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by Gareth Watkins
Accurate casting is an essential part of modern Carp Fishing. I looked in an earlier piece at distance fishing, but at all ranges precision is crucial for consistent results. You need to be able to place your baited rig on the same spot with great accuracy if you wish to have any real level of regular success in the sport. Below are five tips that will make this easier, whether you are fishing to a gravel bar on a pit or to an over-hang on a small Estate lake, these tips will help you put your bait in the money easily.
1. Use a Marker Float – A marker rod is for me a totally essential piece of kit. I couldn’t imagine turning up at a new venue without one. Yet is staggers me the number of anglers I see who don’t use a Marker float set up. Its main use for me is to plumb the swim in front of me in an attempt to discover what is there. Set up correctly you can get a good idea of the depth, and the nature of the lake bed. With experience you can get a feel for which areas are most likely to produce a fish. More importantly it allows you to find that productive spot on every occasion you need to.
When you find a likely looking spot you can pop up your float, and you have the perfect target to cast to. You can clip, or mark the line of this rod so you can accurately find the feature whenever you need to replace your bait. Naturally it also gives you a target to fire your free baits at also, so you really are fishing effectively.
2. Clip up – Modern fixed spool reels used in carp fishing from the likes of Daiwa & Shimano all have a small line clip on the side of the spool. Now the manufacturers intended you to use this clip to avoid line spillage when the reel was not in use. But many anglers have discovered that this little device serves a much more useful purpose – It allows you to trap you line before you wind in at exactly the distance you were fishing. When you come to recast you can therefore drop your bait on virtually the same spot at the same distance. Easy! But there are a few precautions you should take if you want to practice this technique. The clips on most spools are not very line friendly, and can crimp or chafe your mono, damaging it enough to weaken it and risk a breakage when you are playing a fish…
There are two things I do avoid this, one is to place a piece of Powergum or Pole elastic in the clip first before the nylon. This acts as a buffer and helps protect the mono. Secondly I wrap a piece of electrical tape around the line as I place it in the clip.
The last thing I make sure I do when I use this technique is to feather the cast, so the line doesn’t tighten violently against the clip at the end of the cast. This not only helps prevent line damage; it stops the rig shooting back” bungy” style, through the elasticity of the nylon, on the cast. This is a great technique if you are fishing to far margins or overhanging trees where you really can’t afford to over cast.
3. Mark Your Line – When you have found your spot and cast your baited rig to it, mark your line so you can recast to that spot each time.
There are a number of things you can use, some people use electrical tape and trim it down, and others use Powergum, tied in a loop. Personally I prefer Pole Elastic. It is soft enough to trip easily through the rod rings without impeding the cast. It stays in place yet can easily be removed if you no longer want to fish that spot. You can even use different coloured elastic for each rod so you know immediately which rod is for which spot. This can help in the dark or after multiple takes when you have more than one rod out of the water at once.
I tie it on with a double over hand loop just after the buzzer. It is a simple matter after the cast and if I don’t clip up, to wind the marker knot back to the right spot so it sits in the same position.
4. Aim at a Feature on the Far Bank – Once you’ve found your spot, and are able to place your bait in a likely area at the right distance, you’re going to need to put back in the same spot every cast, while you wish to fish it. This means casting in the right direction too. It is pointless going to the trouble of locating a decent area where you either catch a fish or feel you will catch, and then to cast your rig off the mark. The easiest way to make sure you get the right direction is to pick a feature on the far margin and use that. A tree, a telegraph pole or some sure item is the best bet. It really needs to be up above tree line, or you’ll probably find that once the sun goes down you can no longer see it. If you are lucky there may be a light, or lit up feature for you to aim at.
So once you’ve found a suitable far margin feature you should be sorted for both accuracy and distance. It is then a relatively straight forward task to re-place your baits even in the dark. Ok it will take practice, but this way at least you know you are in the area. This is all the more important if your underwater feeding area is very small.
5. Measure Your Casts – One way of making sure on a given swim you always fish at the right distance and can set up your rods even at home is to measure your casts and note the distances you need to fish for each rod. To do this there is a really useful little ‘Line Counter’ made by Shakespeare. You simply clip it on your rod and when you wind in it tells you exactly the distance your fishing. If you want to set up to fish that swim again, you can pace out your line along the bank and know that you’ll be fishing a productive area right away.
This takes all the guess work out of your casting as you know exactly the distances you are fishing.