Hooked on Rapala. This snakehead has been previously caught before. After the photography session, it is released again to grow some more! This time it bit a suspending lure when retrieved after a long pause.
Casting accuracy is not just an integral part of successful lure fishing but also fishing in general. Being able to cast accurately and quickly increases our chances of catching fish by being able to present our bait where the fish is.
Where are the fish?
In summary, fish will seek one or all three of these elements as a choice location, food, shelter and oxygen. So identifying locations that offers these requirements is the logical spots to place our bait.
These fish holding spots are usually some form of structures such as snags i.e. tree stumps, sand bars, half-submerged tree branches, water inlets and so on. Depending on target species, another spot fish likes to hangout at are edges of ponds and rivers. These features in the water also offer shelter from larger predators as well as acting as excellent ambush points for food.
Casting accuracy also greatly increases the chance of putting fish on the end of the line when fishing for Snakehead fish. The Snakehead fish species e.g.: Toman (Giant Snakehead) and Haruan (Striped Snakehead) surfaces for a gulp of air about every 15 minutes and the ability to put a bait in anticipation of the fishes direction of swim greatly improves our chances of catching one. The other scenario is when casting to a tightly packed school of surfacing snakehead fry, as the fiercely guarding parent won’t be far away. This is a particularly popular style of Toman fishing in Thailand.
Another scenario where good casting accuracy comes in handy is when predatory fish are actively feeding on the surface. Also known as feeding frenzies where a pack of bigger fish pushes a school of baitfish to the surface causing the water to boil. At other times only one or two predators may be chasing a few smaller fish. A quick accurate cast that places your lure at the scene of the melee is usually rewarded with an explosive strike.
How to improve your casting accuracy
There is no shortcut to improving accuracy other than to go fishing, often! Though practice and more practice is the most important factor to improve our casting accuracy, it is not the only way. Other element such as appropriate equipment makes it easier.
I could say that I can cast pretty well given a spinning or casting setup but having recently started fly-fishing and knowing the importance of casting, I am practically fly-casting almost on a daily basis.
Match your fishing tackle correctly. Use a fishing rod that matches the line poundage. The line weight the rod is made for is always imprinted on the rod.
Braided line offers smoother casting though some seasoned anglers still prefer monofilament lines. Remember to tie on a mono or fluorocarbon leader to attach the lure if using braided main lines.
Do not neglect your fishing gear. Ensure that the rod, rod guides, reel and even fishing line is well maintained and cleaned when necessary.
Keep eyes focused on the target area to cast to, not on the lure itself. Start with a gentler cast and adjust speed and stroke to achieve correct distance. Whether casting with fly gear, spinning or baitcaster, learn to cast from roughly a 2 o’clock to 10 o’clock stop position. Begin the cast/stroke smoothly and accelerate to a stop. Use the index finger to control line speed on a spinning reel and thumb on a baitcaster.
Losing parts of our terminal tackle and lures are part and parcel of lure casting. Do not be afraid of getting snagged. That is how we will force ourselves to improve on the next cast. If you keep holding back on the cast for fear of losing that expensive lure, there will be two outcomes. One, the lure will not land where the fish is most likely to be and two, you will take a much longer time to improve on your accuracy.
Spending on less expensive lures when you are just starting out is one way to discard this fear.
The quicker we master the art of casting accuracy, the more well placed lures, baits or flies we will make and the more we’ll be rewarded for our efforts. And isn’t that the main purpose of sport fishing?
Baitcasting or overhead reels generally provide more control to the angler over spinning reels, which helps with accuracy. But there are anglers that can flick a spinning setup like it’s an extension of their anatomy!
So go out and practice casting. It’s a great excuse to spend more time fishing! Don’t forget to catch and release for endless fishing fun.