Casting Angles

Ever hear of the term “casting angle?” It refers to the angle created (as viewed from overhead) by your cast and the intended target. Casting to a given target from position “A” is one angle, while casting to the same target from position “B” is another.

Something as simple as this resulted in my victory during the 1997 Forrest Wood Open on Minnesota’s Lake Minnetonka. By changing my boat’s position in relation to my target, I was able to entice a bass into biting that ignored the same offering from the previous angle. Here’s how it unfolded.

Jim Moynagh

The final round of that tournament had me scrambling all over the lake trying to put together a winning bag. With only four other boats and myself left to compete on day four, I opted for a run and gun strategy, trying to hit as many places as I could. With most of the competition eliminated, the lake was wide open!

Unfortunately, the bites were still hard to come by even though the prevailing weather proved favorable. My nerves were frazzled and I fished that way. Finally, it got to a point where I just couldn’t keep running around, and I knew it was becoming counter-productive. So I choose one last place to fish during the remaining 40 minutes. It was a place that I held in extreme confidence; in fact I had lost a good bass there earlier in the day.

The spot was a gravel patch about 10 yards long and it was lying on the break alongside a milfoil bed. I repeatedly cast a Roll’r jig perpendicular to the break and slowly dragged the jig down and through the gravel. Again and again and again I cast to the spot. I knew I needed one more good fish to upgrade my limit and this spot had the potential. After quite a few casts, I still had no fish.

Because I vowed not to move I decided to try one last trick. I decided to reposition my boat about 90 degrees so the Roll’r jig would hit the gravel and run parallel to the drop-off. For reasons that I’ll never fully understand, a bass over 3 pounds ate it on about the third cast from this position. This bass culled out a small one and proved the difference between ending up champion versus winding up in second place (a $100,000 difference in pay!).

A “hot” fish is going to plow a lure no matter what angle it comes from, but lethargic bass may not be so eager. For some reason, I believe bass can sense when they are at a predatory advantage over their prey. They know when conditions are set in place for successful foraging.

For example, a bass hiding in the roots of a stump may be hindered by its configuration at certain angles. While other angles allow the bass to easily dart from the stump and capture its food, a moody bass won’t expend energy unless it’s certain a strike will be successful. How often have you thrown a lure perpendicular to a laydown and produced nothing? However, once you cast down the length of the laydown, you then catch a fish. Experienced anglers know that this is the preferred angle on laydowns.

Knowing that different angles can make a difference, an angler will cover far less territory during the course of a day if every target sees several casts. That is why I suggest doing this only once a pattern has been identified. First and foremost in my mind is to cover water, find fish, and trigger them. Only after establishing a pattern that I’m confident with, do I then repeatedly cast to the targets falling within the pattern.

Countless times I’ve heard tournament winners state that they had to make repeated casts to the same target to get a bite. We really can’t be sure why the bass behaves as it does, but we can see the results of varying casting angles.

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Jim Moynagh writes a twice-monthly bass fishing column on Visit Jim on Facebook at!/pages/Jim-Moynagh/167413610047622?fref=ts He is a FLW touring pro, and a former Forrest Wood Open Champion with multiple top 10 finishes. In 2012, he finished in fourth place for Angler of the Year honors. He also finished in fourth place two-straight times in FLW events in 2012. His expertise is deep-water structure fishing for large and smallmouth bass. Jim’s sponsors include M&M’s, All-Terrain Tackle, Chevy Trucks, and Ranger Boats.

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