How to Use a Baitcaster Reel

​In spite of many fishermen nowadays using either a spinning or spin casting reel, baitcasting reels to this day still remain a top choice for plenty of diehard anglers due to their mechanical advantage and extreme control when it comes to making excellent presentations. Knowing how to use a baitcaster reel can be difficult for beginners but with regular practice, the art can be mastered. So here are the steps on how use cast a baitcaster reel.

#1 Know the specifics of your baitcasting reel first

​First off, understanding how to use a baitcaster reel begins with being able to completely understand how it works. Ensure you stick to the manufacture’s guidelines as relates to line and lure weight. Also, check the recommendations for the rod type. Other aspects you need to understand well include:

  • ​Setting the spool tension
  • Braking systems( Magnetic braking systems are always better)
  • Proper rod length( rods measuring 6 to 6.5 feet are always the best)

#2 Spool the line onto the reel correctly

​It has always been recommended that spooling your baitcaster reel using super heavy line makes learning how to use a baitcaster reel easier. Aside from that, reel in the line till your bait is 6-12 inches. And in case you have a bobber or sinker attached to the line, ensure it’s also 6-12 inches from the tip of the rod. This will make things easier for you. Nonetheless, correctly following the manufacturer’s recommendation remains the best option to go about all these.

#3 With your thumb over the reel spool, clutch the rod right behind the reel

​The design for baitcasting rods resembles that of spincasting rods, which most fishermen cast using the same hand they retrieve it with. However, with baitcasting rods, you’ll have to switch hands while casting. It’s better when you rest your thumb on the spool at a very slight angle as opposed to pressing it flat on the line since this allows you more control over the line flow while casting.

#4 Adjust the rod so that the handles to point up

​For right-handed individuals, holding your rod in 1 o’clock position will allow you to use your wrist while casting. But remember, the handles will point down if you cast with your opposite hand.

#5 Click/press the line release button

​While doing this, ensure your thumb is well placed on the spool. Initially, baitcasting reels that date back to the 1970s featured a specific mechanism ( the button right on reel sides) to free the reel spool from handles in order for it not to return during the cast, besides allowing for longer casts. Today, many models have the release bar right behind the spool.

#6 Bend your casting arm

​It’s recommended that you bend your casting arm at exactly 90 degrees right at the elbow in order to maximize the casting ease. And as you do these, adjust your rod till the tip moves slightly past vertical. Now, with your baitcasting reel properly adjusted, it’s time to go for casting.

#7 Train your thumb

​One of the most critical part on learning how to use a baitcaster reel is training your thumb to be smart while holding the reel during casting. It’s important to note that your thumb not only controls the spool of line but also rides on it. You can become better at doing this by trying to tie the reel on a fairly heavy object, sitting down, then loosening up the spoon control till the weight begins to drop freely and thereafter stopping it using your thumb soon as it’s yet to hit the floor. Do this over and over again.

#8 Release the spool

​This allows the weight to drop. Set the braking mechanism in a such a way that the spool quits spinning as the weight hits the ground. Such a setting reduces the chance of backlash during the first cast. Soon as you get proficient at using the setting to cast your baitcast reel, you can then back off on the brake in order to increase the casting distance.

#9 Casting and avoiding backlashes

​First off, depress the release button while the thumb is still resting on the spool. Thereafter, cast the weight using your entire arm as opposed to your wrist alone in order to snap the lure forward. This assists to reduce backlash as you first learn how to cast. Also, ensure that during casting, the handle of the reel points upwards so as to maximize the baitcasting reels performance. In addition, ensure that the braking system is loosened during longer casts.

#10 Stop the bait when it gets to the target

​Using your thumb, ensure you press down the reel spool in order to stop the bait soon as it reaches the target. It’s a mechanism almost similar to clicking on the button while using a spincasting reel in order to brake the line. Remember, failing to apply your thumb on time often results into the spool continuing to turn even after the bait hits the water. This eventually creates an overrun that will demand straightening out again before retrieving the lure.

​Tips and Warnings

  • ​Keep a bent paper clip or small crochet needle in your tackle box so that you can use them to untangle bird’s nest.
  • Baitcasting tackle is not ideal for casting baits/lures that weigh a quarter ounce or below. If you prefer carrying with you various rods when you fish, carry one with a baitcasting reel to use on heavier lures and a one with spaincasting reel to use for lighter weight lures.
  • Practice casting in an open area far off from overhead trees, for instance, an open field. Do this till you become a pro at thumbing the reel spool. While away from water, replace your lure/bait with either a metal sinker or rubber practice plug.
  • While fishing, wear protective clothing in order be safe from hooks that may embed themselves on your skin as a result of either a bad cast or an accident.


​Normally, when beginners ask for assistance on how to use a baitcaster reel, everybody replies “practice, practice, and practice”. But you sure wish someone had told you all of this when you first had your baitcaster. It’s obvious that you’ll hardly forget your first experience using a baitcaster. Although a little challenging, don’t be afraid learning again how to use a baitcaster reel. After learning all these, combined with regular practice, you’ll soon notice the casting getting a lot more easier.

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