Rods and reels give us the ability to cover a lot of water quickly with our fishing lures, but unless we develop a casting-angle plan, all that technology won’t put more fish in the livewell.
Fish constantly reposition themselves because of fishing pressure, food sources, current, weather, and predators. Consider this when positioning your boat, and be prepared to move frequently to investigate new water.
As for my actual cast, I try to cast at angles to a targeted area and set up in places where I can cover a wide swath of water. Always try to keep your lure in strike zone as long as possible, and you want your lure to run parallel or semi-parallel to fish locations. Many anglers automatically begin casting perpendicular to their target area (say, right directly into the shore or reef), but I advise running no more than 35 to 75 degrees.
There’s actually not a set angle, but that’s my personal rule of thumb.
After the first couple of casts, begin dissecting a zone with parallel to perpendicular casts. Really work the whole spectrum!
And though I’ve said it before, it’s worth reminding: When casting, vary your retrieve speed, use a stop-and-go cadence, or pause occasionally. We need variable speed and direction to provoke strikes. Another tip I try is moving the rod tip from side to side. Always watch the direction of your returning lure closely to see if a fish is following it, too!
When casting, I engage the reel before my lure hits the water so the crankbait action begins immediately upon entry. Especially with modern, deep-diving crankbaits, that helps achieve diving depths faster. Also, always cast beyond your target area and reel the lure into the location you expect to catch a fish. If you land on top of them, you’ll spook the fish.
Finally, when approaching a weedline or rock or reef, we too often motor up fast, then stop. All that energy and wave action comes bouncing in with the noise of a big outboard. Avoid running over areas you intend to fish; instead, start slowly and quietly on outside edges and work your way in.