Going long!

Long casts aren’t just for showing off, but can help you maximize catching opportunities

James Hall

Yearning for the 100-yard cast?

Yeah, me, too. But I’m not holding my breath.

There are times, though, when if you could only reach out a few more yards ...

According to a lot of great anglers, extending your range 10 to 15 yards is very doable for most of us. Casts out to 50, 55 or even 60 yards are in the ballpark if we gear up and get the mechanics of the cast just right, these pros tell us.

Your actual average casting distance may surprise you; most of us overestimate our range. Walk out in the backyard right now with your favorite rig and lure — odds are you’ll find that 45 measured yards is a long cast for you. So if you’re an “average” caster, you can add as much as 15 yards to your casts with the right gear and the right tactics.

Is it worth going after that extra distance?

Sometimes, you bet it is.

“When you’re throwing a big topwater on the points in clear, calm water during the blueback herring bite, getting that lure way out away from the boat can be the whole story,” says Elite Series pro Casey Ashley of South Carolina.

“With deep crankbaits, if you’re not getting them way out there, you’re not getting them down to where the fish are on the retrieve,” says Elite Series pro Grant Goldbeck. “The farther you can throw, the deeper you can fish them.”

“Prespawn and postspawn, when the fish are still on shallow flats leading to or from the spawning areas, making long throws can really help you connect without spooking them,” says Elite Series pro Stephen Browning of Arkansas.

But what are the secrets? When do you need to go long, and how is it that some guys can consistently reach way out there and touch distant fish? Here are a few tips.

CRANKBAITING: 8-0 parabolic, 10-lb. Fluoro

The long cast in crankbaiting is all about getting the lure to its maximum depth and keeping it there — the farther you can put it from the boat, the deeper it will run.

And, since you don’t have to “work” a crankbait much with the rod, you can take advantage of extra length in your sticks to really reach out there.

“Adding length and power to a rod is like adding draw-weight to a bow,” says Paul Davis, associate brand manager for Abu Garcia. “You get more lure speed and potentially more distance.”

The ultimate crankbait stick these days, most pros agree, is between 7-5 and 8-0, medium-heavy action with a medium tip — a combo that creates a more-or-less “soft” or parabolic action that works well both for distance and for providing a bit of “give” when a lunker tries to shake the hooks. Most crankbaiters fish fluorocarbon line because it sinks, making it easier to keep a lure deep than with mono or braid. And the thinner the line, the better, both for distance in the cast and for reduced water resistance, allowing a deeper dive.