How To Use Baitcaster Reel: Step-by-Step Guide and Tips for Beginners

Combining a baitcasting reel and rod will significantly enhance your fishing experience. They provide a seamless and direct connection to a bait or lure. And you will be able to do swift presentations because many baitcasters can be used with one hand.

Unfortunately, a baitcaster reel can be complex for beginners. This is because baitcasters are notorious for backlashes. This article aims to teach beginners how to use baitcaster reel and reduce backlashes. At the end of this article, you will be able to use a baitcaster reel properly with little to zero backlashes.

Baitcaster Basics

It would be best if you started from the basics as a beginner. This section will highlight when you can use a baitcaster reel and the equipment you can use with a baitcaster reel.

When to Use a Baitcaster Reel

Baitcaster reels are used in many applications, such as big game fishing, surf casting, casting lines, and freshwater fishing. 

However, it would be best to use baitcasting reels when you have bulky lures or baits. This is because all the lines spool off a baitcaster forward. The weight of the lure usually controls this process. So, when you cast your reel, the lure will pull the line off the spool. Using a light bait is not ideal. It's either not going to launch your baitcaster or very far. 

Equipment Used with a Baitcaster Reel

Here are some tools you would need with your baitcaster reel. 

  • Nail clippers or scissors
  • Monofilament fishing line
  • Knob cover
  • Heavyweight lure
  • Protective waders

Spooling a Baitcaster

Spooling your baitcaster is the first step to having a successful fishing experience. Baitcaster reels have built a reputation for tangling. So, it would be best to spool your baitcaster correctly before using it. Here is the step-by-step guide to spooling a baitcaster the right way.

Step 1: Fasten Your Baitcaster Reel to Your Baitcasting Rod

Attaching your reel to the rod will make you keep the line's tension easily while spooling your reel. Also, check the rod guides to ensure your line extends straight. 

Step 2: Feed the Line Using the Rod Guides

Feed the line using the tip of your rod guide. Then, run the line across the other guides till it reaches your reel. To avoid line twists, ensure the line appears in the same direction it goes into the reel. 

Step 3: Feed the Line Using the Reel's Guide 

Thread the line across your reel's line guard. Then feed the line through it. Doing this will make it easier to tie the fishing line to the baitcasting reel. Also, don't forget to use your line guide as your spool's center.

Step 4: Tie the Line to Your Reel's Spool 

If the spool of your baitcaster reels has holes, you can use two holes to thread the fishing line and tie it using a double overhand tangle. You can also wrap your fishing line around the spool and secure it using the same method if your spool has no holes. 

Step 5: Trim the Line 

Take your nail clippers or scissors and trim off the line. Doing this will make the line neat and smoothly go into the spool.

Step 6: Begin to Spool 

The next step is to spool your baitcaster by turning the reel's handle. Ensure you keep the line's tension while spooling. This will help to decrease line loops and twists when casting a lure. 

Step 7: Continue Spooling Until It's Nearly Full


Do not overfill the baitcaster. Ensure there is a ⅛-inch gap between the line and the spool's edge. Doing this will help you avoid backlash.

Adjusting the Reel

Knowing how to adjust your baitcaster reel before you start fishing is essential. How well you adjust your reel will determine how efficient your baitcaster reel will be. You must know two crucial adjustments to change your baitcaster reel. This section will explain both of them.

Brake System Adjustments 

The brake system of your reel is vital. It controls how fast the fishing line stops from your spool after casting the lure. 1/Min is typically the lowest brake pressure, while 9/Max is the highest.

This implies that one is the fastest and nine is the slowest. The magnetic brake should be reduced to 1/min when adjusting your spool's tension to decide on a stable fall. After setting the spool's tension, you can turn the brake to the pressure you want. Also, initially make numerous casts to know where you should set the break and have a feel of the lure. The standard range of the magnetic setting for beginner anglers is usually between 5-to-7.

You can cast faster and farther when you lower the brakes and loosen the spool's tension. You can do this as you get more comfortable with your casting distance. However, this can also lead to increasing backlash risk.

Drag System Adjustment

The drag system controls the amount of tension that goes to your fishing line while catching your fish. It looks like a pinwheel. And it's usually the gear spoke located near your handle. Propel the drag wheel backward to loosen it and forward to tighten it.

Ensure you tighten the drag wheel properly. Doing this will stop the line from breaking while the fish struggles. If the fish runs with your lure, leaving your drag open will disperse the fishing line. It is advisable to permit some drag to be on the safe side. Your line will remain strong even as the fish struggles out of the baitcaster. The rule of thumb is to tighten the drag wheel when catching big fish and loosen it when catching small fish. 

Using a Baitcaster

Now that you know how to adjust your reel correctly, you must also learn how to use it. The baitcaster reel is the primary tool you would use for fishing. So, you must know how it works. Follow these steps to understand how to use your baitcaster for fishing. 

Step 1: Reel in Your Line 

The first step to using a baitcaster reel is to reel your line in until your lure or bait is 12 inches from the rod end.

Step 2: Properly Hold the Reel

Grab the rod so your fingers will wrap around the bottom grip, and your thumb rests comfortably on the spool and button. A knob cover, like the SAMFX Grip Sleeve, will provide the ideal grip you need, especially if you are a beginner. 

Step 3: Turn the Rod Gently

Gently turn the rod until the handle of your reel is pointing up. Doing this will give room for your wrist when you cast. 

Step 4: Bend the Arm You Want to Cast with Properly

It would be best if you bent the arm you are using to cast at the elbow slowly until it begins to form a right angle. Simultaneously, you must raise your rod until its end extends slightly beyond vertical. Doing this will give you the perfect position to send out your line. 

Step 5: Sweep Your Rod Forward

The next step is sweeping your rod until it reaches your eye level. This is usually the "10 o'clock" position or about 30° beyond horizontal. Remove your thumb off the reel slightly as the rod sweeps forward. This will let your lure's weight drag the line as it approaches its target.

Step 6: Press Down on the Spool

Use your thumb to press down on the spool before the lure strikes the water. Doing this will stop the flow of the fishing line. Then, extend your handle forward to trap the spool and reel in your bait.

Tips for Beginners

If you are a new angler learning how to use a baitcaster fishing reel, there are essential tips that would help you. These tips would help you to avoid backlashes. Here are some of them. 

Use The Rod Action to Match Lure Weight and Line 

Using a heavy rod with a heavy line with a lightweight lure is not ideal. Doing this won't enhance your casting ability. The perfect base for a casting set is usually a 12 pounds fluorocarbon or monofilament line. You can use this size line to cast a lot of bass lures. 

Constantly Improve Your Casting Motion

As a new angler passionate about improving, you must keep practicing your casting motion. Try various angles of casting. Also, cast at different targets to improve your casting motion.

Using a shorter motion to train yourself on how to cast will allow for firmer casts when you fish in enclosed areas. 

Do Not Overcast

Speed and force will not make you cast far distances; only fluid motion can. If you use a fluid casting motion and the proper technique, your rod will naturally cast farther. All you have to do is set your spool in the appropriate setting. Your casting distance will automatically expand with constant practice.

Care for Your Baitcaster

The maintenance of your baitcaster must be your priority. This is because the spool of your baitcaster will wear and slow down if you use it reel often. It is not difficult to care for your baitcaster. So, spare that time and care for your reel correctly. You can also get accessories like knobs and covers to protect your reel. With its unique construction and reviews online, the Lew's Baitcast Reel Cover is an ideal option. 

Final Thoughts

Using a baitcaster reel can be a rewarding experience. You will also be able to cast farther with it. However, backlashes are not a problem any new angler wants to experience. With this article, you now know how to use the baitcaster reel properly to avoid backlashes. Now, you can enhance your fishing experience with a baitcaster without hassle. 


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