Angler's Mail magazine's regular carp fishing contributor Colin Davidson serves up these top notch casting tips, to help YOU cast further...
Most carpers know the frustration of not being able to land a rig quite far enough – whether dropping irritatingly short of a distant island margin or far bank, or not being able to get a rig amongst carp showing well out.
Casting is something we teach ourselves, and given that most of us are never taught the basic principles it’s no surprise that ability varies drastically.
Advances in carbon rods, supple, strong and lower diameter reel lines, bigger reels with impeccable line lay and excellent terminal tackle allow us to fish greater distances more easily than ever.
On the other hand most still live in cuckoo land, talking about chucks of 150 yards when they’d be lucky to be hitting a ton.
100-plus yards… the right way
Long casting (or just talking about it…) doesn’t make you a hero, it’s all about the end result. Belting leads to the horizon is of no value if you aren’t catching and would be catching more sat quietly with baits one yard out.
What most of us need is to be able to fish further on the odd occasion it is required.
You should be able to fish effectively, and safely at 100 yards and more. Good casters with standard tackle can hit 100 yards with a quality 12 lb main line straight through, but the sheer number of cracked off rigs that I come across leaves me convinced that we need to think about carp and angler safety much more keenly.
With the benefit of reasonable technique and the added security of a knotless tapered leader line, it allows me to fish PVA bags at 100 yards and more – measured against the line clip.
Your arms govern how effectively you compress the blank. If you are bursting blood vessels to get leads out and groaning like a shot putter, the rod isn’t being worked properly, the effort is coming from you.
Your left arm gripping the butt of the blank should be straight and extended, the right arm bent at the elbow so the reel is directly above your head. Being cack handed my arms are the other way around in the picture, but I accept you righties are in the majority and caption it accordingly. Professional to the end!
Essential carp kit and tip for casting further
With the tips that follow, most should be able to fish bags at these ranges without considering new kit, and most importantly of all, SAFELY.
Long casting is about technique and a fortune on high test curve carbon won’t necessarily help. Years back the Mail sent me out to trial distance rods, varying from £100 to three times that. Give or take five yards I cast the same distance with them all (measured 150-160 yards) because that is what my ability allowed me to do.
Good technique and reasonable tackle casts further than specialist kit with less ability. Your ability is the factor limiting distance, not tackle.
Smaller free-spool style reels will cast a long way in the right hands, but big pits with good line lay result in less line twist and retrieve rigs quicker. I dislike beach size reels, preferring a mid-size with a relatively big spool.
I use 12 ft 2.75 lb rods for pretty well everything, which allow you to fish at 100-120 yards with correct tackle and technique. Stepping up to 3 lb test 12-footers usually gives you a tool with more emphasis on casting, but is only worthwhile if you tackle larger venues regularly. But 50 mm ringing won’t help as much as good technique.
Many waters ban shockleaders, a move I support for carp safety. Tapered mainlines, from several top manufacturers, avoid the need for using a knot which could decrease the rigs safety, with the peace of mind that you are much less likely to crack off on the cast.
For distance work spool with, for example, the Tapered Leader Line that was made by ACE, sees its leader section run from 25 into 10 lb main line or 30 lb to 12 lb. The thicker leader length prevents crack-offs but there’s no knot behind the end tackle to compromise rig safety.
If you want extra distance without the worry of a leader, please take this knotless alternative. Choose the 10-25 lb version for maximum range, the 30-12 lb giving security of a standard main line for durability with the casting peace of mind of the stronger leader.
A lubricant liquid squirted on the spool, allows it to disappear from the reel and through the rings with reduced friction.
At £7 per bottle it’s cheaper than new rods and improves life of your line and abrasion resistance into the bargain.It encourages line to float so you’ll take a few seconds more to sink your reel line but it makes a significant difference to distances you achieve.
You’d be surprised how some bombs tumble or wobble in flight. The only choice for maximum distance is a streamlined distance pear lead. These pointed, bullet shaped bombs (below) cast noticeably better than any other design.
Slender bombs offer reduced bolt effect when a carp tightens a link, but if you can’t get the hook bait in front of fish you aren’t catching anyway. It’s always a trade off, with getting a bait in front of carp the most important factor.
With tapered leader line I avoid leadcore – perversely the high diameter of the leader line results in a bulky knot, which is a potential danger. Snip the swivel from a distance lead or shroud it in a silicone sleeve to prevent tangling around the lead. A quick change ring swivel and rig sleeve allows instant replacement of rigs.
A hook bait plus a pinch of pellets is more attractive than a hook bait alone. The resistance of a bag costs you distance, but eliminates tangles even with long hairs.
Keep bags as small as you can, marble size is enough, or distance really suffers. If you can’t reach with a bag, drop it and use a length of tubing behind the clip and fish hook bait only.
With the bomb tied to the end of the line helicopters fly brilliantly. For helicopters and big chucks use tubing not leadcore, because of the implications of a bulky knot tying the higher diameter leader section of line to leadcore.
Tubing is safer – in event of a crack off, a tubing rig falls apart leaving the carp just trailing a short link.
Helicopter rigs at any range cannot be used with cobweb bags. They are a hook bait only end tackle.
Casting tips to help you launch the BIG chuck
- Casting stance is important for smooth, effective compression of a blank. Put your weight on your rear leg, and point your front foot in the direction you want the end tackle to land.
- Lean your body weight directly over your back leg, and keep the rod above your head so the lead is just off the floor on a drop of around five feet. Check the bale arm is open and locked in position, and the line free to move not wrapped around the rod tip.
- Shift your body weight forwards on to the front foot and, at the same time, push your right hand directly upwards and pull the butt grip into your chest and collar bone. Keep looking high rather than at the water.
- You’ll know you’re getting it right when you feel much more pressure than usual on your casting finger as the rod is being compressed beyond what you are used to. Keep the rod tip up as the rig is in flight to minimise resistance.
- The further and harder you’re casting the more extreme the forces on the hook length and bait which means increased chances of a tangle. Avoid braided links completely, it’s too big a gamble they won’t end up in a ball.
- Coated combi-links, stiff links and fluoro or mono links are the best choice, their stiffness helping ensure you are fishing effectively when a lead touches down. Shorter links also cast further.
- The ultimate long casting rig is the chod rig, impossible to tangle, short and super stiff. But use it only when there is no leadcore or shockleader knot.
- Resist the urge to feather line from the spool as you would normally, just let the rig go so you don’t cost yourself distance, only trapping the line as the lead hits water so you can feel the drop of the lead as it touches down.
- There will be a much bigger bow in the line, especially with any wind. It can take several minutes but the line needs to be sunk at the rod tip and the bow teased from the line by gently drawing the rod tip in the opposite direction and taking up the slack.
And now get set for some carp action…
The further out you fish the more delayed your indication, line being strung through 100 yards of water, weed, undertow and across obstacles.
Bobbins need to be fished clipped up and fitted with additional drag weights. Distance work is no place for slack lines. The best indication is when bobbins hang on a natural drop.
With running lead clip end tackles you should get line tighteners or spool spinners, but bobbins hanging on a short drop remain the best choice.
I HOPE THIS HELPS… AND GOOD LUCK!
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