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When flat fishing, being able to cast a long distance consistently will give you an edge. A long cast will put your bait or lure out of "fish sight." This means that you cast so far the fish can't see you in the boat. If he doesn't know you're there he will be more inclined to hit your rig.

Using the right tackle will increase the distance of your cast. A 7-foot medium-action rod and reel with a long-cast spool that's filled to the maximum is standard equipment. Filling your spool to the max with 6- to 8-pound test will keep your line from dragging over the end of the spool. A half-filled spool will create drag and that will cut down on your distance. Lubricate the barrel on your bail with WD-40. This will keep the barrel turning. If the barrel doesn't turn you will get a "bird's nest" every 10 casts or so.

Making long casts takes practice, so use the right gear and practice throwing your lure as far as you can. Who knows, you might end up with a nice dinner.

_ Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg. Call (813) 347-1389.