Going long!

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

Shimano’s Crucial Umbrella Rig rod is a 7-9 that adds an extra 1 1/2 inches to the handle compared with other rods of this length, with heavy action and a fast tip. The company says the heavy lower sections make long casts easy with the ungainly rigs, while the fast tip makes strong, repeated hook sets easy.

Wright & McGill’s Skeet Micro Honeycomb umbrella stick is 7-5, and 20 inches of that is the man-size handle — leverage is king when handling the rigs. It’s a fast taper designed for 15- to 40-pound-test line.

FOR SPINNING REELS ONLY

Berkley’s Nanofil line, a braid that’s slicker and far thinner than monofilament, has been widely recognized for its amazing ability to add casting distance to spinning rigs. A 10 percent increase is common over conventional mono or fluoro. The line has a “springy” quality that causes it to leap off the spool on the cast, reducing drag to near zero, plus the amazing slipperiness allows it to glide through the guides without slowing even the lightest of lures. The line is pricey, and too thin for use on baitcasters, but for spinning applications where maximum distance is key, it’s hard to beat.

TIPS FROM A WORLD-CHAMPION CASTER

Steve Rajeff, director of engineering for G.Loomis Rods, who has won the American Casting Association All-Around Distance Competition 38 consecutive times and the world championship 13 times, once made a throw of 518 feet using a 6-foot baitcasting rig firing a 5/8-ounce weight! Though distance casting gear varies significantly from bassing gear, Rajeff offers these tips that should be of use to all of us.

Longer rods equal longer casts.“I use a 13-footer in some of my competitions — obviously too long for a bass boat, but in general, the longer rod you can handle, the easier it will be to get more distance.”

Thin lines cast farther.“The diameter definitely makes a difference,” Rajeff says. “If you’re crankbaiting or throwing an umbrella rig, you might want heavier line to avoid losing lures, but thinner line does cast farther.”

Lure shape has an impact.“Some swimbaits and crankbaits are as aerodynamic as a tennis shoe. Choose lures weighted toward the tail and as streamlined as possible for long-cast situations.”

Keep reels clean but not over-oiled. “You obviously don’t want any dirt in your reel, but be sparing with a very thin grade of oil on any parts involved in the cast; oil can be ‘sticky’ and slow a cast otherwise.”

Tune your reel.“Use less centrifugal or magnetic braking rather than more. Back off on four of the six centrifugal brakes, and you’ll be about right for most lure weights and setups, but tune it to what you’re trying to accomplish.”

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