Thoughts of a Casting Instructor (part 1)
I have been part of the sea angler magazine casting scheme for over 20 years and have made loads of friends and contacts during that time . I have seen all types of casting styles and although not being a massive caster by modern day standards I like to think of myself as a fishing caster and even at my age could put a bait 150 yds in good conditions with a nice relaxed style if need be. I thought I would share an insight on how I like to run a session and perhaps highlight some common mistakes anglers make with their casting.
Most anglers contact me through the website or by word of mouth and I like to talk to the angler before we meet and discuss what stage their casting is at and what equipment they are using and what they want to achieve from the session. We then arrange to meet on my local beach so we can take a look at their style in a real fishing situation as after all that is were he will be using his new found skills, hopefully!
First item on the beach when we meet is a health and safety briefing to make the angler aware of the dangers around him to himself and the public. Next we look at his equipment I suppose the split in reels is perhaps 60/40 in favour of fixed spool reels and to be fair its a lot easier to teach using a FS reel.
Another check I do is the placement of the reel on the rod as a lot of anglers have the reel placed to high on the butt which means they are over stretching. Also many anglers turn up with either their FS reels under-filled with heavy line or multipliers with too much line on them both cause problems. Quite often we have to re spool or I do carry a few reels as spares.
Most rods these days are fit for purpose whether they cost £50 or £500 they can all put a bait far enough to catch fish.
So once I am happy with the set up then we start to look at the anglers style. I would ask him to show me how he casts Im not interested in how far it goes I want see how he gets there! so I can check his stance, head, position and arm position. Another thing I notice with a lot of anglers is their choice of sinker many use 6 and even 7oz of lead on a short drop and thrash over head. I believe this is because its the only way they think they can bend the rod and get some distance which in most cases is 60 to 80 yds.
However I also see a lot of more experenced anglers who have good styles but basic errors have crept in. Most relevant of these being the speed of the cast or trying to smash the rod or perhaps the most common not using their left (or bottom hand) in the cast. So with the beginner its a case of rebuilding a new style which makes the rod work and for the experienced angler a bit of tinkering with already good sound style.
In Part 2 I will explain how I would attempt to change a beginners overhead thrash into something more relaxed and help him gain more distance.