118 doesn't sound like enough stitches for a 29" needle. If your gauge is 4 stitches per inch, then the finished product will be about 29 inches. A circular needle should be a few inches shorter than the finished piece so the stitches can slide easily.
Are your stitches too tight to knit into? Or are they not sliding around the circle easily? If you tried too hard to get then to fit around the needle, they may have tightened as you pulled.
I'd suggest casting on a shorter needle and see how that works.
Or you can knit a few rows flat and then see if there's enough to fit around after the stitches have some substance to them.