Let’s Look Back: There’s More than One Way – Part 1

When producers of the world's top outdoor shows bring you in to do casting exhibitions they expect you to be able to hit your targets.  Working out the casting techniques that enable you to do that is essential.  Here I'm pictured doing my thing at a big outdoor show in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  I gave casting exhibitions there on three successive years. Photo Stan Fagerstrom

When producers of the world’s top outdoor shows bring you in to do casting exhibitions they expect you to be able to hit your targets. Working out the casting techniques that enable you to do that is essential. Here I’m pictured doing my thing at a big outdoor show in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I gave casting exhibitions there on three successive years. Photo Stan Fagerstrom

I gave my first casting demonstrations that really amounted to anything at the old Pan Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles way back in April of 1952.

Since that time I expect I’ve probably given about as many demonstrations of level wind rigs, both open and closed face spinning reels and rods as well as the techniques of flipping and pitching as darn near anybody.  My demonstrations have taken me all over the United States and from Tennessee to Tokyo as well as from Nevada to New Zealand.  And there have been numerous other spots both in and out of the USA.

If I’ve learned anything over having spent those countless hours trying to help my audiences learn more about casting – it’s this.  There is more than one way to do darn near anything.  And that certainly applies where various types of casting are concerned.

In this next series of Let’s Look Back columns I’d like to share some of the things I learned where spinning reels are concerned.  Chances are unless you’ve watched one of my casting shows or read something I’ve written about it before, it’s going to be something you’ve not thought about or much less ever tried.

In this first column about spinning reels I’ll be talking about the open faced spinning reel.  Observe carefully the next 10 anglers you see using a spinning outfit.  I’d bet a generous chunk of next month’s paycheck I could tell you exactly how they will cast with it.  They will open their bail and drape the line across their right forefinger.  When they are ready to cast they simply straighten out the forefinger and the lure sails away.

Now there’s nothing wrong with that method of casting.  It’s the one most manuals advocate.  But it’s not the only procedure useable with an open-face spinning reel.

Some readers will recognize the name Steve Rajeff.  This confident casting expert has won more casting championships at the national and international level than anybody.  Steve, a key executive with G. Loomis Rods, is best known for his skills with a fly rod.  He’s just as good with a spinning outfit or bait casting gear.

If you ever have opportunity to watch Steve handle his open face reel, observe carefully what he does with it.  You’ll see him drop his right forefinger, after he’s opened the bail, to trap the line against the side of the reel’s spool.  He does not drape the line across his forefinger as he casts.

This picture shows how most anglers use the open face spinning reel.  They open the bail and drape the line across their right forefinger.  Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

This picture shows how most anglers use the open face spinning reel. They open the bail and drape the line across their right forefinger. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Why does he trap the line against his reel spool instead?  I asked him about that many years ago.  He told me he gets better control that way than he does casting in what’s considered conventional fashion.

“I get a degree of accuracy using my open face reel this way that’s very close to what I enjoy with a level wind reel,” Rajeff says.  “It’s the procedure I always use when I’m involved in casting competition.”

Remember now, Steve is a guy who must have a whole room full of trophies for all of the casting contests he’s won all over the world.  He’s an artist with any kind of casting gear.  If you ever have opportunity to see one of his presentations by all means do so.

The best open faced spinning reels ever made aren’t going to work well unless they’re matched up with a rod designed to accomplish what you want the combination to do for you.  The line you select figures into this as well.

There are those, including one of the world's best casters, who prefer instead to trap their line against the spinning reel spool to do their casting.  Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

There are those, including one of the world’s best casters, who prefer instead to trap their line against the spinning reel spool to do their casting. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Rajeff has been deeply involved now for a good many years with the design of G.Loomis rods.  I don’t know how a company could ever have found anybody more qualified than the world’s casting champ to provide that kind of input.

There’s yet another way to use the open faced spinning reel.  It’s the one I use in all of my fishing as well as all of my demonstrations once I was able to get a good handle on what was required to make it work.  My technique brings your left hand into the act.

Don’t let that spook you.  I can’t blow my nose left handed.  Be that as it may, I’m able to get accuracy using the procedure I worked out that I never quite developed while casting in the accepted fashion. Watch for my next Let’s Look Back column.  I’ll detail just what the technique I’m talking about entails.

  • Dan Basore

    This is excellent. Makes sense. Can’t wait to try it. You can teach an old dog new tricks.