How to Cast a Baitcaster Reel
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So, you’ve probably read of the benefits that a baitcaster reel can offer, and then decided on which baitcaster reel is the right one for you.
Now you just need to learn how to cast one of these weird and wonderful reels!
Casting a spinning reel is a fairly simple process, and you can figure out how to do it with just a small dollop of common sense.
But casting a baitcaster reel is a whole other ball game, and requires an understanding of how the reel works, and then how to cast your bait or lures without creating those big birds-nest tangles!
Before you start casting you need to learn how the key components of the reel work, and how to tune the reel to optimize casting ability, and reduce the potential of tangles as much as possible.
Anatomy of a baitcaster reel
How to tune your baistcaster reel in
The main components you’re going to need to work with when dialling in your baitcaster reel are the spool tension knob, the brake and the spool release button (clutch). Here’s a quick summary of what each one does:
- Spool release button (or clutch) – pushing this button down puts the spool into free-spool.
- Spool tension knob – this determines the resistance on the spool when it’s put into free-spool
- Brake – when casting, the brake slows the spool down just before the lure hits the water
Follow these steps:
- 1Get your rod set up and attach a lure to the end of the line as if you were ready to start fishing.
- 2If your baitcaster reel has a brake, turn this off completely while you adjust the other settings.
- 3Then, tighten up the spool tension knob as far as it will go, so there is maximum resistance being applied to the spool when it’s released.
- 4Put the spool into free-spool by clicking down on the spool release button. Note – your line should not release at all, as you will have the spool tension knob turned up as high as it can go.
- 5Slowly start to release the tension on the spool by turning the spool tension knob.
- 6You want to get the tension so that the lure will steadily drop to the ground, but when it hits the ground the spool stops and does not release any more line.
- 7On the other side if the reel, turn the brake up to quite a high setting for now (suggest 3 quarters of its maximum to start with).
Now you should be ready to start casting with the reel, and you will reduce the chance of getting any backlash because of the tension you have implied with the spool tension knob.
Note – You will need to do this process each time you change lure, as the weight of the lure may be different to the last, therefore the tension setting requirements will be slightly different.
The above process is very quick to do, and once you become more proficient with your casting, you can slowly start to decrease the amount of spool tension you use to allow you to cast further.
But just remember, the less tension you have on the spool during casting, the more chance you have of getting those nasty backlash tangles.
Feathering the line
There is a manual technique that most anglers use with baitcaster reels to reduce the chance of backlash. It’s called feathering the line.
This is where you have your thumb held on the line on the spool, and when you cast it you lightly feather the line with your thumb, and as soon as your lure or bait hits the water you apply pressure with your thumb onto the spool.
This stops the spool from spinning and thus will prevent any more line peeling off the spool.
It is also a technique used for accuracy, and will allow you to stop the lure or bait right on the spot you want to land it each time you cast. It does take a bit of practice, but once you get more proficient at it then it’s a deadly weapon to have for accurate casting ability.
Before you start casting, it’s important that you understand how the braking system on a baitcaster reel works.
As mentioned previously, the braking system will engage once you have cast your bait or lure and the spool starts to slow down. This will help reduce the amount of line that is let off the spool once the bait lands on the water.
There are a few different types of braking systems – A magnetic braking system, a centrifugal brake, and a pin braking system.
Some baitcaster reels may only use one of these braking systems, while others may use two or even three of them together.
If you are just starting out with a baitcaster reel, I recommend that you have the braking system set really high to begin with.
There is usually a dial on the opposite side of the reel to the handle, and this allows you to set the brake pressure. So if this has a maximum setting of 10, I recommend you set it to at least 7 initially.
Once you become more proficient at casting, then you can start to play around with the brake settings. But for now, just leave it on high.
Casting your baitcaster reel
Now you have your baitcaster reel tuned in, you can actually start doing some casting practice.
I highly recommend you spend a good hour or so either in the garden, or an open space where there’s nobody around and you just practice your casting with different weighted lures on the end, so you can get a feel of how the reel works.
Follow these steps to cast your baitcaster reel:
- 1Hold the rod out in front of you at about the 2 o-clock position, and with your thumb on the spool, release the spool tension button (aka the clutch). This will put the spool into free-spool, but as you have your thumb on the spool, no line will come off.
- 2Slowly move the top of the rod back behind your head and stop when you get to about the 10 o-clock position, ready to flick the bait out.
- 3Make a forward flicking motion with the rod, and as the rod just passes the vertical 12 o-clock position release your thumb from the spool. This will launch the lure forwards.
- 4As the lure is in the air, lightly feather the line with your thumb.
- 5Just before the lure is about to land, apply pressure onto the spool with your thumb to stop the line.
Keep practicing the above process until it becomes more natural to you.
It will take a bit of time and practice until you get it right. You will get some tangles along the way, it’s inevitable and even the best anglers still get them from time to time.
But once you master the art of casting with a biatcaster reel, you will see just how effective they can be.