Fishing heavy structure is a hell of a lot of fun. We all know big bream live in those darkest nooks and crannies, and when you hook one of them, they test all of your skill as an angler, and can expose any short comings you might have in an instant. On the other hand, landing one from the densest cover is about as rewarding as it can get, especially if you perceive that you had no right to win the battle.
This kind of fishing is particularly technical – understanding boat position, being fully alert to the hookup and fighting the fish all requires practice and experience to hone your skills.
One of the critical ingredients in the recipe is choosing the right cast for the situation. Living in this deep dark cover, the fish are sensitive to being spooked, so you need a compromise between accuracy, casting distance and finesse.
There are 3 casting techniques that you need to master to fish this kind of heavy structure effectively.
The skip cast: Imagine you’re a kid at the lake and you pick up a flat stone and skip it across the surface of the water. Well the skip cast basically uses that principle. Using a low side arm trajectory, it allows you to cast a lightly weighted soft plastic lure with a skipping action across the surface.
So why is it an important cast? Well it allows you to get that lure under low lying structure such as docks, overhanging trees, ropes, you name it. The deeper you can get your cast into the structure the better, and this is the cast to do it!
The back hand cast: No champion tennis or squash player is going to rise to the heights of success without a backhand shot. No matter how fast and agile they are and how potent their forehand, there are always going to be instances that anything but a backhand will be inadequate.
Same goes for fishing heavy cover. Sometimes boat position and the lay of the structure will dictate the need for a backhand cast. Be it an overhead backhand, an underhand backhand or a backhand skip cast. Choosing the right cast for the situation is key. It can feel awkward at times, especially if you need to make it in a cramped position, but, as with the champion tennis player, perfecting the backhand cast takes practice.
The Pitch Cast: Use this one when you’re close to the structure, when you want to land the lure in a small gap, want to land the lure with more delicacy and finesse, when you can’t skip the lure, when you want to fish a metal blade or sinking minnow in tight cover… The applications are endless, but this cast is a short range cast that affords you a great deal of control and accuracy. Even more accurate is with bait cast gear where you have more line control, but this technique can absolutely be achieved with light spin gear.
To make this cast:
- open the bail arm and holding the lure, remove about three quarters of a rod length of line from the reel
- hold the lure in your non casting hand trap the line at the reel with your index finger on your casting hand
- With a pendulum action, make an underhand cast
- The line can be feathered with the index finger on your casting hand to control the cast.
This cast takes some practice to judge the amount of tension to be placed on the lure at the start of the cast, but it is extremely accurate and allows you to land the lure on the water with delicacy in those situations that demand finesse.