How to Cast a Fishing Rod

By Richard | Fishing Advice

how to cast a fishing rod
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You may have spent a considerable amount of time looking for your first fishing kit and finally settling on a beautiful carbon fiber rod. You may have also visited your local Tackle Store and bought some great setup and bait.

You have taken all of this and are standing on the side of a breath-taking river bank, lake, or seashore, but alas, you have no clue what to actually do with all of this and how to successfully use it to catch the fish.

Hence, it is essential that you know how to cast a fishing rod. Casting out appears to be quite easy when you see an expert doing it. However, when you do it yourself, it’s a whole different story and a rather unhappy one. To ensure that you avoid this at all costs, we will be talking about the right way to cast a fishing rod below.

The Right Body Position

Before we even talk about the correct way to use a fishing rod, it is essential that every new angler must understand the correct body position when fishing. This ensures your success and your safety at the same time.

Step 1: Always begin with your feet and shoulders square to the target. You can accomplish this by simply pointing the toes of your feet towards the target area.

Step 2: After you have done that, toss a ping pong ball or a tennis ball overhand (the similar action you would use to throw a dart) a couple of feet away for accuracy.

Additionally, you could also practice good accuracy by tossing in the direction of the target.

Step 3: Throughout the process, ensure that you are keeping your shoulder square. This is a necessary body and arm action you need to have for accurate casting. The release of the tennis ball is at a similar position as the thumb releasing when you cast.

How to Cast a Fishing Rod

Knowing the right way to cast a fishing rod is the most important skill there is in angling, and this could very well be the difference between finding the fish or only blanking. There are often times when there will be a slight flick into the margins, and this is all that’s necessary.

Then, there are times where you will have to cast at longer ranges, which would be more than 100 yards, in order to get in front of the fish without scaring them away. This also applies to beach casting. This is the technique in which you will need to throw the tackle at a considerable distance in order to get yourself the ideal fishing spot. If you are lure or spin fishing from a boat, you may end up finding yourself casting all day long.

When it comes to fishing, the positioning of the rod is extremely important in order to get it right in front of the hungry fish. How do you do this correctly? There are a couple of techniques, and the method you use depends on the kind of fishing you choose to do.

In most cases, the fishing rod will be of two types. It can either be a casting rod or a spinning rod. These tend to look very similar, but they have different uses, properties, and setups. Most important of all is that these tend to have a very different reel that will need different hand actions in order to cast the fishing rod.

Casting With Bait-Caster Reels

Bait-casting refers to a fishing technique that involves the use of an associated tackle, which originated as early as the 1800s. Its name is derived from its purpose, which is to cast live bait. Bait-casting reels today utilize a revolving spool reel in order to cast live baits and artificial lures.

Basically, the weight of the bait or the lure will pull the line from the spool until it reaches its intended casting target. The main objective here is to offer a more tempting bait or lure to the fish from a further distance.

how to cast a fishing rod

Bait-casting tends to be quite similar to other casting techniques; it differs mainly from the methods used along with its purpose. This is considered to be a unique style of fishing and is quite distinct, too.

You will normally find anglers opting for this style of casting when they are fishing in freshwater with mostly large-sized species, such as the largemouth bass, Northern pike, and catfish. Bait-casting tackles tend to be well suited to saltwater species, too, such as the snook and tarpon.

Why You Should Learn to Cast With Bait-Caster Reel

If you are a beginner or only have some experience with spin casting, you may wonder why you should even bother to learn the bait-casting technique. One of the main strengths of this technique is that it will allow you a higher degree of accuracy.

Of course, it goes without saying that this type of casting technique is considerably harder than the other. This means that it will require a much higher level of skill to achieve the desired results. However, learning and mastering this technique will definitely make you a better angler and a complete fisherman.

Here are some expert tips to keep in mind to help you do this correctly:

  • Always start by holding down the rod at about the level of your waist. Grasp it so that the reel remains above the rod. Your thumb should naturally fall onto the bottom of the spool. The lure or the bait must hang about eight to 10 inches below the rod’s tip.
  • Now, you can push the button that puts the reel in the free spool while you are holding your thumb against the spool to prevent it from getting unwound.
  • Next, pull the fishing rod back so that its tip will sweep over your dominant shoulder. Thereafter, swiftly bring it forward and point the tip of the rod at your target.
  • Once you feel the rod coming forward over your shoulder, take off your thumb from the spool so that the bait pulls the line from its reel.
  • Once again, place your thumb down on the spool as the bait splashes into the water. Reel one or two times in order to engage the rod’s anti-reverse. With that, you are now ready to fish.

Casting With Spinning Reels

Casting with a spinning reel is something you will find most new anglers doing, as the entire spinning setup is fairly easier to understand and master. This is especially true if you are new to fishing. This is because the general position of the reel tends to be much easier to handle and also a bit more intuitive.

If you wish to master casting using spinning reels, here are some reliable advice from seasoned anglers:

Step 1

Always begin with taking the spinning rod in your dominant hand. The rod’s reel will hang under the rod blank. Ensure that you are gripping the rod.

Your hands should clasp around the reel’s stem between your ring finger and middle finger. This ensures that you have two fingers placed on both sides of the stem. Your thumb should arch over the top of the fishing rod and onto the handle grip at the front. This ensures you have a comfortable grip.

Step 2

Make sure that you have the right amount of line from the rod’s tip to the rod or the tackle that you are going to use. It is highly recommended that this should be about six to 11 inches from the rod’s tip to the rig. You may do this by backwinding or reeling it in to have the right length.

Step 3

With the help of your forefinger, you will need to reach downwards to the fishing line that runs from the bail arm of your reel towards the line ring. This should be the first one. Now, pull the line with the help of your finger so that it touches the rod and forms a stop.

Step 4

You can now open the spinning reel’s bale alarm, which will allow the fishing line to move off of the spool more freely. Do not be afraid that this will just completely go off; you still have your finger placed on your fishing line and pressed against it. By doing so, you make sure that you are not letting the line continue to fall out.

Step 5

Take the rod and aim it at the spot you plan on hitting. Then, very carefully, in a calm motion, use the bend in the elbow and bring up the rod vertically.

Step 6

Thereafter, allow the rod to move behind you at about a 25-degree angle. Have your other hand on the bottom part of the handle for additional support and control. Once you allow the rod to remain steady on the line, it will flex on the rod’s tip to show that the rod has been loaded.

Step 7

In a forceful but smooth motion, you will have to whip the rod towards the front in the same direction as the target. Once the rod reaches about 50 degrees, you will need to remove your finger from the line, allowing the tackle to get deployed.

This takes some time to understand properly, so make sure you are practicing this a couple of times in order to get the feel for different power and weight that is necessary to reach the distance.

Step 8

Once your bait has entered the water and completely settled, you will need to shut the bail arm in order to properly secure the line on the reel and then have it wound in a forward motion, which retrieves it onto the reel to tighten the connection up between the tackle and the rod.

Expert Spinning Reel Casting Tips

You may think that all of this is a simple process, but, in reality, it needs a fair amount of practice to get it right. Nevertheless, after getting the hang of casting a spinning reel, this whole process will become very simple to you. In fact, you will be quite amazed at how accurately your casting becomes.

Here are trusted reminders from the experts:

  • If you end up releasing your finger a bit too early from the line, your tackle will indeed go high up in the sky but will certainly travel barely any distance. On the other hand, if you do end up leaving your finger on the line a bit too long, it will make a massive crash just about three feet ahead of you.
  • A useful tip when you are fishing close into the margins of a lake or river is to keep practicing to understand the casting method.
  • When you fish close to the margins, you will not need the distance that is necessary from the overhead casting method. Instead, you just need to make sure that there is ample line that is hanging from the rod tip so that it can be held in your other hand.
  • Let go of the bail arm and hold the fishing line as mentioned in the above example. Raise your fishing rod so that it points vertically up in the air and then swing the tackle from the rod tip in the direction of the area of your choice. While doing so, release your finger from the fishing line when it reaches about 50 degrees.


The very first step in becoming an expert angler is by learning how to cast a fishing rod. We have talked about the two most common and effective techniques in detail above. While one of the two is easier, it is essential that you also learn to cast with a bait-caster reel.

Learning to do so will ensure that you can throw the bait or lure at a farther distance correctly and yet be able to catch the fish you desire successfully. Most important of all, learning how to cast with a bait-caster reel will ensure that you have truly become an expert angler. For more product reviews and fishing-related information, we recommend bookmarking us!

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