Q Is there a record for the world's longest cast? What equipment was used, and when was it done? My guess is that it was made using a long surf rod. —John Novak, Hyattsville, MD
A You're right about the long surf rods. At sanctioned United Kingdom Surfcasting Federation (UKSF) events, Danny Moeskops established three weight-category records, his longest cast being with a 150-gram (5.29 oz.) weight in August 2004 for a distance of 915.22 feet. He used a Century TT-R rod with a modified Abu Ambassadeur reel.
At a noncompetitive gathering in 2002, Jason Willicombe made an even longer cast of 933 feet with UKSF-approved equipment at Davidstow, Cornwall. He used a Zziplex Dynamic HST rod with a modified Abu Ambassadeur 65/5500/CT mag reel.
That's not the story's end. Steve Rajeff, who has won the American Casting Association's championship 34 consecutive times and the biannual World Casting Championship 13 times, filled me in on the alleged longest casts of all, in South Africa back in the late '60s and '70s. Reportedly, these were casts of more than 1,100 feet using special reels with near spiderweb-thin line connected to heavy leaders and bullet lead. The rods were over 16 feet long, and only brutally strong guys were able to cast them.
The promotional stunt-cast Steve Rajeff made using an 11-foot surf rod with 30-pound-test line is also worth noting. His employer, G. Loomis, was making golf-club shafts at the time and the stunt was the kick-off for a PGA tournament. Rajeff competed against long-ball hitter Fred Couples by casting a golf ball against Couples' drive. He beat Couples' 999-foot slam by slinging the ball tied to his line and reel 1,011 feet. —Jerry Gibbs, Fishing Editor
Q Everybody has a favorite caliber. Mine happens to be the .270. But is it possible there are other calibers that test with more consistent accuracy? Is there any way to figure out which calibers might be capable of outperforming others? —Eric Holmes, Waterville, ME
A Whenever the accuracy of different rifle calibers is raised, I find it wisest to keep my head down and ride in the middle of the posse. Which is not to say that all calibers are created equal and none are more or less accurate than others, because experimentation has proved that some cartridges do indeed have an accuracy edge.
Accuracy, it might be said, is in the eye of the beholder. Meaning that certain calibers fall within a narrow niche of purpose, and what might be the most accurate caliber for a certain type of shooting might be almost completely unsuitable for other types of shooting. For example, a benchrest shooter might consider only calibers that deliver groups measuring less than two tenths of an inch to be suitably accurate. For this type of competition, the 6mm PPC has been overwhelmingly successful in the past several years, winning more benchrest tournaments than all other calibers put together.
In varmint-hunting circles, on the other hand, a caliber that consistently groups under 1 inch at 100 yards from a good rifle is considered "accurate" because it combines sufficient accuracy with the high velocity and flat trajectory necessary for long-range varminting. This class of cartridges would include the .223 and .22/250 Remington, the .220 Swift, the newly hatched .204 Ruger and a handful of others. But like the 6mm PPC, these varmint cartridges have specialized applications, so comparing them to larger calibers is fruitless.
With modern (and some not-so-modern) guns, good or bad accuracy is determined by the quality of the rifle and ammunition. The .270 Winchester, which you mention, is a good example. The .270 has long held a reputation for mediocre accuracy. During extensive testing, however, we traced the cause of poor performance to ammunition of subpar accuracy. With high-quality ammunition fired in a high-quality barrel, the accuracy of the .270 was on a par with other popular big-game calibers. Don't lose sight of the fact that a hunting rifle is a compromise between weight, shootability and accuracy. Given the choice, I think most hunters would sacrifice a certain degree of accuracy for a lightweight, fast-pointing rifle. —Jim Carmichel, Shooting Editor
Q Regarding bow "let-off," I've seen several numbers. I've heard of 50, 65, 70, 75, 80 percent let-off, and even one bow with 99 percent. Is there a perfect number for let-off? —George Holt, Missoula, MT
A Let-off refers to the amount of weight an archer is holding when he settles into his anchor point. If you're drawing 70 pounds with 80 percent let-off, you're holding 14 pounds. The same bow with a 65 percent let-off will have you holding 24.5 pounds.
Some manufacturers claim higher let-offs allow you to relax and make more accurate shots. Professional archers, on the other hand, say lower let-offs keep the human shooting machine tight and less prone to error. I side with the pros. I find lower let-off bows more accurate as well as faster, even though you'll have to muscle them a bit more at full draw. —Todd Kuhn, Bowhunting Editor
Quick Tie: Surgeon Knot
Use this knot to tie a leader to a tippet. 1. LOOP With the tag ends of both the leader and the tippet overlapping, make a loose overhand knot. 2. TIE UP Pass the tag section of the leader and standing end of the tippet through the loop two more times. 3. TIGHTEN Pull on all four ends. Trim the excess. » What will you fish for in the spring? Trout Bass Walleyes Crappies Catfish Submit your answer at outdoorlife.com/polls Campfire Cooking In camp, use two to four large coffee cans filled with water and covered with heavy-duty aluminum foil as grill holders. As your meals cook, water in the cans heats up for doing dishes and other cleanup.
Use this knot to tie a leader to a tippet.
1. LOOP With the tag ends of both the leader and the tippet overlapping, make a loose overhand knot.
2. TIE UP Pass the tag section of the leader and standing end of the tippet through the loop two more times.
3. TIGHTEN Pull on all four ends. Trim the excess.
» What will you fish for in the spring?
Trout Bass Walleyes Crappies Catfish
Submit your answer at outdoorlife.com/polls
In camp, use two to four large coffee cans filled with water and covered with heavy-duty aluminum foil as grill holders. As your meals cook, water in the cans heats up for doing dishes and other cleanup.