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when not in need of measuring your casts, try using a "hockey practice" ball or dense-foam dog ball (the same size as a tennis ball but about 5 1/2 oz in weight) instead of a lead.

Advantages: won't bury itself , can be wound back (without you having to walk towards it) , slightly safer ; you can still feel and see if a cast was a good one
Disadvantages: can't cast as far (of course), looks a bit silly (but who cares?) ....and.... imagine what might happen if a frisky collie dog wanders into the field just as you "let fly" - he is bound to presume it is for his benefit and that'll be when your troubles are just beginning LOL !

supplementary: if you don't mind wearing out the drag on a multiplier reel (eventually) you can even cast with the reel in-gear and the drag set at near-minimum ... will only go 30 or 40 yards even with a fairly powerful cast (that would have gone 150-200+ with lead and in free-spool) . Not as satisfying as the rapidly-emptying spool, but lot less work retrieving
 
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