8 Factors that Affect Casting Distance

The product recommendations on our site are independently chosen by our editors. When you click through our links, we may earn a commission. 

Whether you’re learning how to cast a baitcaster for the first time or just trying to improve your distance or accuracy with a fishing rod and reel combo and your favorite lure, there are several factors that dictate how far and well you can cast a lure.

The following are the factors you need to consider when casting a fishing lure:

  • Rod action
  • Rod length
  • Line size
  • Line material
  • Lure weight
  • Lure shape or size
  • Wind
  • Lure to rod tip distance

Every one of these factors affects your ability to cast the lure where you want to, and here is how each one should be considered to make you the best caster on the lake.

Action determines load

When you pull the rubber back on a sling shot, the harder you pull it back or “load” it, the farther it will shoot your pellet. The same holds true for a fishing rod. The more you can cause the rod blank to load the more you can launch a bait with the recoil on the rod.

If a rod has a real heavy power and action, it won’t bend as much and it won’t load as much. Whereas a rod that has a moderate action or medium power will load a lot more. There is, however, a law of diminishing returns. If the rod has too light an action and not enough power, the lure will become overpowering and can even break a rod blank with enough force. So you want a rod with a moderate action and medium power to maximize your cast. Read more about rod actions.

Longer means longer

A longer rod will give you a longer cast. It’s really that simple. If power and action are the same, generally speaking, a 7-foot rod will cast the same lure farther than a 6-foot rod. Now if the lure is light, like 1/8 ounce, it can be a little more managable on a softer shorter rod than a longer rod. But say at 1/2 or 3/4-ounce, an 8-foot rod can flat launch a lure.

Line size can be a drag

The short of it a heavier, thicker line will not cast as well as a thinner, lighter line will. So 10-pound line will throw a lure much farther than 20-pound line will. There is less drag on the line in both the guides and in the air. In other words, the weight of the lure and force of the recoil on the rod can pull the line off the reel easier if the line is lighter. This is one reason why pros like Aaron Martens started using all braid backing. The spools spin faster with tighter wound, smaller-diameter line.

Line material changes distance

Thickness plays a role and so can the coating and material of the line. A 30-pound braided fishing line throws a lot farther than a 20-pound fluorocarbon does. That sort of goes against the last rule but keep in mind a 30-pound braid has a smaller diameter and the material has less drag on the cast. So the lure can actually pull the line off the reel with less effort and friction on a cast.

Weight adds distance

This is probably the simples to understand, but a 1/2 ounce lure is easier to cast father than a 1/8 ounce lure. The heavier a lure is the more distance you’re going to be able to get on it. That’s why you can throw the backing off your reel with an 8-foot crankbait rod and 3/4 ounce deep-diving crankbait, but you struggle to get a small crankbait out there very far on lighter line and a spinning rod. You can apply many of the ideas from the other points to get more distance, but at the end of the day, generally speaking, a heavier lure casts farther.

Lure profile can hinder casting

The type of lure matters. If you have a bulky lure like a big spinnerbait with blades and skirt and flapping trailer, your cast can be shortened by how much the lure hangs up and creates resistance in the air on the cast. Generally speaking a more aerodynamic profile casts a lot better than a bulky sprawling profile does on a fishing lure.

I can whip a 1/4 ounce drop shot out there a mile, but I sometimes struggle to get a 3/8 ounce spinnerbait to go nearly as far. The blades spin in the wind, the skirt catches air and the bait sort of sets up on a cast like a kite. Whereas a little worm with a heavy fishing weight at the end of the line casts like a bullet.

Wind is not your friend, usually

If you’re trying to get maximum distance, the wind can be your friend or foe. If you put the wind to your back and cast with the wind, it can help sail a bait even farther down the lake. However if you turn and throw into or across the wind, it will catch the bait, cause more drag on your line and shorten your cast greatly, not to mention slow your bait’s casting speed causing you more over run issues on your reel.

Play the win to maximize your distance.

Let out the line to add distance

This is probably the most overlooked facet of adding distance to your cast, but it’s also because we didn’t evolve from our initial casting instructions. When we are learning to cast, we’re often taught to keep the lure about a foot from the end of the rod. A good place to start when you’re concentrating on thumbing spools, angles, rod load, wind and other factors.

But as you become proficient at casting, you need to start experimenting with how far you let the lure out to begin your cast. Guys like Kevin VanDam and his nephew Jonathan VanDam achieve maximum casting distance because their “wind up” is longer than most anglers. I can tell you I’ve been in the back of the boat while KVD is casting deep diving crankbaits and the back cast and distance the lure goes back and forward will make the hair on your neck stand up. On a 21-foot bass boat, you want to crawl on top of the cowling of his Mercury motor to avoid catching a Strike King 6XD in the cheek.

Letting the line out further gives you a harder load on the rod and gives you more of a fulcrum to propel the bait outward with more force and ultimately distance.

So if you’re wanting to add feet and yards to your cast, consider how each of these factors play in your tackle choice and lure choice and then play the odds and put the distance in your control for casting your favorite fishing lure.