How to Cast – A Step by Step Guide to Casting

Casting is a basic component of fishing that you need if you’re going to perfect your angling game. Without it, fishing might not be fishing.

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Casting is a basic component of fishing that you need if you’re going to perfect your angling game. Without it, fishing might not be fishing.

Knowing how to cast a spinning reel or a fishing rod can be both mystifying and rewarding.

As an important part of the fishing game, your fishing adventure might not be satisfying if you do not know how to cast properly.

Fortunately, learning how to cast doesn’t have to be challenging. With enough patience and practice, you can learn the basic casting techniques and become a pro at it.

So why is learning how to cast properly important to your fishing adventure? Well, it all comes down to attracting fish to your fishing line.

In other words, if you don’t know how to cast properly, you’ll probably not attract fish and will end up with no fish. Consequently, learning how to cast will definitely increase your chances of catching more fish regularly.

This article, therefore, offers a step by step guide on how to cast. You’ll not only learn how to cast but will also learn how to reel or bring in your catch. Remember, reeling is an integral part of casting so learning it too may be worth the effort.

Table of Contents

What is Casting?

Casting is essentially the process of getting your fishing line out into the water with the main aim of catching fish. Generally, it involves using natural baits or artificial lures attached to the hook. This is to entice the fish into biting so that it can be hooked up. There are various casting techniques such as overhead casting, pitch casting, flip casting, and sidearm casting that you can use to catch fish. Despite their minute differences, they’re all based on a similar procedure.

What You Need to Get Started

In addition to the obvious fishing rod and a spinning reel, there are other things that you need to get started. For example, you’ll have to decide whether you’re going to use bait or lures. You’ll also need weights that you can add to your fishing line. This is essential in helping you control the depth that you want to fish at and also to help you deal with wind conditions as you cast.

Here’s what you need.

  • A decent fishing rod and spinning reel – It’s always advisable to do the casting motion with your dominant hand. So when selecting a fishing rod, go for one that has the spinning reel handle facing your non-dominant hand.
  • A Tackle box
  • Assorted baits or lures
  • A split shot to add weight to your line
  • Practice plugs
  • Bobbers

The Fundamentals of Learning How to Cast

When casting with a normal fishing rod, you should typically use a sinker or a weighted lure attached at the end of a thin but flexible fishing line. This line should wound tightly around the reel. This weighted lure should pull the fishing line off the reel when you’re casting. That being said, here are some fundamentals of learning to cast properly.

Be Ready to Learn

You have to be ready to learn if you’re ever going to know how to cast properly. You must have the desire to become a good angler.

Have a Proper Hand Positioning

One of the most important parts of casting properly is having proper hand positioning. By ensuring that your hand positioning becomes second nature, casting will become quite easy. Without it, casting will seem like hell and this is something that you don’t want.

The first thing to do is place your dominant hand on the fishing rod directly over the reel. The rod foot, that section that joins the spinning wheel to the fishing rod, should perfectly rest between your ring and middle fingers. By doing this, you’ll have total control over the fishing rod when casting. You should also use the thumb and the index finger to hold or press the line against the rod. Your non-dominant hand should be free to reel in the line or hold your beverage as you wait for the fish to bite.

How to Cast a Spinning Reel – A Step by Step Guide

Step 1: Assemble the Fishing Reel

Your casting adventure isn’t going to work if you do not assemble your fishing reel appropriately. When assembling the fishing rod and the spinning reel, make sure that the spinning reel is on the downward direction of the fishing rod. This will make it much easier for you to operate the spinning reel.

As we’ve noted, make sure that you can perfectly hold the fishing rod with your dominant hand. Fishing reels have both right and left-handed models. So if you’re right-handed, then go for a right-handed model and vice versa.

Step 2: Properly Hold the Fishing Rod with Your Dominant Hand

This is an important step in casting. The general rule is to hold the fishing rod as if you are giving a handshake. You should always remember to keep your thumb at the top while bending your fingers around the spinning reel handle. You should ensure that the rear end or bottom of the fishing rod is perfectly rested on your forearm. In essence, it’s important to make sure that the hold is firm, but relaxed just in the same way you’d hold a golf club.

Step 3: Load and Get Ready to Cast Out the Line

In most cases, the spinning reel is designed in such a way that it will let out the line. The spinning wheel should roll until it’s on the top side of the reel. This is to allow you to put your dominant index finger on the reel. You should then use your dominant index finger to pull the fishing line lightly against the fishing rod.  

Using your non-dominant hand, you should pull a length of the fishing line somewhere between 10 and 15 feet off the reel. This length should vary depending on the depth at which you want to cast. This is quite important as it ensures that the tension between the fishing rod and the spinning reel is minimized. You should also have a grip on the extra line whilst letting it swing around your feet.

Again, you shouldn’t worry much about making a mess or interfering with your cast. This is because the index finger will hold the fishing line and will prevent too much line from coming out.

Step 4: Cast the Line

One of the most important steps, when you’re ready to cast, is to make sure that both your body and fishing rod directly face the direction that you’re planning to cast your bait or lure.

At this point, your fishing rod should have a lot of flexibility, which is essential when casting. This flexibility will give you a looping or whipping stroke and the essential energy transfer that’s needed to cast properly. To have the steadiness that’s required to cast properly, you should imagine that your head represents 12 o’clock and your feet represent 6 o’clock.

You should then pull your fishing rod straight up and somewhat backward. This can be initiated by flicking or whipping your wrist and forearm backward. This motion will automatically send the fishing line up and over your shoulder. Remember, timing is everything here. Ensure that you stop the fishing rod just before it goes behind your head while allowing the released part of the fishing line to fully unfold behind you.

Make sure that you whip your wrist and forearm forward as soon as the line unfolds behind you. Almost miraculously, the energy generated by this motion will drive your fishing line forward while casting it towards your target location.

It’s also advisable that you swing the rod in a straight line both backward and forward to make sure that the line doesn’t drift away from your target location. At this point, you should consider bringing the tip of your fishing rod down towards water so that the line can settle upon water as you wait for the catch!

Reeling – Bringing in the Fish

If you’ve followed this guideline to perfection, of course through several practice sessions, it’s highly likely that the fish will be tempted to bite. Here is what you need to do if the fish bites.

Step 1 – Tightly hold the fly line against the fishing rod with your casting or dominant hand. Raise the tip of the rod, which you had lowered, straight up.

Step 2 – If you’re sure that you have the fish hooked up, keep the tip of the rod straight up and use your non-dominant hand to reel in the extra fishing line.

Step 3 – It’s important to lead the fish away from the direction that it wants to go. This is crucial in diminishing its control. Just remain calm and do not shake or jerk the fishing rod.

Step 4 – You should now land your catch. However, avoid any motion that will bring the fishing line into the rod beyond the leader connection as this can break your fishing rod or leader connection.

The fish is probably going to tire fast but this can also depend on the type of fish and its size. All you have to do is raise your rod diligently to lift its head out of water. You can then consider using a net to land the fish safely while eradicating the possibility of catching a fish but also feeling sad because your tippet is broken or damaged.


In the beginning, casting may seem challenging and incoherent but this is only because you’ve not mastered this thrilling art, which will come together with regular practice. All you have to do is learn the steps bit by bit, practice with dedication and casting will become second nature.

Now that you've got the basics down, learn how to cast farther, here.

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