How to Use a Baitcaster

Learning how to use a baitcasting rod is essential to catching very big fish. They are big fish rods. They can be used for a variety of situations including both freshwater and saltwater. Baitcasting gear allows you to cast your lure with pinpoint accuracy and precision. Baitcasters are much harder to master, however, often deterring new anglers from giving them a try. I do not recommend missing out on them. They may be harder to use, but the initial learning curve that is required is well worth the investment in time. This is a lesson on how to use a baitcasting rod properly and effectively. It is a slightly different method than spinning tackle. Follow these tips and you should be able to figure out how to use the best rod for big fish without any issues.

The Mechanical Advantage

The internal organs of the average baitcasting reel are simple in nature yet complicated in design. Knowing how all the parts work together will help you get the most out of your reel. Like a

Baitcasting Rod and Reel with labels identifying each part
This work, “Baitcasting Parts”, is a derivative of “Abu Garcia Revo Premier” by xxrevsxx, used under CC BY 3.0 . “Baitcaster Parts” is licensed under CC by {David Moore]. Text and lines added is different from original.

spinning reel, the reel itself is mounted on the rod via an indented slot called the reel seat. Very easy. Unlike on a spinning reel, the reel goes on the top of the rod instead of the bottom. On the back of the reel, the reel seat is what fits into this slot and connects the reel to the rod. The reel handle will

be fastened on one side or the other. It is the metal device that you reel with. Beside that is a piece of equipment that somewhat resembles a star in appearance. This is the drag knob. Mounted on the middle of the reel is the spool. It is the horizontal, cylinder with holes in it. It is what the line wraps around. On the top of the reel is a tiny eyelet called the line guide. After your reel has the fishing line on it, the line goes through this tiny eyelet. It keeps the line on the spool even when you are reeling it

in. On the same side as the reel handle, exists the tension knob. It is a mechanism that prevents the spool from turning once the lure has hit the water. On the opposite side of the reel handle is the braking system. It keeps the spool from rotating to quickly during the cast. On the front face of the reel, on the bottom of it, and below the spool is the thumb bar. It is basically a button that allows the line to come off of the spool when pressed. When you start reeling, this disengages and the line is retrieved once more.

Set the Drag

Before one begins, it is essential to set the drag on the reel first. This will aid in preventing big fish breaking your line. As mentioned earlier, this is controlled by the knob that resembles a star in appearance. I recommend using a scale if you are just getting started. Generally speaking, the drag performs the best when it is set at approximately 20% of the strength of your line. If you have 10-pound line on your reel, you want the line to come off of the spool using 2 pounds of pressure. If you

have 20-pound line, the drag should be set to 4 pounds, If the line is 100-pound line, make sure the line comes off of the reel at 20 pounds. Take your scale, get a partner to hold it for you, tie the end of the line to the scale and put a bend in the rod while pulling. If your drag is to loose, the line will come off before it reaches 20%. In this case, reel back in and tighten it gradually. If you hit 20% and no line is coming off, hold this same position and slowly turn the drag knob until the line comes off.

Tie On a Lure

This may sound counter-intuitive, but the very first step in baitcasting (after setting the drag) revolves around the lure you have chosen. Without a lure on your rod, it is impossible to use it correctly and you will receive very little success if any. Instead, choose a lure first. If you are uncertain about which lure to tie on, make sure it is the one you are wanting to fish with. Make sure the lure isn’t a small Crappie jig or micro lure. If you want to throw those, you should use a spinning rod. After you have identified what lure you want to fish with and have tied it on, you are ready to adjust your reel. This will allow your reel, rod, line, and lure all perform to the best of their ability, and help prevent annoying backlashes. As you might have guessed, the lure you tie on will be the one you intend to fish with.

Adjust the Braking System

The next thing that needs to be adjusted is the brakes. Much the same way a car has brakes to slow it down, so does this style of fishing reel. They are used to prevent the spool from spinning to fast upon casting. If you were to cast your rod without any brakes applied, the spool would spin to many times, causing a backlash. For this reason, modern rods contain braking

systems that will help counter this effect. If you are just starting off, I suggest turning on all the brakes. With this, you sacrifice casting distance but also receive zero backlashes. As you use your rod more and more, you can remove a few of the brakes and get much greater distance on your casts because you will learn how to avoid backlashes without them. Generally, fewer brakes mean more casting distance.

Adjust the Tension Knob

The tension knob is an extremely important feature. As far as setting your tension knob properly, it varies depending on your lure selection. The tension needs to be set at the level it takes the lure to slowly fall to the ground while maintaining a tight line. First, reel your lure until it is about two or three inches from the tip of the rod. After that, press the thumb bar. The lure should start to fall slowly. You will know it is to lose if the lure falls quickly and a loose line appears on the reel. If it is to tight, the lures will barely move at all, if any. If it does not fall, try shaking the rod. If that does not entice the lure to start falling, loosen the knob a tiny bit.

Learn How to Cast

Baitcasters are aptly named. They work very well at casting baits. To cast a baitcasting reel properly, have your line anywhere from 6 inches to 12 inches from the top of the rod with the reel facing upwards. Press the thumb bar while also putting force on the line with your thumb. This is so your lure does not fall to the ground when the bar is pressed down. The bar will put the reel in free spool allowing the line to come off. To make an overhead cast, bring the rod behind you over your shoulder at about 45 degrees. Perform a swift movement forward towards the water while releasing the thumb bar and line at the same time. Your lure or bait will now start flying towards the water. Right as your lure hits the water and maybe a split second before, put your thumb back on the spool just like before. Start your retrieve from here.

Fishing and Retrieving

If a person is right-handed, the traditional way to hold the rod is with the left hand and opposite for left-handed individuals. For many people who grew up with spinning rods, it may feel cumbersome and redundant. This is understandable. Do not worry about it. It happens. If you are one of these, consider purchasing a left-handed reel from the start so you can operate the rod with your dominant hand. This will not affect your ability to fish with it at all. The fish do not see what hand you reel with. Just be aware beforehand that left-handed

baitcasting reels can sometimes be harder to find. When you get a bite, depending on your type of lure, set the hook by performing a sudden jerk with the rod. If the lure is a frog or another weedless bait, wait about five extra seconds before setting that hook and set it hard. If it has treble hooks, you can set it right away most of the time without losing the fish. Many times, fish will hit these lures hard enough to hook themselves.

Baitcasting Rods are Awesome

Baitcasters really are an amazing invention. They provide anglers with a great tool that has proven themselves time and time again on the water to catch huge fish. Regardless of your skill level regarding their use, I believe everyone can benefit from figuring out how to use a baitcasting rod properly and effectively. They are specifically designed to help you catch bigger fish. If you have never given one a try, I highly recommend that you try them out. They may be harder to use than spinning or fly tackle, but what you invest in time is made up for in the number of fish you catch. I believe this certain type of rod should always remain in your arsenal of fish catching equipment.

What are your thoughts on baitcasting rods? Do you like them? Do you hate them? What kinds of fish have you caught using them? We want to know. Leave a comment below so we can hear what you have to say!

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