How To Properly Set Up A Baitcast Reel?

A properly set up baitcasting reel can make a huge difference to your catch rate. It does extremely well with large freshwater fish like largemouth bass, muskellunge or northern pike. It is also great for saltwater fish like tuna, shark or a large grouper. Unlike the spinning reels, the baitcast reels are light and easy on your hands.

However, many people new to the hobby are somewhat reluctant to fish with a baitcast reel. The latest baitcast reels available today are complicated versions of the basic baitcast reels and are packed with cool features. Perhaps it is due to this reason that newbies are put off.

Setting up a basic baitcast reel is not rocket science. It is easy. Once you understand how to do it, the more advanced once will be a cinch. Here is how you set up a basic baitcast reel properly-

Setting up the line

Setting up the line

Reeling in the big one starts with a perfectly set up baitcast reel!

The line is a vital part of the baitcasting reel. You have two choices- braided line and monofilament line. Fluorocarbon is ruled out as it is too stiff and is more prone to backlashing and may cause the line to break. We recommend monofilament lines as they are very forgiving.

They are less likely to get damaged in case of any backlash. The best line for someone new to the sport is a 12- or 15-pound monofilament line. When you set up the line, it is important to stop short just at the edge of the spool so that you get some wiggle room for yourself.

Setting the spool tension

Setting the spool tension

Get the perfect cast every time with proper spool tension!

Setting the spool tension is important for a good success rate. It also prevents line overruns when the lure hits the bottom. This can be easily done using the knob on the side of the baitcast reel. Once you have spooled the line, it must be sent through the guides. You can then tie the lure to the leader. 

Hold the rod up, press your thumb on the spool line and slowly release the spool with your thumb while simultaneously loosening the spool tension knob with the other hand. The lure should drop slowly and not collect slack even if it hits the ground. You need to repeat this step time every time you change the bait or lure. You will get the hang of it after some tries.

Setting the drag

Setting the drag

Precision fishing at its finest: Adjusting the drag on your baitcast reel.

With a baitcasting reel, setting the drag is easy! Usually, it can be done with the star-shaped dial that is around the base of the reel handle. You can tighten the drag by turning the dial forward. Turning it backward will loosen it.

You will know if it is perfect when you give the line a good tug. Some of the lines will be pulled off the spool. This gives is essential so that any sudden jerk will not result in the loss of your hook and lure (along with any fish caught).

Adjusting the brakes

Adjusting the brakes

Simplifying the art of fishing: adjusting the brakes on your baitcast reel for better control.

There are many kinds of braking mechanisms. It pays to get familiar with the one you have. If you have a choice, we recommend the magnetic brake system. They are easy to adjust and perfect for beginners.  Generally, it is better to start off with more braking than not even if it means compromising on the distance of the cast.

You can fine-tune the releasing of brakes as you get more proficient in the hobby. Also, keep in mind that keeping the brakes disengaged for a longer time results in a longer cast. It might also result in a backlash though. You will become better at casting the more you practice.

Start casting

Now that you have learned the basic know-how of properly setting up a baitcast reel, its time to start casting. Start easy. Do not worry about distance while casting. It is only natural to be disappointed about your casting distance in the beginning. What is important is that you do not get any backlash.

Practice thumbing the spool and as you get better, lower the brakes more and more till you get the best distance without backlashing. One more important factor to consider is the wind. On windy days, while you cast into the wind, turn up the brakes. If you cast strongly into the wind without setting the brakes properly, you will end up with a massive backlash!

To wind off

It is important for every keen fishing enthusiast who wants to increase his catch rate to be intimately acquainted with his equipment. Only if you know your gear well you will be able to get the most of it. Try out different adjustments to tweak your gear to fully unleash its potential.

Hook up with ace fishermen for their invaluable tips. And practice. An ace fisherman has had years and years of practice to get where he is at. Tight lines!

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