Casting Tips Archive
Casting With A "Bobber"
Back in my day it was pretty common to see people of all ages casting with a brightly painted wood float. These were not the pencil type that some use for mullet, instead the type shaped like an egg, but flat at one end (tied to mainline) and pointed on the other (tied to trailer line). This "trailer" line is usually about an armspan or so in length and has some type of small lure at the end. Anything from a minnow strip, scrounger jig grub, small plastic skirt, or a small piece of bait seems to work. The bobber is worked in any number of ways, usually a bit faster and with more chugs for rigs tied to lures rather than bait.
I think this setup works well here because the floater gives enough weight to cast pretty well on a tradewind day and if I recall there were 2-3 sizes of those wood floaters, the smallest for 4-8 pound test and the largest could cast 16-20 pound test fairly well. The floater seems to cause the right kind of commotion rather than spooking the fish. Perhaps it duplicates the sounds and action of other predators in the school that may be crashing the surface. In any event most that are familiar to this have seen an aggressive fish hitting the floater as well. These days most bobber whippers have gone to the clear bubbles that can be weighted with water. I like these since your line goes right thru the bobber and is tied to a barrel swivel of your own choosing. Definitely if you want to use good tackle, this rig can be very strong, without the worry of the strength and threading of the screw eyes going into the wood.
Big game casting really has changed a lot for spinning reels. With the use of micro lines like Power Pro that have thinner diameter and stronger pound test ratings, shore casters can test deeper or farther stretches of shoreline using casting plugs of up to 3 ounces or more. This may be a good time to re-consider our story of days past using our “bobber and grub set-up”. A friend of mine did just that casting with a large surface type plug near Hilo. An armspan length trailer was tied to one of the stainless hook loops on the large lure. A nice omilu came to check out the noisy plug on one cast but could not resist bullying the smaller lure trailing behind it. Smaller fish like waha nui as well, were caught, all hitting the smaller trailer.
Casting Lures: Light Or Heavy?
Understand the terrain & pick suitable tackle (rod, reel, lures): The methods & gear used to catch & land fish from rugged lava cliffs are much different compared to those used fishing in calmer lagoons, ponds & canals.
Medium to heavy casting lures are about 1.5 to 3+ ounces. A good spin casting set-up for lure casting in rugged shoreline environments is a heavy duty Penn SS reel #6500 on the smaller side - #9500 on the larger side. Combined with a long casting rod you would be able to cast the larger 3 ounce sizes lures for nearshore predator fish such as: kaku (barracuda), omilu, ulua (trevally). This type of tackle will allow the shore caster to work rougher water conditions where more splash & flash are needed to be easily noticed. Steady on-comming winds & other weather conditions also can make using larger lures necesary so that one may cast far enough to be able to reach some structure or work a decent stretch of water.
Light tackle can also be a lot of fun & a good way to really feel the power of the fish. Many anglers are using small spinning reels with light, short casting rods. I used to fish a 2 pound test Ande line using a small spinning reel & 5.5 foot light rod that was very flexable but with a hint of backbone. I managed to land some “beasts” that were considered "doubling up" (or at least 4 pounds), but this was rare & would only have been able to be pulled off in sheltered ponds or inshore canals where I was going after fish that were typically 1 to 2 pounds or less. Using light tackle when casting for smaller fish makes sense as you are sizing up the prey, presenting a less visible line, & allowing yourself to make more casts without tiring as fast.
HFL Tip: Use finese type retrieves for small, floting lures. Twitching & pausing during retrieves can draw aggressive strikes!
Casting With Purpose
Whatever type of casting you are doing, try to be prepared so you have all your gear where you can get to it. While casting I like to wear a small waist pouch for line cutter (finger nail clipper), hook file, pliers & anything else I would need for retying my line.
While it is always great to be able to cast really far, remember that the motion & follow thru of your cast should feel "smooth & effortless" if possible. You should be able to make more casts throughout the course of the day. Using braided lines like Power Pro can give you even more line capacity & casting distance, due to the smaller diameter of these lines. One caution is that this can also make it easier for a cut on the hand so be careful!
Dont be afraid to vary your thinking or retrieve. When it comes to choosing colors: "match the hatch," OR pick a contrasting color to increase visibility. One of my best casting lures was a bright orange. It worked great in both clear water and murky water. The bright orange also made it easy for me to see the lure and "sight fish" or see the action of the chase. Sometimes predators can’t resist a twitch of some kind. A momentary pause or stall can resemble a frieghtened bait fish more than a steady retrieve. You can also be prepared to cast with different lures: floating lures to chug & splash the surface & sinking lures to jig, bounce & dart sub surface.
HFL Tip: A good retrieve for floating lures is to “walk the dog” by twitching your pole tip while turing the reel to slowly retrieve line. This causes the lure to dart back & forth from left to right as it comes back to you. I have seen fish like kaku (barracuda) come up to this presentation & get so upset they strike the surface with extra madness!
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