Tips for Using The Baitcast Reel
Just as important as the best lure It's very important to have a good reel to cast, flip or pitch that lure with. There are two basic types of reels commonly used by most experienced bass fishermen. One is the baitcaster; the other is the spinning reel. The spinning reel (often referred to as an "open face reel") is generally used for deeper, clear water, light line applications or finesse fishing; and the baitcaster for everything else.
Unlike other types of reel, the baitcaster does take some practice and patience to learn to use effectively. but I strongly recomend that anyone who is serious about becoming a good bass fisherman take the time to learn it.
The number one problem that most inexperienced fishermen have with the baitcast reel is the dreaded backlash or also known as the birds nest. The backlash happens when the lure is cast. The lure hits the water and stops but the reels spool continues to spin resulting in a wadded up, tangled mess of line in the reel. Everyone who has ever used a baitcaster including pro bass fishermen has experienced this to some degree. And if you use one it will happen to you as well. Just accept the fact, use the tips I'm about to give you, and practice. Before you know it, you'll be casting very well and the backlash will never enter your mind.
How To Avoid Backlashes in your Baitcaster
The first and most important lesson in avoiding a tangled mess in your reel is learning how to properly adjust it.
Most more modern baitcast reels have two adjustments which allows the user to adjust the reels spin to the weight of the lure, which helps prevent backlash. The adjustment which adjust the reel to the weight of the bait is located just beside or below the reel handle.
This is the first adjustment that should be made each time you change lures or lure weight.
How to adjust the baitcaster
Step 1: Tie on your lure, pull out 6 inches of line and hold the baitcaster in your left hand (reverse if you're reel is left handed) with the rod straight out in the 3 o clock position tighten the adjustment knob down snug. Step 2: with the left hand press the thumb bar to release the spool. step 3: with the right thumb and forefinger loosen the adjustment knob until the lure begins to slowly drop toward the ground or water. As soon as the lure begins to fall stop. this should give you the correct weight adjustment.
The second adjustment is normally located on the opposite side of the baitcast reel. This adjustment is basically meant to help compensate for wind when you're casting into the wind. Your reel will cast its best when this adjustment is set low at 1 or 2 clicks. However, if you have your weight adjustment is set correctly but are still getting spool over run, set this adustment up one click or number at a time until you eliminate the problem. eventually you will learn to control the spool with your thumb as the line comes off. Then you will be able to loosen up both adjustments and make very long accurate cast without the worry of baitcaster backlash. A quick tip, spray a little wd-40 or silicone on your line and spool. This will lubricate and make for much smoother casts and lessen backlash as well.
How to cast the baitcast reel
There's not alot to be said on this subject. Basically the baitcaster can be cast just the same as your old spincast reel; with two exceptions. There is only 2 exceptions but they are important. exception number 1, unlike the spincast, the baitcaster should be held reel handle up in the 12 o clock position, this puts the spool vertical instead of horizontal and helps tremendously with eliminating backlash problems. Just hold the rod and reel just as you would a common spincast, then twist the wrist 1/4 round to the left (right if you're left handed) and cast.
Exception number two, Unlike the spincast reel which keeps the line from spooling off until you make your cast by holding the release button down. The baitcaster spool is secured by holding your thumb directly on it. One tip here is, when you cast let your thumb ride very lightly on the spool as the line goes out until the lure hits the water.
How to choose the best baitcaster
There's tons of baitcasters on the market and prices vary from $10 up. I encourage the beginner to buy a good reel to start. The mistake I see time after time is beginners who buy a very cheap reel. Some of the extremely cheap reels are almost impossible to adjust correctly and they have problems with extreme backlashing. This frustrates them and they give up on using the baitcaster completely. This is not to say that you must spend a lot of money. You can buy a decent reel for around $40.
Some of the best brands are Shimano, Abu Garcia, Quantum, Pflueger, Okuma, and Diawa. Each brand will have several different models with a couple different gear ratio's. The gear ratio is important. If you're not sure what gear ratio means, for example. a 5:1 gear ratio means that the spool turns five rounds to each one round of the real handle. In other words the higher the first number the faster the reel will retrieve line. A good common medium that will work just fine for fishing most any type of lure is the 5:1 ratio.
If you decide to go with a lower priced reel, which I do reccomend for your first experience with a baitcaster. I reccomend Shimano. All the brands make great reels but Shimano seems to be better on the lower priced reels. If you decide to go ahead and spend a little more and get a great reel right out of the gate, I reccomend Shimano also. My favorite is the Shimano Curado. In my personal opinion the curado is the best reel on the market at any price. I'm not sponsored by the company and I don't get paid to say this. I simply like the reel. You can pick one up for just over $100 if you shop around.
If you're serious about bass fishing I recommend that you get yourself a baitcaster. With a little practice and patience, you'll be casting like a pro and catching bass before you know it.
Until Next Time