Cast Baitcaster Reel Like a Pro

The best way to cast a baitcaster is to make your cast, reel your bait up, and watch your bait when it hits the apex. Then, watch for its downward fall that is when you slowly start applying pressure to the spool. Finally, as it hits the water slowly stop the spool.

Using a Baitcaster is hard work and requires a lot of practice but with precision and the right technique, you can master it. You need to understand that it will not happen overnight and you definitely need to keep using it a couple of times and slowly but surely you will be able to use it with ease every time.

Understanding the Basics of Using a Baitcaster

Some of the components here and then I will kind of explain each one you have a few things you do have like on a spinning reel. You have your drag which is going to be your star drag then you have your tension spool knob that moves up and down, then you have your release button and inside you have your spool line.

After that, you have the release with which can open it up and then on the side you would have your brakes and depending on which company baitcaster you have it may look a little bit different but pretty much a lot of it is the same.

So when you look at your brakes sometimes they’ll be numbered sometimes they won’t but basically those are the different components of a baitcaster.

Baitcaster, unlike other reels, has a free-spinning spool that means when you release the button that spool is going to unwind and you need to put your finger on there and hold it steady, wind back, make a cast and release the spool. It is going to let the line out and as the line starts to hit the water, you need to put your finger back on that spool and stop it. If you do not stop the spool with your thumb it’s going to keep on going and the line is going to get backed up and form a bird’s nest known as backlash.

How to Use a Baitcaster as a Beginner

When making a cast using a Baitcaster most beginners jam their thumb on to the spool this happens mostly when you freak out when casting.

Imagine you are driving a car and want to stop, you do not just slam the breaks hard instead you gently push the breaks and bring the car to a stop and the same principle applies when casting with baitcasters.

The first time I got a bait caster I cut a golf ball in half with a hacksaw and screw and eyelet into it and practiced on the local soccer fields. I recommend starting with monofilament as it’s easier to get birds nest out and cheaper. 10-12lb won’t tangle as easily as 6-8lb test. It took me weeks to get it down. And I’m still not a master after using them for 8+ years.

To learn how to use a baitcaster, follow these 7 simple steps


1. Locate your Braking System

The braking system slows the rotation of the spool at the initial moment that you let the bait fly. The prevent backlash, which occurs when the spool spins faster than the dispersing line.

I am assuming you are using a centrifugal braking system for this guide. To locate your braking system, remove the side plate opposite of the reel’s handle.

If you are using a magnetic braking system, you simply adjust the knob.

2. Adjust your Braking System

To adjust your braking system, either engage your brakes by pushing the interior levers towards or disengage them by pushing the braking levers away from the center. Disengaging brakes allows for longer casts but has a higher chance of backlashing. For a video guide on how to engage and disengage centrifugal braking systems, you can check out this video below.

Pro Tip: If you are a baitcasting beginner, the professionals at HatCamBass suggest heavily engaging your braking systems. While this causes shorter casts, it will prevent backlashes until you become more experienced.

3. Adjust Tension Knobs

Tension Knobs are located on the same side as the handle of the reel. Tension knobs increase the tension going to the spool. They come into play at the end of your cast, as they bring the spool to a steady stop at the end of your cast. To tighten your tension knob, turn the knob clockwise. To lighten your tension, turn the knob counter-clockwise.

You should adjust your tension depending on the weight you are using for bait casting. For a video guide on how to adjust your tension knob, you can check out part 3:30 on the video previously posted on Step Two.

4. Test Your Tension

To test your tension, begin by holding your rod tip in front of you. Disengage by clicking the spool release button, located at the bottom of your spool. Adjust your tension knob until the bait falls gently to the ground without any backlash. You can watch how to do it on the previous video on Step Two at 3:50 in the clip.

5. Grip Your Baitcaster

To properly grab your baitcaster, wrap your dominant hand around the rod handle and the reel. Make sure your thumb is resting on both the spool and the spool release button. This ensures that you can properly disengage your spool and allow for proper casting.

6. Release Your Line

Releasing the proper amount of line ensures that you make a good cast. For beginners, I suggest allowing about 8-12 inches of line to hang before you cast. Measure the line from the tip of the rod to the bait.

7. Release Your Spool and Cast

Release your spool by pressing the spool release button and immediately placing your thumb on the spool to prevent the line from running. For casting technique, do whatever you are comfortable with.

Additional Helpful Tips to Cast a Baitcaster


Turn the dial to the max

There is a little dial on the side on your Baitcaster and I would recommend if you are starting out then turn it all the way to max. This will slow down that spool, you will not be able to cast really far but since you are starting with it I recommend practicing with this setting and as you get better slowly dial it back.

Get good baitcasting reel

Use quality reels, not junk and it’s easy to learn.

Manage backlash

Strip out a 100 yards of line and place a piece of tape in the spool (It doesn’t matter what kind of tape you use) now crank the line back line. This way if you do mess up and get a backlash, it would only backlash as far as that piece of tape and you will save a lot of money on the fishing line.

Expert Advice on Using a Baitcaster

I use my spinning reel like a Baitcaster with the braided line it flys as far as I want it to and when it goes too far I cup my hand around the running string right above the spool. I can throw it right up to the bank on the other side even if its a bit far.

The biggest trick is setting the spool so that when you free spool your lure falls in a slow and steady pace, it doesn’t just drop.

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