Fixed-spool reels make casting a simple operation but skill is required to achieve pin-point accuracy and distance. Casting should be effortless, so for distance fishing the float and lead shot should be heavier to achieve the length of cast without strain. The overhead cast is probably the most widely used technique except where you are hampered by a steeply rising, overgrown bank. Grasp the rod handle in your right hand at a point just above where the reel is fastened. Pull back the bale arm on your reel and trap the line against the spool with your fore- afinger. Grasp the butt end of the redhandle with your other hand and .ndbring the rod back over your shoul- :ss,dcr. To cast, push forward with the .ndhand which is next to the reel and topull your other hand, bringing the :utbutt of the rod in towards you. As the blyrod moves forward from the vertical [ueposition release the line trapped by y ayour forefinger against the reel spool. nk.The line will flow easily from the jhtcorrectly filled spool sending your thetackle out across river. Follow alethrough with the rod so that it ends –;- up slightly below the horizontal position.
As soon as the tackle alights on the water, trap the line against the reel spool once more. If the cast is well made, the float will land gently in the desired spot. The object is to lob the tackle out rather than throw it. The exact moment you release the line from the reel with your forefinger is important. Too soon and your float will head skywards, and too late will send your tackle crashing into the water in the wrong place with a resounding splash which will scare away the fish.
Where distance casting is not required, a gentle sideways cast, using just the one hand holding the rod next to the reel, will suffice. On overgrown stretches of river sideways casting is necessary to avoid catching the hook in the undergrowth. When you have made a cast, snap the bale arm on your reel back into position, making sure your knuckles are out of the way. In winter, when your hands are cold, rapped knuckles can be very painful! The procedure for casting with a closed-face fixed-spool reel is similar, but instead of trapping the line against the spool of the reel you simply press the central button to release the line at the correct moment. Casting accurately can soon be mastered with practice providing you aim for accuracy first before progressing to distance.
Downstream. Adjust the float up the line with each cast until the float begins to drag under. This will happen as soon as the hook begins to catch on the river bed.
Once you have found the depth you can set about catching some fish. Throw a few loose maggots into the line of current down which you intend to trot the float. This attracts fish into the area. Do not be tempted to heave in great quantities of ground-bait all at once. Adopt a ‘little and often’ principle with loose maggots being fed into the swim every few casts. Cast out into the head of your swim and leave the bale arm open. As the current takes your float downstream, control the speed at which it travels by gentle pressure.
In this type of float fishing, the bait is allowed to travel clown a section of river at the pace of the current. Before actually beginning to fish, the depth of the water you are fishing should be established. In a flowing river this is easily done without having to cast around with a heavy plummet. Set the float to the depth you imagine the swim to be. When the water is fairly clear you can see the bottom for a little way out so this is not difficult to do. Cast out to where you intend to swim the bait down with the current and let the flow of the water carry the float with your forefinger on the line as it leaves the open spool of your reel. Hold the rod fairly high so that as little line as possible is in contact with the surface of the river. Begin by trotting your tackle with the bait touching the bed and then if the fish begin to rise up in the water to intercept your loose feed you can reduce depth. The float can be left to travel down at the speed of the current or it can be held back slightly by checking the line leaving the open reel with the forefinger. When the float dips under the surface, trap the line against the rim of the spool with your forefinger and strike by moving your rod in a sideways are. As soon as the hook is struck into the fish, engage the bale arm of the reel with a quick turn of the reel handle. When you have hooked a fish, reel in as you bring the rod back into the normal position to play the fish to the bank. Do not strike and then suddenly lower the rod as this will slacken the line and may well cause the hook to spring loose. Keep in contact with the fish at all times. To play the fish towards the bank, keep the rod tip fairly high and try to lead the fish gently away from the rest of the shoal without too much disturbance. When you are trotting a float down with the current try to strike with a sideways, upstream sweep of the rod rather than a vertical strike. If you are fishing in fairly shallow water and you strike vertically you will force the fish towards the surface and the resulting splashing may disturb the rest of the shoal.
As soon as you strike into a fish, release the anti-reverse lever on your reel so that you can backwind if the fish is large enough to power across into the middle of the river. If you hook a really powerful fish such as a barbel, which will swim away very quickly indeed, simply release the anti-reverse lever and let go of the reel handle. When the fish dashes across the river it will be able to pull line from the reel causing the handle to spin round backwards. As the fish slows down you can then catch hold of the reel handle again to begin playing the fish back towards the bank. Failure to release the anti-reverse lever may result in the first powerful rushes of a large fish breaking your line.
When trotting a float down the current the line should be fairly straight between the rod tip and the float. Sometimes the wind or cross currents will cause the line lying on the water surface to bow and this needs straightening. This is known as ‘mending the line’ and is achieved by rolling the rod tip sharply in a small are to straighten the line without dragging the float out of position. You should be in contact with your float all the time it is travelling clown with the current.