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New bait casting setup

Post By: Wreckstar      Posted: 8/6/2020 1:58:54 PM     Points: 1129    
OK, so I've never owned a real bait casting rod/reel combo and finally picked one up the other day.

Funny side note - It's crazy to go into Sportsman's Warehouse only to find 3 reels and like 2 poles to even choose from. Like they literally only had 3 bait casting reels in the whole entire store.

Anyway, my goal was to get a bait caster set up with some braided line (another thing I never use) and get used to using it. I was reading online and took someones advice not to go straight to braid. I put on some mono just to play with it and figure out how to cast, and I was glad I did because I bird nested that bad boy at least 3 times in an hour.

I really struggled until I found the knob on the side of the reel that seemed to adjust the how "loose" the reel spun. What I learned was that on one end of that scale the reel was too tight and I couldn't get a very far cast, while the other end of that scale was too loose and that's when I bird nested the thing. So I settled somewhere in the middle. Now to the questions.

1. I feel like I have zero accuracy. Do I just need to dial in my reel and get used to casting it? Or is there something I am doing wrong with the set up?
2. I learned I have to keep my thumb on the spool, is that the key to not bird nesting it?
3. How can I cast further without bird nesting the reel?
4. When I am ready for the braid, is there a different technique for spooling the reel so you have less bird nests?
 Reply by: anglerwannabe      Posted: Aug. 6, 2:29:53 PM     Points: 58767    
How about a little more info? What rod and reel did you get? Is the rod Med, MH or heavy power? Fast Action or moderate action? What size line are you using? 10, 15, 20 lb? What size lure? half, 3 quarter, 1 oz?


1) accuracy - am guessing you may have gotten a fast action rod and on a bait caster they are stiffer than a fast action spinning rod. You're going to need to adjust to it. Also your line and lure will be important here.

2) thumb on spool - maybe more like feathering the spool. This is a great way to help birds nesting. ALWAYS stop the lure before it hits the water. Using the Cast Control Knob and Brakes and adjusting to your lure is really good at helping with this too.

3) appropriate line to match the lure you're casting to match the rod and reel. Remember when you put your combo together you start with lure, line, rod and then reel.

4) use heavier braid! Braid is super thin and on a bait cast setup it tends to embed itself into the line, so when you cast the line "sticks" This is one of the big reasons people use heavy braid, not just because they're throwing into weeds.

Start using mono and throwing heavier lures. The birds nests are normally created because the spools are really fast. Your lure isn't heavy enough to pull line on your cast BUT the spool is still spinning. This is why feathering the spool is important.

Once you really get the hang of it, you'll likely pretty much turn the cast control knob and brakes off. I rarely use them anymore except for lighter lures or windy days.

You can also look into the newer digital bait cast reels. They've made them very easy to use.

BTW I still birds nest my lines. Usually because I get cocky and do something like trying to cast behind me into heavy wind on my toon.
 Reply by: Wreckstar      Posted: Aug. 6, 3:02:24 PM     Points: 1129    
@Angler - Yea should have just provided the details upfront.

So with slim pickin's I was able to snag a 7'1" Medium - Power Fast Action think it was a Shamano Rod. Even says lure wt 1/4-3/4 oz on the rod. Only other thing about the rod I noticed after I got it home of course, was it had those micro eyelets at the end. Are those good, bad or who cares?

Got a Abu Garcia Silver Max reel and put on 10lb Mono to start. (1 of 3 in the whole store lol)

I did throw a couple different lures to get a better feel and the lighter stuff I couldn't get past my feet lol. Good to know I'm on the right track. It did feel like I just needed to dial it in and get the hang of it. Thanks for the thorough response.
 Reply by: Smelly      Posted: Aug. 6, 3:13:27 PM     Points: 24252    
Listen to the post above. We donít call him the ď Gear Pimp ď for nuttin! All kidding aside . AWB is pretty up on this stuff. And a good resource to get you pointed in the right direction. Only thing I can add is practice. Donít worry about casting far. Or catching fish . Just cast. Even in the yard if you can ( on nice soft grass) . Chad La Chance used to have a competition at the fishing expo. Casting into hoops at different distances. I do that in my backyard when I can. And it does help! Another thing is use the reels brakes to your advantage.Tie on the lure tighten the spool brake so the lure just hangs in place. Adjust the spool brake so the lure just starts to fall One more trick ( curtesy of Ronnie Cast ) is to pull out line the length of a long cast . Then put a piece of electrical tape on the spool and reel the line over it. That way when you do get a birds nest. It wonít go deeper than the tape. That trick also works. Cause I still nest it up also.
 Reply by: Fishful Thinker      Posted: Aug. 6, 3:19:52 PM     Points: 11381    
Your rod, reel, line combo sounds reasonably matched, so...

FIRST (and I do mean first), do this: [log in for link] Also do it for a short cast length and get longer as you learn.

Then, make sure whatever you are casting is 1/2oz or 5/8oz...the middle of the rod's power range.

Then set the brake on the handle side of the reel so that when the thumb bar is depressed without your thumb on the spool, the lure falls to the floor and the spool only over-runs about one full turn.

Then set the brake on the other side of the reel to it's middle setting.

Then, before you cast, rotate your rod-holding wrist so that the back of your hand is facing up. The reel handle will be pointing straight up or straight down (depending on which hand you cast with and which hand the reel is meant to be wound with).

Then, and only then, start making overhand casts. With the rod starting pointing at your target and the lure reeled up to about 6" from the tip, sweep a back cast and forecast all in one fluid motion, accelerating through the forecast. Cast harder, yet smoothly, than you think you need to and let your thumb very gently ride on the spool ever so slightly for he entire cast, and stopping the lure a bit short of the target. It will pull the extra loft out of the line in the air and land farther than you think it will. The goal is shallow arch.

You will inevitably backlash but the tape will prevent it from ruining your brand new line. The backlash will be no deeper than the tape and thus easily removed without frustration and line damage.

Keep in mind the spool brakes on both sides are very sensitive...tiny adjustments are in order!

Even as a guy that has fished baitcasters my whole life, I still backlash occasionally. The speed and accuracy advantages over spinning tackle (at least with heavier lures, say 3/8oz or above) are worth it and the tape is cheap insurance. Hope it helps! CL

 Reply by: D-Zilla      Posted: Aug. 6, 3:34:25 PM     Points: 2425    
Trick I learned early with the bait casters.

Tie on the lure you want to use. Release the spool and drop the lure directly in front of you. If it hits and the spool stops without starting to birds nest, your brake is set right.

I'm still confused with the new magic cast ones, and I turn the magnetics off completely and do it the way I learned. You want the lure to drop freely, without overspool (or birds nest) when it lands. Too tight and it won't drop freely, too loose and you birds nest. Thumb braking the spool just before the lure hits the water helps though when you really WHIP that sucker out there.

Accuracy is another matter altogether. The casting rods do tend to be much stiffer than spinning rods, and require a LOT of practice. Make sure you have plenty of open water or a practice plug and lots of space. Patience is key. You will spend a LOT of time unwrapping the reel for a good while, but once you are a "pro" it will happen a lot less often.
 Reply by: Eyefishing      Posted: Aug. 6, 4:17:25 PM     Points: 1566    
Hereís one thing every body is forgetting about is casting into the wind. When you cast the lure will slow down very fast but your reel spool doesnít, thatís when the thumb ridding becomes very important to avoid the nest.
 Reply by: shiverfix      Posted: Aug. 6, 4:31:14 PM     Points: 3772    
I am not being a smart ass with this link, I have actually done this search myself and found some great tips on casting baitcaster, beyond the setup of the reel. Like sidearm vs overhead, the way you hold the rod, the movement of your arms. They are different than with a spinning combo.

[log in for link]
 Reply by: Wreckstar      Posted: Aug. 7, 9:07:25 AM     Points: 1129    
Thanks all, I knew I came to the right place for such great info.

I have been watching Fishful Thinker for a long time, and for the past several weeks I have been watching the YT channel every single night. My wife walks in the room and it's always "you're watching that fishing guy again huh?"

Well all those Fishful Thinker videos convinced me to go out and pick up a bait caster. Then low and behold, I have CL himself come on and provide some great insight! That really made my day, thanks for taking the time.

 Reply by: Fishful Thinker      Posted: Aug. 7, 10:20:11 AM     Points: 11381    
Wreckstar, thanks for tuning in to our content. Hope it helps! Our goal at FTTV is always education.

I specifically mentioned practicing with overhand casts because the release point vs rod loading is obvious in the lure trajectory...the goal is a shallow arch and you'll be able to see it. After that cast is natural, then practice side arm etc because the "feel" will be more developed at that time.

Thanks again and be patient with your batcaster...the skills will come. CL
 Reply by: MJMCPO      Posted: Aug. 11, 10:38:21 PM     Points: 53    
Wrechstar where are you located? If your close to Aurora let me know I have a bunch of different combos you could try with baitcasters I will say quality makes a difference most of the time and can really help. More than glad to go out on the water some time and let you try a bunch of different setups even have a couple with braid. Braid is usually easier to use and if you backlash it comes out pretty easy unless you throw it straight down by your feet.

Mike 702-287-3988
 Reply by: Walleye Guy      Posted: Aug. 12, 6:46:23 AM     Points: 121    
Don't cast into the wind, if you must dial it back a bit and really pay attention to what you are doing.


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