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Page 58

When casting, the rod should flex so it imparts power to the cast. It's not necessary to swing your casting arm behind your shoulder.

  1. When the rod is at about a 45° angle above the target, straighten your index finger to release the line.
  2. When the lure hits the target, turn the handle to close the bail and engage the reel.

The typical problem that beginners have when casting with spinning tackle is learning exactly when to straighten the index finger to release line and send the lure on its way. Most first-timers either release the line too early, sending the lure up like a bottle rocket; or release it too late, splashing it down at their feet.

If you put too much power into the cast and it appears that the lure will overshoot the target, you can slow it down by extending your index finger. The coils of line coming off the reel will slap against your finger, thus reducing speed. With some practice, you can finger a too-fast lure right to your intended target.

As when spincasting, never reel in against the drag; doing so will result in twisted line and future tangles.

One major advantage of spinning is that you can carry spare spools of line with you. Spools on most spinning

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Page 59

reels are removed in moments by either depressing a plunger-type button on the spool or by unscrewing a cap on top of the spool. This enables you to go to a stronger or lighter line on the spot, or use the same reel for light-line fishing one day and heavy-line fishing the next (as long as the lines are within the range of the rod and reel itself).

Conventional Wisdom: Baitcasting

The biggest advantage of baitcasting is its inherent accuracy. Although it is the most difficult of all rod-and-reel disciplines (barring flyfishing) to learn, baitcasting's accuracy advantage makes it the overwhelming favorite for expert fishermen where the situations and the species allow it. The basic baitcasting method is as follows:

  1. Read the instructions that come with the reel so you can locate and adjust the reel's spool brake, or anti-backlash mechanism. The brake controls the freedom of movement of the spool when the reel is in freespool mode, and is usually a knob or a dial situated on the reel housing (although its location differs from reel to reel). If you don't have the instructions, adjust the brake so that a lure tied to the end of the line drops slowly to the ground when the reel is in freespool mode, and the spool stops turning when the lure stops moving.
  2. Hold the rod with the reel on top, with about 6 inches of line hanging from the rod tip. Place your thumb firmly on the coils of line on the reel spool (see the following figure) and press the button (or bar, on some reels) that puts the reel into freespool mode.

To begin a cast place your thumb firmly on the baitcaster's spool, and keep it there.


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  1. Turn your rod hand 90° so that your knuckles are facing up, and point the rod tip at your target.
  2. Keeping your elbow at the side of your body, bend your wrist to bring the rod tip up and back over your shoulder to a point at or just past vertical.
  3. Without pausing, bring the rod forward again in a snapping motion, again bending your wrist. If you're doing it right, the upper part of the rod should bend at this point.
  4. As the rod springs forward, lift your thumb from the spool. You need to do this exactly when the lure will fly toward the target, and at its highest momentum. The lure should sail out on a fairly low and slightly curved trajectory.
  5. As the lure nears the target, place extremely light thumb pressure on the spool (feather it). Apply gradually increasing pressure as the lure gets closer and closer. Then thumb the spool to a stop when the lure lands.
  6. Turn the handle clockwise to engage the reel.

Remember that all the steps in making a cast are done in one smooth, easy motion, as shown in the following figure.

f 2 3 4

To baitcast: 1. Face the target and point your rod tip at it. 2. Lift the rod to a vertical position. 3. Snap the rod forward, simultaneously releasing your thumb from the spool. 4. Feather the line with your thumb to slow and eventually stop the lure's flight.

You won't become an accomplished baitcaster until you learn exactly when to apply thumb pressure to the spool, and how much you need to apply. The amount of anti-backlash adjustment you make, the weight of the lure, and the distance of the cast (and thus the power you put into it) are all factors that affect the cast. Practice until you get a feel for the right combination.

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