casting with a spinning reel. The first is to close up the forefinger so that you are holding the line against the rod. This finger should just act as a hook with the line running over the ball of the finger as the bait is cast out into the sea. During the casting action, the line will automatically pull itself off the finger at the right moment.

The second thing not to do is to take your eyes off the bait and look towards where you are going to cast. If you swing it straight over your head, it should go where you want it to go. It is more important to keep looking at the bait, so that you don't get caught up with someone else's rod, a tree branch, a small child, or in my case, my wife !!

Overhead Spool Casting

Experienced anglers often lick their lips at the sight of a brand new rod and overhead reel. They take it from you, lay into a cast and send out a beauty of a cast. The rod is then handed back with the only comment being "Nice !" But that's no help to the beginner who'll make a dog's breakfast of it if he tries the same thing.

Many a times have I had a "bird's nest" from not regulating the drag that can be applied to a free spooling reel. A Bird's Nest occurs when the speed of the line thru the eyes of your rod is less than the speed of the line that is spooling off your reel. If your wondering why its called a "Bird's Nest", have a look at it when it occurs, you'll curse yourselves and see the resemblance of a Bird's Nest !

The first and most important step in getting to know your overhead reel is to slow down your new reel from spooling too fast so that you learn "spool control", which is one of the basics required in learning overhead reel casting.

Modern overhead reels have various spool speed controls to assist the beginner. The greatest innovation in this department has been the magnetic braking system. While it does restrict casting distance, it also slows down the spool to a more controllable speed.

If your reel has a centrifugal brake, you should fit the largest set of brake blocks and wipe any oil from the circular rim of the brake system. Brake blocks work with greater efficiency when they are dry. Wipe all surplus oil from inside the reel while you have it apart. Be wary, when oiling, most beginners tend to over oil. All you need is one or two drops in each bearing.

When spooling on new line onto your reel for your first casting efforts, forget the usual advice about filling the spool almost to the rim. This might be okay for an experienced caster, but it can cause heaps of trouble for the beginner. Most new casters do better in the initial learning stages with a spool filled to about 80% capacity.

To practice, don't bother with rigs, hooks or bait for your first casting efforts. A sinker of a suitable weight for your outfit is all you need. The beginner caster should now be prepared to put a moderate effort into the casting action that will give casts in the 60 - 70m range. This is definitely a period where great self control is required. The caster must concentrate on spool control at all times and resist the temptation to cast long distances.

While practicing, keep in mind that you should not even attempt to cast from rocks till you have reached a safe, comfortable and confident level in using your overhead reel. A quiet spot on the beach is a much better place to get started, or if you have 5 acres of land like I do, you can enjoy the comforts of practicing your casts from the back door of your home !!

When casting for the first time with spinners or a baited rig, remember to keep the large brake blocks in the reel. At this stage, the beginner will find that with many reels, light thumb pressure is needed to control the spool during the cast. Small, compact baits such as beach worms are easier to cast than large fish bait which cause problems due to the increased air resistance offered by the bait shape.

One should also note that with overhead reels come overhead rods. The advantage of an overhead rod is the increased number of eyes that these rods have, in allowing the line to pass thru the eyes more quickly and efficiently, hence increasing the range in casting distances that overheads have to offer. In standard rods, the line tends to "bounce and wave" from eye to eye as it is spooled off the reel. By having more eyes on your rod, this reduces the friction and "bounce" of the line against the eyes.

Should a backlash occur, don't worry ! They are a fact of life and even the experienced caster contends with them on infrequent occasions.

Shown to the left is a picture of an Abu Garcia 6000c, the same type of reel I use for boat and jetty fishing. This reel, with 4 to 7 kg line and a 5' 6" ugly stick ( as I have ) or a Power Tip, is a very powerful combination, which will bring hours of joy in just using it, let alone catching fish with it !

It might pay you to visit the Abu Garcia Web Site, firstly to see what type of reels are available, reading their specifications, and maybe buying yourself a rig. When shopping, haggle with the Tackle Stores, and don't except the retail price or first price that they offer. I haggled, and it worked for me !

To the right, is my Silstar Bait-Runner. I generally use this reel when fishing for either Mulloway or Aussie Salmon. This reel compliments my 2 piece 14 ft rod "The Boss", and I have had many joys with this rig. There are some other great reel sites, such as Daiwa and Silstar. Silstar has also another site here. By having a look and seeing what they have to offer, this will help you select a reel that suits you the most, and that suits the fishing conditions that you wish to experience.

On a final note, I must give thanks to Chinook, as it was his tutelage and advice that helped me to familiarise myself and use overhead reels. Seeing Chinook use an overhead reel and being able to see the accuracy and distances that can be achieved in using overheads swayed me over from the normal "Egg Beaters", to Overheads. Hey, but don't get me wrong, I still use my Silstar and Daiwa egg beaters !

For additional information on casting, you may wish to peruse the following articles.

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