Want to know how to cast further? One of the world's leading distance chuckers says everyone is capable of hitting 150 yards...
Terry Edmonds is like that school teacher. The one you listened to. The one who made learning fun.
When he says you can cast 150 yards you believe him. When he challenges you to add another 10 to that, you want to show him.
“There’s absolutely no reason why any average, able-bodied guy cannot cast over 150 yards,” says Terry as we shelter from a savage cross-wind at an Essex field, “That’s a reasonable target for anybody.”
By this point, the burly lead flinger has already put a bare lead over 220 yards in this 20mph breeze and, like a snooker trickshot specialist, reached almost as far on his knees and left-handed. His ability is unquestionable, but his knack of passing on that knowledge is equally impressive.
“The average angler who comes to me is probably casting between 90 and 130 yards. And the average guy is usually going to put on between 30 and 40 yards. Weather plays a big part and the tackle plays a big part. If it’s favourable conditions the gain could be 60 yards, and I’ve even had people go 100 yards further.”
Standing in a field, talking about carbon, techniques and casting competitions (see the info box for Terry’s CV), it’s tempting to feel a bit detached from actual fishing – but Terry is a genuinely good angler who knows the importance of long-range carping.
“People who come to me are here for a reason,” he says, “they’re here because they’re getting outfished by people who are casting further. Also, learning how to cast better allows you to fish further in bad weather conditions. You might not need to fish at 150 yards, you might just need to be at 130, but if you’ve got a strong headwind a good caster can still cast there and a bad caster can’t. It’s not about tournament casting, it’s about improving your fishing.”
The most common errors
“I’ve done a lot now all through Europe now and have been teaching people to cast for seven, eight, maybe more, years. Common mistakes are people interpreting articles wrong. You might get people locking out their right arm or holding the reel wrong, or their timing’s not very good. It’s a multitude of little things that make one big mistake, basically.
"When I see people moving their body it’s not often in the right order. And it’s just basically having the foundation in your head of what order things go in and then practising the movements so it becomes automatic.”
Practice makes perfect
“Practice is so important. I always say that for anything that’s got body movements and is technical, practice is everything. The average carp angler goes out on a Friday or Saturday and might cast his spod rod 10 times but only takes a few casts with his rods, and that might be it! That’s not much, so I would say get a spod rod – because a stiff rod gives you loads of feel – and just go down your lake and practise with a cheap spod mix – and you’re feeding the fish at the same time!”
What makes a good cast
"It’s levers, circles and timing – they’re the three real elements. There’s always limits and each individual is limited by how fast they can move. If everything else is right, it’s how fast you can move that will determine your limits."
Rods and reels
“Rods are more important than reels. Reels are fantastic these days – they’re super light, have super good line lay and great clutches, so if I had a choice I’d spend my money on the rod. At the end of the day, the reel is just holding the line and if it holds it ‘half decent’ then it’s still the rod that’s got to fire the lead.
“Don’t be afraid of long, stiff rods, that’s my top tip. Once you learn how to use them, that’s what’s going to give you the distance.
“There are two things I’d say to people who say ‘well, I’ll never be able to compress a rod like that’. One, if you can’t load the rod you haven’t got the technique to cast long so you’re never going to fish long whatever rod you use. And secondly, a softer rod can hinder you more than a stiffer rod. So you need a stiff rod, you just need to learn how to use it. If you’re spending money on rods a lesson with somebody such as me for four hours is a bargain because that's going to affect your fishing for the rest of your life.”
Shockleaders, Terry stresses, are vital. “They’re essential and I think we need to educate people about using them, rather than ban them. I wouldn’t like to think about the repercussions of somebody getting killed by a lead on a carp lake.”
He’s happy to wind a braided shockleader round his spool up to 15 turns of his reel handle, “but if you’re going for a mono or fluorocarbon leader you want them out of the rings as quick as possible, so I’ll only have four turns because the last thing you want is that thick line rattling around your rings when you’re casting”.
“Unless you’re an abnormally powerful guy, usually between 3.5oz and 4.5oz is people’s best weights. The bigger the leads, the more the rod can load up and then you can’t move it quick enough – what I mean by load up is load up early, and you don’t want the rod to load up early, you want it to load up late. Unless you have the power to keep that load going and increasing it’s going to slow you down. The start of your cast will be quicker than the end of your cast, and you want it the other way round.”
Strength or pace?
Can a skinny lad cast as far as a muscle-bound gym addict? In a word, yes. Terry says: “If everything is equal – good technique, timing, body movements – it’s all about speed. Where strength comes into it is that very stiff rods loaded up are hard to move, so a stronger caster may be able to cast a bit further, maybe at the top end, but stiffer and longer rods are still the way to go for any caster, because softer rods hurt you more than a rod you can only semi compress.”
PROFILE: TERRY EDMONDS
Terry has been giving casting lessons for about eight years and was recently called upon by England Carp Team manager Rob Hughes to hone the skills of his squad.
Although not an official competition record, Terry has cast 287 yards with a fixed-spool reel and a 100g (3.5oz) lead. With an overhead cast, his personal best is north of 230 yards.
His obsession with casting began on Chigboro’ Lakes in the late 1980s when, as a teenager, he watched anglers catching from an island spot at about 110 yards.
To book him visit his Facebook page or call 07772955141