Learning To Cast A Baitcaster

Discussion in 'Catfishing Library' started by Whistler, Aug 17, 2005.

  1. Whistler

    Whistler Well-Known Member

    Original post made by William Sipes(Riverrat) on May 16, 2003

    I learned to use a baitcasting reel about a year and a half ago. I had tried one time prior to use one, and ended up with a mess that looked like a wadded up cast net on top of the reel. I determined then and there baitcasters were not for me, and held onto that idea for about 15 years. After reading a multitude of tips on the board, I decided to try it again. Using the methods I learned on the board, I was quite successful this time, and currently have 5 baitcasters that I use pretty regularly. The way I'm gonna suggest to learn to use a baitcaster is the way I learned. I'm sure other people have different ways of how to do it, and there's not a doubt in my mind there are other ways that work equally as well. This method worked for me, however, and should for you too.

    For starters, I found a heavy line on the reel is easier for a beginner to use. It doesn't tangle as easy as a thin line, and you want to learn with the fewest possible headaches as possible to keep the disgruntled factor to a minnimum. A 40 lb mono, of about a .024 diameter works pretty good to start with. As you get better, you can go to whatever diameter line you prefer. When spooling the baitcaster, you want the line to go on the reel in same direction it was wound on the spool. Reason being, the line has a "memory" from being coiled around the spool. You want this memory coil to be the same on the reel, or anytime there is no tension on the line, it'll act like a spring that has had the tension suddenly released. I ensure the line is coming off the top of the new spool and the spool is spinning clockwise when filling my reels. If it's coming off the bottom and the spool is spinning counterclockwise, you're going to have problems everytime you take your thumb off the reel until the line develops the new memory, which could take a while. Run the line through the eyes of the rod, insert it through the levelwind, and tie it to the reel spool using a arbor knot. Load the reel with about 100 yards of line. This is for practicing only. I've found it's easier to learn without the manufacturers recommended amount of line on a reel, which is to about 1/8th to 3/16th's of an inch from the top of the spool rim. Once you've learned the in's and out's, you can fill the reel with the proper amount and type of line you intend to fish with.

    After you get the reel filled, tie on a 2 ounce weight to the end of the line, and tighten the tension knob finger tight. The tension knob may be on the left side of the reel or on the right side next to the drag, depending on the model of reel you have. Do not confuse the tension knob with the drag. With the tension knob tight, hold the rod tip up at about 11 O'clock and release the clutch so the reel is in free spool. Slowly back off the tension knob until the weight will slowly and evenly fall to the ground, and on hitting the ground, the reel stops spinning. This is very important that the reel does not continue to spin. You might have to play with it a time or two to get it right, but it is critical.

    Once you have the tension knob set right, it's time to practice. Don't try this on the bank, it's best to do it in the yard, or a park. You wont need a lot of open space because you wont be able to cast very far with the tension knob tightened down to the point you currently have it set at. Place your thumb on the line in the spool and apply pressure. Release the clutch to place the reel in free spool, and with a soft sidearm cast, release your thumb from the spool when the rod tip is not quite directly in front of you. As the weight hits the ground after the cast, place your thumb back on the line on the spool, stopping it's spinning. You need to work on when to release your thumb from the spool during the cast, and when to place your thumb back on the spool just as the weight hits the ground. These are the two things you need to learn, and having the tension knob set the way it is will drastically reduce the number and severity of birdsnests you get while you are waiting for your thumb to get with the program. You will also notice that where you release your thumb in relation to where the rod tip is currently at in it's arc will determine where your sinker is going to fly. Pay close attention to this, and practice on releasing at the proper time. Once you have the educated thumb you need for a baitcaster, then you can slowly reduce the tension on the tension knob, which will allow you to increase your casting distance. The fewer birdsnests you encounter while trying to educate that thumb, the less chance your baitcaster will end up collecting dust on the shelf in the garage. This doesn't take long to get the hang of, maybe as little as an hour with the knob tightened. If you find you are having problems once you back off the tension knob, tighten it a little more, but not as much as when you started out, and keep plugging away. The tension knob is very sensitive on most reels. A slight turn can loosen it much more than you are ready for. Hold the rod tip at 11 O'clock and test the speed of the weight everytime you loosen the tension to make sure you are not getting in over your head. With the tension knob loosened excessively, and no thumb on the spool, a 2 ounce weight falling 5 feet can cause the reel to continue spinning you right into a big old birdsnest, so be careful. Follow these few simple suggestions, and in a very short time you should be ready to face the open water with a baitcaster.
    When storing a baitcaster, always back the drag off completely, especially when storing for extended periods. Not doing this is a sure way of lessening the life of your drag. And when using the bait clicker, make sure you turn this feature off as much as possible before reeling in the line. Undue cranking on the reel with the bait clicker feature on will lessen the life of the clicker. Doing this, and following the lubricating suggestions in your users manual, and a good baitcaster will last many a year.