How to Cast Your Spinning Rod

Posted by nick under Fishing Beginners Guide

So, you bought your new spinning rod and reel. Now you need to know how to use it. Find a grassy place to practice (stay away from any surface that will tear up your line, like pavement or asphalt.)


First assemble your outfit. Tie on a practice plug (cheap insurance against hooking yourself or orthers while you learn) with an improved clinch knot  and set the drag.

casting practice plug


Hold the rod with your dominant hand. The reel should be below the rod. The reel foot usually goes between your middle finger and your ring finger, but if it feels better (more balanced) between other fingers, go with that.

correct way to hold rod


Pull out or reel in line until you have about six inches of line hanging out of the tip top. Turn the handle slowly until the line roller is directly underneath your index finger.

getting ready to cast


Hold the line against the rod with the crook of your index finger.

holding fishing line with index finger


Open the bail with your other hand.

open bail


Point the rod at your target.

point rod at target


In one smooth motion bring the rod up to vertical.

fishing rod to vertical

Allow it to flex (the tip bends back behind you, this is called “loading” the rod,) without pausing , start to push the rod forward. Note that the movement is happening in your elbow and wrist, not at the shoulder.

fishing rod flexed

When the rod tip is halfway to your target, let go of the line with your index finger to send the lure flying (hopefully at your target.) This step is all about timing.

realeasing fishing line


The plug went straight up into the air.
Solution: You released the line too early. Wait a little longer to release the line.


Problem: The plug crashed at your feet.
Solution: You released the line too late. Release the line sooner.


Close the bail with your free hand.

close bail

*I recommend closing the bail by hand, because doing so eliminates loops in the line that are caused by turning the handle to engage the bail. These loops will turn into ugly tangles after repeated casting.

Congratulations! You now know how to cast a spinning rod. You will get more out of your practice time if you set up a real target to aim for: use a paper plate on the ground, a hulla-hoop, ect. The more you practice now, the less time you’ll spend getting your lures out of trees later.

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39 Responses to “How to Cast Your Spinning Rod”

  1. Kumaresan Vibhakar Says:

    Hi There
    I am recollecting the past agony,irritation & the trouble (2007) that I had to cast a fishing line properly from the Sea Shore. No body came to my aid to show me how to do it properly & perfectly with ease.

    Accidentally I came across the’s it & the site taught me how to cast my spinning Shakespeare 10′ Ugly Stik WBS 1100 100 with Daiwa Emcast Sport reel do the perfect Job.

    Thank U so much as the raw student, I learnt the main tech Now people are asking me how to do it & I in turn direct them to Thank U so much
    Raysun Bhakar

  2. Simon Says:

    Thank you very much for all the good info on here. Keep up the good work!

  3. Antoine Saunders Says:

    Thanks sensei!

  4. Josh Says:

    Just bought my first spinning reel rod the other week because I heard they are great for beginners. I had no idea how to use it. My line kept getting all tangled. Came to and haven’t had a problem since. Thanks!

  5. ion Says:

    This is ok only with ultralight or light spinning reels (ex abu cardinal 501, 502).
    For medium (abu cardinal 503) the bail is going to hit your fingers at your right hand when you retrieve. How do you hold/grip the rod/reel for medium tackle? Do you change the grip when you retrieve?

  6. nick Says:

    I use this grip with medium reels and have never had a problem with the bail. But, for heavier tackle, such as that used in fishing for carp; your casting would like more similar to surf casting… usually two handed. Finger placement on your dominant hand will be pretty much the same as this, with your non-dominant hand near the but end of the rod. When retrieving, you would change your grip, holding the rod just above the stem of the reel.

    Take a look at this carp video to get an idea:
    carp casting.

  7. austin Says:

    I use that hold for all my spinning rods. I have not had an issue with bumping my fingers, only when I am not holding it firmly

  8. Chris Says:

    This is a great site! Thank you for all the much needed info, I’m ready to go fishing now.

  9. Danny Says:

    It’s strange how similar your tips are to those carp anglers use to cast.

    Completely agree with the above, the grip is by far the most important.

  10. gordon jeffrey Says:

    i would have added, that if you are right handed, you should hold the rod in the right hand, and cast over your right shoulder, then winding with your left hand to retreive.too many people think they are right handed because they hold the rod in the right hand and wind with the left – should not have to swap hands after casting. also do not pinch the line to the underneath of the rod when casting, but hold it on the tip of your finger at the first crease – a lot easier.

  11. gordon jeffrey Says:

    sorry about the last post- have my left and right mixed up. it should state – people think they are right handed because they wind with their right hand – its all about which hand you hold the rod in – hold the rod in your left hand if you are left handed and the rod in the right if your right handed. – hope this makes sense.

  12. Joe Tommany Says:

    I agree with Gordon Jeffrey entirely. Except, instead of the first crease, try with the very centre of your fingetip, in the fleshy part. I find this easier to release, of an least I did when starting out. Anywho, it’s all personal preference 🙂

  13. Marcos Gonzalez Says:

    Looooongtime fisherman – love the outdoors. Teacher, too. Have used bait-cast and spin-cast reels almost exclusively, spin-cast to teach beginners, who most of the time, have trouble casting. That’s how I came to devise the Snappycast. Please, look for it.

  14. Fahim Rahman Says:

    Excellent for noobies…. Easy to follow instructions…. Great learning point for beginners… Definitely recommending this site to my fishing buddies… Thank you.

  15. Andrew Says:

    It is MUCH easier and more useful to learn how to cast sidearm. If you are in a situation where you can’t cast sidearm because of brush, there is likely to be trees above you, so overhead is a bad idea. It’s better to pitch, flip, or shoot in those situations. 99% of my casts are forehand with the other 1% being backhand when I’m skipping under a dock or a bridge.

  16. Miriam Linton Says:

    Your instructions were spot on. I am a beginner and yet to catch a fish. I consider my two experiences practice sessions. I am more comfortable casting side arm as opposed to overhead but it’s good to know both options.

    Awesome instructions.

  17. Robert R. Says:

    Do you totally get your index finger out of the way when casting? I tried this technique the other day and got line tangles. Maybe I didn’t have enough sinker weight? Or would it be OK to let the index finger drag on the line a bit? Thanks.

  18. bob Says:

    hi but do you know how to get trout out of the water without a fishing pole.TO LEAVE NO OFFENCE TO YOU.:) 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 .

  19. Bec Says:

    Very informative.
    I am using this to help me with an assignment at it helps a lot! 😀


  20. ... Says:

    😀 🙂 😛 🙁 ^_^

  21. Derpster Says:

    This website is the most helpful website I have ever seen!
    I am going to buy a fishing rod tomorrow and I had no idea what to get and how to use it. I was a complete noob and I am admitting it.
    Thank you for the wonderful website!!!

  22. SLIM JIM Says:

    I have had tears in both of my rotaror cuffs and surgery
    on one and is torn again and the other was so far
    gone they could not operate. But, I love to fish and
    the other day, I went. My right shoulder was so sore
    I could hardly life my arm. I fish for bass, etc. I am
    not a trout fisherman. I heard they may be some kind
    of rod that you can push a button and it will cash for
    you. Any advice? Thanks.

  23. SLIM JIM Says:

    I have been trying to subscribe. Is this site no longer

  24. Melvin Says:

    So detail tutorial! Thank you for sharing experience!

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  28. Aaron Shan Says:

    This was really helpful to me. I had no idea how to do it and when I saw this I caught three fish in a row. Thanks so much.

  29. BaitRodReel Says:

    The biggest problem I see with new spinning reel anglers is the timing of letting go of the line during the cast. Your guide makes it really simple to understand! Thank you very much!

  30. Anonymous Says:

    I wish to point out that I am not sure & I think the Step 4 is incorrect

  31. Studies in Fishing… | Chosen Food Says:

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  36. Christine Says:

    Every time I try and cast out the line and all just drops right in front of me. I don’t know what I am doing wrong. I do not have this problem with a closed reel. Please some one give me some tips on an open reel.

  37. Jon Says:

    Do you have to feel in with left hand

  38. Ricki Southee Says:

    Fantastic Indetail review. Really helpful and nice. I am certainly going to apply it on my fishing expeditions from now on.

  39. Asande Hlabisa Says:

    Thank you very much, because I got advice from this I guy at the beach, when he cast the rod it went perfectly but when I tried I failed. This website has taught me something that guy didn’t, because before my line would get caught up and get tangled making fishing a terrible experience as a beginner, thnx

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