It doesn’t matter whether you are throwing a baitcaster, a spinning rod, or slinging flies with the long rod, how and where your feet are planted has an awful lot of influence over where your lure, bait or fly is going to land. Your stance is one of the most important—yet least appreciated—factors that influences good casting.
Why do your feet matter? Because casting in all forms is seldom, if ever, really about power. It’s about timing. Much like hitting a golf ball. You don’t have to be Hercules to hit far or cast far. You need a rhythm and timing method that allows you to let your equipment perform the way it is designed. If we allow our fishing rods to work for us, half of the casting challenge is overcome.
The timing also depends on balance, and that’s where your feet come into the picture. The more balanced you are, the better.
I like to lean into my casts, just a little bit, with my dominant foot slightly forward of the other, pointed directly at the target area where I want to drop my cast. If your lead foot is pointed at your target, and you lean slightly toward your target, when you make that casting motion, you end up looking through your thumbnail (either on top of the baitcaster reel, or on top of the cork grip of a fly rod) directly at the target… well, it’s almost difficult to be off-line.
Of course, all of this is easier said than done. If you’re standing on a casting platform of a boat, wading in river currents that press against your legs (while planted on slippery rocks), or if you see a fish move and want to react quickly, it’s hard to maintain perfect balance.
That’s why it’s important to think about your feet before you make the cast. If you take even a couple seconds to adjust your position to optimize balance and the way your body lines up behind the rod, you will cast straighter and farther. And in doing so, you’ll create the foundation for successful fishing, in any style, for any season.
Kirk Deeter is the editor of TROUT magazine, and an editor-at-large for Field & Stream. He is the co-author of The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing.