Each month, FishVault subscribers get a box filled with some of the best fishing tackle and gear being used by anglers across the country. From rods and reels, to electronics, lures, and baits, every month’s box gives you a chance to try the newest products on the market. Some of those products might be new for our members and require a little research on proper use. In this article, we are going to talk about using a bait casting reel. What can be a very effective tool in fishing can also seem a little overwhelming for a first-time user. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Before we get into the nitty gritty, remember that the fastest way to get good at anything is to practice, practice, and practice some more! Practicing with your bait caster can be quick and easy. In addition, you don’t have to head to the lake to practice! Practicing at home can be very productive and may make it easier to focus on technique (rather than fish).
Will it cast?
The first thing you always want to make sure of, before handing a rod and reel to a new baitcasting angler, is that the lure or bait weight matches the setup. Rods have a specific range of weights they are designed to fish, and not obeying these guidelines may cause frustration for new anglers learning to cast.
Remember that all three lines handle differently on the spool, and if a new caster will be burning through line untangling birds’ nests, then perhaps starting with a lesser expensive monofilament is the best option. Generally, if they are just starting, the individual probably isn’t that technique specific that would require braid or fluoro quite yet.
The “reel” key to success…
Arguably the most important factor that finds new anglers success are the settings on the baitcasting reel. Setting the bait tension knob is a crucial first step that the individual should learn and practice. We like to have the angler hang the bait 6”-8” off the end of his/her rod tip. Then, release the lure causing it to free fall. The bait should slowly fall, but not too fast. The newer the caster, the slower the fall should be (approximately). As the individual becomes more familiar with the reel and casting, the reel’s brakes can be backed off over time. This helps prevent backlashing, but does limit castability for experienced anglers. Don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it!
As you begin your cast, the spool brake knob should be disengaged, and your thumb on the spool. As you load the rod, point your rod tip in the direction you intend to cast. Timing is key! Time your thumb to release the spool at the right moment that maximizes the rod’s release (when it becomes straight) to accurately cast your lure/bait to your target. You may notice that early on, you will want to completely remove your thumb from the reel’s spool, but fight it! As you become more experienced, your thumb’s tension on the spool will feather the line out, and provide you with more feel. It will also be necessary as you back the tension off of the reel’s brakes as time and your skill progress.
Try to catch the spinning spool with your thumb pressure before the bait hits the water. If the bait hits the water or something else before you are ready, the cast may “bird’s nest” your reel.
We suggest practicing with all your baitcasting reels in order to get a feel for them all! No two reels react and act exactly the same! Get out and practice, practice, practice to be the best baitcasting fisherman you can be!