I‘m a liberal leaning outdoorsman attempting to open the minds of right wingers to the idea that libs fish too. Anglers come from all walks of life, left, right, and center. Not everyone who fishes for bass is a redneck fond of Nascar, country music, and religiosity. Expect posts about largemouth bass fishing, techniques, reviews of lures and other products, but not any condemnable conservative rants. I hope to inspire the online angler community to dial down rhetoric which will do more harm than good to our sport.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

• Close Quarters Casting Technique

The lakes I fish are loaded with cypress trees. I am frequently shoulder to shoulder with trees and low lying limbs, faced with numerous short distance casting options as well as limitations. With a 6'6 to 7' rod, my options can be limited by any restriction to movement. Pitching usually does well in these situations, but sometimes a tree can get in the way. When fishing off the pier, similar obstacles come into play. There are other times when I need to abruptly reel in and cast to some sort of activity which might result in a bite. An angler adept at pitching techniques might be able to get around these obstacles with ease, but I'm still learning. I crank right handed and I tend to cast with my right arm as well. I've come up with my own effective work around which suits my fishing style.

I can pitch anywhere to my left around to my right up to a certain point successfully, but targets below about 30 degrees off the horizontal to my right might be difficult to hit. Targets around corners also serve as a challenge. Instead of repositioning the boat and accidentally spooking a fish or wasting time fumbling around with the rod and reel, I use the length of the rod to my advantage. The rod tip becomes the new pivot point.

I take the foregrip in my left hand and steady it with my outstretched index finger. The cork butt of the rod handle either spans across my body to the right, or securely tucked under my left arm in some cases. How deliberate of a cast I make depends on the distance to my intended target. Sometimes a simple fluid left to right horizontal swing of the rod is enough. Other times, quickly dipping the rod tip from left to right making a C-shaped motion lobs the lure where I want it to go. I don't follow through at the end of the cast. Instead, I usually stop at about midline straight out in front of me. It isn't so much a wrist action as it is a concert of movements between both arms. I do not always have to load the tip, but I find that I frequently do so whether or not that was my intention. The technique really depends on how urgent my cast needs to be. I control how the lure glides through the air and where it lands by thumbing the spool. When I want the lure to stop, I just press my thumb against the spool and then engage the reel. Overruns are extremely uncommon.

I can also use this technique to get lures underneath certain docks and low limb overhangs. This cast also works well as a transition when I spot a new target on my right that deserves my immediate attention. For example, I might be in the middle of my retrieve when a fish splashes off to my right. Using this technique, the rod never has to change hands. I just reel in as fast as possible and swing over to the new target without any disruption in position. Sometimes even the slightest delay means the difference between catching a fish and coming up with nothing. Seconds count out there.

Here are some examples to help you visualize some intended targets.

Notice the trees in the photo. A third tree is standing behind the second. A quality fish might be lurking in between those two trees. Instead of repositioning, I can make a sideways cast and put my lure right there. No pitching required. In essence, all I'm doing is casting around that tree.

In the next photo, a cypress tree is in the way, so pitching is out of the question. If I were standing on either side of that tree, I could hit my intended target, the spot in front of the next tree over. My rod tip can extend to the left of the obstruction and become the new pivot point with a clear line of sight to the target. A quick lob puts the lure right there. Moving the boat around the obstacle might spook a fish lurking ahead of me. Might as well use the obstruction to my advantage and stay hidden.

When fishing docks, I can hold the rod in a similar fashion with the rod tip pointed down, not to my left. Then, by swinging the rod forward, in a way, I am pitching the lure underneath the dock, but not in the traditional sense. It's a quick underhand technique, easy to control, and gives you one more approach to difficult situations like this.

Remember to always pay attention to all of the little things you do on the water. Break it down systematically and you might discover something completely new that you can add to your regular repertoire. I don't even think about it anymore. This sort of technique, like many others, has become second nature.


Clif said...

Good post.

I've been playing around with a close quarters technique, I guess you could call it shooting. I've had good luck with a spinning reel and it works well with a fly rod. Fly fishing from a boat can get cramped. I'm not sure how well a bait caster will work, it might have too much drag. I know it takes some practice to time it right, but try it out and let me know.

Watch this to see what I'm talking about.