How to Cast a Baitcaster Without Backlash
A baitcaster allows more control and precision than a regular spinning reel, allowing for accurate casts once you've mastered the technique. The only problem is that sometimes it feels like only an expert knows how to cast a baitcaster without backlash. I was overwhelmed the first few times I tried to use a baitcaster, and I almost gave up and went back to the spinning reel. Then I watched a few videos and practiced and figured out I could get it after spending some time with it. So how you do cast a baitcaster without backlash? Follow these steps to get an accurate cast every time.
Spinning Reel VS Baitcaster
To understand the issue of backlash, we first need to understand the difference between the two major types of reels: Spinning reels and Baitcasters.
A spinning reel is more common, and is used for smaller fish such as crappie, redfish, and bass. There's a fixed spool, and the weight of the lure or bait is the only thing that pulls the line from the reel. They are useful for their versatility, and they can be with a variety of different lures and baits. For lighter bait, these are generally preferred because the bait only needs to be heavy enough to pull the line off the spool.
A baitcaster offers greater accuracy, and is usually used by more experienced fishers. The main difference between a baitcaster and a spinning reel is the movement of the spool. In a baitcaster, the spool is pulled and rotated by the weight of the line. This makes it more suitable to heavier lines and lures, because the weight on the end of the line must pull the spool, not just the line. These reels offer better accuracy than spinning reels, but they are harder to master.
The biggest struggle associated with a baitcaster is the dreaded "bird's nest" created by backlash.
What is Backlash?
Before we get too far into casting a baitcaster, let's discuss backlash and why you want to avoid it. When you hold down the thumb button of a baitcaster, it allows the reel to spin freely. This lets off enough line to get the bait into the water, but doesn't stop once it gets there. You can end up with a tangled mess of extra line on top of the water, and this is known as backlash. It makes casting more difficult and time consuming, and can be frustrating. However, with a little practice, anyone can master the technique to cast without causing backlash. The goal is to control the line enough that it stops casting in time, so no extra line is released. This process can seem daunting to beginners, but once you master the process, you'll be able to cast effectively every time.
What You'll Need
- Regular fishing rod: the shorter the better
- OR a combination baitcaster and rod
- Heavy weight lure
If you have a regular rod that currently has a spinning reel, you can purchase a baitcaster to attach without a large investment. If you want to have an entirely separate rod for baitcasting, you can buy a combination rod and baitcaster reel. Both are effective, and it's a matter of personal preference. I like to have two rods: one with a spinning reel and one with a baitcaster. If you only want to catch one type of fish, it's best to figure out the best rod for that type of fishing and stick with it. If you are a more versatile fisher, or love to travel around and fish for everything, I recommend having one of each rod.
You don't need anything fancy to get a great cast with a baitcaster. High quality equipment doesn't have to break your budget, and will still get you great results. More tips on choosing the right equipment can be found at the end of this article. Even without getting new equipment, all you need is a bit of patience and practice following these steps.
How to Cast a Baitcaster
1. Use a heavy lure instead of a lightweight one.While it might be instinct to choose a lighter lure to practice with, a heavy lure will actually be more successful when using a baitcaster. The heavy weight pulls the fishing line into the water quickly, while a light lure will simply follow the line or the wind causing more backlash.
2. Use a monofilament line for practice.A monofilament line is the perfect practice tool because it is less likely to cause backlash than a fluorocarbon line. If backlash does happen, it is easier to untangle a monofilament line than a braided line. To prevent backlash and make it easier to untangle, choose a monofilament line for best results.
3. Use the wind to your advantage.Casting against the wind can be difficult, and will cause the bait to slow down and cause backlash. While you're getting started with using a baitcaster, make sure to cast with the wind. This allows the wind to help the bait forward for a more accurate cast. If you can't find a spot on the water that has the wind to your back, try a few test casts on dry land to get a feel for your baitcaster before hitting the water.
4. Set the braking system.Located on the side of your baitcaster is a wheel or dial to adjust. This controls the braking of the line. To start off, adjust it to the highest setting. This allows less movement and gives you more control while you practice. Once you get established, you can lower the tension on this to allow longer baits.
5. Do a test cast and adjust the spool tension.The spool tension controls how quickly the lure will fall after it is cast. Trial and error is the best way to decide how much tension you want. Too high or too low will cause backlash, so start in the middle and adjust to your specific preference. You want to bait to fall toward the water at a medium slow pace. This varies for everyone, so adjust it to a speed that you feel comfortable with.
6. Practice with short distances first.Once you have your baitcaster set to your preferences, it's time to start practicing. Begin with short distances to cast at first, allowing your hands to get used to the feel of the baitcaster. It is easier to start casting side arm and then move to overhand.
7. Practice makes perfect.Once you've gotten the hang of the baitcaster, it's time to try it on the water. Again, starting sidearm will be easier before moving to an overhand cast. Don't be afraid to experiment a little bit to see which tension and braking settings work best for you.
With a bit of practice and patience, using a baitcaster is more efficient and precise than a spinning reel. Take the time to follow these steps for success in using your baitcaster and avoiding backlash. Remember that it's normal to experience some backlash the first few casts, so don't get discouraged if it takes a little longer than expected. The time investment to learn how to cast a baitcaster without backlash is well worth it.
How to Choose the Best Equipment
Even with proper technique, the proper equipment will always make your fishing day go more smoothly. You'll need a rod, a baitcaster, the proper line, and a heavy lure to practice with. Here are some tips to find the best of each of these, even on a tight budget.
Choosing a Rod and Baitcaster:
While it is possible to purchase a baitcaster and attach it to an existing rod, the best value comes when you purchase a combination. Look for an aluminum frame for a longer lasting, heavy duty tool compared to graphite, which is less expensive but also less reliable. The baitcaster should also have "shielded" or "sealed" ball bearings. Less expensive (and lower quality) models will boast 10 ball bearings, but these do not create as smooth a cast as the shielded type. Titanium line guides are the best option as compared to ceramic. They won't break as easily and they can withstand more wear and tear.
The brakes of a baitcaster are either centrifugal or magnetic. Centrifugal brakes rely on friction to stop the line, while magnetic brakes rely on magnets to slow the spool's revolutions as the line falls. Both are equally effective when used properly, and shouldn't be the deciding factor when purchasing a baitcaster.
Overall, the quality and feel of a rod and baitcaster have the greatest effect on your success using them. Test out several options in the store to make sure they feel sturdy and secure in your hands. Most people prefer over-sized handles because they feel more firm during use. Give each rod a swing in the store before purchasing.
For a high quality baitcaster to add to an existing rod, check out this model from Abu Garcia.
For a rod and reel combination, try this model from American Hero. This is a lower cost model that still performs well and is made to last.
If you're looking for an option that easily converts for left and right hand use, this rod from FireMoon is a great option that remains under $100.
Choosing the correct line:
Baitcasters are designed to use heavier line than spinning reels. Thicker lines are also easier to keep untangled, as they don't tangle as easily in the first place. Sticking to a monofilament line whenever possible is your best bet, as braided lines are nearly impossible to untangle after backlash.
Aim for monofilament, 10 pounds or higher line. Using up to 17 pound line is great for beginners or for practice, because it comes off the spool a bit slower and gives you more control. You can always switch to a lighter line down the road, but starting off with a higher weight will lead you to more success. I personally use Berkley Trilene Extra Tough in the 17 pound strength.
Choosing the right lure:
A heavy lure is easier to practice with a baitcaster. Personal preference and the type of fish you're looking to catch will determine your specific lure, but the general rule for practice is an easy to spot lure weighing at least 1/2 an ounce. This gives you the needed weight on the end of the line and allows you to see your lure as you practice, giving you more control.
If you're new to fishing, read this article to discover the different types of lures and how to use each one. My favorite for bass fishing is the Lucky Craft Blade Cross Bait 110, which is heavy enough to weigh down the line, and visible in the air and water to make control even easier.
With a little shopping around, you can find a great fit for your needs without going over your budget. While higher prices usually indicate higher quality, you can get a great, reliable rod with baitcaster for around $100. Just make sure you try everything out in the store to make sure it feels right in your hands, and you're on your way to a successful fishing day.
After a few tries and tinkering with my baitcaster a bit, I was able to start successfully casting it without backlash. I could've used some of these tips when I first got started, but I'm glad I was able to figure them out with time. What do you think? Do you feel ready to hit the waters and use your baitcaster without worrying about backlash? If you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with other fishing enthusiasts of any level. If you have an questions or comments, leave them below. Thanks for reading!