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3. Three Methods for Casting a Handline

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Once you've set up your handline for basic bait fishing or handline-style fly fishing, you're ready to start casting. Casting is one of the most fun parts of handline fishing, and this article covers three different handline casting methods.

NOTE: The video above covers these methods in detail and is highly recommended.

Handline Casting Methods

1. The Flick

The Flick is the cast to use when you're tight in the brush and don't have space for a backswing. Since handlines are great for getting deep into the backcountry and fishing places other anglers can't reach, the Flick is an effective cast in many situations where handlining is ideal. 

To do a flick cast, wind your line on the reel until the terminal tackle is almost touching the reel. Hook a finger over the line and flick your wrist in the direction of your cast, releasing your finger once your handline is pointing where you want your cast to go.

2. The Toss

Casting a Daggerfish Handline

The Toss is the best for live bait, eggs, powerbait, or other soft baits where an agressive cast can cause the bait to rip off the hook. 

To do a toss cast, hold your reel in one hand and gather your terminal tackle in the other. Leave any hooks handing outside of your hand to prevent tangles and potential injury.

Spread your arms to unspool 3-5 feet of line, point your handline where you want your cast to go, then bring your tackle arm across your body and make a tossing motion similar to a frisbee or tennis backhand.

Release your hand once it's pointing in the direction you want your cast to go, and keep your hanline pointed to allow the line to unspool off the top of the reel.

3. The Whip

Whip casts are best casts for distance, and when properly performed allow you to achieve casting distances comparable to standard rod and reels. The key to a good whip cast is a bit of weight at the end of the line, so this method works great with setups like drop shot rigs, Texas rigs, Carolina rigs, weighted slip bobbers, and fly fishing with a casting bubble.

For a whip cast, hold your reel in one hand and hold your line 2-3 feet above your terminal tackle with your other hand. Hold your line hand off to one side of your body, and keep your line hand clear of any hooks to prevent injury.

Check your surroundings for branches, people, and animals, and once clear, begin rotating your line in a circular, underhand motion. After two or three rotations, point your handline where you want your cast to go, then release your line in that same direction.

Timing a whip cast takes a bit of practice, so it's recommended you practice in a wide open area free from obstructions, like a pond or lake shore, when first starting out.

Tip: You don't need to rotate your line quickly to get good casting distance. A slower rotation will give you plenty of distance and offers more control when releasing. 

Once comfortable with a whip cast, you can bring your line hand above your head for a lasso cast. Lasso casts are performed in the same way as a whip cast, with the line rotating above your head instead of off one side of your body. The lasso cast is an effective cast for for fishing from a solo kayak or paddleboard, but is not recommended for boats shared with others.

Tip: the Lasso method poses the highest risk of injury from the terminal tackle, and is recommended only for experienced handliners.

For best results, practice these casting methods in a yard or other open space, using dummy tackle or a small weight attached to the end of your line. 

Now that we've covered casting methods, let's explore hook setting and reeling

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