Hello everyone I’m hoping you have received and read your first edition of The Session and are a returning reader. If it’s your first time I hope you enjoy The Session and return many more times. Ok… what to write about and keep you interested?
Distance casting! Love it or hate it it’s certainly a big advantage if you can master it.
Rolling back through the years since I started Carp fishing… has it really been that long, oh dear how times have changed.
When I was 16 I was lucky enough to become a member of a very well kept secret syndicate water which was only 40 minutes from the front door of my house. It had some cracking fish in to mid thirties at the time, and as far as I am aware it’s still kept very quiet even now. Being my first year of serious Carp fishing it was a massive step up to what I was used to. A quick rundown of the lake will give you an idea of what I was up against. It was about thirty acres with two islands and very shallow waters due to the silt. The islands ranged from 80- 120 yards depending on which bank you were on and had lovely over hanging trees to the water and screamed Carp as they always do.
Having not long left school and not having much money it was by chance my mother worked in a factory and found out that one of the gaffer’s sons was also into his Carp fishing. (Bonus) He was a lot older than me and had just about everything there was in Carp fishing at the time including a set of two rods and reels for sale which my mother kindly bought for me, if only she knew what she had just started!
Setting the scene, I was doing alright on the fish front and catching steadily but I was fishing to the closer sides of the islands and, although that was a nightmare in itself I was trying to cast into the gaps between the branches where the bottom had all been cleared off by the fish feeding. This was the start of my casting experience, learning how to punch a lead low enough and direction wise this had to be spot on. This was at a time when nobody had thought about clipping up the line on the reel line clip for distance.
This was all well and good but there were other swims I wanted to fish and I had seen some of the action from those particular swims at range. There was nothing for it but to have a go, that’s the only way you learn. Having managed to get a little info about the swim and getting in there I knew I had to get as close to the island as I could. On the end of the island there was a big dead tree and over time the wind and water had eroded part of the way under and this was a perfect place for the fish to be. Hence the problem 120 yards 11ft 6 2 1/4 tc rods and I had never tried casting that far before. Did I struggle? Oh yes nowhere near!
At the time there was no internet for info just a few magazines to gain a little information from so it was back to the tried and tested, trial, error and persistence to try and get as much distance as possible. Up until then I had been using running leads and long hooklinks not the best for distance fishing and lots of tangles. Tapping up one of the lads about end tackle set up, he told me about a primitive type lead clip system that I could make up at home. This helped with the distance a little and stopped the tangles, but it all adds up. There was a leader ban and the minimum breaking strain was 15lb line so there was no way of cutting that back to thinner line to aid casting. In the end with persistence I managed to work out that I could get away with a 2 ¼ oz lead to hit the range but if I stepped up to a 2 ½ oz lead it was always a case of touch and go. I would crack off, so it just wasn’t worth taking the chance with larger leads. My technique improved the more I practiced and I was hitting the distance consistently which aided me in catching a few fish as well.
Moving on a little and changing venues also brought new challenges in this country and abroad. Fishing larger lakes sometimes meant that I had to fish at extreme distances to reach the fish. My kit had to change to step up to next level and that was where the problems started with the cost. It’s always the same, the latest rods come out and I always wanted them hoping they would give me extra distance when I needed it. It was the same with the reels, but now I was going to France as well and needed four of everything. In total I would dread to think how much money this hobby has cost me trying to improve my kit just to gain those extra few yards. As they say where there’s a will there’s a way.
Five days a week at work and hard graft managed to keep thing’s on par. (I am still having to do it now.) I am not saying everything I do is about distance fishing but I learnt early on that I would rather have the tools to be able to get to those fish that are out of others people’s range when the needs arose. As we are all aware there are numerous times when the fish have moved further out and you have not been able to reach them. Learning different techniques and casting in different styles greatly improved my distance casting. I remember on one particular lake in France there were no boats allowed at the time which made life more difficult. As I said above this proved very fruitful being able to get those extra few yards past where everyone else were fishing to. I was landing fish up to and over 50lb on single hookbaits casting at showing fish at extreme range.
Something else I have learnt is that it is easier to gain a lot of distance very quickly when you first start distance casting but then you reach a certain level where it seems you top out your range. This is where it really gets hard to improve on your distance casting as you have peaked. Just slight differences and tweaks here and there seem to make a small difference, but if you link a few tweaks together you start to gain a few more yards.
Something we all have to fish round are the rules for the lakes and they vary from venue to venue. This being leadcore leader bans and minimal breaking strain lines which can create more problems if you’re fishing lakes at range and have to refine your tackle to suit distance (more problems.) Currently I am using the new ACE velocity leader line on my reels because this gets around the leader bans by not having any knots where the leader attaches to the mainline. It is one continuous length of line with a tapered leader on the end which enables me to cast the distances I require without breaking the rules. I am currently also using the Greys Torsion in 13ft 3 ½lb tc coupled with the aero technium magnesium reels which I find is a well balanced set-up and can more than cover anything I wish to achieve distance wise.
Distance casting you could compare it to riding a bike, now everyone can ride a bike but when was the last time you had a go. You could jump on a bike and ride it but not be too clever and it’s the same for distance casting. If you have practised and have gained the maximum and are happy with the distances you are achieving but then stop for a while and then go back to it I tend to find that I am nowhere near as good at achieving the distance although I can still do it. It’s all just lots of practice and more practice to reap the rewards. Technique, the right balanced set-up and the will and determination to achieve the distance! Extra fish (bonus)
Thanks for reading and I hope you all try it and catch those extra few fish.