Iíve been studying my surf casting demons and possible solutions since my last trip to the beach at Sargent in November. And now wish to share my learnings and recent testing at Matagorda Beach.

Iíve fished the surf one or two days a month for the past 20-months using 40-pound PowerPro braid (0.30mm) on conventional reels throwing 5, 6 or 8-ounce weights and bait-clipped pulley rigs. Besides the number and types of fish I catch, my satisfaction for a surf outing is measured by casting distance achieved and the number of snap-offs realized.

Iíve been experiencing two to five snap-offs per trip; two feeling a lot better than five. And of course, every snap-off is accompanied by a birdís nest in my reel.

My goal is to consistently achieve 100 or more yards casting distance with zero snap-offs. I suppose itís akin to the golfer striving to achieve par with minimal ball loss.

Its been suggested by various surf casting experts I try 1) a different main line, and 2) improve my wind-on cadence that presently results in an egg-shaped lay down on the reel spool.

I settled on testing two main lines: 1) 20-pound Ande Tournament monofilament (0.43mm), and 2) 30-pound Fireline Trace superline (0.38mm). I tested to my satisfaction the mono at a local lacrosse field but have yet to test the Fireline.

The wind-on cadenceóthat is, the number of handle-turns for the line to cross the spool once no matter the spool widthóis a process step I can learn with practice. I began wondering how the target cadence rate of 5 compared to the built-in cadence for reels that came equipped with a line guide. My reels do not have line guides, instead, the thumb is used to guide the line wind-on.

I stopped by a retailerís reel counter and did some testing. The test involved counting the number of handle-turns required to move the line guide from one edge of the spool to the other. The cadence measurement is provided in the following table for several barrel-type baitcasters.

Manufacturer Model Gear Ratio Cadence
Abu Garcia 4600 C3 5.3 2.5
Abu Garcia 5600 C4 6.3 3.5
Abu Garcia 6600 C4 6.3 4.5
Abu Garcia 7000 C 4.1 9.5
Abu Garcia 7000 C3 4.1 9.5
Shimano Calcutta 200GTB 6.0 3.0
Shimano Cardiff 300A 5.8 3.5
Shimano Triton 200G 4.3 8.5
Penn Squall 20 LW 4.9 7.5

Out of interest, I also checked a couple of low-profile type baitcasters, e.g. AG Revo S with a gear ratio of 7.3 had a cadence of 2.5 and a Shimano SLX with a gear ratio of 8.2 also had a cadence of 2.5. Still curious I checked a couple of older reels, e.g. Shimano Core with a gear ratio of 7.0 had a cadence of 3.0 and a Shimano Curado 200G6 with a gear ratio of 6.5 had a cadence of 4.0.

In all tests, I found the line guide had no movement for ľ to ĺ of a full handle turn when the line guide was at the edge of the spool. This was the point where the worm gear caused the line guide to move in a direction opposite to the direction just completed.

I cannot replicate with the movement of my thumb the wind-on pattern of a line guide and the spool wall is a concern. Next time you wind-on line, keep the line against the spool wall such that each new coil stacks on top of the existing coil. Keep adding coils until the stack collapses. Continue winding on line. Stop and look at the coils and see if there any that are any loose coils. Intentionally avoiding this scenario is why I end up with an egg-shaped coil lay down.

Feeling ready, I headed to Matagorda beach this week. I was more focused on battling my casting demons and staying warm then fishing.

I had one snap-off on my PENN Mag525 reel fitted with 20-pound Ande Tournament monofilament.

I had no snap-offs on my Aba Garcia 7000 Blue Yonder fitted with 40-pound PowerPro braid.

Thatís an improvement in snap-off rate, which ranged between two and five per outing using two rods.

I concentrated on line wind-on cadence for both reels. I found that I got a level lay down across the spool instead of the egg shape I was realizing if I had a cadence rate of 5 or more and consistently took the line all the way to the edge of the spool.

My casting distance was about equal between the two surf casting rods, i.e. no difference between mono and braid. My surf casting skill currently seems incapable of taking advantage of line diameter differences like I can with my bass fishing rigs. Need to work on pull-down on the push-pull phase and perhaps finding better footingóbeach sand is so soft when wet.

I did have a fish on the rod fitted with the PENN reel. On the third pulling run, the interlock snap on my packaged 45-pound wire leader straightened, releasing the hook and fishÖWonít be purchasing that packaged wire leader again.

And I did snag the rig I had snapped off earlier in the day. It had about 40-yards of main line attached, i.e. the snap-off was not the result of knot failure.

I did learn that adding snippets of Berkley Fish Bites to my shrimp sausage made from fresh dead shrimp did entice the nibblers who showed no interest in the sausage without the Fish Bites.

The battle continuesÖ


Last edited by bshepard; 01/22/19 01:19 PM.