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Using A Baitcaster Reel


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hi all would anybody have any advice on using a baitcaster without all the birdsnests .have tried different methods but still manage a tangle. have read the manual with the reel but no luck.on tv the pros seem to do a quick flck. but that the pros hey?

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:1welcomeani: To fishraider nivek

Baitcasters take a while to get used to

how i learnt was

1st tighten the spool knob so that your sinker would just drop down a little, nip it up a tiny bit more

2nd when casting i would watch my cast and just as or before it hit the water,I would thumb stop the spool.

( this for me gave me less birds nest straight away)

3rd when i got more confident at casting i would loosen the the spool knob a little and try for more distance.

4th take your time you can,t throw super distances first up it takes time

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Ditto from me Nivek

Baitcasters are a learned skill and nobody can use them well without a learning curve. Thery're not like threadlines that can be used by any old idiot - they take some practice.

Don't be disheartened that you can't use it straight away. None of us could either! :1prop: I've been using them for more than ten years and I'll still get birdsnests every now and then.

They're worth it though once you get the hang of casting them. HEAPS more accurate than threadlines.

My tips:

- don't try to cast the cover off the lure, start with a medium length cast.

- keep your thumb resting lightly on the spool even whilst it is spinning during the cast. You'll feel the line start to 'loop' if a birdsnest is coming and you can immediately jam the spool and stop it before it is impossible to untangle. Your thumb will also act as a brake that stops overrun.

- make sure all the brakes inside the spool are engaged when you first start.

What kind of reel is it BTW?

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I remember my first baitcaster i think it was a bass one or something like that,but i do remember

standing in the backyard casting a sinker about 15ft or so over,over and over.practise,practise

and more practise thats what it takes. 15yrs later and i wouldnt use anything else,can get a bit

tricky in the darkness of night because you cant see the water to tell when to stop the spool.lol.

Most of all be patient and dont try and throw massive distances untill you get the hang of it.

otherwise you will throw it down in disgust and never pick one up again,which would be a shame.


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I remember my first baitcaster i think it was a bass one or something like that,but i do remember

standing in the backyard casting a sinker about 15ft or so over,over and over.practise,practise

and more practise thats what it takes. 15yrs later and i wouldnt use anything else,can get a bit

tricky in the darkness of night because you cant see the water to tell when to stop the spool.lol.

Most of all be patient and dont try and throw massive distances untill you get the hang of it.

otherwise you will throw it down in disgust and never pick one up again,which would be a shame.


That's right, Craig. I started using a baitcaster in my front yard casting one of those plastic casting plugs - practice makes perfect and it did take me a little while to perfect the technique. Now, I can really launch a lure out when needed. Also :dito: Mondo's and johnno's replies - exactly right. Some great info here, nivek. :1welcomeani: to the site.


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Hey all, please correct me if I'm worng here as I've only been using a baitcaster myself for a few weeks (Love it love it love it!) I got what I thought was a pretty good lesson from the tackle shop guy (In the yard out front of the shop)

He told me a few things I seem to have remembered

1 - Don't hold your hand so that your thumb is at the "top" when casting but rather roll your wrist (And the rod / reel) slightly so that the reel & your thumb are about 45 degree angle (Think thumb at top being zero degrees) This gives more control & acuracy as your forearm comes more into play not just your wrist. He also pointed out that its better fatigue wise as your wrist doesn't tire as easily.

2 - Practice pulling the lure up early during your initial casts. This will start you on the road to thumb control & once you can pull it up where you want it you can then begin to aim for longer casts.

3 - Start with the cast control (Dunno if your reel has the same as mine) adjusted slightly tighter than you need. (Adjust as Johnno said, then give it one small tweak further)

Sorry, hope I didn;t just repeat what everyone else said to confuse ya :1prop:

Best thing I ever did is buy a baitcaster. Now I feel like a real fisher-person (Even if everyone else knows I ain't)

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great advise from everyone.

When I first tried a baitcaster I went 5 for 5...... five birds nests for five casts that is :1badmood: before I got a lucky one :thumbup:

After that I would just stand out in the driveway casting a practice plug for a few minutes a day until i could drop it into the wheelie bin from about 30 feet ( with a few wayward ones in between ) :1prop:

I still get the birdsnests regularly, but it's just such a sweet way to chuck a lure around.

Can't wait till i actually catch something other than a snag on it :tease:

Its just practice

My :wife: still says I look like an idiot in the driveway :074:

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i might get shot down for this !!!

but i suggest starting with some cheap 4-6kilo mono line

as it wont tangle as bad as braid. and if it does it would be easier to untangle

you will need a bigger sinker than usual but you will soon get the idea

and you can then upgrade line and down size sinker after a couple of sessions

Edited by CaineS
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i would most certainly start with mono in the 8 to 12 lb range otherwise those backlashes

are going to be hurting your pocket pretty hard. And use the cast control as much as possible.

Dont try and learn by throwing extreme lightweight bass lures or something similar as this will

only slow down your learning curve,Id start with a ball sinker or casting plug which is much easier

to learn the whole technique.once you have become proficient you just downsize your casting wieghts.

My rock outfit has a quite large sealine on it ,and i can outcast my fathers large threadline most days.

Thats with 25 to 30lb mono on both.Ive got 12 reels and 14 rods and about 10 of those reels are

overheads,I think i have to slow my collection down lol.

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Please read this short article through completely before beginning to practice your baitcasting - then re-read as you practice.

Baitcasting made easy

Above all else, the biggest "secret" to improving your revolving drum baitcasting skills, is in mastering "Thumb Control". For no matter how efficient are the latest anti backlash devices - and some are brilliant. Witness the Daiwa Magforce V system. Mastering thumb control remains as the most important skill required in becoming adept at this most satisfying facet of lure fishing. Moreover, for any person with normal reflexes, this is a skill that can be learnt and very easily mastered. It just requires the basic equipment and the following of a simple regime that can be practiced at home in one's spare time. And it works thus.


 Any good, light baitcasting outfit consisting of a light to medium action rod with a length of from 5' 8" to 6' 6" with a recommended line weight of from 4lb to 8 or 10lbs or 2 to 5kgs - and with recommended casting weights of from 1/4oz to 5/8oz (or 7 to 18grams).

 One of the smaller baitcasting reels with a capacity of say up to 200 yards of 12lb mono (most baitcasting reels still show capacities in pounds). I recommend purchasing the smallest and most expensive reel that you can afford. This is a once only purchase that with a minimum of maintenance can last a lifetime - and is worth saving for.


 If you are right handed, purchase a right hand wind reel - do not let anyone persuade you to wind left handed. For although this may be correct for threadline or spinning reels, it is not the case with a baitcaster.

 Purchase some practice casting plugs in both 1/4oz and 5/8oz (or 7 and 18grams).

 Fill the reel with 4kilo mono or 20lb - 6lb diameter gelspun line. The gelspun, though more expensive, lasts much longer, is more manageable and has virtually no stretch giving much better "feel" and contact with both lure and fish. With gelspun I recommend using a mono leader of approx. one and a half rod lengths joined to the gelspun with either a triple surgeons knot or a double, four turn uni knot. The stretch in the mono acts as a shock absorber and its abrasive resistance protects the gelspun in snaggy and rocky areas. The leader also makes for easier casting in windy conditions, where the limp gelspun tends to entangle in rod tips and guides.

O'K we are now ready to begin.

Tie on the 5/8oz-practice plug. Never start practice with too light a weight - hone your casting

techniques on the heavier plug first.

Free up the end-bearing cap on the handle side of your reel until there is a tiny bit of side play in the spool - and the reel is running flat out free.

Make yourself comfortable in your lounge chair, wind the plug to the rod tip and turn the whole outfit on its side with the reel handles facing up.

Now place your thumb firmly on the line and toward the left-hand side of the spool - throw the reel out of gear and into free spool. Then by freeing thumb pressure on the line - let the plug fall while feeling the revolving line and spool feathering under your thumb. Watch the falling plug and stop the spool with light thumb pressure when it reaches the floor.

Before beginning read this paragraph again carefully - remembering especially (assuming most are right handed) to turn the rod on its side with the reel handles facing up.

Then rewind the plug to the rod tip and let it fall again while feeling the revolving line feathering under your thumb. Repeating this exercise for at least 20 to 30 minutes.

This exercise by repetition teaches three things - one it teaches not to lift your thumb as you release a cast - but simply to release pressure - two it teaches one to lightly thumb or feather the line as your lure or bait flies to the target (which in this case is only the floor) - and finally it teaches one to stop the spool when the target is reached.

This repetitive kinaesthetic exercise programs the "feel" of what is going on at the reel into your brain. And at the conclusion of the 20 to 30 minutes practice, and while it is still fresh in our minds, it is now time to go into the back yard for our first practice casts.

First adjust the reel - but don't re tighten the handle side end-bearing cap. If the reel has a magnetic brake, wind it fully on - if it has a centrifugal brake, put on the heaviest or largest counterweights and if it has several sets of centrifugal weights, such as some of the Shimano models, make sure that they are all in the on position.


Then before letting go on your first cast - lock your thumb on the spool and line and flex the rod through a loading arc - several times feeling the weight of the plug loading the rod. Taking the rod well back over your shoulder as you're going to aim your first casts both high and gentle. Make it an almost continuous action without stopping to begin again on the back cast. The action is mainly wrist with just a little forearm and an anchored elbow.


Remember to have both the rod and reel on their side, thus freeing up your wrist and to thumb and feather the line as in the practice exercise. And don't worry about distance - it will come quickly and naturally with practice. Allow a drop of from two to three inches from the rod tip when casting the 5/8oz plug.

Cast high and gently and watch the plug as it travels through the air. Be sure to remove all loose line or tangles from the reel and rewind tightly before attempting the next cast.

Then as you continue casting - and without extra effort - you notice the trajectory come down and the distance increase - you're now baitcasting and enjoying it!

Then as you gain confidence, gradually back off the magnetic brake or reduce the number or size of weights in the centrifugal braking system as the case may be. Do not completely remove either anti backlash system. An ideal setting on the Daiwa Magforce V being 3 or 4 (10 being maximum) and the Shimanos cast best with two small weights remaining.

Once you gain confidence with the 5/8oz plug it is time to tie on the 1/4oz and begin again. First wind on the magnets or put the heavy weights back on the centrifugal brake - and this time allow a drop of from 12 to 15 inches down from the rod tip to both increase the loading arc and tip speed with the lighter weight. Again start gently, aim high and don't initially worry about distance.

Finally, keep a rigged rod and reel in the lounge room and practice the plug dropping routine whenever possible till the outfit becomes part of you. I still practice this regime regularly.


Good Luck, Tight Lines and Kind Regards

John Bethune.

Edited by jabass
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The two posts you mention, especially the second one, refer to overhead reels usually used on beach or overhead rods – and not baitcasting reels. These reels operate at much higher speeds and cast much heavier weights – and so the reason for thumbing the spool shoulders instead of the line. Otherwise, many a thumb burn would be experienced.

Most modern baitcasters do not have spool shoulders and so the impossibility of thumbing same. Baitcasters also operate at much lower casting speeds and of course cast much lighter weights. Thus making the thumbing and feathering of the line both a practical and in fact the only way to go.

Please do not see this as a criticism of the two posts, but simply pointing out the difference between an overhead and a baitcasting reel.

Sincerely John Bethune.

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  • 11 months later...

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