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The Most Overlooked Aspect of Fishing

By Nathan Coker
In Fishing with Kenny
Nov 1st, 2023


Bass fishing, even in its simplest form, is complicated. The complicated aspect of the sport, more than any other reason, is due to the increased fishing pressure; and it goes beyond fishing pressure.  We have more anglers sharing our waters; we have better overall anglers who are well-informed on the intricate details of our sport.  Add to this the many tournaments on our area lakes, and over a period of years, you have well-educated fish that become harder and harder to catch.

So, with the complexity of our sport becoming increasingly more evident, one of the overlooked things in fishing is the simplest aspect of our sport.  Recently I was asked, “What separates the average angler from the good, and even great ones?”  Without hesitation I answered, “Lure presentation and casting ability.”  No matter if they are using a push button, a spinning outfit, or the highest dollar rod and reel combination available, the one who can cast theirs better than the other person is going to catch more fish. Lure placement has become a critical aspect in modern day fishing.

When it comes to the physical part of the sport, most tournament anglers are equal.  Boat control, figuring out the best lures and the right locations to fish, always levels the playing field.  Even the equipment used is not much different from one angler to the next.  Aside from the technological aspect of the sport, everyone uses the same lures, rods, reels, lines and we all fish the same waters.  What separates the anglers is their ability to set up and to use their equipment better than their competitors.  That is usually what separates the anglers in the standings at the end of the day. 

As I stated earlier, the fish in our lakes, are overly cautious when it comes to anglers and fishing pressure, so the days of just leisurely going down a bank and catching fish one after another are gone. I have always believed in a tournament day, if I am in the correct area, if I can make more and better casts than my competition, I have a great chance at doing well.  Over the years, I can recall numerous events where I believed my casting abilities, more than my choice of lure, was the key to how well I did.

Certain lures, before you ever begin the presentation or work the lure, have to be cast better than others.  The first lure where the cast is a factor, is a spinnerbait.  Can you make the casts that other anglers might miss?  Can you put it in a tight area where a fish might be hiding?  Spinnerbait fishing is more than just color, blades and speed of retrieve.  It is about the cast.  The more accurate your casts are with a spinnerbait, the more fish you are going to catch.

Another lure where the cast is more important than the lure itself is when pitching and flipping a jig or soft plastic.  Often times a bass will strike these lures on the initial fall, making the initial flip or pitch a critical part of your success.  When a bass is aggressive he might swim a few feet to take a lure once it hits the water but most of the times this is not the case.  You must be very precise with your pitch because a misplaced attempt might spook a leery fish from biting. Your lure placement is critical.

One lure or technique that gets overlooked when it comes to making good, accurate casts is when throwing a topwater lure.  No matter if you are walking a spook, working a frog or retrieving your other favorite topwater, you have to make the correct casts in order to make the fish bite.  Often times if you make an inaccurate cast and the lure lands on top of the fish or in close proximity to it, the fish will spook and refuse to bite.  I have always had a three-foot rule when it comes casting my topwater lures. My goal, if possible, is to have my bait land at least three feet past my intended target.  I believe this give a bass a chance to zoom in on a potentially easy meal without spooking him, but it also doesn’t give him a good chance to look at the bait either.

Another aspect of casting accuracy not considered is when an angler must cast at a particular target from a distance.  If you have schooling fish busting shad thirty yards from the boat, it is very important that your lure lands exactly where the fish are busting.  Five feet to the left or to the right of the area where your lure needs to land can be the difference in catching bass or not.  Lures you can throw a long way, such as a Rat L Trap or a big topwater such as a Whopper Plopper, still must be accurately casted to get the most out of their presentations.

Here are some simple rules to help you gain more confidence in your casting abilities:

  1. Make sure you have the correct rod, reel and line set up for the technique you are using.
  2. Try to keep your equipment as universal as possible.  The same rod/reel set ups will help.
  3. No matter if you sit down or stand up when you fish, practice casting that way.
  4. Practice your casting with different weights and sizes of lures before you ever get on the water.

Well, it looks like we have run out of time and space again for another month.  I sure hope we were able to share some good information and knowledge that will help you on your next trip to the lake. Now that it is hunting season, please be mindful of the hunters that might be using our waterways to get in and out of their hunting areas. Take care, catch one for me, and I will see you next month!