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Learn To Cast A Fishing Rod

Body Position

Casting For Beginners

How to Cast The Spincast Reel

Advanced Casting

How to Cast The Open Face Spinning Reel

How To cast The Bait Casting Reel

Don't know how to cast?
Fear not!

Using spinning or spincasting (closed faced) takes all of about 2 minutes to learn the basics.

You can also ask the clerk in the FISHING STORE, they should be able to teach you. Places like Walmart and whathaveya will probably not know a thing about casting let alone have any knowledge of the Fishing Gear they sale.

Let's start with 
Body Position

Before using a fishing rod, new anglers should understand body position and hand and arm action.

• Start with your feet and shoulders square to the target. 
This is accomplished by pointing the toes of both feet at the target area.

• Next, toss a tennis or ping pong ball overhand (action similar to throwing a dart) a few feet for accuracy. you can also practice better accuracy by tossing toward a target.
Make sure you keep your shoulders square.

This is the desired body and arm action for accurate casting. Release of the ball is at a similar position as thumb release when casting.

Now transition to fishing rods, with spincast rods recommended.

The Spincast Reel
Open Face Spinning Reel
Bait Casting Reel

Casting For Beginners

This cast is intended for spincast rods.
For spinning or baitcasting rods, see Advanced Casting below

How to Cast The Spincast Reel

When learning to cast a fishing rod for the first time, you can first practice casting in your yard by tying on a casting plug or a small non-sharp weighted object without hooks to your line, using knots that you can learn at our Fishing Knots Page.

Get a feel for the equipment . . .

Hold the rod out in front of you to get a feel for how the spincast reel works.

Reel up the line until the bobber is about four inches from the tip of the rod.

Now, press down firmly on the release button and hold it there.


Notice how the bobber stays in the same place.

Now let the release button go. The bobber should fall to the ground. 

If line does not come out, pull line slightly to start. 
Reel the line back to its original position, a few inches from the tip. 
Repeat as necessary.

You have just learned how to release the line from the reel, 
a very important step in casting.

To prevent loops that can become tangles from forming in the line, carefully add tension to the line with your thumb and forefinger while reeling in the line.
You should hear a click when you start to reel-that is the pick-up pin of the reel being activated.
Now you are all set to wind line back onto the spool of the reel.
Remember whenever you are fishing to always reel in enough line after you cast to hear that click.
This will prevent excess line from coming out of the reel, and loose line can mean missed fish.

Final Check

Place your bobber 6-12" from your rod tip and make sure your line is not wrapped around your rod.

As safety is an important habit to establish, you should check the immediate area around and above you to be sure you have plenty of space.

Before you cast, look behind you to be sure no one else is there.
Also, check for trees and bushes that can get in your way.


Face the target area with body, with your feet and shoulders square to the target. This is accomplished by pointing the toes of both feet at the target area.

Aim the rod tip toward the target, an object on the horizon with the hands comfortably at the waist. (Some youth may have difficulty holding the pole with one hand, so the rod may be held with one hand or two.)

This is the 3 o'clock position.

Press and hold down the reel's release button with your thumb. 

Swiftly and smoothly, bend your arm at the elbow, raising your hand with the rod until it almost reaches eye level. You should still be holding down the release button with your thumb at this time. When the rod is almost straight up and down, it will be bent back by the weight of the practice plug. As the rod bends, move your forearm forward with a slight wrist movement. You should still be holding down the release button with your thumb at this time.


Next, gently sweep the rod forward, causing the rod to bend with the motion. You should still be holding down the release button with your thumb at this time.

As the rod moves in front of you, reaching eye level, about the 10 o'clock position, release your thumb from the button.


The bend in the rod casts the bobber and bait out.

Stop the fishing rod with it pointed slightly above the original target.

You have just made a cast!

If the lure went high and fell short,
you released the button too soon. 
If the plug went more or less straight up, you released the thumb button too soon.

If the lure went too low and fell short, 
the button was released too late.
If the lure landed close in front of you, you released the thumb button too late.

Advanced Casting

When you are ready to advance from spincasting to spinning or baitcasting, the overhead cast is the easiest cast with which to start.
after mastering basic casting with each type of equipment, you need to vary the position of the rod for different situations.
Advanced casting can include a quick transition from 3 o’clock to 11 o’clock and back forward (constant motion) to add the rod’s “catapult” action.

How to Cast The Open Face Spinning Reel

The best way to hold a spinning reel for casting is to slide your rod hand around the reel seat, with two fingers in front of the reel stem and two fingers behind it. This gives you a good casting grip and more importantly, leaves your forefinger free to trap the line as the casting swing is made.

A suitable amount of line is allowed to hang from the rod tip (between 5 and 15 inches should do it). The first finger of the reel hand is extended down toward the spool to pick up the line ahead of the bail arm and the line is then pulled back up against the rod grip, where the finger traps it. The bail arm is opened with your other hand and the reel is now ready for casting. It's important to get this sequence right. If you open the bail arm before you trap the line, line will spill from the spool and you'll get into a mess.

With the line trapped and the bail open, swing the rod back past your shoulder and then forward again in a swift, smooth arc. This forward casting stroke should start slow, accelerate, and then finish by drifting forward so the rod points horizontally in front of you.

At the appropriate moment (while rod is still moving forward) the finger holding the line is straightened, and the casting weight is thrown forward, towing the line behind it. You need to get this release timed right though, as if you release too early in the swing, the bait will fly up into the air and land who knows where. If you release the line too late in the swing, you will know where the bait lands all right because chances are it will go into the ground or water by your feet.

A useful way to get the timing of this release right, is to swing the rod forward and as your casting arms begins to extend, point the line holding finger straight at your casting target. Most times, this will release the line at the correct moment and also direct the cast where it should go.

The technique works with short and light single-handed rods, such as you might use for trout, bass, bream and so on, and with big, heavy, two-handed rods, suitable for beach or rock-fishing. With the single-handed rod, your free hand and arm does not come into play very much, but when casting with a two-handed rod, your other hand is needed, to anchor the rod butt and provide a fulcrum for the cast. During the cast, this other hand holds the butt down and in front of your body to act as a pivot point, while the reel hand swings and pushes the rod through the casting arc.



Step 1

Casting with a Spinning Reel begins by trapping the line against the rod grip with your index finger.


Step 2

Holding the line, open the bail arm.


Step 3

The outfit is now ready for casting.





Step 4

Swing the rod in a smooth arc and release the line by pointing your finger at your chosen target.


Step 5

Casting with a double-handed rod and a large spinning reel is exactly the same procedure, except that the non-reel hand comes into play, providing a pivot point for the rod swing.



How To cast The Bait Casting Reel

Bait-casting describes a fishing technique and its associated tackle that originated in the early 1800s. It took its name from its initial purpose, which was to cast live bait. Modern bait-casting reels utilize a revolving-spool reel to cast artificial lures and live bait. Basically, the weight of the lure or bait pulls line from the spool until it reaches the intended casting target. The objective is to offer a tempting lure or bait to fish from a distance.

Bait-casting is one of four basic categories of fishing tackle. The other three are spin-casting, spinning, and fly-casting. They differ from one another in popularity, ease of use, fishing styles, spool type, and strength.

There are no great differences between the four casting techniques, with the exception of fly-casting, in which the weight of the line (not the lure) delivers a near-weightless fly. Spin-casting is probably the most popular because it is easily used by children and novices who do not want or need to spend much time learning to cast. Spin-casters are willing to sacrifice accuracy for ease of use. Spinning is also popular among beginners, though widely used by anglers at all levels of experience.

While bait-casting is similar to other casting techniques in its purpose and methods, it is a distinct and unique style of fishing. It is generally used for freshwater fishing, mostly large species like largemouth bass, catfish and northern pike. But bait-casting tackle is well suited to saltwater species such as tarpon and snook. 

Why Bait-casting?

Beginners, or anglers with only spinning or spin-casting experience, may wonder why they should bother learning the bait-casting technique. The main strength of this technique is that, when mastered, it allows for a high degree of accuracy in the placement of a bait or lure. Conversely, it is more difficult to learn than other types of casting and requires a higher level of skill to achieve desired results. But learning and mastering the technique will make the angler a more complete fisherman.

For the freshwater fisherman pursuing any species larger than small trout or panfish, bait-casting gear is considered standard equipment. This is due to the tremendous versatility of bait-casting tackle. Lures such as crankbaits (plugs), large spinners and spinnerbaits, heavy jigs, large soft plastics, topwater and other lures are fished most effectively with bait-casting gear.

Expert and serious anglers prefer bait-casting because it offers the combination of high line capacity, cranking power and greater casting accuracy from both short and long distances. The mechanics of a bait-cast reel are strong, durable and less prone to failure than spinning or spin-cast reels.

While spinning tackle definitely serves a valuable purpose, especially when using small lures, light line (10-pound test or lighter) and/or live bait, bait-casting gear gives the angler unmatched versatility for a variety of lures and fishing methods. Most experienced anglers have at least one, if not more, of both spinning and bait-casting outfits.

Casting a Bait Casting Reel

There sure is a fair amount of miss-information flowing around on baitcasters or overheads. Many fishing enthusiasts believe they are difficult to use, yet this is not really the case, because in fact they are easy to master. If you use the correct technique, and are prepared to spend a bit of time practicing so that it becomes a natural process, a baitcaster will become a dream machine to use.

A golf swing requires hours of repetitive practice to perfect. In contrast, an overhead baitcaster requires nothing like the time the golf swing needs. However, it does require a little repetitive training. For those prepared to put in the hour or two, the rewards will be fantastic and you'll find accuracy and distance with every cast. And you won't get those embarrassing line twists, or bird-nests.

To begin, hold the rod and reel tilted so that the handles are higher than the spool of the reel.
(Left handers should have the handles facing down). The reel should be cocked to one side of top dead center.

Secondly, the grip should be similar to holding a tennis racket. The "V" developed between the thumb and the index finger should be virtually at top dead center. The grip should be relaxed.

You will find that in holding the rod as described in rules 1 & 2, the index finger is all that is required to stop the rod falling to the floor. The weight, or balance of the rod will cause the butt to push up into the palm of the hand. Actually it will be pushing up into the palm area beneath the thumb known as "the mount".

And last but not least, the area between the side of your thumb and the flat of your thumb should rest across the line on the spool.
In other words, if you consider the rod to be pointing north, your thumb should be pointing more
North West 

These three rules of thumb are the basis for making overhead baitcasting a dream.

Too many angler's attempt to hold the reel in the upright position. This forces the thumb to lie straight north south, and this in turn cause a whole host of problems which are sure to result in over-runs

Upright Problems 

The first of these problems is that you have to grip the rod too firmly, and use all your fingers. If you don't, the tip of the rod will fall away to the ground.

Secondly, you will find that as you bring the rod back to cast your wrist will lock. This, in turn, will force you to use more arm action, destroying the natural action of the rod, and resulting in less distance, less accuracy and the expenditure of more energy.

Thirdly, on the forward thrust, your thumb will want to lift off the line on the spool. This will occur as a direct result of the mount of your palm and your fingers fighting to grip the rod, to stop it leaving your hand. Once your thumb cocks up in the air as a result of this wrong grip, you can guarantee a back-lash. Your thumb will never get back down on the spool quickly enough to stop it.

By rotating the reel to the side, you no longer have to hold the rod with that vice like grip. You can now relax your grip, bring your fingers into the cast, and it becomes all wrist action, with a completely relaxed forearm. The forearm in fact becomes an extension of the rod's length, pivoting at the elbow, whilst your upper arm remains relatively motionless.


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It is important that people who fish follow all fishing rules and regulations.
These rules help conserve fish populations and also help anglers be successful.
Regulations may limit the size of, number of, and season that a type of fish may be caught, and may require a license to fish. In some cases, only “catch and release” fishing is allowed, which means the fish must be let go. Some bait is illegal in certain areas.
Contact your state wildlife agency by visiting Our Rules and Regulations Page.

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