Question: The lake I’ve been fishing has quite a big overhang of willows on the island and the tighter you are, the quicker you get bites. Have you got any tips to get my baits in further?
First of all, I would say that if you’re not clipping up with the line clip on the reel, then this will be your biggest aid of all. The line clip allows you to cast with pinpoint accuracy as far as the range is concerned – once you have the range clipped up you just need to think about the accuracy of the cast. If you’re already clipping up then there’s a few intricate little tweaks you can make in order to get that bit tighter.
The trajectory of the cast is probably the most important, as even without a line clip, the correct lead trajectory will still enable you to fish tight under the overhangs. When aiming to cast underneath something like the overhangs, you need to make sure that your lead is travelling downwards as the lead nears the water, and I find that by casting relatively hard and low, I’m able to fire the lead in underneath things. The power in the cast also helps to straighten the line so it’s tight as it enters the water, which will also give you extra inches.
If you are attempting to do this at longer-range then I would advise the use of a large lead, of three-ounces or more. When you’re trying to get really tight and accurate you’ll need a lead large enough to straighten the main line as it hits the clip.
Watching the lead and rig in flight is also key to the accuracy of the cast, as when casting to an area like you have mentioned, even with the perfect clip, if the lead is at the wrong height as it nears the overhangs, it will still end up in the trees. If the lead looks to be too high above the spot, then stop the line as it’ll almost certainly go in the trees otherwise. If the lead looks to be following the right line, then as the line hits the clip, throw the rod tip forward, as this too can give you an extra few feet or more.
Something else that will make a huge difference is the use of a braided main line – I switched to braid a couple of years ago and haven’t looked back. Because the braid has no stretch at all, you’re able to clip the lead up perfectly, inching it closer and closer until it’s perfect.
The main thing with this kind of casting is to have a bit of bottle, it can be pretty scary, because, let’s face it, nobody wants to cast in the trees. One thing is for sure though, the casts that look like they should have gone in the trees, but don’t and have somehow landed closer than ever before, are always the ones to go first! If it looks tight, then it can always be tighter!