Becoming a Better Angler

By Joe Bucher

Basic casting proficiency is very underrated and highly overlooked. In other words, if you can’t cast accurately and effectively without getting snarls and backlashes, your success is sure to suffer. Compound this problem with constant weed foul-ups, tangled line around your lure, and the host of other basic things that limit your hourly performance, and your odds of success go way down; no matter how active the fish are. I can sight dozens of experiences over my past guiding career that spanned from 1975 thru 1996, and outings on a more recent basis with friends, where I still see the true value of such a simple formula. It’s almost a sure bet that the angler who struggles with casting proficiency along with lure presentation ends up with fewer fish at the end of the day; no matter what the species of fish he or she is after. 

This is why it is vitally important to master the simple art of casting and retrieving lures. If you are a beginner, my best advice would be to stick with one outfit (reel) and learn it well. Practice good form, just like a golf swing, and perfect it. If you’re an avid, yet somewhat unsuccessful angler, I’d be willing to bet that you struggle with the basics of casting and lure presentation. Breaking bad habits is often a lot tougher for folks in this boat since they already think they know something. But, the plain truth is improving your casting form and lure presentation with the simple lures might be all that’s needed to make you a better angler. More bluntly, if you’re plagued with backlashes and constantly fouled up lures, you’re wasting lots of time and destroying your chance to catch fish.

All in all, basic casting and presentation efficiency combined with good on-the-water observation is often the key to success on any trip. In my opinion, many of us try to make the sport of fishing much more complicated than it has to be. Knowledge of the water is certainly the most important factor. However, spending countless hours on the water as a guide throughout the 1970’s, 80’s and early ’90’s taught me one of the most important lessons of all. You take a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink! Translated into fishing lingo, a good guide can put you over top of active fish, but you still have to catch ’em. If you struggle to cast and can not present lures to spots efficiently, your success rate is sure to suffer. Never take the basics of casting and lure presentation for granted. You will quickly find out that – the more skilled you become at these basics, the more fish you will catch. It really is that simple

Joe Bucher is the Editor Emeritus for Musky Hunter Magazine and one the most highly recognized multi-species fishing and hunting authorities in the outdoor business trade. Joe is the host of Fishing with Joe Bucher TV show which has been on the air for over 20 years. For more information on Joe please visit his website at

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