Numpty tournament casting – swing your lead

All over the UK, in the small hours of Sunday mornings, strange groups of men can be seen wandering around in fields with bits of string and metal stakes. Is this some wierd Pagan ritual or maybe the weekly meeting of the young farmers field measuring club? No this is tournament casting.

A Definition

Tournament Casting – Start and finish on your feet…Tournament Casting is the sport of casting lead weights as far possible, on a measured court over grass. One of the most difficult aspects of this pastime is the ‘trying to be polite to an inquisitive passer by’ trick. The general public find it fascinating, nay, hilarious to see twenty or more grown adults ‘fishing’ in a grassy meadow. ‘What are you after – Flying Fish?’, ‘Caught any yet?’ and ‘Here mate, you just had a bite!’ are just three of my favorite ‘Jovial rambler with humour’ jokes. Within the casting circle we have developed our own punchlines, but have not needed to resort to them as of yet.


For a start, you will need a rod. No ordinary rod though, it needs to be a beachcaster or surfcaster. Not that these rods can sucessfully cast beaches or surf (unless some extremely bad Tournament Casting – Ready steady crack…angling takes place), these are the names used to describe poles that are designed specifically for long distance casting.

For maximum distance, some kind of reel is recommended, multipliers being the prefered option although fixed spool reels are often used. As with any popular sport which has been spotted by large corporations, there are many varied and expensive reels on the market. Unfortunately the distance one can cast is not determined by how much one’s equipment cost, if this was the case then the top four slots at the U.K.S.F championships would be filled by Barristers, Doctors, Airline Pilots and Plumbers.

In order to prove which lead belongs to which person after a round of casting some form of line is required to firmly attach it to the caster. Monofilament with a diameter of no less than Tournament Casting – Serving up a large portion…0.35mm is the accepted standard, bailer twine and orange hand-line string are poor substitutes. On the subject of fishing cable, a shockleader must be used to connect the mainline to the lead, again, monofilament of 0.80mm diameter should be used. A handy formula for calculating the breaking strain of shock leader is to use 10lbs per oz of lead – for a 5oz lead use 50lb breaking strain leader. Washing lines and other strong looking cables are not supplied with breaking strain details and should not be used – to do so is regarded as bad angling.

First Steps

Distance casting is a funny old game, a bit like swear scrabble but usually with more obscenities. There is not a more demoralising time in any surf caster’s career than the Tournament casting – a perfect release…realisation after the first cast at their very first tournament, that 140 yards is a lot further than it looks.

After suffering this rude awakening, the novice caster unfailingly decides that a lot more oompf is needed for their second cast and proceeds to substitute smooth progressive technique with a combination of running, shouting and general brutality. It is at this point that they discover that 120 yards is not as far as 140 yards. The learning curve becomes a cliff.


Tournament Casting – In a right state… More is less – More or less. The first impression of the well executed pendulum cast is that it looks so effortless, this is indeed the case. The second impression of the well executed pendulum cast is that it looks so easy, this is not the case in the slightest. The novices first attempt at pendulum casting usually ends up one of two ways:

Way 1 : With a broken arm.
Way 2 : With the lead buried four feet underground at a similar distance in front of the caster.

From here the style develops. Usually the next stage is the Hawaii five – o, this is where the caster is so busy concentrating on looking the part that he or she forgets to let go of the line. Eventually the line decides to let go of the angler and the end result is a lead screaming away inches above the waves and in a very leftwardly direction, this is commonly known as Low and Left.

Tournament Casting – Wrapped up in it all… The next progression is to try to cast with a bit more emphasis on the line releasing finger, this means that the build up of the cast is all but forgotten about until the lead streaks off into the sky on a right hand path just off the vertical. There is a moment of magic here as the caster Tournament Casting – Often a pain in the neck…watches the lead rapidly gain hundreds of feet in a fraction of a second only to be reminded of their bad technique at the last minute as they follow through to smite themselves a mighty thwap in the right ear with their right fist. It is of course at this time that the line snaps with a satisfying crack and the lead disappears expensively but gracefully into the distance.