Let’s Look Back: And Then Came Something New – Part Two

Here's the key to getting accuracy with the closed face spinning reel. Depress the thumb control button and hold it in. Trap the line against the hole in the center of the spool. Note that the line is over the left forefinger. When you're ready to cast, release pressure with both fingers at the same instant. Let the line flow over your forefinger as it heads to your target. All you need do to control the flight of the lure or practice casting weight is simply raise that left forefinger. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Here’s the key to getting accuracy with the closed face spinning reel. Depress the thumb control button and hold it in. Trap the line against the hole in the center of the spool. Note that the line is over the left forefinger. When you’re ready to cast, release pressure with both fingers at the same instant. Let the line flow over your forefinger as it heads to your target. All you need do to control the flight of the lure or practice casting weight is simply raise that left forefinger. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Darn few things are going to be more important to the average angler that the ability to achieve accuracy in presenting their lures to the fish they are after.

And if that’s true, and experienced anglers know that it is, it especially applies to a youngster just getting into the field of sportfishing for the first time.  That’s why I said some of the things I did about the closed face spinning reel in my previous column.

I was among the very first to experiment with these new reels when Zebco first brought them to market away back in the middle of the last century.  That early experience led me to always use them in the thousands of casting exhibitions I was eventually to do for decades over a sizeable chunk of the world.

I did so for two primary reasons.  One was because I’m convinced the closed face spinning reel is the best tool ever invented for a boy and girl to develop their fishing skills.  A second reason was and is that it’s impossible to achieve anything resembling casting accuracy unless you learn how to use the method I developed and demonstrated at those countless casting exhibitions I mentioned.

As I mentioned in my previous column, I’ll guarantee what you’ve just read is true, but I need to add something to go along with it.  It’s that if you’re the adult about to introduce a youngster to angling you need to learn to use the technique I’m talking about yourself.  Once you’re familiar with it take the time to teach a beginner to use this one procedure that will enable them to get accuracy with one of these push-button style reels.

Nothing is more important where casting is concerned than being able to get consistent accuracy.  In my previous column I promised I’d share the one technique that will enable you or your kids to do it.

I like to think I can speak with authority in this regard. As I’ve mentioned, I doubt there’s anybody out there who has spent more time actually demonstrating what I’m talking about. Again – since the middle of the last century I’ve taught youngsters over a sizeable chunk of the world how to use a closed face spinning reel almost since these reels first came to market.

See where that line is flowing over my left forefinger as my lure or casting weight flies out?  All I have to do to drop it right where I want it is to just raise that left forefinger to put pressure on the line.  An angler using a level wind reel uses pressure from his thumb to control things.  This is how you can do much the same thing with the left forefinger on the closed face spinning reel.  Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

See where that line is flowing over my left forefinger as my lure or casting weight flies out? All I have to do to drop it right where I want it is to just raise that left forefinger to put pressure on the line. An angler using a level wind reel uses pressure from his thumb to control things. This is how you can do much the same thing with the left forefinger on the closed face spinning reel. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Getting distance with one of these reels is no problem.  Almost any kid can learn to throw a practice weight halfway down the block in short order.  Trouble is those same kids will wind up with their line draped over a telephone pole or with the casting weight hung up in the nearest cottonwood tree.

There’s a way around this problem.  Give casting exhibitions at some of the world’s largest outdoor shows (and I have) and you better be darn sure you can hit your targets and entertain your audiences.  At least you better have that ability if you expect to get asked to return.

Because I was already doing some exhibition casting when closed face spinning reels first came to market, the Zebco people gave me one of their first Zebco 33 spinning reels to try out.

It soon became abundantly clear that getting distance with this new style reel was no sweat.  Consistently hitting my targets was another matter.  Attempting to get the job done by using the reel’s thumb control button just didn’t work.

I tried a number of different approaches before I came up with a technique that does.  I still didn’t have the pinpoint accuracy I got with a level wind reel or the open faced spinning reel.  But what I did have was entirely adequate.

I hope you’ll study the next few paragraphs carefully.  Get a good handle on how to use the closed face in the fashion I’m about to detail before you attempt to teach it to your youngsters.

Here’s how it goes: Have your boy or girl place the closed face spinning reel in the palm of their left hand.  Have them extend their left forefinger to trap the line securely where it comes out of the center of the reel’s enclosed spool.

Once they have the line trapped securely against the hole in the center of the reel’s spool, have them depress the reel’s thumb control button with their right thumb and hold it down.  When they are ready for their lure to fly out, release pressure with both the left forefinger and the right thumb at exactly the same time.

Now comes the key to accuracy with the closed face reel.  All the time the lure – a practice casting weight is a better bet – is in the air the line should be allowed to flow off the spool over the left forefinger.  All your youngsters need to do to drop the lure smack on target is increase upward pressure on the line with that left forefinger.

It’s downward pressure from the right thumb that lets an expert with a level wind reel put his lure on target time after time.  You can use upward pressure from the left forefinger to do nearly the same thing with a closed face spinning reel.

Be sure you get one of the smaller reels I named in my previous column for your youngsters.  If you didn’t read that column or forgotten what I recommended you can check it out in my column archives.

I named these reels primarily because they will fit nicely into the left palm of someone like a youngster with small hands.  It’s surprising how quickly even little guys and gals, provided they have the right kind of instruction, can learn to get a lure out where it belongs with these little reels and lightweight matching rods.