You are new to fishing and as you stand on the dock waiting for a fish to bite, you look over to see an interesting reel that looks a lot more advanced than your beginner spinning wheel.
The reel you are looking at is most likely a baitcaster reel which can be identified by sitting on top of the fishing rod instead of under it like other reels.
This feature is why it also goes by the name of the overhead reel.
A baitcaster is a type of reel that became popular in the 1870s. Today, they are usually made from stainless steel, aluminum, and synthetic composite materials.
They are favored when fishing in large bodies of freshwater for northern pike, largemouth bass, and muskellunge in particular.
The fishing line is stored on a spool that revolves so that you only need to turn the crank once for the spool to make several rotations.
Baitcasting reels are usually used by those who have a bit of fishing experience under their belt already as it takes a lot of practice to get the baitcaster to work for you.
Once you get used to how to use it a baitcasting reel can give you a big advantage with accuracy and distance that other reels can’t achieve.
However, this is not to say that you should steer clear of it if you don’t feel up to the task yet because after reading this guide, you may find yourself eager to give it a go and who knows, maybe you’ll bring home a catch to be proud of.
The baitcaster reel is usually used for fishing for bass because it has advantages over other fishing reels such as being able to use heavier lures,
heavier fishing lines, and make further and more accurate casts. When you pair a baitcaster with a rod such as a topwater rod or a jog rod, then you have the perfect combination for a very accurate cast even with heavy lures.
It is important to keep in mind that a baitcaster reel cannot be used with lures that weigh less than a quarter ounce so if you are wanting to fish with a lighter lure, it is best that you bring a different reel or rod with you so that you can swap and change.
A baitcaster reel allows you to cast as much as 25% further than you would use a different reel.
This is a massive plus for those who don’t want to get out on a boat and instead would rather do it from the comfort of a chair at the side of the lake.
You can use the baitcaster for trolling in saltwater as well because it allows you to use fishing lines and lures that are heavier and more durable, this is a popular technique that is used to catch fish such as tuna and marlin.
Another advantage that using a baitcaster gives you is the ability to quickly pull back a poor cast even before it hits the water.
This cuts down a lot of time when you’re fishing because you don’t have to stand there and spend as much time reeling it in.
You can tackle the biggest of fish with a baitcaster reel because it has a drag system that is incorporated into the reel.
The drag system is the name given to the mechanism in the reel that consists of two small steel plates that applies pressure onto the spool to prevent it from releasing more fishing line.
This is how you are able to hoist heavy fish out of the water without your line breaking, you can change the amount of drag (pressure put on the line) by easily adjusting the setting on the side of the reel.
The tricky part about learning to use a baitcaster is controlling the spool rotation when you are casting because it can cause an issue called backlash.
This is when the lure is met with resistance when being thrown through the air which makes the spool turn faster than the fishing line can leave it.
There are some baitcaster reels that you can get that use premium braking technology that makes backlashing less common.
They also usually have a clicker mechanism that helps to keep the spool under control and a clicking noise will sound to signal you when the fish has bitten onto the hook.
If you are an experienced fisher though, you will likely just use your thumb to slow down the rotation of the spool which can sometimes be the preferred method instead of using any of the braking mechanisms on the baitcaster.
Having just suffered a backlash, you may think that it’s no big deal and you should just continue fishing, but this is where it will cause lots of problems with one of those being a bird’s nest.
A bird’s nest is the term that refers to how your fishing line will look in a few seconds if you don’t get a backlash under control.
The fishing line will tangle so much that it looks like a bird’s nest and the only thing that you are able to do is to sit down and untangle it bit by bit which puts a damper on the whole fishing trip.
Therefore, if you are a beginner with baitcaster reels, you should go for a baitcaster that has good anti backlashing technology so that you don’t have to worry as much when you are fishing and can focus on controlling the speed of the spool and enjoying the fishing experience.
How To Cast A Baitcaster
- This first step to casting a baitcaster is to reel the fishing line until there are about 12-inches of it dangling from the tip of the rod.
- Then, you need to make sure that you are holding the baitcaster reel properly so prevent backlash. To do this, hold onto the rod behind the reel with the thumb over the spool of the reel. It is best not to hold your thumb flat down onto the spool and instead you should rest it at a slight angle as this will give you more control of the line when it is cast.
- You need to then turn the fishing rod so that the handles of the reel are pointing upwards, then press the release button for the spool.
- Now you are ready to cast. Begin by bending your elbow that you are casting until it makes a right angle at the crook of the elbow. Raise the rod until it is a bit past vertical.
- Sweep the rod until it reaches the 10 o’clock position and take your thumb off of the reel so that the line begins to release.
- When the lure has reached the desired target, press your thumb down onto the spool to stop the line, if you don’t stop the line in time, you are at risk of creating a dreaded bird’s nest. This step may take some practice when you first start using baitcaster reels.
Another thing that you have to think about when you are using a baitcaster, is picking the right location to fish from because it will set you up for a more successful fish.
You should pick a spot where you are not surrounded by lots of bushes because these will just get in the way and your line can get stuck on them as you cast.
This also goes for the next tip which is to fish where there’s not a lot of people around because the last thing you want to do is hook a human instead of a fish.