I learned to spin fish using kastmaster, or at least a very similar lure. I have caught hundreds of fish and spent nearly as many hours fishing them. If I have to describe a kastmaster, it would be as a simple metal lure that casts a mile.
I consider the Kastmaster to be one of the most versatile lures around. They can be fish fast, slow, close to the surface, or along the bottom. You can jig them, cast them and catch most predatory fish on them.
Fundamentally Kastmasters are among the easiest lures to fish, they cast like a bullet and sink at a consistent weight. I cast to near, or just belong where I suspect the fish will be holding. Let the lure sink to the desired weight then reel it in.
I like to say they are simple lures to fish, and I know many anglers who just cast and retrieve at a steady pace. It works, they do catch a few fish. But to get the most out of a kastmaster they do require quite a bit of work.
During the retrieve, the kastmaster wobbles gently through the water. While the action, combine with the shininess is enough to attract the attention of predatory fish. It is not always enough to convince them to strike.
This is why, I use my rod, and reeling speed to impact additional action into the retrieve. I will cover the basics below
How to fish a kastmaster?
One of the best ways to fish a kastmaster is to cast it from the shore, and reel it in. Below I will explain some techniques to get the most out of your lure.
1) Short pauses.
Maybe the most successful action you can input into a Kastmaster is a short pause. This causes the lure to stop, and start fluttering toward the bottom. Every so often during my retrieve, I pause for 2 or 3 seconds. This is long enough to cause the kastmaster to flutter. If I see a trout, or other fish following my kastmaster, a pause can easily trigger a strike.
2) Let them sink.
I know many anglers, cast out and start retrieving almost immediately. This works well, if the fish are feeding near the surface, or are prepared to raise to give chase. But, we all know that fish often like to swim closer to the bottom. So I often cast out, and wait until I think the lure is close or on the bottom before a start my retrieve.
3) Jerk the rod tip.
During the retrieve, giving the rod tip slight jerks, causes the lure to dart quickly through the water. This gives the lure a more pronounced action which is better at triggering a predatory response from interested fish
4) Vary retrieval speed.
In my experience, most trout anglers fish their kastmasters too fast. I suggest reeling them in at varying speeds to see what the fish prefer. The kastmaster design is very forgiving and can be retrieved as fast or as slowly as desired.
If you wind in superfast, the kastmaster darts across the surface. This is certainly too fast to interest trout but some more predatory fish could be keen. I have never had much luck skating them across the surface.
A moderately fast retrieve results in a tight wobble and the lure tends to lift towards the surface. This action somewhat resembles a fleeing baitfish. This speed is more suited for targeting Rainbow than brown trout in my experience.
A slower retrieve has a more erratic side-to-side wobble which generally works better for trout.
Fishing with a very slow retrieve will have the Kastmaster rubbing across the bottom. This can work well on clean bottoms. Trend to catch more flatfish, and the occasional salmon than trout.
5) Jig the retrieve
When fishing deep water, I cast out. Then once I start the retrieve I will lift the rod tip high, causing the lurer to jerk upwards. I then let it sink, wind in the slack, then jerk it up again. This causes the lure to swim through the water in and a up and down momentum.
6) All of the above, experiments.
If the fish are not striking, try varying combinations of the above. I usually change my action and retrieve after every cast. I rarely repeat the same retrieve right after the first. I keep mixing it up.
I try different retrieves and actions until I get a strike. If I do get a fish, I will then repeat the successful retrieve more often.
How to vertical fish a Kastmaster?
When fishing from a boat or kayak, the water is simply too deep for cast and retrieve fishing. Kastmasters are also an effective jigging or vertical fishing lure. Basically, jig them like any other spoon.
My technique is simple. I open my bail arm and allow the kastmaster to flutter towards the bottom. I know the lure is on the bottom when the reel stops peeling line. ( Worth keeping in mind sometimes in strong current, a lure will drift sidewise and never seem to reach the bottom).
Often a trout will hit the kastmaster during the drop. If that happens there is usually a pause or jerk mid fall. Sometimes the line even speeds up and peels off rapidly. This is the time to close the bail arm and set the hook.
Once on the bottom, I reel in a little slack, then start pumping the rod. By lifting it up then slowly lowering it to allow the kastmaster to flutter down again. I try to lower my rod slowly, keeping up with the decent of the lure. There is no need to jig fast when targeting trout.
If I know where the trout should be holding. I usually keep the lure appropriately where the fish are. I will do half a dozen jig motions. Then I will open the bail arm and let it flutter back to the bottom. I rarely wind it all the way to the surface unless I suspect trout are holding in all water depths.
How to troll with a kastmaster?
When targeting trout I only like to troll kastmasters in deeper lakes. I beleive Jerkbaits work much better in the shallows. Kastmasters tend to sink too quickly for trolling in rivers and over shallow flats.
The secret for trolling for trout is to move slow. Almost the slower the better. I try to place my lure about 80 yards behind my boat then gently troll in a zig-zag pattern or a gentle S sharp. That way the kastmaster cuts the corner, and covers water that the boat did not travel over.
If you want to fish deeper, it is simplest to use a slightly heavier kastmaster. But, sometimes a large lure can scare wary fish. In these cases, it might be better to use a down rigger or troll the kastmaster behind a sinker.
What is the best size or weight kastmaster?
When targeting trout, or most fish. I try to fish as small a kastmaster which has enough weight to let me reach the fish. Sometimes I need to use a slightly heavier kastmaster to punch through a strong head wind.
I have seen this many time. A dozen anglers lining up, the majority using kastmasters. But only one or two will be catching fish. While there are many reasons why this could be the case, one of the most common ones is lure size. Trout, simply seem to prefer to strike smaller kastmasters. I suspect the larger ones might intimidate them somewhat.
What is the best Kastmaster color?
When targeting trout, I do not really think it matters, or at least no one color works best all of the time.
I always like to have the basics. A plain silver (or chrome) and a gold. On sunny days, I sometimes polish them, to make sure they are extra bright and reflective.
I also like to have a few more natural patterns such as the trout patterns. These work well when the fish are a bit wary.
If the water is cloudy, I will go for a bright pattern such as firetiger or metallic perch.
For a more in depth answer check my article here.
What makes a Kastmaster a great lure?
As the name suggests, Kastmaster lures are the master of casting. They fly through the air like a bullet.
The biggest advantage of a kastmaster lure is that they are so easy to cast. Sometimes, when the fish are holding far offshore, a kastermater is the best option to reach them. Tying a kastmaster onto the end of your fishing line might just be the easiest way to increase casting distance.
The long casting distance, also makes them an excellent lure for finding fish. You can cover a lot of water very quickly with them in an attempt to find where shoaling fish are holding. I often use a kastmaster to find trout, and once I know the general area they are holding I will change to a jerkbait or in-line spinner to try and catch them.
What are the downsides of a kastmaster?
Kastmasters are a classic, and I fish a lot of them. I know this might be a bit controversial, but I do not consider them to be a great trout lure. I have caught hundreds of fish on Kastmasters, but only a few dozen trout. That is because they have several short comings where they fall short of other spinner designs.
The first is that kastmasters are quite a silent lure, they do not give of fish attracting vibrations like inline spinners, and they lack the internal rattles of some jerkbaits.
Although, I will add here. That ACME recently started to make a kastmaster with an integrated rattle. They are called the Kastmater Rattle Master. Certainly worth a try when fishing kastmaseters in cloudy water.
Secondarily, I do not consider their action to be that lifelike. Jerkbaits do a much better job at intimidating fleaing baitfish. Even spoons, typically flatter and dance through the water in a much more enticing way.
Where to fish kastmasters?
I mostly fish them in lakes, seas and wide rivers. If I can not cast my other lures far enough, I will consider using a kastmaster.
I have spent a lot of hours standing at river mouths, and the long casting kastmasters are the perfect lure to get as far out as possible.
It is possible to add scent.
I personally do not do this. But I have seen it work. Some anglers like to thread a small amount of bait, such as a salmon egg or piece of dough onto the rear hook. This is another wee trick to get a fish to grab at a kastmaster.
Although, if you put on too much bait, it will reduce to casting distance and somewhat impede the lures action.
You can trail a fly behind a kastmaster!
This is a sneaky little technique, Where you tie about a foot or so of leader onto the back hook of a kastmaster. Then to the end of the line tie on your fly or streamer of choice.
This can be done with almost any lure, but because the kastmaster is an excellent caster. It is one of the best candidates.
When the kastmaster is retrieved, the streamer or fly trails behind it. The kastmaster not only acts as a weight to cast out the fly, but its large, shiny body also grabs a lot of attention. Many wary trout, will ignore the kastmaster, but will grab the much safer trailing fly just behind.
Best line to use with a Kastmaster lure?
It is no secret that kastmasters are excellent at casting. This means you can pair them with almost any suitable diameter line and still cast toward the horizon. So I recommend using a quality monofilament, although braid does offer better sensitivity and even longer casts. I do prefer braid when jigging.
Kastmasters can create slight line twists. So using a spinning reel with a smooth roller and excellent line lay should help minimize it.
Will, above I have outlined why I think the kastmaster is such an iconic lure. It is simply very versatile, but best of all it casts like a bullet. It is such a simple lure to cast and fish.