How To Cast Light Lures

How to Cast Light Lures feature image

If you are fishing for small fish that require you to cast very light lures, you are going to need some gear that is made for the task in order to do so properly. Using the wrong rod, line, and reel setups to cast light lures will lead to a drastic loss in accuracy and distance. In this post, we will look at the proper setups to cast incredibly light lures.

Use ultralight spinning gear

best ultralight spinning reels
Ultralight rods are specifically tailored to cast tiny lures and fight small fishing.

Ultralight spinning gear is the setup that should be used for very small and light lures. Lures like tiny jigs, spinners, and other lures will be too difficult to cast without one.

When you use a fishing rod to cast lures, your rods flex and act similar to spring to help fling lures, and the weight of your lure is a critical component. The energy from your arms and the flexing rod transfer to the lure, and the lighter the lure, the less energy is carried through momentum which will result in less distance and accuracy.

Ultralight rods typically run from 4’6″ to 6’6″ and are specifically tailored to cast tiny lures and fight small fishing like panfish as efficiently as possible, and small spinning reels coupled with the rod are the most effective way to cast light lures. 

Use braided line

Close up image of a baitcasting reel spooled with braid
The leaders don’t need to be very long, and lengths of 3 feet are enough to do the trick.

Braided lines can help you cast farther than other line types like fluorocarbon. They are thinner in diameter for the same strength as other line types. When you use a fishing rod to cast lures, your rods flex and act similar to spring to help fling lures, and the weight of your lure is a critical component.

If you are worried about line visibility in clear water, simply run a leader section of monofilament or fluorocarbon line where you attach your light lure. You can even use a swivel to prevent line twists.

The leaders don’t need to be very long, and lengths of 3 feet are enough to do the trick.

Cast downwind where possible

feature image for my article on summer bass fishing of a fisherman casting from a boat in the sunshine
When casting into the wind, keep your cast as low to the surface of the water as you can.

Casting with the wind will drastically increase your casting distance. The reasons for this are obvious, the airflow will push your lure and line in the direction it is heading and casting distance will be greatly increased.

If you are fishing a spot that forces you to cast into the wind at any angle, you will struggle with distance, but there is one method to help negate this to a small extent.

When casting into the wind you will want to keep your casts as low to the surface of the water as you can. If you cast overhead and send your lure higher into the air it will just pick up more wind and fall short, casting horizontally will help with casting distance by minimizing overall surface area for your lure and line.

While this technique will help, you will still suffer casting lightweight lures into the wind, even larger lures are immune from the wind.

Find Sheltered Areas

If the wind is making casting light lures nearly impossible, use areas of the lake to your advantage. The upwind side of the lake will be far less windy for casting and make boat control much easier if the area you are fishing is forested all the better. The lake size itself can help with wind, and if you are planning to go fishing and see that there is a high amount of wind, you can pre-emptively pick smaller lakes or a river instead of large bodies of water where the wind will surely be much stronger.

Other areas like sheltered bays and channels can also be great places to get out of the wind and make casting much easier. The lakes

The topography of the shoreline areas can also be used to your advantage on windy days. Hills, Ridges, dykes, and even buildings can block the wind and allow you to cast without much issue.

Use good casting technique

Man with a spinning rod and reel combo
Casting is basically the process of getting your fishing line out into the water with the main aim of catching fish.

Other techniques can be used to improve casting distance if you’re are struggling with efficient casting. 

Whip casting can help cast farther and is a simple concept. Simply leave a length of line out from the rod tip, which makes the rod tip act as a pivot point “think of a sling used in ancient times” and when you cast the lure at the end of your line, the length of line out from the tip, and the fulcrum point of the rod tip will act like a trebuchet or catapult and impart more energy into your cast, and you will be able to cast light lures farther.

Following through is another critical method that helps with the question of how to cast light lures. When you are casting be sure your rod tip ends by pointing directly at the lure as it flies. If you stop abruptly with your rod tip at a higher angle, like 45 degrees or more, you are imparting resistance to your line, as the line is forced to shoot out of the rod tip horizontally, while your rod is angled vertically. 

Add split shot if needed

If all else fails, you can add one or more split shot sinkers to your line. While this added weight will undoubtedly help you cast farther, be aware that it can have a negative impact on the action of your lure depending on what type of lure you are fishing with.

Along with negative impacts on the action of certain lures, it will also cause your lures to run deeper in the water column, which will cause issues in shallow water or when fishing directly above dense vegetation. In deeper water fishing situations this may be less of a problem, but in shallow water, you may have to increase your retrieve speed drastically to keep it out of cover, which could mean fish won’t chase it depending on their feeding moods.

Get Closer

If you are struggling to get long-distance casting done with a light lure, one solution might be to simply get closer to the target area.

This might not always be possible without spooking fish, or due to the areas you are fishing like rocks, but in most cases this is applicable.

The trick is to do it stealthily, let the wind blow your boat or kayak closer to the spot, or set your trolling motor to a low setting and give the pedal a couple of taps with your foot to slowing and quietly sneak up to the target area.

If you do end up spooking the fish out of the spot, all hope is not lost, drop anchor if needed or just sit there for a while without making noise or large amounts of movement and the fish might just come back, this is particularly the case with panfish and even bass. If there is a specific reason the fish are there, like food, chances are it won’t be long until they make their way back.

How to cast light lures with a baitcaster

best ultralight fishing reels 2020
One way to increase the distance of a baitcaster is to set your spool tension about as light as you can and your magnetic brakes as well.

Casting light lures with a baitcaster can be even more challenging than with a spinning reel. The reason casting light lures with a baitcaster is more challenging, is because, unlike a spinning reel where the line simply unravels off of the smooth round spool, a baitcaster has a spool that rotates as the weight of the lure pulls the line during a cast.

The rotating spool of a baitcaster has much more resistance to slow down the momentum of your lure, and typically the rods paired with baitcasters are much stiffer than that of an ultralight rod.

One way to increase the distance of a baitcaster is to set your spool tension about as light as you can and your magnetic brakes as well. This will help you cast farther, but will also drastically increase your chances of getting a very bad backlash if you impart too much energy into a cast, allowing the spool to spin rapidly but the line does not pay out fast enough, and the lure doesn’t have the energy to travel far.

Final thoughts on casting light lures

When it comes to casting light lures it all comes down to rod and reel setup. While there are tips and tricks that can help cast light lures on a rod and reel that is not the perfect tool for the job, you will most likely still struggle. The rod and reel are the foundation of casting so be sure you have a rod and reel suited to the task at hand.

Author

  • Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He is a regular on fly fishing podcasts and appeared in the international fly fishing film Predator.

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