How to Cast a Spinning Rod Like a Pro
Casting large, heavy poppers or stickbaits long distances to spooky yellowfin tuna busting bait on the surface requires the skill of the angler and gear that’s rigged right and is up to the task. Welcome to Capt. Moe Newman’s world. The Journey South Outfitter guide, based in Venice, Louisiana, takes big-game anglers to the tuna-rich waters far offshore to break out the heavy spinning gear when the action is on top, and where any weakness in gear or deployment of it shows up quickly. To avoid that, Moe offers a few pointers, valid not just with tuna but any spinning application for big-game species.
GEAR and RIGGING
Longer rods = longer casts. That length allows a rod to load up during the cast; its release of tension helps propel a heavy lure a long distance. Moe, a Shimano pro-staffer, likes the Shimano 8-foot, 8-inch Ocea Plugger.
Quality reels are essential. This is no place for economy tackle. Big spinners should have smooth, reliable drags and plenty of max-drag power, and be geared for strength. Moe’s choice: a Shimano Stella 14000.
Heavy braid. With big-game species, light line does no favors for either angler or fish. Moe uses 80-pound braid, preferring Power Pro Maxcuatro for its super-thin quality.
Good fluorocarbon leader connected right. Moe uses AFTCO Saiko 80-pound. (Much lighter leader = lost fish but too heavy and the keen eyes of yellowfin may stay away.) She connects with a PR bobbin knot. This knot gives virtually 100% strength, but its slim profile casts easily through a rod’s guides. Watch Eric Newman tie the PR Knot and others here.
Put a split ring on the end of the leader. Moe ties on a strong split ring at the end of the fluoro leader. Then, with a pair of split-ring pliers, she can quickly and securely change out lures at any time.
Get ready to make your (backhand) cast by extending the rod behind you with rod tip/lure outside the boat.
Assume a nearly sideways stance with your left arm on the lower part of the rod butt (this assumes you’re right-handed). At the start of the cast, this is your leading arm and should point where you want the cast to go. Your left hand provides much of the force during the cast.
During the cast, your right arm (hand around the reel stem) swings up and over your left in one fluid motion as your index finger releases the line when the rod reaches the 11 o’clock position. (If you release too soon, your lure ends up going too high and not far enough; release too late and your lure loses momentum before the target area.) At the end of the follow-through swing, your right hand now points at the target area.