Baitcasters are superb tools for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. But they are more technical and thus, require plenty of practice and patience to get used to. So, how do you cast a baitcaster to get the maximum result?
You need to adjust all the mechanisms of a baitcaster to their appropriate setting. You need to utilize the right lures and lines based on your need. Furthermore, you need to maintain a solid, balanced throwing motion. Lastly, practice this process repeatedly until you become comfortable with it.
Sounds simple and honestly, they are! So, we are going to break down the various mechanisms of this gear and explain how they work. We will be discussing the techniques that will help you make a better cast.
What Are the Components of a Baitcaster?
Before we discuss any techniques, we want to detail the basic elements that make up this equipment. You should become thoroughly familiar with your tool before using them.
The primary distinguishing feature of this rig is the reel. It will also require the majority of your attention and care. In this rig, the reel is positioned on top and parallel to the rest of the pole. So, the line is launched dead straight as you cast. This allows for better control and precision.
Then you will notice the handle on one side (the thing that anglers are constantly churning) and on the other side, is where you grip with your palm. The handle will have an additional feature called the “star drag” or “reel drag”. Its function is to calibrate the drag of the reel.
Modern reels also come with two additional drag or systems. The “spool tension knob” is on the handle side and the “magnetic brake” is on the opposite side. Their role is to help you prevent backlash.
In the middle, you have the spool which contains the line. Behind it, you have a release button that allows the line to be launched.
How to Cast a Baitcaster?
Your foremost priority is to properly calibrate your reel. You normally utilize a heavyweight line with this type of gear. How much line you put on will affect your distance and the probability of a backlash. The consensus is to keep a minimum of 1/8 inch of a gap between the top of the spool and the line. So, no need to overfill it.
Next, you should calibrate the brakes. For beginners, we suggest turning the magnetic brake to the maximum setting.
Do the same thing with the knob. Keep turning the knob until the line stops moving completely when you push the release. Then you slowly turn it the other way until the line begins to descend smoothly. You must do this before every cast. Here is a helpful tutorial to demonstrate this setup visually.
Now bring your rod back over your shoulder. Keep your finger gently on top of the release. The line will begin to come out once you push this button.
Focus on your targeted spot and then fling the rod with a jab. It does not have to be a home-run swing. Just do a natural motion and let the gear do the rest.
Just before the lure hits the water, place your thumb on the spool. This is a vital step. The pressure you put with your thumb will significantly decrease the chance of a backlash.
Then gradually reduce the thumb pressure to let out enough line once the lure is firmly in the water. This is so that the lure can remain in the water long enough to actually take a bite.
Finally, turn the handle slowly if you feel a bite or you want to re-cast. When you are starting, practice these steps again and again. Ideally in an open field or your backyard. Pretty soon, you will begin to feel comfortable with the rig and all its features.
How Far Can You Cast a Baitcaster?
The baitcaster is known for its capacity to make a long cast. Now, several factors determine your casting distance. But on average, you can reach 50–60-yards without much strain if you get the technique right. This is at least 20-30% further than your standard spinning rod setup.
If you are facing problems in this department, it may be due to the following reasons:
- You are not using the correct rod
- Your line and lure are not right
- Not employing enough line on your spool
- You have set the star drag too high
- You may be putting too much pressure on your thumb
- Your throwing action is off-balance
Now, let’s discuss how to amend these issues to maximize your casting distance. We will try to explain them as simply as we can.
Selecting the right rod is essential. Longer rods grant you the ability to cast long distances. The weight should be down to what you feel comfortable with. We recommend going with a minimum length of 7 feet. Of course, you can select longer rods if you want even more distance.
Utilize a heavier variety of lines and lures. More weight means more momentum through the air. It also means you face less resistance in the air as well. One of the key features of this rod is its capacity to handle heavier material and fish.
We suggest starting with a 15-20 lbs. line. As for material, a braid is better for longer casting. But baitcasters perform with any type of line. So, you can select monofilament and be just fine.
The bait or lure should have much weight but with an aerodynamic profile. Most people prefer crankbait or jerkbait when using this setup. You will definitely require a bigger variety of lure for a bigger target.
Another feature of a baitcaster reel is its increased line capacity. More line means you can reach further. But you should avoid filling it up completely.
Setting up the drag and brakes is also important. Put too much pressure and your line will not travel far at all. But set them too loose and you will end up with a backlash. So, check these things before every cast to allow the line a smooth release. This also applies to pressure you to apply with your thumb.
Your throwing action is a substantial factor. We said before to not aim for a mighty swing. In reality, if you want longevity with your casting, you should hone your throwing skills. Grip the rod firmly, make sure you have solid balance and your arm motion is smooth. If the distance is your top priority, then we suggest swinging with an overhead action.
Why Does Your Baitcaster Keep Backlashing?
So, this is the most prominent issue that anglers face when dealing with a baitcaster. And it is a problem that prevents a lot of people from using this gear altogether.
When you launch the lure with the line, the momentum causes the spool to rotate. This rotation aids in liberating the line quicker. Now, as soon as the lure faces any resistance, it starts to slow down. However, the spool keeps on spinning which causes the excess line to come out.
This resistance can naturally come from multiple sources. The moment the lure lands on the water or hits a log, it starts to decelerate. Sometimes, the wind is strong enough to slow down the lure. And at that moment, if the spool is not slowed down as well, it will continue to spew outline.
This extra line gets tangled and creates a web of loops known as a “bird’s nest”. This phenomenon is referred to as “backlash”. And trust us, you will face this issue. Even veteran anglers, who are well accustomed to using this reel, will succumb to it from time to time. But with enough practice, you can make it less frequent.
The issue can also occur from not properly adjusting the brakes or the tension knob. If they are too loose, the spool will rotate rapidly and lead to a problem.
How to Cast a Baitcaster Without Birdnesting?
We are going to inform you this right now: there is no way of totally eliminating backlash from your repertoire. What is possible is reducing the risk of it happening often. Fortunately, modern baitcaster reels are built with mechanisms that prevent backlashes. The goal here is to regulate the spool’s rotation so that it does not move quicker than the rate of the line coming out.
By now, we hope you have become familiar with the spool knob as well as the magnetic gear. These two systems aid you in regulating the rate of rotation of the spool. This way the spool rotates at a steady pace and it does not overshoot.
The other method is the thumb technique we previously stated. The force you put with your thumb slows down the spool and makes for a smooth cast.
However, you must discover the perfect amount when applying pressure. If you put too much, the lure will not travel very far. If you put too little and you may end up with a bird’s nest.
Furthermore, it is essential to learn from your mistakes. During your initial time facing this issue, try to analyze if you are making any miscalculations. If the backlash is happening early in your cast, then you probably need to re-adjust the tension knob. If it is occurring late, then you are probably not putting down your thumb in time.
Once again, you will face this problem frequently, especially as a beginner. But you should not let this prevent you from trying a baitcaster setup. If you put in the effort, you will get better. And the reward for doing so will be worth it.
How to Cast a Baitcaster Accurately?
A great advantage of this rig is its superior precision and control compared to other rods. But you still need to deploy it properly to maximize this benefit. So, here are some tips that we found to be helpful when improving accuracy:
Longer rods are better for casting very far. However, shorter poles grant you better accuracy. Because you are likely to get more control on your swing with a shorter rod. So, we recommend a rod between 6-7 feet long. This will give you terrific control without compromising the casting much.
Every rod will come with details about the recommended line and lure profile for that particular rod. Pay close attention to that. You can even ask the people you bought it from.
Throwing action is once again key. Keep your shoulders flexible and your elbows close to your body. Then throw with a smooth, circular arc. If you create a massive swinging arc, you are not going to have much control. So, try to minimize the effort you are putting and be more efficient. Plus, always keep your eyes on the target.
If your situation demands control more than distance, go with an underarm action. Do not overpower your action. This will cost you both distance and control. Just at the moment of release, do a jabbing motion with your arms to throw.
Be patient and pay attention to your surroundings. If it is too windy, naturally you are going to struggle with accuracy. So, wait for the right moment to strike. During that period, double-check your setup so that everything is properly geared.
How to Hold a Baitcaster When Casting?
Having a firm grip on your equipment goes a long way to get you more distance and control. Now, we are going to describe some of the techniques that have proven beneficial for us in the past. However, the one you decide to go with depends entirely on your personal preference.
The first method is the traditional or conventional grip. This is the one you will see more often than not. Here, you place your dominant hand on the palm side of the reel (opposite the side that has the handle). Place your other hand on the butt or bottom of the rod to help you get balance.
When placing your dominant hand, the thumb should stay on top of the reel. This allows you to effortlessly put pressure on the spool when casting. The rest of your finger should wrap around the rod from the bottom and your index finger should be directly below your thumb. Remember to grip it firmly and then swing.’
The other method we want to divulge is “palming the reel”. This is the technique we prefer when we need more sensitivity. So, this is for capturing targets such as rainbow trout or striped bass.
Here, you have to place your dominant hand further up the reel. Place the entire palm side of the reel into your hand. Then place one finger (usually the index finger) under the line gently. You do not want to rub it harshly as that may lead to injury. The thumb remains over the spool to help you regulate it. The rest of your fingers go below.
Now, we already said that holding the rod is down to your comfortability. But there are some things you should look to avoid. For instance, do not hold the rod like an ice-cream cone. That just puts too much strain on your wrists which will lead to fatigue pretty quickly.
So, pick up your baitcaster of preference and see which method works for you best. You want a technique that is comfortable to use and easily repeatable. This ensures that you can fish for a long time without getting overly fatigued.
What Bait Should You Choose?
The bait you ultimately go with relies on the size and nature of your target. It also depends on how deep you are going to hang your lure. Top-water lures are the ones that float closer to the surface. The diving lures go near to the bottom of the lake or river and wait for a bite. So, let’s deliberate on some of these options we have.
Crankbaits are an excellent choice for deep diving lures. Typically, they are designed to mimic minnows. These are particularly popular among bass, pike, perch, etc. This type of lure operates well with baitcasters.
Buzz baits perform as a terrific top-water lure. These stay on top of the water to imitate little insects or smaller fish. This type of lure is ideal when you know the fish are closer to the surface of the water looking for food. You can catch black bass, spotted trout, barracuda, etc are just some of the species you can capture.
Weedless lures are implemented when there is plenty of cover hiding the fish. By cover, we mean weed, muddy water, or anything that prevents you from retrieving your line smoothly. This works even better with a baitcaster. Because deep cover areas require powerful equipment. And baitcasters fit this resume perfectly.
Good examples of weedless baits are chatterbaits, weedless spoons, plastic worms, etc. Remember, these are for scenarios where you need plenty of power.
Live baits are also an amazing option. They are cost-effective and still potent fish lures. And contrary to what many might think, you can utilize them even with a baitcaster setup. The availability and the extra maintenance might make you a bit hesitant. But they are a fun and worthwhile alternative.
Now, the weight of the bait depends mainly on the size of your fish and how much resistance they put up. Larger fish with a strong bite will necessitate bulkier lures. This is perfectly manageable as the baitcaster is known to handle heavier loads. Usually, ¾ ounce lures will get the job done nicely.
However, this rod can also operate smoothly with finer requirements. You can cast with lightweight baits just as well for finesse techniques. Generally, catching trout, freshwater bass, or something of similar stature is considered to finesse fishing.
When to Use a Baitcaster?
This setup is highly advantageous in certain situations. Knowing them will help you to get the most out of your rod.
Baitcasters are adept at performing with heavyweight lures and lines. If you are employing lines that weigh more than 10 lbs. then this gear is preferred. Also, use this gear when you deploy large lures such crankbait, jerkbait, etc.
You typically apply heavier gears when searching larger species of fish. These big-game fishes include bluefin or yellowfin tuna, the larger variety of bass, etc. These species require powerful rods with a strong line. Hence, baitcasters are commonly used.
Baitcaster is also more durable yet lightweight than most spinning gear. This is beneficial in harsh conditions where the weather is a challenge. In these situations, you need a stronger setup. The lower weight level will help you cast more frequently.
Another advantage of a baitcaster is the long-casting distance and higher precision. So, if your priority is making a big cast or to cover a large area, then this gear is your choice. It is also useful for hitting very tight or hard-to-reach areas. You can score those areas with greater ease.
Now you have to consider your budget. On the whole, this setup is going to be more costly than most others. So, if you can support the expense, you can gladly go for it.
How to Use Baitcasters for Finesse Fishing?
Most people associate this type of activity with spinning gear. But we are here to tell you that you can be just as successful with a baitcaster rig.
Finesse means catching smaller-sized fish that requires more sensitive techniques. This involves using lines and lures of a lighter profile.
You can operate a baitcaster with just about any type of fishing line. In this instance, you need a braided line that is less than 10 lbs.
As for lures, they also have to be less bulky. Drop shots, ned rigs, finesse jigs are ideal for this purpose.
Normally, these fish do not put up too much of a fight. They also possess a softer, more fragile mouth. So, we advise you to go with a lower star drag setting. If you put extra drag, you may end up tearing their mouth to pieces.
Additionally, you require a rod that has medium to fast action and has a sensitive tip. This will help you sense the tiniest nibbles without seeing any visible tremor in the water.
Another trick you can employ is the palming the reel method. Feeling the line with your finger will help you pick up any disturbance a lot sooner.
This style of fishing is all about finer detail and paying close attention.
How Do You Cast a Baitcaster Like a Pro?
Now that you have a firm grasp of the basics, you may fancy going even further. We assume you have picked up the proper equipment. Now you need to take in all the methods and tips we have described and apply them.
First and foremost, ensure your brakes, tension knob, spool, star drag have all been precisely adjusted. Always remember to double-check.
Maintain a strong and balanced stance. Grip the reel competently with the method you prefer. Then with a nice, smooth action cast your lure into the distance.
Do not worry too much about any backlash forming during your cast. Be confident you have the right tools with the right setting and you will be good.
As soon as you think the lure is slowing down, place enough pressure on the spool with your thumb. You will start to get a feel for the sweet spot regardless of external conditions.
Go with an overhead action if you want to throw very far. Try an underarm motion if you want more precision over a shorter range. But in both cases, do not exert any excess force. This will severely hamper your stamina.
Another trick you can apply is when you feel a bird’s nest is forming in your spool. If it is a small web, then reel in your line and re-cast. This may sound counter-intuitive. But this has proven useful more often than not.
Then rinse and repeat. This is the process of casting a baitcaster. Keep in mind to make necessary re-adjustments before every cast. Whatever your experience level may be, you are going to make mistakes. So, you should examine those mistakes and learn from them.
Baitcasters are an excellent companion for any angler. They offer some unique advantages and also some challenges. But this is what makes them so much fun to use. Just remember to be patient and keep on practicing. Pretty soon, you will get over the learning curve and start ripping the benefits.