Casting to yellowfin tuna busting bait on the surface requires skill and decent gear to match. Captain Moe Newman of Journey South Outfitters is no stranger to making long casts with heavy poppers or stickbaits. As a full-time fishing guide based in Venice, Louisiana, Captain Moe takes big-game anglers to tuna-rich waters far offshore. Doing so means breaking out the heavy spinning gear when the action is on top.
One of the main benefits of spinning rods is versatility. Anglers can target saltwater and freshwater species like trout, bass, northern pike, walleye, and catfish. These rods can handle several different lures and many types of baits. Spinning rods have downward-facing guides and a straight handle that lets line flow freely off the reel. Bails control the flow of the line, and with spinning rods, anglers can feel quick nibbles on the line while jigging, trolling, or casting.
With a boat full of anglers, always start with your bait outside the boat to avoid a detour to the emergency room. Assume a sideways stance and point your left shoulder in the direction you want your cast to go. Next, put your left hand on the lower part of the rod butt, next to the reel seat if you're right-handed. You'll do the opposite if you're left-handed. During the cast, your right arm will swing up and over your left in one fluid motion while your index finger releases the line.
With casting, release is critical. If you release it too soon, your line will look like a rainbow and won't go far enough. If you release too late, your lure will lose momentum and drop before it reaches your target area. It will take several casts to find your rhythm, but it helps to imagine that you're casting like hands on a clock. When your rod reaches the 11 o'clock position, it's the best time to release to maximize distance and hit your target.
Gear & Rigging
For Captain Moe’s offshore setup, she uses big poppers to land monster keepers. Her go-to heavy rod is a Shimano 8-foot H Ocean Plugger paired with a Shimano Stella 14,000 spinning reel. Anglers should opt for longer rods because it leads to longer casts. The length of longer rods helps propel heavy lures further to increase your capability.
Coupled with the right rod, you need quality reels to outlast the fighting power of the big game species you’re targeting. Big spinners should have reliable, smooth drags and plenty of max-drag power geared for strength.
With your rod and reel set, it's time for rigging. For targeting big-game species, anglers need to use heavy braid. Captain Moe prefers the 80-pound Power Pro Maxcuatro braid because it's super thin so that you can fit more line on your reel, and it holds up against tough fighting fish. If anglers don't use heavy braid, it's only a matter of time until your catch breaks off and you're left empty-handed.
With your rod and reel ready, the next step is to prep your line. Captain Moe uses AFTCO Saiko Pro 80-pound Fluorocarbon Leader and connects it with a PR bobbin knot. This knot is great because it’s strong and has a slim profile that casts smoothly through your rod’s guides. Saiko Pro is a 100% custom formula fluorocarbon made in Japan for optimum leader performance. If anglers try to use a lighter leader, it usually leads to lost fish. With a heavier leader, smart yellowfin may stay away. To learn how to tie a PR bobbin knot and other popular knots, check out our lineup of how-to videos.
To finish rigging, put a split ring on the end of the leader. Captain Moe prefers to tie on a strong split ring at the end of the fluoro leader and uses a pair of split-ring pliers. By doing this, she can quickly and securely change her lures anytime.
Every legendary catch starts with the right equipment and a solid cast. Adjusting to a spinning rod takes time for beginner anglers to master, but practice makes perfect. To see Captain Moe in action, check out the how-to cast a spinning rod video and keep casting.