Baitcaster Bird’s Nest: How to Avoid Them at All Costs (Summer 2022)

It’s a perfect day for fishing. People can say that about any fishing trip, but when everything is going right, that’s something special. Everything is working in your favor. Looking up at the sky, it’s a clear sunny day, with the sun perfectly behind a few trees in the distance. The cooler's been packed with sandwiches, and you don’t have a care in the world. Today is beautiful, and the fish are biting.

And then it happens – the dreaded tangle of all tangles, a bait caster bird's nest. For every single fisher, they can be very frustrating. Even professional and experienced fishers can have bird nesting happen to them. Don't lose your cool, and there are ways to fix a bird's nest and limit them from happening in the first place. Read our guide below to learn ways to cast your reel, adjust your settings, and adapt for light or ultra-light fishing. Enjoy your fishing trip and leave the bird nests to the wildlife.

What In the World Are Bait Caster Birds’ Nests?

Most regular fishers have dealt with bait caster bird’s nests during many fishing trips. For those that aren’t aware of the term, this is what happens when your line gets very tangled. Fishers are aware of tangled fish lines. It impacts both experienced and amateurs alike.

When they become bad enough, they’re referred to as bird’s nests. Not because they’re works of art or contain adorable baby birds, but because the tangled mess looks like a bird's nest. Be assured that these bird nests are neither creative nor adorable.

How Does Your Bait Caster Turn into a Bird’s Nest?

Typically, this happens because of the reel's backlash. The main reason for bird nests is that baitcasting reels easily generate a backlash and an overrun spool. Unlike the spinning reel, the bait caster's spool rotates. Casting a lure with your bait caster triggers the spool to begin rapidly rotating. This is perfect if you want the spool to release the line for the specific cast.

Bait casters are used because they reduce friction and thus increase distance and accuracy. Take the Abu Garcia Pro Max & Max Pro Low Profile Bait Cast Fishing Reel, for example. This is a reel that’s been highly recommended by reviews of both amateur and professional fishers. Machined double anodized aluminum spool, power disk drag system, and recessed foot reel all limit friction. This leads to limiting the resulting drag.

The following features include stainless steel ball-bearings, a lightweight graphite frame, durable brass gear construction, and large co-molded soft-touch knobs. These features are also why bait casters are so popular. Despite the benefits of fishing with these reels, they are more likely to cause tangles. When using bait casting reels, there is more potential for overrun and back lashing, those results in bird nests. The problem arises when the reel's spool rotates faster than the lure pulls the line. Combined rotational and centrifugal force loosens multiple layers of the line as the spool overruns. When this happens, the spool throws offline too fast. Thus, the line doesn't get pulled off fast enough, which then results in backlash. That backlash is what creates bird's nesting.

How to Avoid It?

Bait casters are indeed one of the most popular styles of fishing reels. Yet, they're also one of the hardest to use and even harder to master. For beginners, it's especially hard to get the hang of. With continued effort and education, it becomes simpler over time to master the art of fishing.

There are some things that you can do to limit bird nesting, such as practice, and adjusting the reel settings, for example. Some conditions will inevitably lead to backlash and the creation of bird nesting. Unexpected headwinds or other environmental factors can sometimes cause bird nesting. It’s important to be aware of the weather conditions and potential concerns before going out on the water.


To successfully prevent birds’ nest formation, avoid backlash during the casting process. The saying goes that practice makes perfect. And what’s a better excuse to go fishing than you must practice your throw with the bait caster. It’s a fishing trip with a built-in reason.

Anywhere with a wide-open space is a wonderful place to practice. This includes a wide-open field, a backyard, and even an unused baseball diamond that can make for a perfect practice area. Once you’re feeling confident, grab your fishing license or apply for one if you don't have one yet, and get started!

Test and Experiment

Try out various aspects and combinations. New lines, new reels, new lures, and different environmental factors all impact casting and the chances of backlash and overrunning.

Consider adding a higher-quality reel to your rig. The Shimano Six Bait Casting Reels comes highly recommended by reviews. Not only is it incredibly sleek and stunning, compact, with an amazing 150 Power Pro line capacity, but 6-pin VBS adjustments are all also packed Within Shimano's Signature Hagane metal reel body. It's not just about the sleek black and blue aesthetics, and this reel gets the job done and done right. Even though this is an amazing piece of equipment, don't put the fish before the bait.

Before you even set the spool up, it’s vital to understand your bait caster parts, settings, and functionality. This ensures that you’ll have an easier time. No matter how experienced a fisher you are, make sure you take time to get to know every new piece of equipment. Even ten extra minutes of assessing your equipment will provide amazing results.

Fishing Light and Ultra-Light

Light and ultra-light fishing are typically best used when fishing with spinning reels. You can certainly use bait casters for ultra-light fishing. Yet, this can still cause a backlash. The potential for bait caster backlash occurring increases the lighter you fish. If you prefer to fish light, it’s best to use a spinning reel.

Brakes and Spool Tension

It’s essential to learn how to slow down spool rotation during the cast using the brakes and spool tension so that it never throws off more line than is being pulled by the lure. Ensure you always adjust your settings before you start fishing. It’s certainly easier than doing it after you’ve already started. Adjust the spool tension so that the lure drops slowly. Do this by adjusting the tension knob and then adjusting it with each lure change.

Besides spool tension, make sure your brake is working at optimal capacity. The brakes will be either centrifugal or magnetic. As you continue fishing with this rig, you can reduce or adjust the braking and the spool tension to achieve greater casting distance.

The difference between brakes and spool tension is simple and subtle. The brakes manage the end of the cast, while spool tension manages the start and dynamics of the cast.

Remove It Quickly

Bird nesting happens to the best of us. Sometimes all you can do is deal with the issue as it occurs. Remove the bird’s nest as quickly as possible if backlash does occur.

To get rid of this bird nesting, start by pulling the line directly off the spool. Soon the bird’s nest will snag the line, stopping you from pulling further. At that point, press your thumb down on the spool while rotating the reel handle about a half turn. Continue pulling the line until it gets stuck again. Repeat until the bird’s nest is cleared. This method gets rid of even the most tangled birds’ nests in just minutes.


There's a lot of information in this article and a lot of tips to remember. We may not have answered all your burning fishing questions. Below, we've answered some of the most prominently asked questions. If you have more questions for our team of our writers, leave a comment below or reach out to us on your favorite social media!

Does Braided Line Backlash?

Unfortunately, yes. Some think that the braided aspect helps keep it from getting tangled. That’s a myth, sadly. Braided fishing lines are one of the most merciless fishing lines you can use. Braided lines most certainly cause a backlash, and it results in some unruly tangles.

Can I Just Cut the Line and Try Again?

Yes. If there is no hope (or patience) of untangling the fishing line, cutting it is an option. However, you need to retrieve any remnants of the line and dispose of them properly.

Most locations that you’ll be fishing at have bylaws or restrictions against littering of any sort. That includes littering debris in the water. Marine debris is a serious ecological threat that can cause an extensive list of issues; injure or kill animals that ingest or get entangled, damage habitats, cause navigational problems, and dissuade others from enjoying that area. Approximately 20 million and 1.8 billion marine debris items can be found on the shoreline of the continental United States. You don’t need to be adding your debris to the list.

What Do You Do with Cut Tangled Fishing Lines?

It's quite easy to recycle these finishing lines. Many states and provinces, such as Virginia and Washington, provide this service as well as local businesses and charities.

Final Thoughts

A perfect day for fishing isn’t just a saying. Any fishing trip can be perfect if all the aspects work together. Fishing trips are designed to be relaxing, fun, and exhilarating. Bird nesting can be discouraging and frustrating when it happens. Don’t let something so easily fixed ruin a perfectly good fishing trip.

There are a few diverse ways to prevent bird nesting before it even happens; practice, testing, settings, and casting style. This guide even went through the best process to untangle a fish line when it's become a bird's nest. With practice and patience, this bait caster bird's nest is easily fixed, allowing you to get back to the reason you're on the water, fishing. Make your fishing trip a great one by having one less tangle to worry about.

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