World Record Distance Casting Champion Neill MacKellow
Off the Beach Cast
by Bob D'Amico
he Off the Beach (Ground) cast is a “Power Cast” but one of the easiest surf casts you can use and under normal fishing conditions it should be your primary cast. This, like all casts, is not dependent on physical strength but on the fluid movement of your body, your EYES and the physics of centrifugal force applied to your rod over a 200° arc.
"...it is the custom, much to my chagrin, for surfcasters to swing their rods mightily with but 2 feet of line trailing from their tips, failing to put to work for them the laws of physics and centrifugal force, which would so enhance their casting skills. Thus, if people were fishing right in the first place, 5-foot leaders would be no handicap at all."1
— Frank Daignault
Special rods and reels are not necessary, it works equally well with fiberglass or graphite spinning and conventional basitcasting tackle. Centrifugal force is the key to the OTB cast. If you use a 9 foot long rod and a 6 foot (or better) drop from your tip you are casting through a 15 foot arc! With a 10 foot rod your drop should be at least 7 feet creating a 17 foot arc. That's why the OTB is a “Power Cast.”
The steps in this cast will become so natural and easy after a little practice you will be amazed with your added distance and ultimately your accuracy. It is not strictly for baitfishing, you can employ it as well when you are casting jigs, bucktails, big wooden plugs and especially with light palstic lures such as Bombers®.
The OTB Cast applies hellacious force on your line. If you are using 20 pound or LOWER pound test you should use a Shock Leader which should be at least triple the pound test of your main line. The following is for right-handed casters, if you are a left handed just reverse the directions.
Stand squarely looking at the Water. Now place your left foot forward and lean back shifting your weight to your right foot.
Next twist at your hips so your upper body is sideways and you are looking behind you at approximately 180° (12:00).
Swing your rod back and the sinker out to the 3:00 position and rest it on the ground. Your rod should be at about 1:00 which equates to 200°
Hold your rod with the tip angled down, with your left arm higher than your right. Your right arm will naturally be lower and straight.
With your sinker on the ground and the line taut (no slack) begin the cast by rotating your body at the hips. Your arms and the rod are still back being pulled forward. You want your arms to move upwards and come around smoothly in an upward arc.
As your body turns straight towards the water, your weight should shift forward to your left foot, pull your left arm down and in towards your chest. Push up with your right arm for some extra power as you release the line.
Keep your rod tip held high and follow through by looking at your target, the west coast of Portugal!
Most people either release too early or too late causing a "shank" cast to the right or left. Keep practicing and keep in mind that the OTB cast depends on fluid smooth body movement not massive muscular strength. Take it easy, no grunting is needed!
The photo above is world distance casting champion Neil Mackellow making the Off the Beach “Ground” cast. The video below of Neil is located on YouTube. Note how smoothly and nearly effortlessly he makes the cast, no grunting!
1: Frank Daignault, Striper Surf, page 195, 1992, Globe Pequot Press, Old Saybrook, CT.